Painting WIP - Critiques appreciated



  • Finally going back to the images I am making for my own little book and got a bit stuck on second guessing where to put the little old lady and whether everything else reads well. In this scene she has found the pig that she has been looking for and I'm unsure whether to put her in the very near foreground or fully posed on the hay. I am leaning towards the hay, but I feel it like the scene is quite crowded around that area now and draws your eye away from the pig.

    I will probably move one of the cows to another position too as they are too close together. Any thoughts about the old lady or the other parts of the scene would be appreciated. I want to make it a great location scene for my portfolio as well if possible.
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  • I really like the barn. You've painted it really well and I think the lighting is really working. I think putting the old lady in the foreground helps stop the eye from going off the left side of the image and keeps up with the focal point of the pigs. It also adds to the narrative because we are looking over her shoulder to where she is looking and she leads us to the focal point.

    I agree that the cows are too close together. I also think that they are too close to the barn. If you move the old lady to the foreground, moving the cows to the middle ground could add to the depth and space in the image. You could have a cast shadow cut across them so they are also somewhat in shadow to cut down on their contrast. You've got a great focal point going here, and you don't want to distract from it. Then they would also be a different visual size than the pig and maybe have a different pose than him. Be careful with her scale, because I'm not quite sure how tall she is. In the first image, the distance from her to the cows doesn't seem that much, which makes her seem larger than she should be compared to them. But that could be fine if that's a convention you've established in the rest of the book. Is that a bird above the pig in the second image? If it is, maybe add some more in the sky or on the ground to lead you into the image and up to the barn. Will the text be in the sky?

    The reflected sky on the barn is excellent and you've painted it really well. I'd love to see a little more blue reflected on the hay (think Monet's Haystacks), and red from the barn bouncing off the hay where it meets it. I'm excited to see the finish, and to see more of the book! It's looking good!



  • Great picture so far. I think you need to put the character in the foreground, you don't have anything there and it leaves the composition lacking in that area.



  • i really like how the second one looks like :-)



  • @gary-wilkinson This is looking great Gary - i did a super quite sketch of what i was thinking - i was trying to get more space within the canvas - i added a little hill and also flipped the canvas - i feel like it may be helping to sort out the position/scale of the girl - feel free to ignore though - i look forward to seeing where this ends up!

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  • @kevin-longueil I like this it lets the picture breath a bit



  • @Teju-Abiola Thank you for your comments Teju, they were really helpful! Having the cows in the middle could be a good idea and will help vary up the poses in the scene. The 2 birds in the scene are the old lady's little friends and both of them will usually appear around her in each scene so hopefully it's a running theme that the viewer will expect. Good idea with the bounce light from the sky and barn I think that will help push the warms and cools even further :D

    @kevin-longueil Thanks for taking the time to do a paintover! I will definitely look at exploring that viewpoint as it makes things feel much less cramped and more free



  • @gary-wilkinson I like the 2nd version with the old lady large and in the foreground. Though I also like @Kevin-Longueil 's suggested composition as well as it makes for a more interesting composition. One thing you might want to consider (but it might take more work and time), is to have the old lady really looking up at the top window of the barn.



  • Your painting style is so good. By any chance have you ever done a speed painting video? I would love to see how you go about painting your pieces.



  • @gary-wilkinson Lovely style and painting :) I think either placement of the old lady would work, I’m wondering though in this scene has she found the pig or is she looking for the pig? I’m reading the image at the mo that she’s interested in the cows and is on her way towards them. If she hasn’t found the pig but the reader knows she’s looking for it then it makes sense to be looking at the cows and there’s a nice sort of aah there’s the pig! for the reader. However if she’s found/finding the pig in this one I’m wondering if maybe you could pose her more so she’s reacting to the pig? How is she feeling about the pig in the top of the barn? Could she be looking up at it pleased to have found it or exasperated that it’s all the way up there?



  • @johanna-kim I'll play around with both positions and see which one fits in best. I was hoping to convey her pose to show that she was looking up, but I think due to the hat is is quite hard to tell that is what she is doing.

    @Eric-Castleman thanks Eric. I don't have any videos of my painting process though I have put up some quick step by step processes of how I painted some of my caricatures that you can probably see on instagram. I usually have 2 ways I go about painting, if the scene is quite simple I will do a quick mini value study to decide on my lighting and then paint directly with color.

    If the scene is more complex I will do a more detailed value study and then paint with a either a multiply layer or a color layer on top. When I paint with a multiply layer the scene becomes a bit darker, but I will flatten everything down and paint on top with a normal layer to slow bring out the lights (this is my favorite part). I rarely use any of the other layer types aside from Will's color dodge trick if I need to give the colors a bit more of a punch.

    I hope to upload some more in depth processes blog posts on my website in the near future when I feel more confident in my own process :)

    @rachy That's a good point. I think the cows are a little distracting so I need to adjust them still I guess. In the story she is looking around for the right type of animal and then when she spots the pig she realises that it would be the ideal choice. Her pose isn't fully showing her looking up it seems so I will try to play with that. Maybe if she takes off her hat then it will be more obvious she is looking up at the pig.



  • Slowly working on this piece as I tackle other projects too. I tried to fit in the old lady as @Kevin-Longueil had suggested, but I found that I couldn't effectively work it in without a lot of rework and adjustment in my vision for the piece, but I really appreciate the advice given.

    It's still has a few hours left in it before I can call it done, but it's getting there. I got rid of the old cows and added some that are a bit more cartoony. I have also tried my best to keep their colors quite muted so that the pig retains the audiences focus, hopefully. I need to add another mini bird near the pig that will also help guide the eye and there are aspects of the treeline and other detailing that needs attention.

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  • @gary-wilkinson This is coming along so well! I love the shadow on her hat it really keeps us in the composition and prevents us from wandering off the corner. The only thing I wanna say is maybe have more of the strong shadow edge on the ground in front of her. Extend the same one out. It seems too focused on her hat, but it should be larger considering the lighting situation. That would also add interest with the samples light and contrast. I love how you painted the dappled light and can't wait for the finish!



  • This is a lovely piece, I love the color and the lighting! The only thing that disturbs me a little is that the pig seem to be in a slightly different style than the rest. I think it^s the contrast between the sharp dark lines and the light falling on it - he looks "drawn" while all the rest looks painted. Its edges are somewhat too hard compared to the rest.
    I absolutely love how you handled the straw and the color of the barn!



  • @smceccarelli I agree about the pig. Initially I wanted to try and make him stand out more, but I think that my composition guides your eye there anyhow so trying to make him much sharper and add contrast was too much. I repainted him and I hope it fits in better, also he looks a lot more consistent now to how he is in other scenes, so I'm very pleased to have redone him.

    Thank you for everyone's responses and help in guiding this piece to completion. I will call it done as I have too many other things to get done with and I am pleased with how it's looking. Onward to the next piece :D

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  • @gary-wilkinson Hi, Gary! I love this piece just like all your previous pieces. I love the colors. I love your composition. I love how cute your animals are. I love what you did with the cows and pig. The chicks are also a great touch. This is amazing. Great work!



  • I love the lighting in this piece, and the color variations in the hay. Such a palette!