Poe cover crit



  • So I'm cringing here but I'll show where I am at so far. This is the stage that I hate the most, after the sketch phase and before the end phase.

    I decided to go for the semi-realism, illustrated scene idea rather than something more stylized or conceptual.

    My main concerns are: is the overall comp working? Do I need to re-crop (i.e., zoom in/zoom out)? Any obvious tangents or bad forms?

    Lighting will be the real challenge here. I want to have the right side lit with a yellow/orange light and the left will be moonlight. The entire image will be much darker than it is now.

    Symbolism:

    1. Rue Morgue (The Murders at the Rue Morgue)
    2. The chair will have two carved death masks that will be more red than the rest of the carvings (The Masqe of the Red Death)
    3. The raven on the shoulder (The Raven)
    4. The portrait of the woman, Lenore (The Raven)
    5. I plan on having a light as from an open door fall on his eye (The Tell-Tale Heart). Though I'm not sure if this reference would be too obscure?

    I really tried to work a pendulum in some how. I thought about a giant pendulum crashing through the window or stuck in the wall with the plaster cracking. I could just never get it to work with the composition. Maybe I'll try a couple more things when I'm farther along.
    Maybe a clock by the picture and the pendulum is a sharpened blade?

    Edit: I will probably fade the top more to give a space for the text. The prompt says it is "very important" to indicate where the text will go but I'm not sure how they want us to do that.



  • I like the composition, but I might think you'd want to limit your palette a bit more. You have the red and blue in the corner and then the bright green chair. Edgar allen poe to me has really blue violet tones to it. I would use light to add the mood and limit the palette.



  • @Ben-J-Hutchison said:

    I like the composition, but I might think you'd want to limit your palette a bit more. You have the red and blue in the corner and then the bright green chair. Edgar allen poe to me has really blue violet tones to it. I would use light to add the mood and limit the palette.

    I do tend to paint like a drunken clown. I have always struggled with color. A lot of those are sketch/base colors (not my final choices) so I hope to "bring them in" so it doesn't look like a rainbow threw up on my image--good call and thanks!



  • Looking good so far.Watch where the Ravens beak is meeting the corner of the wall in the back. Might be a little tangent happening. If you're struggling with color one trick is to decide to only use one or two colors (besides black and white) right from the start and push those colors as far as possible. It's best do do this right from the start so you don't lose focus, then towards the end if you need a little something to create a focal point you can add a new color (usually the compliment of the overall piece). One artist that I'm a fan of that does this super well is Jonathan Viner. Google his name if you want to see what I'm getting at. Keeping your palette limited also helps you create the mood you're going for. You've done that for the outside. It feels like it's outside at night. You've also got some nice warm tones for the inside of the room but it seems like there's too many colors going on especially in the book case and there's not a sense of foreboding that you might want for a Poe illustration. I think you can still achieve that with warm colors (lot's of dark grays with some red mixed in maybe). I know you said you hadn't finalized colors so I hope I'm not telling you stuff you already know. Anyway, good luck.



  • @Jonathon-B said:

    I know you said you hadn't finalized colors so I hope I'm not telling you stuff you already know. Anyway, good luck.

    Good advice! A lot of times I find myself thinking "Well these objects can't ALL be X color can they?" and so I'll start painting a rainbow and it won't look right at the end.

    I have to really try to train my brain to do the things you mentioned. I'll check out that artist.

    EDIT: Good catch on the raven--didn't notice that.


  • administrators

    Very nice start! Good advice from everyone.

    One thing that can help you guys in terms of color is thinking in terms of "keying a painting". If you aren't familiar with that term, this is gonna be a game changer. The basic idea here is to make sure an image leans a very specific color direction, and then all the other colors are just supporting that main color.

    For example, in each of these images is a full color painting, but if you squint, you will easily see that this is a "green" painting or a "blue painting" etc. i just grabbed a random assortment of artists here so you get the idea.

    So when deciding on colors I first start with the main color key, then add colors based on that.

    Let me know if you have any questions at all. : )

    santaMaria.jpg calvary.jpg trees_p.jpg finecooking1.jpg 111123456.jpg a.jpg



  • @Lee-White Wow, thanks Lee, thats really helpful!



  • Thank you @Lee-White. In that case I think my main color will be yellowish orange since that will be the main light source? Hopefully I can do it right.

    Photoshop has made me a bit lazy in some ways. I can paint everything without regard for lighting and then go over it with things like multiply layers or vivid/soft/hard light layers. But I don't know if I really want that "photoshopy" look. I feel like I'm developing bad habits--"real artists", I think, are able to create those lighting scenarios without the fancy layer styles.



  • I don't know if anyone else is seeing this, but I would suggest adjusting the cropping because the bottom border seems to be cutting off Poe's leg just below the pant's cuff, so right about the angle. I know from photography, and I believe this overlaps with drawing and painting, you don't want to cut figures off at the joints. Consider moving the bottom border up a few "inches."

    Unsure it will help.



  • @Asatira said:

    I don't know if anyone else is seeing this, but I would suggest adjusting the cropping because the bottom border seems to be cutting off Poe's leg just below the pant's cuff, so right about the angle. I know from photography, and I believe this overlaps with drawing and painting, you don't want to cut figures off at the joints. Consider moving the bottom border up a few "inches."

    Unsure it will help.

    This is another type of thing I struggle with. I will move the image down more. That will also leave more room for the text at the top!



  • @mattramsey said:

    So I'm cringing here but I'll show where I am at so far. This is the stage that I hate the most, after the sketch phase and before the end phase.

    I'm totally with you. That stage is the worst. It's like I'm constantly doubting my ability to draw anything during that phase.



  • @mattramsey Hey Matt - would it be possible for you to load a larger image? Maybe it is just me - but it comes up as very small when I click on it - I usually make the long dimension around 1000 pixels and it seems to load well and be large enough to see - also...could you explain how to use an overlay layer?...still seriously blown away by your paint over on shinjifujioka's painting. Thanks!



  • @Kevin-Longueil said:

    @mattramsey Hey Matt - would it be possible for you to load a larger image? Maybe it is just me - but it comes up as very small when I click on it - I usually make the long dimension around 1000 pixels and it seems to load well and be large enough to see - also...could you explain how to use an overlay layer?...still seriously blown away by your paint over on shinjifujioka's painting. Thanks!

    That was a small jpg. The real image is like 1950 wide and I'm not sure how tall. I will submit an updated version when I get a bit farther (probably this weekend) and I'll make sure it is bigger.

    On Shin's piece I just filled a layer with a yellow/orange radial gradient (a solid color would work too) at 100% opacity. I set the layer to overlay and then lowered the layer opacity to where I thought it was good. I think I then erased/masked off some of the edges where the light would fall off. I tried switching it to a soft light layer but it didn't give quite the effect I wanted.

    That said, sometimes the soft light layer is way better for painting in light. Just depends on the picture/colors used.

    It's nice because you can make huge color changes very quickly. I think it took less than 10 min to do that Shin's piece. Obviously, I'd take more time and be more careful if I was doing it "for real" not just a quick: "here's an idea."

    The downside is I can get reliant on those types of photoshop "tricks" and, personally, I think some of my artistic skills have suffered. Particularly in the sense that, as much as I struggle with light and color, I probably haven't had to put as much effort into it as a traditional painter who doesn't have the luxury of those layer styles.



  • Here is an update. I haven't really started with the lighting yet though, just some rendering work.



  • O.k. very nice - feel odd critiquing your piece but here goes- there are things that draw the eye around Poe but i think it is not worth mentioning because i'm sure you will knock it all back when you light the scene - but a couple things i think a could say would be his right eye (our left)does not follow me around the room while his left (our right) does. - the other thing is had to describe easily - his hips seem shifted straight over to our left - his torso is pointed slightly to our right and if you follow an imaginary center-line down his chest and belly to his hips it does not find the center of the hips but what feels like the iliac crest - if you look at his left knee (our right) it recedes back in space to the left of the composition - i believe we should see some of his leg receding to the right to give the impression that the leg originates from the left hip - does this make sense? - if you cut and paste his legs to the right a bit it would help but really i think we should see a bit of his leg (even a tiny bit) to the right of his knee - something i hesitate to say because it is way left field is i wonder how this would look if you kept Poe in his position but flipped the background to put the rue morgue on the right of the composition...really great painting! Love the crow!

    OH!...Thank you for explaining the overlay - really appreciate that!



  • @Kevin-Longueil I'm not 100% sure I know what you mean about his eyes but it may not matter right now because I will be working on him more before it is finished--hopefully I will get the eyes to work together.

    I do see what you mean about his body. The body I referenced was mine and the Poe portrait I reference was shifted slightly 3/4. I am glad you mentioned that because I've been trying to talk myself out of adjusting that when I knew I should be fixing it.

    I have pretty much everything on separate layers so I can switch the room around easily. Did you have a particular reason for that idea?



  • The reversing the background idea is from the feeling that i keep ending up on the left at the end of looking at the image...which feels like an odd place to end up - i wonder if it would feel more natural for us to take in Poe and the room first and then pass into darkness on the right - it could just be the high contrast though that pulls the eye - ...not a strong case for a big change that is why i was hesitant - i did not explain what i was feeling a bout the eyes very well - my point was i feel that they are ever so slightly off from one another(it may be the x and y axis..really the smallest amount) - and if you want the eyes to follow us (which i think would be good in this case) the it would be his right eye(our left) that would need the tiny adjustment....i could be off on this though :)



  • Here is the update.

    I think I'm going to start on the lighting now.

    I do need to figure out something with the Rue morgue sign. It has to be more prominent somehow.

    Also I need to figure out how they want us to "indicate" where the text will go. I could make up a title but I'm pretty bad at graphic design and it would probably end up detracting from the image. My idea would be that the title would go somewhere across the top (all the negative space of the ceiling).



  • @mattramsey Make him wink! That'd be super creepy.

    Jk jk, don't make him wink. Because while it would be creepy, it'd be creepy in all the wrong ways.

    I don't have any suggestions about the sign, but I think softening Lenore's features would help - lowering the bridge of her nose and making her chin less prominent.

    This piece is looking sweet!



  • I agree with all of the comments. I think that if you reduce the contrast found in the painting of Lenore it will focus the viewers eye more directly on your main subject. You really have a nice painting going here!


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