Composition Study (Creative Composition class)



  • Hi Guys,
    My wife and kid are gone for 4 weeks so I switched gears and I am working my way through Will's Creative Composition class at the moment. 🙂
    The salamander/squirrel exercise in the workbook might be familiar for a lot of you. The prompt: "Quickly the little salamander scampered down to the forest floor and hid from the squirrel"
    I did some super-rough(!) thumbnails and roughly sketched out one with values. Any advise, comment is greatly appreciated. I have to get used to putting myself out there 🙂 . Thank you,
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  • Nice work! @nasvikdraws. I haven't done the Creative Composition class, so unfortunately I'm not familiar with the assignment, but the one note I will offer is, in your value study at the bottom, it might be cool to try some different variations on that. ie just continue the exploration to see how it feels different with different light and dark areas. These can be super quick, just don't even worry about trying to shade and get form, but just big blocks of color. I was looking at your Inktober drawings on instagram, those have such a nice strong contrast of light and dark, and I think it might be useful to do something closer to that here (not necessarily black and white, but just using 2 or 3 colors and not even worrying about gradients). The reason for that is that a. it's quick so you can try and see different versions and pick the one you like best, and b. it helps you get into the mindset of creating big, simple fields of value, which will help you create a stronger composition when you get into the final painting.

    Looking forward to see where you take this with the newly found time on your hands!



  • I did this assignment (never got past the linework stage, oops).

    I think yours is working really well. I really feel the drama and suspense of possibly being discovered by a squirrel!!! The only thing I can think to watch out for is selling the perspective of the tree trunk the salamander is on. It's looking a little flattened out, but I know this is still a sketch. I'd just be aware of how to sell it's perspective as you shade and add any details to it.



  • Oh and one more thing, while it's never personally bothered me, I've been told before to flip my composition so it reads left to right, since the western world reads from left to right. . .it will feel more natural. So this might also be something to think about for your piece. Just a thought!



  • @robgale Thank you for your feedback. I will further investigate possible value options. I didn't really want to go much further with it but your input forces me to do more with it. Hahaha:)

    @TessaW Thank you. I'll watch out for that tree in perspective. I try to loosen up from strict perspective and linework (I am trained as an architect and I feel my lines are poured in concrete. lol) Flipping sounds good. It may read better. I'll try it



  • @nasvikdraws Oh, and just to clarify, I think your perspective as is, is just fine. I also appreciate perspective that's more playful and the placement of everything is working for me. It's just the way you've laid in your lighting and the detail linework on that foreground trunk that I feel flattens out the interesting overall perspective that you have going on. It makes it look like a flat plane instead of a rough cylinder form. I think Jake Parker explains how to add details to forms to make them look more 3d, but I forget which course that 's in. Basically as the form rounds away from you, details will be closer together, and when the form is parallel to your vision, they are spaced out a bit. Adding hints of cross contouring detail, like you have on the tree to left also helps. You have a bit of cross contouring on the foreground tree already, but I feel the angles don't quite match the dynamic perspective you have going on.

    Hope that made sense!



  • @nasvikdraws Right on! I totally understand that impulse to "not go further". I often could use a kick in the pants myself, because it seems like we can always go further.



  • @tessaw Thanks very much for the feedback Tessa. It all makes sense. I need to practice more dynamic perspectives. I've put this sketch to the side and get back to it after Inktober. .... sorry that it took so long to answer.



  • @robgale Yeah, right? Always the new idea is more tempting. I see you're doing Inktober. Just found you on instagram 😉 Great stuff.



  • @nasvikdraws Thanks! I'm really enjoying doing the Inktober... learning a lot by just showing up every day


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