Howl's Moving Castle WIP Feedback Welcome

  • I'm in the middle of my first paint for the Howl's Moving Castle contest (more info in Sarah LuAnn's thread: I'm still thumb-nailing for the other 2 comps so I'll upload those thumbnails once I have them but I couldn't help diving into this one. Heres the passage from the book:

    "Sohpie could see it, a little white descending flame shape a few yards beyond the dark movements that were Michael the bright shape was coming down slowly now and it looked as if Michael might catch it…. It dived away from Michael’s fingers. Michael plunged for it but it was too quick for him. It swooped for the nearest marsh pool and the black water leaped into a blaze of whiteness for just an instant."

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    At first I had the falling star as more of a space rock but reading the text it refers to it as a white flame so I've changed it, It still needs some work and I think I want to redo the face, it needs to look more terrified.

  • It looks great!
    The only thing that I'd suggest is maybe moving Sophie to the left and make her face the other way.
    For some reason, having her directly lined up with Michael makes it the composition feel stiff.
    (Actually, moving her to either side would probably work! Just something to break that "straight line" from Michael.)

  • SVS OG

    What a fun image! I think the values with the white flame are really working to bring your eye to the most important thing in the image.

    My main comment is that it feels very left-heavy as it is--all the focal points are center or left of the center, and the movement is in that direction as well. You need to bring some interest/"weight" to the right side of the composition, either by cropping it differently or moving a focal point.

  • @MissMarck @Sarah-LuAnn So maybe something a little more like this? (excuse the messy cut-apart)

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  • SVS OG

    Yes! Much more balanced.

  • Alright, here it is after some reworking:

    0_1543720688058_falling_star copy 2.jpg

  • Here are some rough thumbnails I've been trying for the other two compositions, I'd love to get some feedback on which you think are working and what I need to work on:


    1st row is when howl takes Sophie out into the field of flowers
    2nd row shows Sophie opening the door "on black"
    The last one is Sophie (bearded man) and Michael (horse) running through the streets just before the mermaid/fight scene. I know this isn't a super important moment in the story but I like how ridiculous the two of them would look running to get a view of what's happening and I think it would be a cool way to show environment and building action through the bit of sky and other people's expressions

  • SVS OG

    There is nice stuff going on in all your thumbs, but in the first row I like the first image most because you get a good view of Howl being proud and Sophie getting so excited about it--I think you could fine tune their gestures a bit more but that composition is the one working best for me.

    In the second row I LOVE the middle option. The cool perspective is awesome. The corner of the door is a bit of a tangent with the edge of the image, but that may be just how you cropped it. I would even try cropping out a bit more on the bottom/right side, since the floor isn't telling much of your story anyway.

    I love seeing what you are doing! Keep it up 🙂

  • I'm continuing to work on "Sophie opening the door on black." Here's my rough sketch and value study. Let me know if you see anything I need to work out as I refine it:


  • SVS OG

    This is looking really cool! I like it a lot. It’s kind of distracting me that the top of the door appears to be exactly vertical. It also looks to me that if it were to swing closed it would be wider than the doorway. Minor nitpick, but that’s because it’s looking really interesting otherwise!

  • I'm trying to add some more artistic/rough texture to my render, not sure if it's working.... any tips?0_1545108267336_Screen Shot 2018-12-17 at 10.42.54 PM.png

  • Update on my progress for the Howl's illustrations, the last one is still unfinished in parts.

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  • I just Love Love Love the direction this took! The colors and scenes are so crisp and have a real mature approach about them - I'm in awe. id be curious what the last image would look like if you did more of a patterned approach to the grassy knoll in the last image, similar to that of the first image. I see that you've touched on that already, but it still feels a little disjointed from the first image - it's a little busy and haphazard.
    I absolutely can not wait to see how you handle the castle.

  • Thanks so much @kaitlinmakes! I tried out a more patterned look for the grass, I do think it cuts down on the chaos and I tried to change the pattern a little to make it look more like flowers than just grass.

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  • @studiolooong OMG yes! That pattern definitely sells flowers - and Sophie's and Howl's characters read so well with those poses! And the patterned steel walls of the castle!
    This is everything.

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