What the dragon did next..

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    Right, well I think I’m ready to share this. I need to come up with a piece for the Marco Bucci critique in January, and I thought it would be nice to do a follow up of my dragon piece which I posted previously on this thread:


    This is the sketch with values added. I’d like to make it as good as possible and fix anything I possibly can, so that I can make the most of the critique. Any suggestions to improve it before I move to colour would be greatly appreciated!


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    This looks great! At first i thought that maybe you should flip the composition horizontally to keep the mouse on the left and the dragon on the right to have continuity with the previous image - but i am reading this as the dragon having bounded past the mouse - if this is sequential though....is the tree next to the mouse in the previous image? - if not i think it implies that they are in a new location....maybe you could add a hint of the tree to the previous image....if you flip the composition it might solve this but i am probably overthinking all of this - basically it looks very nice!! - looking forward to your next step.

  • Hi @Dulcie

    This is a super cute scene!
    Here are some suggestions that I hope you find helpful.

    Stay awesome. 🙂


    Squintable Size with Redlines and Value:
    squintable size.png

    Redlines with Notes:
    redlines w notes.png

    Redlines with some added Value:
    redlines w value.png

  • @Dulcie I like what you have so far. The character's expressions are great. I do have a few suggestions:

    1. flip the illustration so it reads left to right.
    2. Increase the contrast at the focal point. use the dappled light from the trees as a too to direct the eye.
    3. I am not sure how the mouse fits into your story, but he is just standing there to the right. Work on his gesture. I thought maybe if the dragon had just bounded past him and he is cowering peeking through his arms in relief.

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    @Kevin-Longueil Thank you for your thoughts, considered as always 🙂 You’re right, I imagined that the dragon had bounded past the mouse to a different part of the wood. But I’m not wedded to a really specific storyline, I’d rather get this image looking as good as it can, so yes perhaps I should flip it.

    @Kendra-Minadeo Thanks very much for taking the time to do a draw-over, much appreciated! I’m going to have a good think about what you suggested. I will definitely do my best to use more contrast to emphasise the dragon, and I’m going to twiddle with where the edges of the composition lie too. I like the way you’ve added stronger shadows in the values. I’m going to try and incorporate that. Thank you!

    @Seanwelty Thanks for your suggestions. I will see if it looks better flipped over. Great idea to use the dappled light to direct the eye, I will definitely try to do that. Yeah my idea for the story was that all the animals the dragon meets are afraid of him, apart from the mouse. So the mouse is inquisitive/unafraid (and maybe will help the dragon later). So evidently I need to work on how that comes across…

  • No Problem, @Dulcie! I'm a visual learner, which I think most of us here are - so draw-overs and redlines really make a difference.
    Also - I love this scene - it's crazy cute! Can't wait to see the next update! 🙂

    @Dulcie said:

    @Kendra-Minadeo Thanks very much for taking the time to do a draw-over, much appreciated! I’m going to have a good think about what you suggested. I will definitely do my best to use more contrast to emphasise the dragon, and I’m going to twiddle with where the edges of the composition lie too. I like the way you’ve added stronger shadows in the values. I’m going to try and incorporate that. Thank you!

  • I actually really like the concept. Yet, one thing that throws me off personally is the gesture of the dragon. It seems almost too contorted. As if his spine will snap at any moment. It makes it difficult for me to tell if the dragon has just flown down from the sky and has just one paw on the ground, or is already running on the ground. It could be cool to have an animal running toward the camera too near the rabbit. In other words, the animals could be splitting up and fleeing in different directions. Just ideas. Good luck!

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    Thanks @Pixby for the feedback, I appreciate your comments! I'm sure I can make the dragon better. Yeah he's meant to be running, bounding crazily along the ground. Will try to make that clearer!

  • @Dulcie ... Kendra gave you such good advice, so this is just more along her line of thinking I hope...

    First I pulled the middle tree forward and enlarged it a little, then darkened it because it was the most in the foreground.

    I flattened the background to show the clean division of light, medium and dark. Then I added back the animals, multiplied them at 50% to show them off more, and turned the larger owl to be evenly spaced between the small owl and the rabbit. I also enlarged the rabbit, overall to give the illusion that all 3 animals were smaller the farther away from us they were..


    Here is the close up...


    Edit: that first shadow on the far left should be lighter looking at it now.

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    Wow @Bobby-Aquitania that's brilliant, thanks so much. I think your suggestion of enlarging/darkening the foreground tree is definitely a great one. I was trying to get a clear dark/medium/light thing going on but that is clearer. I was originally intending to do a gentle diffused & dappled light through the trees, but that strong backlighting looks great too. Ooooh choices! Right, I'm off to try and do justice to all these good suggestions...

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    Here's an updated version. Hope it's better.. If there is anything else I can improve, or if I need to push any of the suggestions further, would love to hear any thoughts.


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    Hi Dulcie! Wonderful drawing, I really love your character designs, they are appealing and have a lot of expression.

    One of the things I was noticing was that you have a lot of things in the scene following one angle. The dragon's body, the birds wings, the rabbit, both of the closer trees. Something that might make the scene a little more interesting would be to add some contrasting angles, or things that draw the eye toward the center. The most obvious choice to me was the tree on the left, which currently seems to take my eye up and into the left corner.

    I did a quick chop job to test it out, so see what you think. Anyway, hope the feedback helps, beautiful piece, really nice style and curves!


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    Hi @Natiwata, thank you for taking the time to critique my piece! And also for the kind words about my drawing 🙂 Yes I was aiming for sort of a swooshy set of parallels going on, but I can totally see why it might be better with the tree flipped. I'm working on a new version incorporating your suggestions..Thanks again 🙂

  • very nice drawing and I love the design of your characters!. The dragon is so adorable! @natiwata that is a very good change. The before composition left out a space on the bottom left while this one really ties everything together. Anyway I love your style.

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    Thank you @Naroth-Kean! I'm glad you like it 🙂

    Here is an update, hopefully it follows what @natiwata was suggesting. I did like having the mouse sort of separated so I re-drew the tree a bit, to make it fit.


  • When considering the galloping run cycle of a quadruped (the dragon), the back legs are almost always very closely mirrored in terms of gesture. If the dragon is bounding after the other animals, I would advise having those back legs be close to in unison.

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    Here is an update with colour....I took out the second bird because it was getting a bit lost/tangenty with the branches. Open to any more suggestions on how to make it better!


  • It's looking beautiful but I agree with @Pixby about the dragon's pose. If the back legs are both down and the front legs are out it would look more like the dragon is bounding forward after the other animals. He or she seems to be doing a core workout or ballet routine with the opposite legs pointing out.


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    Thanks @gimmehummus...I appreciate your thoughts, and those useful references! Looks like I should re-work the legs then...I might have to do that after the critique though as the deadline is coming up soon on the 9th 😞

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    @gimmehummus is this any better? (or worse?!) I moved one of the legs up more behind the tail...


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