Dragon Fly WIP Danial Glover

  • I had a few ideas on what to do with this contest. Sadly I wasn't too confident to do most of them as I'm still learning perspective so I'll have them sit this one out.

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    The first idea was that Dragonflys are considered acrobats, being able to fly side to side, upside down, diagonal, etc. "Acrobats" of the sky. I thought maybe a circus for bugs would have been neat. And at a later time I'd like to give it another shot.

    My second idea was your standard run of the mill Fairytale Dragon and Princess in a tower, only it's a dragonfly guarding a princess in a sandcastle on the beach and maybe a little mouse coming to save her. Again, I'd love to try this further down the road.

    My last idea was after watching a few videos on dragonflys and remembering that they start out underwater. I thought it would be neat if a little girl is gazing into an aquarium with little dragonfly nymphs swimming around. From the research I found that dragonfly nymphs sort of move around underwater with their behinds. They're also insanely scary to look at as their jaws do some sort of snake/alien unhinge to attack prey, definitely don't want to have that!

    A little boy or girl pressing their face and hands against an aquarium that has little nymphs floating around.

    I'm still struggling to simplify my art, so the hand seems a bit weird and I haven't decided if it's going to be 5 fingers or 4 just yet. I'm picturing a second hand pressed against the glass or maybe against the child's face as if they're peeking through to get a better view.
    I still need to do some studies on aquariums and pond-life to make it more believable, but if anyone has some critiques I'd love to hear them.

  • @DanialGlover It’s a sweet idea, it probably won’t read as ‘Dragonfly’ though, so take that into consideration.. ☺
    With this composition, consider the scale and placement of the nymphs. It is difficult to see depth in the image but they seem pretty huge and they appear so close to the child that his eyes would be slightly crossed looking at them - which could be cute if you’re going for humour (which works with this concept if you really squish the nose and/or lips against the glass, kids can’t seem to resist haha)

    Your options will depend on the emotion you’re going for... In my opinion, one hand on the glass says the child is gentle and reflective, two hands on the glass or shading the eyes would show more intensity and curiosity. What is the child thinking while looking in at them? Show it in the expression.
    And I would like to see the nymphs actually doing something worth noticing, maybe you could combine your circus idea here with some somersaults and tricks?( making it the child’s own secret show). Maybe one of them is reacting to the child with fear at the sudden giant head appearing or laughter at the funny face.. while the other two are oblivious or showing off? What is their story?

  • I really like the story in your second idea, and the thumbnail on your first one has a lot of action and fun to it! There's still a lot of August left to keep poking at these ideas. Mastering perspective is by no means a barrier to entry!

  • I really appreciate the work you've shown so far. Great way to ask for feedback! There's a lot to look through and try to offer advice on. I agree with some that has already been mentioned: Be careful with a design that isn't clear right away. To me, I thought mayflies because I've seen Discovery shows about insects. I think, of the thumbnails, that your second one reads the strongest, with the princess and the dragon(fly). As an artist, I believe our greatest hurtle to reaching our potential is our own doubt. You got this! Jump in and you'll learn (master) perspective faster than any other way of doing it..... everyone seems very nice and welcoming. I look forward to what you show throughout this month's prompt. I hope my advice can be of aid.

  • Any one of those ideas sound amazing so I have no advice for you, but I just wanted to say how much I admire this methodical careful plotting at this stage..I need to implement this skill. I'll bet you have an organized studio too! 🙂 🙂 I can't wait to see your finished piece!

  • Thanks for all the feedback everyone. After reading them over I definitely agree that the little nymphs don't really come off as being baby dragonflys. I decided to go with the 2nd comp with the sandcastle.


    I'm still moving things about, I'm not too sure on the umbrella just yet. I want to show size but it seems a bit too small still?
    Also maybe changing the tail so that it's closer to the distressed mouse? Maybe a princess hat?

  • @DanialGlover Hi Danial! Love all your ideas! I made a super rough sketch to see if I could help you with scale. I basically just showed a small portion of the umbrella and had it cast a partial shadow over the sandcastle. I also think it would be hilarious if the mouse recruited a crab to help him win this fight, so he's riding a crab, lol. This definitely isn't a great composition (everything is pretty much in the center), but I thought it could give you some ideas on how to solve scale. Although, that's a really tiny sandcastle now that I look at it, haha. Maybe you can have other normal-sized things next to it looking huge like a soda can, pail, shovel, etc. Good luck!


  • I've moved things around a bit and got rid of the umbrella for a shovel and pail. Working on color comps and figuring out the lighting a bit.


    I've gotta do a refresher course on ambient occlusion and lighting objects. I expect I'll be doing a lot of studies before I go any further.

  • Hi @DanialGlover ! My advice, before working on color and do advance things such ambient occlusion I will focus on value work, I took your image and I put in grayscale and everything is almost on the same grey.

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    If you want the image to pop-up and be interesting...values are one of the most important aspects to make an image appeling! Keep the good work!

  • This is what I have on a separate group layer to keep as a reference.

    Is this okay or should I mess around with it a bit more? I think maybe the foreground is a bit too dark?

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