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Thread: Mi$tral Draw$ 4 Ca$h

  1. #41
    VeloJello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistral View Post
    #13 - A Stroll Through the Caverns
    A friendly old man just taking a stroll through the caverns when he runs into a spooky Zubat. Scanner works again (apparently it's just being slow af for some reason with my new computer), but hey, it works. Probably gonna be the last piece I submit for a little while till my other stuff gets curated.

    Spoiler:
    First Impression.
    Most of the time, running into a Zubat is pretty unfortunate. However, this gentleman seems excited to see the little bat! This piece is on the simpler side, so I wonít waste time with formalities; letís talk shop.

    Form.
    For the most part, youíve done pretty well with your figures. The man and the Zubat are clearly recognizable, with the Zubat being just plain fun to look at because of its exaggerated pose. Your Zubatís body is a little longer than it is in most official depictions, but that works in your favor here. Itís just exaggerated enough that between Zubatís wide-spread wings, perked-up ears, and gaping jaws, it helps get across the idea of Zubat being startled by this stranger in its cave. Overall, youíve created a really expressive Zubat here, and good expression like what your Zubat has helps create mood and get the audience interested in what youíve made.

    I do have a few quick critiques on Zubat, though. Its wings are noticeably asymmetrical, with the wing on our right being significantly thinner and more rounded than the wing on our left. While some poses can cause wings to look asymmetrical (the winged creature turning, tilting, seen from an extreme angle, etc), the wings should look roughly the same in a nearly straight-on and very straightforward pose like this. Furthermore, itís a little hard to tell Zubatís head from its body. Giving it a little bit more of a neck would be as simple as making its head or body just a bit fatter, thus differentiating the head and torso.

    Now, onto the hooman! Humans are a pain in the butt to draw. Weíre really used to seeing humans in real life, so our brains are less forgiving of anatomical mistakes in human beings. However, I can tell you put forth a good effort here. This man in the red shirt certainly looks quite friendly, giving a nice little wave. My biggest concern for him is, unfortunately, something that human artists consider the hardest to draw - the hand. Even with the hand splayed like that of the man in your picture, the pinky finger will always appear longer than the thumb because the base of the thumb is much further back on the hand than the bases of the other fingers. Because the two outer digits on your manís hand are the same length, it becomes hard to tell which way the hand is facing - is the palm toward Zubat, or toward the man? The palm facing toward the man would have very different connotations (like heís trying to beckon the Zubat, or shield his eyes, or inspect his palms) than the palm facing toward the Zubat (like heís greeting the Pokemon). I would also alter the neck-head structure a bit; his neck and head are a bit long and thin, which doesnít match up with his thicker shoulders and body. Like I said, humans are difficult to draw, but I encourage you to keep trying - youíve got a pretty good start with this guy, and working with image references similar to the pose youíre trying to draw can be really helpful in figuring out anatomical proportions.

    Youíve made a good effort to distinguish the path that the man is walking on from the rocky floor of the main cave, which I appreciate. The chunky forms on our left give the impression of a rough floor or wall, which is a cool detail. The only issue I have with the background is that it could stand to be a little more organic. Even a man-made path through a cave is likely to meander a little, with the path itself curving a bit as it goes and the edges of the path creeping in and out in the form of stray pebbles and such. Straight lines are pretty rare in nature (and even roads donít stay perfectly straight for long), so for an organic background like this, I would suggest some more curves and irregular features. As-is, your background is pretty good, but little details like that will make your work much stronger and make it much easier for the viewer to recognize that theyíre looking at a cave path instead of a road or something similar.

    The perspective here raises some questions for me. The man and the Zubat seem to be on the same plane, with the Zubat slightly turned toward the man, who is himself slightly turned away from the camera. However, given this angle on the two figures, they seem to be on a different plane than the background. This background view is more suitable for a top-down view; the man and Zubat have perspectives that are not quite front views. Showing that Zubat is flying above the cave floor by making the cave path come down lower down in the piece would help a great deal, ensuring that everything is shown from the same view.

    Color and Value.
    Iíve brought up shading a bunch in your curations - and I donít see a reason to stop now! Shading isnít going to be front-and-center in every single piece, but I really think that you could benefit from using just a bit of it. Right now, due to the combination of perspectives as well as a lack of shading, your human and Zubat characters seem to be flat against the background. While shading wonít instantly fix the perspective troubles, it will help your characters to stand out from the background. This is most important when it comes to the man. The manís skin tone is very close to the color of the path, so itís hard to tell where his form ends and where the road begins. Adding highlights to make the manís skin brighter in the light, and some shading to make his hand and head darker in the shadow, would allow the viewer to more easily distinguish between him and the cave heís in. While Zubat doesnít share this issue due to being a very different hue than that of the cave, some highlights and shadow would help to clarify its form and make it look more three-dimensional.

    Shading issues aside, youíve done a pretty good job with colors. Both the Zubat and the manís shirt pop out brightly against the background, so that the viewerís eyes are drawn to the living beings rather than the cave. Zubat pops out especially well, given that itís got strong contrast between the hues and values within it (purple against blue; blue against black). Some shading would really help your figures stand out more, but youíre doing a pretty good job already.

    Technique.
    Iím not a colored pencil expert, but Iíve read a fair bit about the principles, so Iím going to recommend one to you that Iíve nicknamed ďlolĒ - lots of layering. With lighter colors, like your path or Zubatís wings, white gaps between pencil strokes are more forgiving. With darker colors, however, you lose that slack. This artist shows a simple but helpful example of this layering, using less pressure on the pencil for the gradient at the top and using more pressure for the gradient at the bottom. Both show the strong red being filled in at the end, with a nice happy medium of strong but not overpowering red in the middle. Rather than simply going through with a dark color with just a few strokes, I recommend building up a strong base color with many strokes. This will help your work to look much more polished, as well as opening up new color possibilities beyond what you have the exact pencils for if you blend layers of different colors together.

    Other than that, youíve done a pretty good job, here. I really appreciate the consistency of your lineart - you never delve into harsh black except on Zubat's mouth, something that would look out-of-place in such a light-valued work. While I still think the outlines around the manís skin should be a bit darker than they are, youíve employed your lines very consistently on the man, the Zubat, and the background, helping the viewer to quite easily distinguish the various areas of this piece.

    Conclusion.
    I went back-and-forth on the exact rank on this for a little while. On the one hand, putting two figures and a working background in this piece shows a good effort, and it gets across a fun and interesting mood; on the other hand, the anatomy and perspective issues drag this piece down. I'm going to score this at Easiest (3k). While I can tell you put some good work into this piece and I appreciate the man, the mon, and the mood, the clash between the background and figures, and overall flat appearance of this piece, knocked it down from the Simple rank I was considering. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns, and ping me if you want to redo this/touch it up for another curation. Otherwise, enjoy your moneys!

  2. #42
    the shell out pokemon Staff Alumni Mistral's Avatar
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    Claiming the 3k from the Zubat curation!

  3. #43
    Steel Soul URPG Staff K'sariya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistral View Post
    #12 - Litwick Castle
    Tried to experiment a little more with this one. Apparently Litwick wasn't as easy to draw as I thought. Hopefully the Litwick can be seen since I had to take a picture, but if not, let me know and I can take another picture for whoever curates this (or actually scan it if my scanner decides to work by the time this gets curated).

    Spoiler:
    Things I'm obviously good at: this. /s Thanks for the patience, love.

    We have large castle doors marked on either side by Litwick in a surprisingly cheerful scene. On a quick zoom-in, they look pretty peaceful in their boxy cradles. I was drawn in by the bright colors of the work, something that's different when depicting Ghost types!

    I'll start off a little differently here--with the perspective of the scene and a focal point. You've portrayed a pretty straightforward scene at the top, with the castle, doors, and Litwick being viewed from the front. The bottom part, however, seems to lose that perspective--we see the path from above. Realistically, it'd be portrayed like this, with the parts of the path that are closest to us sharply tilting to distant focal point. Even with this mixed perspective, though, you've managed to make the scene make sense with its simplicity, and the proportions of the path and the door help it still sit comfortably. The cheerful mood of the work, the style of the flowers and Litwick, and this mixed perspective give me the impression of an aim at a more cartoon-y style.

    With this technique, you've established a fairly flat scene. When intentional, this isn't an inherently bad thing! But the one thing that throws off this consistency are the stones in the path. You started drawing the stones along the outer edge, going around and curling slowly in until it filled in the center. The way this is set up makes it seem like each outer ring overlaps the one that comes after it, and it does so in a way thatís almost dizzying. This spiral inward gives a false sense of depth, and makes it the focal point of the sceneómy eye is instantly drawn into this illusion of this stony downward spiral into the ground! Iíd experiment sketching on a different paper when having to do patterns like this. Whatís the best way to do it to achieve the effect that you want? You can also reference natural stone patterns like these to find interesting ways to make it!

    The large bricked pattern of your castle walls is a little irregular, but I think that it works! Patterns like this are usually a little irregular, and it seems like you were going for a medieval look, so itíd be natural if they were a little off, and it also contributes to the style in this way. The doors are flat, embedded flush with wall without any shading around them. Your flowers match the cartoon-ish style that youíre going for, and form a regular pattern, but theyíre another focal pointóall of those lines coming into a point on these small objects sucks our eye in, because we have all of these lines pointing inward to the center, or bursting from it in a way thatís energetic and attractive to our eye. The energy of these flowers contrasts with the last thing in the image that I looked at: the Litwick.

    Them being the most unassuming part of the work isnít inherently a bad thingóthere was something charming about their peaceful, resting state and how they blended in. But their resting state conflicts with the energy and cheerfulness of the rest of the work. Youíve got the simplified, cartoon-y style applied to the Litwick, and while it matches the simple shapes of the rest of the work, it takes a lot of character out of the Pokemon. If we look at a standard reference, Litwick actually has a very bulbous, sort of curvy shape, with a bang of wax drip covering one eye. Its base also tapers to a smaller width before sweeping out to a platform. While you definitely didnít need to copy this if you didnít want to, I think it would have added to the character of the Litwicks if youíd given them a bit more variety in their shape. Their arms also become lost in the way youíve drawn them. However, I do love the peaceful expression on their featuresóit seems like theyíre sleeping, and the work gives me the sense that theyíre sleeping in the daytime. Nocturnal ghosties are the best ghosties!

    Iíll land on your technique on this. Iím always a fan of your even, careful shading. There are rarely gaps in even the widest swathes of your color, and you do so carefully enough to avoid banding on shorter strokes of filling in. The only spot I really see it on is the bottom left, below the bottom left blue flower. Everything else looks smooth. The fill lines are straight, avoiding an arc that might seem hasty. I appreciate, as always, your attention and care to this! Iíd really like to see this care applied to the Litwick figures next time. They have a lot of overlapping pencil marks, with lines cutting through places that I donít think they intended to. I know these are a smaller scale, so itís harder to fix small details, but fixing some of these overlapping lines would help give them more character, also! This is because the lines the overlap are mostly the vertical straight ones, like on the rightward Litwick, which boxes out their shape and makes them seem more rectangular than usual. Some careful erasing and re-penciling would help these little Litwick a lot!

    With that being said, Iíll happily award this with 5k, Simple. I love the concept and the way that this set-up (with the Litwick as candles to light a castle entrance) leaves the reader open to a unique story. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to write a story and use (perhaps a bit darker version, because Iím clichť af) Litwick to light my medieval castles! Keep up the good work, Felly!

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