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Thread: Shadows in the Moonlight

  1. #1
    Resident Village Idiot Fenris's Avatar
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    Default Shadows in the Moonlight




    Made for the July - September Art 4-Play!

    HARD --> MEDIUM
    Salandit, Ralts

    -----

    Shadows in the moonlight
    Just a matter of perspective
    It's all relative, subjective,
    It's alive

    -----

    Attempting to get Salandit here, but I'd be fine if I ended up with Ralts instead, haha.

    -----





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  3. #2
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post



    Made for the July - September Art 4-Play!

    HARD --> MEDIUM
    Salandit, Ralts

    -----

    Shadows in the moonlight
    Just a matter of perspective
    It's all relative, subjective,
    It's alive

    -----

    Attempting to get Salandit here, but I'd be fine if I ended up with Ralts instead, haha.

    -----




    HEART EYES FOREVER. CLAIMED!

  4. #3
    Steel Soul Design TeamURPG StaffAdministratorSuper Moderator K'sariya's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay! Here you go <3

    First Impressions
    We have a great scene here—a midnight backdrop of a battle between a fierce-looking Salandit and an agile Ralts. You’ve got an interesting mix of techniques here, and some nice pen work, but we’ll get to that toward the end! For now, I’m going to start with the background and move toward us from there!

    Background
    You have a very simple background—a dark night sky scattered with the occasional stars, and a moon chipped by a signature small cloud. On the left, we see a boulder and tufts of grass against it, as well as smaller pebbleboi friends. Overall, what you have is solid above the horizon! Your exaggerated moon and varying star shapes matches your energetic style—there’s something charming about being able to see the craters of the moon on its outline here.

    One thing I’d suggest is defining the ground they’re standing on more. You’ve defined a line with the occasional rock and tuft of grass near the boulder, but otherwise, it’s hard to tell what kind of environment they’re standing in. The flatness of the ground and sparse tuft and rocks make me think some kind of desert or dryland, but there’s not much more to reinforce that. Even some marks to define the texture of the (presumably) soil beneath them would be awesome—minute cracks if the ground is incredibly hard and parched, or a dust cloud kicked up by Ralt’s rising foot if it’s dry but dusty. That sort of thing would help define their environment, and also give context to their clash!

    It would also help with your composition. Right now, it’s hard to focus on our wonderful subjects due to the huge amount of white space beneath them. The brightness really draws the eye there. Either cropping off the bottom of the drawing so that this white space is minimized, or shading it a little more to make the important parts up top stand out a bit in their brightness, would help the work as a whole!

    I’ll touch on your technique a little here with the background. Smudging pencil is difficult if you’re doing it with something like your thumb, which it seems like you’ve done here—correct me if I’m wrong! I noticed it because of the different blotches of dark and light, and certain areas (especially when getting near the edges of objects) that were left unshaded. If you don’t have blending pencils (which is perfectly fine—I don’t have any either, haha!), here are some of my cheap tips to make smudging around tight bits a little easier:
    • If you have nails, or a different tool you can narrow to a somewhat point, cover it with tissue or a small dab of toilet paper and smudge with that
    • Q-tips are also handy for soft, more even smudging, and can be a little easier to handle thanks to the easy grip on the long stick. The name-brand ones with the thick cotton are good for smudging wider spaces more evenly, but the cheap, plastic-sticked thin cotton ones are great for nooks and crannies!
    • You can also take another piece of paper and curl two edges into each other to create a small cone, and smudge with that. This is a little more versatile because you can blunt it or taper it more flexibly, but less durable than the other solutions
    • All of these shortcuts makes it easier to control on a narrower surface than a large one like your thumb, since the way the surface of your thumb is rounded can make it a little difficult to get into those narrow places!


    Form
    You have a great, organic style when it comes to the forms that you create. The way you imagine things is always super interesting and engaging—this is evident in the way you’ve depicted Salandit. We’ll start with them as a major supporting element!

    Your stylized depiction of Salandit is awesome—it looks a lot more imposing and fierce than its original design, while still communicating it wonderfully! I love the way you’ve done the claws and shaped them in perspective on the hand that we’re seeing only the side of. The only complaint I could even have about the anatomy of it is our right arm seems really short and wide compared to the other. Otherwise, neat job!

    I love your interpretation of Ralts, also. I typically see Ralts only depicted in a demure and calm state, but here it seems energetic and active as it sweeps up a psychic barrier to block the sludge. You have a nice perspective going on its cap as we see it slightly from below. You also have the head centered over the leg supporting its weight, which is really nice to see! Humanoid figures tend to center their head over whichever leg is supporting their weight when they’re animated like this. It helps make your pose believable!

    The only thing that threw me here was the triangle of space framed by its raised leg and extended arm. I genuinely didn’t realize that it was an empty gap into the night sky—the similarity of the triangular shape made my brain group it into the shapes on Ralts’ head. It made me check the splash art for some sort of triangular shape on the Ralts’ chest, and it took some head scratching for me to “unsee” it once I realized it was a gap to the night sky. This is because of your outlining technique. I’ll talk about that technique more in-depth in the technique section, but the dark outlines make that triangular shape jump forward in the composition. I’d remedy this by lowering the height of the leg just a little bit, just enough so that it doesn’t touch the elbow. This will connect that triangle of “empty” space back out into the night sky and let a viewer like me not be confused by my own perception/eye tricks.

    Another set of shapes that I love are the shapes of the projectiles being fired and moves being used! The organic, sort of lava-lamp-y shapes of Ralts’ psychic energy are awesome! They’re just organic enough to seem mystical and supernatural without being too all over the place. You’ve also differentiated it well from Salandit’s sludge in shape, using more structured and thick shapes. Great job there.

    Color
    This work has limited color, which is afforded to it by the fact that it’s a night scene. I love the transparency and colors on Ralts’ psychic barrier. Like the shapes it’s contained in, it’s nebulous enough to still be mysterious. The only thing I’d suggest here is a little bit of clarity on its coloring. I can’t tell if the way that the red is concentrated where the sludge hits is intentional or not. The way the “tendrils” of red burst from the point of impact suggest it is, but I think intensifying the hue more right where it’s impacting would make it a little more clear! I do, however, love where you’ve splotched the red across the cool grey of the rest of the barrier. It works!

    Your coloring of the sludge is super interesting. It’s dark, but still has some depth in the circular shapes within it. However, it’s still one of the flattest chunks of the artwork, partially because it’s such a heavy and dark color. I think a little more variation in dark and light, especially taking into account the bright moonlight up above, would have helped increase the depth of the sludge!

    The ultra-bright colors you’ve used for certain parts help combat the white space in the bottom in the war of focal points. It also creates something really interesting in the way it moves a viewer’s eye across the page. Starting from the left, my eyes go to the bright red of Ralts’ head—a shape that points up and across the moon, down the top of the force field, and across the heavy dark sludge. Salandit’s head and neck curve and guide the eyes down into its body, then that bright dark red of the tail and its line points us right back to the top. These constant loops and moves up and down reinforced the energy of the scene in your composition! Great job!

    Technique/Contrast
    I want to start off with this: you have such nice, clean pen work. Your lines are impeccable and very fine and steady. Fantastic job there.

    One of the major things I want to talk about with this work is where you’ve applied this pen work. It seems like you’ve only used it on the external outlines of your figures. While this helps set them apart from the background, it flattens out your wonderful, stylized Pokemon a lot. The place where I see this the most is Salandit. The dark outline casts it wonderfully against the sky, but everything else within feels like it’s all on the same layer as the flat background.

    The suggestion I want to make is to try a different “rule” for outlining. Your rule here is “there’s an outline where a figure’s edge touches an outline.” I want you to take a stab at either “there’s an outline where the shadows on an object are at the absolute darkest”! One of the things you’re lacking here is heavy shading. I’m giving this a pass mostly because of the established, more playfully-stylized figures gives a bit of a comic style that can survive in a shading-heavy nighttime environment without tons of things being in shadow. So instead, I’d love to see it reflected in your outlines.

    Placing your pen outlines only at the darkest points would really help give your figures depth and define them in the scene. The sharp black contrast even as it is now is lovely (high contrast darks and lights always jump “forward” in the depth of a composition), and it really makes the entire scene more dynamic. I would absolutely die for seeing it with your figures, especially that scary and imposing Salandit, with an outline rule that gives them depth.

    To execute the rule I mentioned, you could do pen outlines where it would be darkest and pencil on the lightest, so you still have a light outline defining that edge in your style while still giving it that sick depth.

    Another route you can try is giving all of the divisions and parts an outline, and using the thickness and weight of these outlines to define which parts are darker! Honestly, the best visual examples that I can think of off of the top of my head for this are “tribal”-styled tattoos, whether of patterns or of animals. Those designs are a great example of how using different line weights can differentiate different parts from one another and keep its shapes dynamic. It’s an exaggerated version of what you would be doing here, but one of the best things that exemplify the concept!

    As far as everything else goes, you have solid technique with all of the different mediums that you’ve used here. Your pencil shading and various hatchlings are neat and intentional. Your coloring with the red pens is very clean and solid.

    Overall
    I know I lingered on your outline technique, but that’s because it’s one of the few things that caught my attention. You’ve created an energetic battle scene with lovely, stylized figures. While the suggestions I’ve made would improve the scene’s depth, this definitely passes solidly for a medium work. You have two well-developed figures grounded in a clean background, with completely original poses. This was overall lovely, and I hope to see more from you in the future! You’ve expressed in DMs that you’d like a Ralts instead since you have another Salandit work out in the wild, so enjoy your Ralts, and your $2,500 for the Invitational bonus! As always, hope to see more from you in the future!

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