Value/Color/Composition critiques/Suggestions? How can i make the snow look more like snow in the future?
Elvis Murray
Thanks to anyone in advance!
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Hey, @Elvis Murray, sorry to be catching up a bit late! I like the idea and the overall impression of the piece. I see room for adjustments in perspective, composition and value which I believe could help it gain more visual power. From the request in your post, I suppose you won’t be working on this illustration anymore (right?), but I’ll share a few thoughts about it anyway as if they’re meant to be applied - even if you don’t want to use them to develop this particular piece further, you might perhaps like to consider them for future work. So here we go: FOCAL POINT AND VALUE - The way this painting is designed right now, my eye goes straight to that big bright area in the center (which I understand it’s kind of a lava pit, is it?) But there’s also a very intriguing character in the scene, and characters are usually what we, as humans, most wanna see and know about in a story-driven illustration like this. So my first suggestion would be to think of ways to make the piece be more about the character, make him have some more visual emphasis in the composition. I think doing a bunch of value-focused thumbnails would be a good start in order to figure out exactly how to do that. HORIZON - We’re looking at the scene a bit from above. This choice of making the horizon higher has the compositional implication of making us, viewers, stay a bit farther away from the scene, as if we’re “removed from the action” and we’re just meant to watch from a certain distance. Since this is sort of a peaceful and quiet moment, I think it’s a choice that works nicely. But it’s always good to consider options, so an alternative for this would be to bring the horizon lower and make the scene be more at the viewer’s eye level (rather than seen from above) - this could subtly suggest that we, as viewers, are closer to the action, sort of invited to sit together with the character. Changing the perspective like this could also make the lava pit more flat, thinner and less dominant in the scene, which would be an advantage in order to reduce its visual weight so that the character could pop more. This is just one of many possibilities, so, ideally, you’d do a few thumbnail studies in the beginning of the process in order to consider how to build the scene’s perspective and distribute the visual elements, and then try out a few different alternatives before picking one to paint. THE SNOW - Have you tried goggling “how to paint snow” tutorials already? One thing I immediately think of is that there could be some snow accumulated on the ground and tree branches, especially in the colder areas farther from the lava pit. I’d suggest thinking of the snow in two ways: the big masses that get accumulated and the little flakes that are in the process of falling down. I think you managed the latter pretty well actually, so, when painting the former, try to think of these snow masses in terms of volume (3D form). Also, consider how their surface will reflect the light and the colors of whatever is around them. We tend to think of snow as white, but in a night scene like this, there will hardly ever be any pure white, as white surfaces will mostly reflect the ambient occlusion (the “light from the shadows”), the temperature from the main light source (if it hits them) and/or light and colors bouncing from objects nearby. Whenever in doubt, a good idea would be to grab reference showing snow in similar light conditions to the scene you want to paint. Hope this helps! Please let me know in case I can help with anything else. Best of luck, and keep up the good work. 🙌🏻
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