View Full Version : Atonement

01-25-2006, 12:11 PM
A few months ago, I completed a drawing for a sketch group I am part of. It was called "Atonement" and turned out like this:


I decided that I wanted to develop it into a larger project, doing a high resolution digital painting. It's been a while since I attacked a project like this, so any feedback from the forums would be appreciate.

First step, working out the basic anatomy. I took some photos of myself for reference, adjusting the pose to be a little more natural. I worked on the anatomy without any armor to start, as that would give me the best underlying structure. I don't typically sketch directly in Photoshop (prefer paper), but decided to give it a try for this one.


01-25-2006, 02:45 PM
Since I am fairly happy with the basic anatomy, I've starting drawing the armor over the figure. I'm trying to go for reasonably authentic armor, so I used some academic sources for the armor design. Still keeping things really simple, as I don't want to get too detailed until the layout of the figure is pretty solid.


01-25-2006, 04:17 PM
With the armor in place, I decided to print off what I had so far and refine the lineart with a pencil. I finalized the placement of the armor, adding some landmark details. I also adjusted the left hand so that it was better positioned to hold the sword. Roughed in a sword, although the shape will likely change as I continue with the piece. Here is the updated version... almost ready to start with some colour.


01-25-2006, 07:13 PM
Overall, this is developing well. I see two potential traps, however:

One, you textured in the chain mail in your line sketch. By brining that much information in this early, it will be harder to make it not look so stylized. (That is, it will be more difficult to make it look more realistic later.)

Two, the composition appears to be ignored, which makes sense, since you're detailing the figure. But I've wasted a lot of time focusing on detailing figures when I should have been seeing what parts of the figure are significant to the total composition. Ergo, I'd put together a complete composition in lineart before I started coloring and texturing in detail.

Just my $.02. I'm not a pro, so my advice could be taken with a grain of salt.

01-25-2006, 07:20 PM
Excellent points, mrtristan. My intent is to get the figure worked out and then create the canvas for the entire image, dropping the figure into the scene. As you suggest, the composition will be worked out at that point, prior to any real detailing done on the main figure. Nice to be reminded not to get too far into the details before going back to the overall composition though. I do that sometimes.

The lineart is simply going to act as a guide for my painting later on... I don't actually use it in the final image (I know some people preserve their lineart in the final composition). The chainmail texture I am using right now is just to remind me where it is supposed to be when I begin painting.

Thanks for the comments!

01-25-2006, 07:27 PM
I believe the pose you have chosen, is 100 x better than the origional drawing, having the right arm come out a bit more makes it more interesting to the eye. I would be keen to see the colour update on this sucker as well!

R :bounce:

01-25-2006, 10:38 PM
Thanks Dstudio. I really focused in on the anatomy for this piece, and I agree that having the figure a little more spread out looks better. One of the neat parts of revisiting a piece... you can fix the things you didn't like the first time around!

01-26-2006, 01:37 AM
Since I am pretty happy with the lineart, I am starting to put together the composition. Working with a canvas set to 2400x3000, I import the lineart and draw in the other guide elements. Not completely positive about the angle of the snow right now, but I'll take another look at it when I start color blocking. Also added the gauntlet beside the knight. Wiil work on the sword design once I start detailing.


01-26-2006, 09:42 PM
So I've added some colour to the image now that I have the layout pretty much finalized. Very cool blue colors, indicating snowy terrain and relatively flat light. The left arm is not blocked in because a friend of mine pointed out that the sword looks like it is sticking into the leg... I'll have to adjust the angle of it. I put a little texture on the snow so I am not staring at a big section of white... I'll continue to refine that surface.


01-26-2006, 09:44 PM
I think it looks a little bit too clean right now. Too precise. And hey, if you used yourself as model, you must be great looking :eek:

01-26-2006, 09:49 PM
Photographer - The image is definitely in the "tidy" stage right now... and I am notoriously bad for wanting to keep things really tight. Hopefully I can let some natural textures and shape evolve as I paint. And when I mean I used myself as a model, it was mainly for basic things like hands, expression, proportions. I certainly don't look as buff as our knight here (although it'd be nice! Thanks for your comments.

01-27-2006, 12:55 PM
In combat, one much swing his arms and shoulders in such a way to bring his weapon against the enemy with enough force to harm him.

When I look at those shoulder pads I think he could raise his arms let alone swing a sword with the way they obstruct the shoulder's movements.

01-27-2006, 02:51 PM
I can see what you are referring to, Vertrucio. I based the design for this armor on 15th century European heavy calvary. Apparently the shoulder plates are surprisingly flexible, as they are made of so many pieces that can fold around each other. But yes, they'd be primarily designed for combat from a mount, with the warrior swinging down on opponents.

I wanted the figure to be a leader type that has finally realized how much death his orders have caused, so he would have the best armor available to him. But maybe I should check around some more and see if I can find other variations that'll give him more of a "knee deep" combat feel.

01-27-2006, 03:09 PM
Urrgos, Nice work so far. The pose is good, although i think you should've left it tilted rather than straightening it.
Also, the pose is powerful, but there is no indication of what he's so upset about. Does he hate snow that much?

Vertrucio: I think the shoulder pads look convincing. Take a look at the armours on this page: http://www.armourarchive.org/armour_dukes_burgundy/ for some examples of large cumbersome shoulder kits. Contrary to popular belief, those old knights could actually move pretty well in all that armor. All this drawing needs is some strong shadows to separate the plates and indicate where they slide over each other.

Anyway, great work Urrgos. I'm looking forward to seeing how this develops

01-30-2006, 12:04 PM
Didn't have time to get a whole lot done this weekend, just fixed up that left hand and finished blocking in the colours. Did a little work on the snow, but I'll spend more time with that once I work out the lighting.

zpapageo - You might be right about the angle. I think I will proceed with the angle being flat (since it'll be easier for me to light), and then rotate it slightly at the end. Also, it isn't that he hates snow... he has just come to terms with the blood that is on his hands. The sins of the past finally catch up with him, and he realizes that little of his soul is left.


01-30-2006, 06:42 PM
Can you change the hands to be bigger and stronger or is it too late for that? I like the overall look of the image, he might benefit from a shield resting on his right leg tho. That would break the symetrry on his legs and probably look better.

01-31-2006, 02:00 AM
Nyro - I am pretty happy with the proportions of the hands, so I don't think I'll change them. As for the shield, that is something I hadn't thought of. I think I'll play around with it in a few sketches and see if I can get an angle that'll have it fit in there.

One of my weaknesses is lighting. I decided to do a little pencil sketch to work out some of the volumes. Hopefully that'll help keep me on the straight and narrow when I get deeper into painting. This sketch will be used side-by-side with my painting so that I don't get lost in texturing and end up with a flat image.


01-31-2006, 09:48 AM
Hi Urrgos

Don't know if would help with the basic lighting, but here's a shot of poser guy with warmish light coming from above and bluish reflcted light from below.



01-31-2006, 02:25 PM
whee a poser guy with chest hair. haven't seen that in a while :D

edit: typo

02-01-2006, 03:08 PM
DArcy1 - Thanks for the model. I'll definitely refer to it as I work my way through the piece. I am hoping to start the main bits of the painting tonight!

02-01-2006, 04:00 PM
Looking forward for your progress :)

02-01-2006, 11:32 PM
Okay, finally started painting in some of the figure. I began with the fleshy bits, since those were the smallest areas and I didn't have a huge amount of time tonight. Will need to rough up the skin with some scars and stuff, but so far not a bad start.


02-02-2006, 12:10 AM

Unfortunately I prefer your sketchy one. Yes the one without the colours. I know you just, just started. But something about it is not right...That face looking up needs tweaking. I'm not supposed to see so much of his forehead.

And I have an idea that I learnt from one of the tutorials from here: Do you have Photoshop or similar? Go in the layers and block. Blocking is what you're doing with your sketched drawing: Putting them in grey tones. Find where your light is really coming from. Is it from the heavens? And also find your darkest areas. Add greys.

And then you add in your colours. The greys in one layer. The colours in another layer. Put one of the layers in Mutilply i.e. if you have Photoshop.This will give you more 3 dimension in your work.

I hope that'll help.

02-07-2006, 02:01 AM
Okay, a bit of the "back to the drawing board" with this one. I was initially going to work on each element separately, but as Loulu79 pointed out, that just isn't the way to do it. I haven't re-done the head yet, but will likely block that in next time I sit down with this. For now I focused on the armor to help get myself back into the piece (I have already repainted the head three times, and am tired of working on it for now).

I've blocked in the colours for the armor, focusing on getting the forms built up. I'll have to go in and refine those shapes quite a lot before calling them finished (details, highlights, shadows, etc). Oh, and just ignore the little swatch squares on there... forgot to remove them from the exported piece.


02-07-2006, 09:02 AM
Oie! That blue in the background is too rich...Tone it down a bit...and I say don't put in the heavy colours already. If you overwork at the very beginning...you won't have room to change anything. Work on getting a good colour scheme first. Not so heavily. Find where your lighting is...and what's your message.

So far so this looks promising.

Since he's centralized...either you balance him off with the rest of the composition ... or not have him so centralized. However I see he's better central...I think you're emphasizing a lot of drama. But be careful w/ centralizing: Sometimes it makes the composition boring and blah...even non-illustrative.

02-07-2006, 11:55 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Loulu79. Normally I don't like too central a composition for my images, but I felt it worked for this one. I had invisioned it as a low "T" composition, as illustrated here (although I realize I am no Frazetta or Brom!):


I had changed the background colour in preparation for adding snow later on, but you may be right about it being too deep. I'll switch it back and keep going from there. Not sure what you mean by working with too heavy colours already... I've read several tutorials that start with the heaviest darks and lights to clarify the shapes, then refine those areas as the painting progresses. Maybe you have a particular artist or tutorial in mind that could help out?

02-08-2006, 10:58 PM
Why yes...actually have you heard of Linda Berkevski? I can't pronounce her last name (sorry Linda)...but....You know the one who won the Master & Servant: Spoiled.

Her work and others with similar styles go after first the sketched up idea and colour scheme. Then they gradually work on the details. Of course after they're satisfied with their message/composition...

And then...well...let me explain why I believe going soft and lightly...when you're uncertain of the certain type of look...you go lightly. And you do this for the entire comp and look at the whole entire piece to see if everything you want harmonizes. Then...after you're satisfied you go after details.

But you know what? There aren't any rules when it comes to art. It's the results that matters. I find both going strong at it and lighten it at the beginning works for me...

But try both ways and see. You may never know. ;)

03-14-2006, 12:32 AM
Very small update... just doesn't seem like I am getting time to work on this piece. I have worked on the left shoulder plates a little bit, adding some form and definition. Also made a few adjustments through the core of the figure. Removed the crazy background colour I had before. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more done this week!


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