View Full Version : My piece for Ballistic's EXOTIQUE Call for entries...

08 August 2005, 11:34 PM
I intend to enter this image in Ballistic's Exotique contest.

Title: "He Was My Favorite"
Software: Photoshop 7 and Painter 8

About my process:
I tend to use digital paintings as quick sketches that I later turn into oil on canvas paintings. It's only recently that I've begun creating finished pieces that are digital.

I prefer to draw in Photoshop and drop in chunks of shade and tone then take it over to Painter to use it's superior blending brushes. At this stage I've pretty much secured the pose of the sphinx, I'm now blocking in her background. This image represents about 9 hours of work (mostly on the wings and blending her skin). The flat backdrop is temporary just so I can get a sense of space and lighting.

After I've completed the sphinx and I've blended the textures to a point I'm content with, I'll add finishing details such as jewelry and extra skeletons in the cave, then I will go back into Photoshop to add color.

All comments and criticism are appreciated.


08 August 2005, 01:20 AM
Brilliant...really great start! Three suggestions:

1. The rock she is lying on could have a bit more foreshortening. Right now it seems tilted, as if she would fall down of it instead of resting on it.

2. Perhaps a more horizontal format would benefit the composition.

3. The lower part of her body seems a bit small compared to her upper part. And, sorry to say this, but the legs look more like cangoroo legs.

Keep it up...this will be a good one.

08 August 2005, 02:25 AM
Hey there, thanks for the input. (I apologize in advance for any gross typing errors because I am up way to late and am going straight to bed after this post.)

I'm in complete agreement with you about the tilted viewpoint. I also need to raise her paw that she is laying on and foreshorten it.

With the elongated back legs, that was actually a intentional design decision. I played with the idea of how a beasst like this would actually get around. It seems that shorter feline back legs would be uncomfortable, because they would force her to walk on her human hands and arms, which aren't designed for that purpose. So I played with a few poses in upright positions, and it seemed this type of structure would be more comfortable. Lion legs weren't made for upright positions so I settled on a hybrid kangaroo / leonine set of hindquarters and elongated her paw pads for balance. I actually had a Tasmanian Tiger in mind when I was working on her, because they almost have a simalar structure, though they walk on all fours.

That was my reasoning, feel free (anybody) to comment on this subject.


Tasmanian Tiger:

Andreasrocha - Thanks again, I appreciate you taking the time.

08 August 2005, 06:50 AM
I like your take on this theme. The only problem I have with it is the legs don't look muscular enough. The one on the bottom looks almost like a puddle. It dosen't seem to have any muscle or bone. Maybe you are still in the process in this area. Can't wait to see it finished. The upper torso and expression on the face looks really good and the wings are terrific.

09 September 2005, 09:21 PM
i agree with andreasrocha ( vbmenu_register("postmenu_2580455", true);
but i have one comment that is her left hand looks a little bit bigger , maybe cuz of her fingers
but i like her exprission and the feather is done well , this is a great work :applause:
i'm waiting to see the finished piece
and abt turning ur digital work to oil paintings , can u expalin how do u do that ?

09 September 2005, 09:57 PM
Very beautiful work here. As to the legs I think I'd agree. but the human parts really jump out for their fleshiness. Interesting you should post this, I work in greyscale too and do it to simplify my workflow. Any tips perhaps? :)

09 September 2005, 09:36 AM
Very sensual, nice work. Is that her former mates skull.

09 September 2005, 12:54 AM

I apologize for the extreme gap between updates, I am very time impoverished these days.

Firstly, thanks to all of you for your valuable feedback. The list of things I have done to the image since las post include the following:

Raised and forshortened the ledge
Enlarged wings
Increased contrast
Decreased size of forward hand a slight fraction
Lengthened torso and enhanced rib cage
Reworked hindquarters and paws to added more muscle and definition
Worked up the rocky ledge and cave

Total work time : 4.5 hours and very far from done.

I still have a lot of work to do - the hindquarters pose a challenge - but I'm starting to get a sense of how it will look when it's complete.

jmBoekestein - Tips? more particular and I will try to share something useful :thumbsup:

kOmoo - The myth of the Sphynx is that she would ask passing travelers a riddle and if they answered wrong she would eat them. What I'm portraying is the Sphynx regretting her rash actions because she happened to have grown found of this particular bloke, now she's racked with remorse for having eaten him.

Thanks again to y'all

----back to the Wacom tablet----

09 September 2005, 05:20 PM
just checking out your exotitique entry...i think the wings, though they have a stunning quality...also feel a bit uncomfortable...wondering if folded around her would work better...

and the skull feels ...too symetrically posed...maybe a bit too small...

intriquing concept...

09 September 2005, 05:56 PM
Hi again. Looks very good. Very crisp allready. The texture on her skin is very good. AS for her hind quarters, she still seems a little small. The knees could be thicker and chunkier, also large feline's are completely built for shorter bursts, they have massive muscles. If you happen to see one spreading it's paws while on it's hind legs you'll know exactly what I mean. But I bet you'll make something out of it, you seem to know quite well what you're doing. :)

As to tips I was thinking along the terms of how you go about adding colour to your piece, and what things should I consider to do. :) That sort of stuff, nothing that takes too much of your time though. Just curious.

Great progress, and good luck on the next stretch. :thumbsup:

09 September 2005, 11:15 PM
Hola, thanks again for all replies. Because I am pressed for time I'm going to forge ahead and start the coloring process, saving any more structural changes for later.

I have two ways that I usually work when painting traditionally, i.e. oil and canvas.
I'll either do a detailed drawing onto the canvas, seal it with clear gesso and begin to lay thin glazes over the drawing building up the color gradually, or I'll work seperatly from a loose concept drawing, blocking in color in a thick manner and then blend it directly on the canvas. Both ways have their advantages and challenges.

With this painting I am going to "glaze" over the underpainting because I made it so detailed. Had it been more of a quick concept sketch I would have just started a fresh image, using the drawing as seperate reference instead of painting right on top of it.

Two images showing my process:
Until I purchase a second monitor I keep two windows open in Painter, one with the reference drawing and the other with the color version that I'm working on so that I can repair details that are lost in the coloring process.

To start, I put a "wash" over the whole drawing that represents the over all tone the painting will have when complete.

Step 1:

09 September 2005, 12:54 PM
waoo this getting better and better :thumbsup: , looks like you attached the wings too far from the center of her back also it seems to me like wings are too small for such a big creature dont think she could fly with it

09 September 2005, 09:12 PM
I really like what you have done with this painting. The color wash is really lovely. I believe that teal-k has a point about the wings, the placement is a little off. Keep going this is going to be great.

09 September 2005, 04:04 PM
Step 2.

Quickly posting an image update. One of the drawbacks to working in washes is that the build up of color is achingly slow. I have to keep backing out of the image to convince myself I've actually done something for the past hour or two :rolleyes:

I've altered the structure of the wings a bit, adding more bend and moving them a slight bit more down her body. And I also enlarged them, I'm aware that they would have to be far larger though to carry a beast this size but at the same time I didn't want the wings to dminate the image. I may play with the concept of painting the wings folded, but it all depends on time. Have to have her done by Friday or Saturday.

09 September 2005, 05:45 PM
Step 3 - latest update.

side note: I had to calibrate my monitor and load similar profiles into Photoshop and Painter to correct the over saturation that was evident in the last image posted.

I am still playing with ideas for the sky so I have posted an image with and without clouds.

With clouds:

Side note to pixelstalk:
Hi there, re-reading I noticed you asked about my digital-to-oil method. It's very simple really, I've been mostly using CG work for concept development and after I develop a solid sketch, I recreate it on a cotton canvas or Masonite or even Milar. Only very recently have I attempted to create "finished" work on the computer. I hope that answered it :) Let me know if there is something more specific I can post for you.

09 September 2005, 10:40 PM
Very imaginative work. I looked in on this when you first started and I think you have done a beautiful job. I do like it best without the clouds though. I like that subtle color in the sky that's there in the original. The image with the clouds draws my eye to them first and then to the figure. If you do keep the clouds I would just subdue them somewhat. Lovely image.

09 September 2005, 11:13 PM
Very imaginative work. I looked in on this when you first started and I think you have done a beautiful job. I do like it best without the clouds though. I like that subtle color in the sky that's there in the original. The image with the clouds draws my eye to them first and then to the figure. If you do keep the clouds I would just subdue them somewhat. Lovely image.

Aye, those clouds are a bit distracting in their present state and seem to take a bit of depth out of the image.

Everything else is coming along terribly well. I remember seeing this thread a while back, I'm glad to see that the piece is coming along. I think it'll be a very suitable entry for the Exotique publication, best of luck. :thumbsup:

Not much criticism at this point, just keep at it!

09 September 2005, 07:46 PM
Your image is well received. I like the image with the title... very narrative in itself. The only notes I would pass along are these: The hind-quarters are a bit small. The possition they lay in is very well placed though. Also a comment on the wings. I feel that they would do you more justice if you enlarged them. To make the image more tangible, I suggest you enlarge them by quite a bit. In doing so, have them stretch beyond our visibility of the canvas. The composition may just gain from it... give it a shot, I think you may find the outcome quite to your liking. I will look forward to seeing the final image.:D

09 September 2005, 05:07 PM
This is the last update I will post before I submit the finished image to Ballistic Publishing on Saturday night.

I want to thank everyone who contributed thoughtful critiques as well as compliments and encouragement, I truly enjoyed this interactive process it reminded me of being back in school :).

I considered every suggestion and made decisions on what to change and what to keep according to what I thought would work best for the finished image. Some suggestions I wanted to touch on included the wings, the skull, and the size of the sphinx's haunches.

When big cats are at rest - lying or sitting, their hindquarters actually look a bit small in comparison to the size of the rest of their body:

Considering that I actually made the sphinx's hind legs longer than a big cat's, I think that the over all size is accurate. I will detail the legs to highlight muscle some more before I submit the image.

The skull, as suggested, is rather plainly arranged looking straight on. I will trying throwing it on its side or changing the angle some if I find time, but I'm not certain I will get the opportunity.

The wings:
In my original concept sketch, I actually had the sphinx's wings folded.

While working, I decided to have them open instead. Because they were open, they threatened to dominate the image and to possibly look odd if I decided to crop the image down when complete also, they were smaller than they should have been. I think my original concept of having them closed worked better, not only design wise but also because they better conveyed sadness. Some of the critiques posted here encouraged me to revisit my original concept, below I have attached a quick reworking of the wings closed. As before, feedback is appreciated.

And finally, I dropped some blue into the painting to contrast with the dominant warm tones of the piece and I carried the blue onto the sphinx to catch the cast light of the sky. Today and tomorrow I will finish detailing the paws, face and fur, and deepening shadows as wells as working on the canyon walls before turning it in to Ballistic.

Thanks again to everyone for your input.

10 October 2005, 12:20 PM
Finished :

10 October 2005, 12:21 AM
I really like the folded wings. I wish that you would have kept some of that saturation it gave the appearance of her laying there at sunset and added an atmosphere to the painting that was more compelling. Of course a subdued sunset sky would have added to this effect. Regard less of my preferences this is a fantastic painting and I congratulate you. Best of luck in your entry.

10 October 2005, 12:36 AM
damn cherry this is coming along realy good!

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