View Full Version : Clathrus Ruber Nymph WIP

05 May 2006, 11:12 AM
Hi everybody, I have started this painting this morning (it's something I wanted to do for a while) and I wanted to share it with you in order to improve.
Here are the first steps (sketch and first colours) :
I'm going to paint a forest background (not really forest, but ground with leaves, mushrooms and other stuff like that) that would represent the place where this kind of mushroom is living.
Do you think that I should add another character ?
Thanks in advance! :)

05 May 2006, 11:45 AM
Another step : I've worked on the face :
If you're wondering what Clathrus ruber are, you can make a google search, there are lots of photos of this mushroom :) In french, it's also called "Lanterne du Diable", which means Devil's Lantern, because of its aspect.

05 May 2006, 12:33 PM
Another step :
The dress will have holes that show the skin (same shapes as the mushroom itself)
I hope you'll like it :)

05 May 2006, 01:10 PM
I am liking this so far - I love the skintones you have used to accentuate the earthyness/mushroomness :D It's too early for crits I think, since we can't see her placement in the background. I like the concept though a lot.

05 May 2006, 01:32 PM
That's a nice start; her face is looking really good. I like the idea, too, it's very cool. :D
Can't wait for updates. ^^

05 May 2006, 01:37 PM
Oh that's so cool. I love the face, especially the red around the eye. :D
Great job so far!

05 May 2006, 04:55 PM
My computer has crashed so I've not been able to work more during the afternoon :( Here's a quick update I've just done last 10 minutes. I've started painting the mushroom texture then changed a little bit the skintones to reflect a little bit more the red "hair" and dress.
Background coming soon ;)
Thank you very much for your comments! They motivate me to continue :)

05 May 2006, 05:02 PM
She's very alien and otherworldly...but still very pretty ^__^

05 May 2006, 06:05 PM
I've started adding a background. It's just a very quick sketch, lots of elements will be added (especially red ones to balance the composition). I'm going to add lots of flies, since there are always flies on these mushrooms.
More coming soon. Thanks for all your comments!

05 May 2006, 06:25 PM
It's looking wonderful so far :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 12:18 AM
This is beautiful...that's all I can say. Wow.

05 May 2006, 04:19 AM
Great line work. Wow. As for adding a character I do think that there should be something else. May be just a big fly that she is looking at. Regardless of what you choose I am sure that it will look great. Keep going!

05 May 2006, 04:43 AM
Great concept, skin tones are already looking promising.

05 May 2006, 09:41 AM
Thank you very much for the feedback!
Krass, I'm actually adding flies, it's better than adding a character indeed :) Thanks all!

05 May 2006, 11:09 AM
Another step :)
I've deleted the flies I was painting then added some Solanum dulcamara flowers.
Do you think that it's better now?

05 May 2006, 11:20 AM
impressive work.

how about full body scene so you can do more for the dress design?
you have a nice theme going :)

05 May 2006, 03:18 PM
Thank you very much Frostblade!
I've indeed added a little bit more of the dress (not full body though) and it's looking better.
I'm going to add more flies on the dress.
Every crits are very welcome!

05 May 2006, 03:20 PM
Oh wow it's looking really great! Can't wait til it's finished. :D
Ah, scary big flies.

05 May 2006, 06:31 PM
I'm adding some closeups here to show the progress of the small elements. The flies / flowers / fruits will be much more detailed :)

05 May 2006, 06:40 PM
this is going to be a great painting:applause:

05 May 2006, 08:42 PM
Wow, love the detailing on the flies and their size; makes it really nice against the nymph, gives a nice sense of proportion and how tall she would really be. :) Great theme overall, willbe watching your progress.

(Et au passage un petit bonjour en langue maternelle. :p)

05 May 2006, 12:23 PM
Thank you for your comments! :)
Et merci pour le bonjour en langue maternelle ;)
Here's a little update. I'm starting working on the leaves and dress. I'm also adding dew drops to give an "after the rain" scene aspect. I hope you'll like it!

05 May 2006, 12:48 PM
solid work, very promissing, looking forward to your further progress :)

05 May 2006, 03:17 PM
Hi Dianae,

I've never seen WIP by you before so this is a real treat. I love those waterdrops and the costume design on the nymph is looking very cool. Great work so far back for more :)

05 May 2006, 04:26 PM
This is a beautiful sketch, I adimire the way you progress. It seems your strokes are well placed and conservative (just my opposite, messy and redundant). Nice work.

05 May 2006, 06:33 PM
I didn't like the shapes on the dress so I've changed them. Do you think that it looks better or should I work more on the previous version? (I've done the new shapes on a separate layer, so I can still delete them)
I've also added more droplets and worked on the leaves, flowers and a little bit on the flies.
Thank you for your comments! :)

05 May 2006, 06:38 PM
Wow, I thought I had commented on this. Guess not.

Wonderful progress so far. I love the colors and the textures. Her face is gorgeous, and I really like how the background is coming along so far. Very realistic and original. Beautiful work.

06 June 2006, 02:46 AM
very nice work you've got here. i also checked out your pencil works. you're very good. :applause:

hmm... did you notice that your avatar looks a lot like Laetitia Casta? :D

06 June 2006, 03:23 AM
very weldone so far,awaiting to see the final outcome:)

06 June 2006, 08:58 AM
Thank you very much people! I'll post the next step in few hours :)
Salubri3i : It looks like Laetitia Casta because it's a portrait of her I've done, you can see the full portrait here : Link (

06 June 2006, 10:20 AM
Gets better every time you post :)

I think the flies could use a bit of metal like shine like they natually have, atm they look a bit matte. The leaves on the right are they closer to use than the girl? Maybe they need some warmer greens to look closer atm they are very cool greens compared to the ones on the left which look further away... it's kinda a depth thing.

Another idea with the dress with the patterns, if you're still not happy with it... maybe make layers of them so it looks like overlapping fabrics with hole patterns....less uniform looking because the head part looks so interesting and might need so put some more of that on the dress.

06 June 2006, 10:48 AM
Thank you very much frostblade!
I was just working on the leaves and flies when I've read your message :)
The ivy leaves are not really closer (just a little bit), but they are darker and their colour is slightly different than the solanum dulcamara leaves. They are also a little bit more shaded, I have to fix that problem.
About the dress, it's not really a fabric, it's the same stuff as the mushroom : Clathrus Ruber photos ( , it's actually a quick sketch, I'm planning on adding dew drops and spiders web on it. It may look better. If I'm still not satisfied with it, I'll try to do what you've suggested :)
I'm going to post some closeups of the "fabric" and flies as soon as possible (in half an hour maybe) to show the progress.
Thanks a lot for your comment, it's very constructive, I really appreciate it!

06 June 2006, 11:24 AM
I actually looked at those pictures before and kinda imagined it one the dress like lace...but thicker... then thought of it as a flexible material.

I saw those mushrooms in photos when they age.. they look kinda flexible as opposite to the fresh firm ones.

06 June 2006, 11:32 AM
Working on the aged mushrooms is indeed a very interesting idea! I'm going to try it, thank you :)
I think that I'll mix the actual dress texture with "older" parts that look flexible and nearly liquid, that may be nice!

06 June 2006, 11:46 AM
Here are some closeups. Next step coming soon :)

06 June 2006, 11:47 AM
I've worked on the flies, here's a closeup of the most detailed one (the others need more work) ;)
I hope you'll like it!

06 June 2006, 12:26 PM
Incredible!! this is going to be sooo good :)

The ONLY thing I want to say, is that my eye leaves the girl almost immediately to check out that fly on the leaf -- is that intended?

06 June 2006, 12:35 PM
Thankies for your comment :D
The fact that the eye leaves the girl to take a look at the fly is intended (the viewer is following the view of the fairy) but I should add something to make the eye come back on the fairy maybe ;)
Thank you very much!

06 June 2006, 12:42 PM
I've liked what I've seen here so far, but that fly is brilliant!

Keep up the excellent work!:thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 12:54 PM
Thank you very much pap87 :)
I'll post some other details as soon as possible.

06 June 2006, 05:31 PM
I think this is coming along very nicely. The girl's skin tones are pretty much spot on. Good attention to details, too (particularly the fly).

What bugs me a little is the overall colour scheme. Your colours look isolated; the red of the dress just remains there, the green of the environment is pretty much cut off; I think hints of each should be reflected in each other (pretty much how you've done with the skin tones, which reflect the red -- it's what makes the difference, in fact). Some middle hues (yellow, brown) would probably do the trick.

Paying attention to this will probably improve the lighting, too. Right now I have the impression there's a spotlight that illuminates the picture as if it were a flat surface. I think that doesn't quite do justice to the piece's mood.

Hope this will be of some help. :)

06 June 2006, 03:42 PM
Thank you very very much eilidh! Your comment has been very constructive, that's exactly the kind of comment I needed :) I intended to add more colour reflections on the various elements, but I had not paid a lot of attention to the lighting indeed. I'm actually working on it, I hope that it will look better soon.

For now, I'm posting another step, there are still lots of things that need to be improved.

06 June 2006, 03:59 PM
I just love all of the drop of water you've put in there. They look so real and such a neat touch to the picture. They really make this piece pop. I can't wait to see this finished.

06 June 2006, 11:37 AM
Very Beautiful Work!

I like the fact that you have kept the expression and feeling on your model's face to picture it on the image! (i don't know if you intended it, but great work anyway!)

06 June 2006, 05:01 PM
definitely better. :) I think it's on the right path now.

06 June 2006, 12:16 PM
Thank you very much for your feedback! Here's another step :

Do you think that the dress looks better now? (I've just started to work on it, so it will be much more detailed)

Thanks again!

06 June 2006, 12:50 PM
Yes, I like the holes in the dress. It makes it feel much less bulky and heavy.
I also like the addition of the extra leaves in the background. It's starting to give a sense of depth. You should keep them relatively fuzzy, I think -- and in fact, I'm wondering if you could do something with the leaves at the front as well, because right now I feel as if they are the focal point instead of the fairy itself. Though most likely this is something that will be fixed as soon as you work up on the detail of her dress.
I notice her skin is a little more greenish now. I think I prefer it the way it was before -- or somewhere halfway through it. I thought it stood out nicely in the midst of the folliage while still blending with it.

Keep it up! :))

06 June 2006, 12:52 PM
This is so beautiful, I love looking at it! You've toned down that leaf with the fly on it, I've noticed because it's easier for me to keep my eye on the Fairy now - or you've done something to the Fairy - in any case, well done :) My eye isn't so stressed now and I can look at leisure. It's quite well done and lovely, I really like this :)

06 June 2006, 01:02 PM
Hey this is turning out lovely. I have an idea for sharpening it a bit. You could bring down the intensity at the top of the background and just leave a streak of light shooting from top left to her shoulder. That would bring attention to her very strongly and leave the background crisp and a bit mysterious. :)

Very nice anatomy! :thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 01:07 PM
Thank you very much for your comments! I'm starting blending more the elements, so the leaves won't be so prominent in the finished version :)

jmBoekestein : that sounds great, but I'm not sure that I've understood it all. Do you mean that I have to darken the whole top of the bg or should I keep a ray of light in the top left corner? I may sound stupid, sorry for my bad english....
Anyways, I like the idea of giving a mysterious dark atmosphere to the bg and highlighting only a part of the girl :)

06 June 2006, 01:09 PM
Ok, no worries, I was half expecting you not to understand :). I meant leave a diagonal streak from top left to approximately right of her face that is more bright. And give it a slow gradiation from bright to dark. I think it would great and very intense. :)

06 June 2006, 01:11 PM
Thanks a lot :D So that's what I thought, it's a great idea indeed! I think that I'm gonna try it on the screen capture then rework it on the psd file when it will be finished (I'll have to merge all the layers). I'm gonna try it right now!

06 June 2006, 01:17 PM
I like the idea of giving a mysterious dark atmosphere to the bg and highlighting only a part of the girl

Yepp, I think that will suit it perfectly. JM's idea was very good too, so better try it! :)

06 June 2006, 01:18 PM
Ok, so this is just a very quick try at what you suggested :) It's a great idea indeed. It's not well done at all now (and not contrasted enough), but I'll make it look better in the finished version.

Thank you for the suggestion :D

06 June 2006, 01:38 PM
Looks a lot more intense doesn't it. :) I think you can go alot more extreme too in the contrasts. Glad to help :).

06 June 2006, 01:43 PM
Thank you very very much jmBoekestein! It looks much better indeed, the girl really stands out now!
Btw, I may be wrong, but aren't you a GFXartist member? I think that I've seen your work there and I had been impressed by the lighting :)

06 June 2006, 03:06 PM
Wow, that looks amazing. Well done!

06 June 2006, 03:33 PM
Another step :)

Now I have to finish the dress and hat, left hand, purple flowers, flies and to work a little bit more on the bg and it's done :D

06 June 2006, 05:54 PM
Ahh, it's turning out rather lovely.

Another tip: try some deep warm browns and hints of dark blue for the shadows in the lower part of the folliage. The browns will complement the greens -- and the slight blue will set it off.

06 June 2006, 08:59 PM
Thank you very very much eilidh! Your comments are always very constructive :D

Another update :

06 June 2006, 01:45 AM
Wow, that's looking so good! I'm glad you darkened the background. :)

06 June 2006, 02:36 AM
Wow, that's looking so good!


You're making awesome progress, I really like your ideas!

06 June 2006, 11:18 AM
Thank you very very much jmBoekestein! It looks much better indeed, the girl really stands out now!
Btw, I may be wrong, but aren't you a GFXartist member? I think that I've seen your work there and I had been impressed by the lighting :)

Welcome, I am on there, not sure whether you're talking about the same one though. :) Good progress. Hope to see this one finnished soon.

06 June 2006, 12:10 PM
Thanks so much everybody!

Here's a closeup of the flies for the ones who would like to see some details :)

I hope you'll like it, more coming soon!

06 June 2006, 02:11 PM
Those three fly pictures alone are worthy of being classified as finished art themselves!
As insignificant as they are in the whole pic, you have given them some insane details!

If the rest of the picture is going to be this good then I truly can't wait to see it!

06 June 2006, 04:49 PM
Thanks a lot pap87 :D

Another update : I've worked on the hands, changed the place of the fly, deleted some waterdrops (too big or they wouldn't have existed in real life). I've also worked on the texture and shape of the dress. I really need constructive feedback to finish it so if you see anything wrong here, please tell me :) Don't be afraid of sounding rude, I love constructive crits even if they seem to be harsh!

Thanks to everyone who has taken time to drop some words here, I'm very happy for that, thanks a lot!

06 June 2006, 04:53 PM
Wow! This image is getting pretty impressive. I love the way the foliage and the water is painted. The color of the leaves and the impression of light shining though the leaves is spot on! And you've done a great job of giving the feeling that you're looking at someone really small.

As far any crits... I can't really see anything wrong with the image. Except that the dress doesn't look finished, but that's probably because it isn't.

Edit: Ok, after staring at it some more I did see one thing that I think could be improved. The back of her right hand seems kindof flat and lacks details like viens, the hint of the bones under the skin, etc.

06 June 2006, 05:10 PM
Thank you very much Feyd-Rautha! I'm going to edit the hand right now :) Thanks a lot for taking time to search for the flaws, I really apreciate it!

06 June 2006, 06:46 PM
I've reworked on the hand and textures

The textures are a little bit rough now but I'll work more on them :)

06 June 2006, 07:00 PM
Wonderful :)
Clathrus ruber structure is very close to the reality. I have seen this mushroom a lot of times so...great. I have a lot of photos of it in my web site, I'd like too see more fungi characters in the next time :thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 07:08 PM
Yeah, the hand looks more realistic now.

Boy, I'm a ways off being able to paint at your level. :hmm: You managed such a realistic look with this painting! :thumbsup:

I'd love to be able to paint foliage like you do. Have you seen some really good tutorial for painting foliage, or did you just spend alot of time looking at reference?

06 June 2006, 07:36 PM
Wonderful work!
The details are really cool.

What resolution do you work with? (width and height)

06 June 2006, 07:58 PM
Thank you so much! :)

Aragorn26282 I've taken a look at your website, there is some great stuff in it!

Feyd-Rautha : I've just taken a walk in my garden to see how the ivy and grass looked like, then I've painted leaves and grass :) I've also cut some flowers of Solanum Dulcamara and put them into a glass of water to take a look at them when I was painting. Thank you very much!

kefka : the painting is 50cm x 65cm. I'm working at 300dpi resolution so I can print a big version of it :) Unfortunately, it's very very heavy (1,02Go) so I can't paint very fast.

Thanks again for your comments!

06 June 2006, 09:41 AM
Another step : I've worked on the texture of the dress so it looks more like a clathrus ruber now. It's very long to do but I'm pleased with the result even if I still have to work on it.
Here's a closeup of the fabric. Crits are very welcome :)

06 June 2006, 10:19 AM
Thank you so much! :)

Aragorn26282 I've taken a look at your website, there is some great stuff in it!

Feyd-Rautha : I've just taken a walk in my garden to see how the ivy and grass looked like, then I've painted leaves and grass :) I've also cut some flowers of Solanum Dulcamara and put them into a glass of water to take a look at them when I was painting. Thank you very much!

kefka : the painting is 50cm x 65cm. I'm working at 300dpi resolution so I can print a big version of it :) Unfortunately, it's very very heavy (1,02Go) so I can't paint very fast.

Thanks again for your comments!

Thank you so much, keep continuing the good work :thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 11:07 AM
A larger view

I've started working on the crown :)

06 June 2006, 03:30 PM
wow Diane this painting is really gorgeous. Nothing else to comment really :)

06 June 2006, 09:23 PM
Thank you very much Kelandra :)

Another step : I've worked a lot on the dress. Do you think that it looks finished or should I work more on it?
I still have to do the crown.

06 June 2006, 09:40 PM
it seems there's a lot of diffuse light coming to the bottom part of the dress, I'd make it darker the lower you get. Also for same effect as the darkening the background... which could go even darker if you ask me. Great stuff... keep going!! :bounce:

06 June 2006, 10:10 PM
I think the dress needs some more work to take out the flatness of it. It mainly has to do with the lighting, though I think it might be a lot easier if I showed you in an overpaint, if you'd like. :)

06 June 2006, 11:52 PM
Great thread you have here! I love the leaves, water drops, and bugs in this painting. The only thing that bugs me at the moment is the dress. It just doesn't look like it is wrapping around the figure, especially on the left side. I would darken that left edge, like you did the right (though not as much).

06 June 2006, 07:26 AM
Thank you very much for your feedback! I was just working on the shading of the dress when I've read your comments. It doesn't look round indeed, that's what I'm trying to improve.

eilidh : an overpaint would be great if you have time but I don't want to bother you with this kind of things :) Thanks a lot for your great feedback!

jmBoekestein : I was just darkening the bottom, right side and a little bit the left side of the dress when I've read your comment, it's better indeed!

LDiehl : I'm going to post an update soon, it looks better now :)

Thank you very much artists!

06 June 2006, 07:27 AM
This is a fabulous and original painting. I love it, the only thing I can crit is that the dress and flowers seem less finished and detailed than the rest of the painting. The figure and flies are really great.

06 June 2006, 08:58 AM
Thank you very much Euphrosyne! I've worked a little bit on the flowers, I'll try to work more on them (but I start hating this painting so I'd better finish it today)

Here's an update : I've shaded the dress, worked a little bit on her crown and added some more grass. Do you think that it looks better? I know that I should work even more on it but I need your advises to know if I'm in the right way. Thanks a lot for all your help and feedback, I really apreciate it! :)

06 June 2006, 12:25 PM
Much better already. It's turning out very, very beautifully. :)

I've uploaded a slight overpaint with a few explanatory comments here ( I hope it's helpful.
Regarding the dress 'sculpting', you could go on in a same way to add more detail and starkness to the dress' texture and give it even more volume.

06 June 2006, 05:10 PM
This is just beautiful, I don't think you need to change anything else. I know what you mean that you are starting to hate the painting LOL. I go through that with almost every painting, the more details I have to paint the more I hate it. The thing is that you really learn alot sometimes when you are hating the picture and working so hard to make it look the way you imagined it.

06 June 2006, 05:28 PM
Thank you very very much for all your help eilidh! I totally understand what you mean by sculpting the dress :) I'm working on it, it starts looking much better!
Thanks again for being so helpful, you're very kind! :)

I'm going to post an update soon.

06 June 2006, 07:09 PM
Here's another update :)

Thank you for all your kind feedback and help!

06 June 2006, 07:43 PM
Not a problem!

And -- lovely, lovely, simply lovely. It's almost there. :)

06 June 2006, 07:51 PM
This is gorgeous - those lips and veins in her neck, WOW! Amazing touch.

06 June 2006, 09:40 PM
I think that I've finished, so I'm posting 2 versions of the painting. A "sunny" one and a "misty" one :) Which one do you prefer?

Sunny one :

Misty one :

Thank you for your help :)

06 June 2006, 09:47 PM
The misty one, by far. :) The contrasts compliment the picture, and the mistiness suits its mood better anyway.

06 June 2006, 10:38 PM
Beautilful work
very poetic with a perfect realization.
I love that :applause:

Misty one

06 June 2006, 11:21 PM
Beautiful work!!! I also prefer the misty one. :thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 12:24 AM
beautiful!! Definately the misty one, as the contrast is a bit better - but this new monitor is hella bright, so it could be that.

Anyway, well done indeed!! :thumbsup::thumbsup:

06 June 2006, 11:29 AM
Thank you very very much again artists! You've really helped me a lot!

The image is now awaiting for submission in the gallery :)

06 June 2006, 03:29 PM
Really like it, love the colours and the shading.

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