View Full Version : Tall Ship WIP

01 January 2009, 03:43 AM
Hello, I've decided to try something new and out of my normal style. In the back of my mind I've always harbored (punned intended) a desire to draw and paint an ocean scene with a couple tall ships that has a sort of epic and grand feel to it.

I've never done anything remotely close to this before, so I've decided to give it a go and see how it turns out and how much I can learn from this experience. I know that perspective and composition are going to play a much bigger role in this piece then anything I've done before. In the end it will be a print sized image and a gift to my father.

With that in mind, I decided to start my WIP right from the rough sketch of my vision so that I can receive C&C and advice to help me with my perspective and composition before I get carried away with coloring. Sound like a good idea?

So here is my vision. The scene is a couple battle-ready tall ships in all their glory, yet to be damaged, setting out on an epic journey during a somewhat hazy sunset/sunrise (I can't decide which would make more sense, dawn perhaps?? ). I want to try and capture the massive size and intimidating presence such ships would've had in their time and day and then exaggerate it some.

Radojavor from deviantART is my main inspiration for this WIP and you'll see roughly what I'm hoping to achieve from a lot of his work. Have a look:

And this is my rough sketch of the concept and it certainly doesn't to accomplish what I'm hoping to achieve. Once I decide on a concept and perspective that I like, I will start shaping the ships in a more precise sketch and then on from there with the details and cleaning it up.

01 January 2009, 03:11 PM
Oooooh, you get a gold star for planning!

Your perspective is not "grand" enough, though.
You are too close to the water, and too far away to give the image that sense of majestic greatness similar to your ref. images. The viewer's eye is a bit higher, providing the depth of waters stretching to the horizon, without the scene looking tilted.

You are also copying the DA guy's ships too much. If you do a Google Image search for "Tall Ship," you will see that he has stylized the front of the ships extremely for his vision. I thought them backwards at first glance...Try to come up with a bit less emulative design.
*The front of ships is always more slender than the back, to decrease wind resistence. It is NEVER "bulb shaped," except in bad art...

Lastly, you need to back up, squint, and look at your composition as a whole "valued shape," if you will. A square with a pattern of light and dark. The two ships read as one "lump" with all the visual attention going to the pointy decorations on the prow of the ship, near the direct center of your canvas, with a flat horizon line near the bottom of the ships. It's not very visually enticing, and won't keep the viewer looking at it long enough to warrant all the time and energy you'll put into it. Try to provide more depth to the horizon, perhaps a distant shorline running up the LH edge...Do some research and think about it, try a few different perspectives.

Edited After Trenchcoat Pixie's following post: Yes she did...;)

01 January 2009, 03:14 PM
Right now, this looks very claustrophobic. You've got two ships with equal visual weight clogging up about 75% of your canvas space, all in the top right corner. You need to push one of the ships back, redistribute the mass so it's not all bunched up in one area, and open the picture up more to more sea and sky. You need to give more thought to a harmonious combination of positive and negative space.

If it helps, think of your positive shapes (the ships) as pictures that you're hanging on a wall (the sea and sky, your negative space). You don't just clump pictures all in one area on a wall, do you? You try to arrange them to get a visually pleasing effect where the eye of someone standing in your living room can move comfortably from one to the next, without feeling like they're cramped or cluttered, or having to shuffle around awkwardly to find the next one. This is a really simplistic way of describing composition, but maybe it'll help you think of composition as more than just a bunch of confusing rules about angles and thirds and whatnot--it's what makes the elements in your picture come together nicely for an attractive effect, and your mother does it every time she rearranges the living room.

Edit: <Cough> CG posted while I was typing. I wasn't trying to rip off her advice.

01 January 2009, 05:11 PM
Excellent, thanks for that C&C. I will rough a few more concepts with those thoughts in mind today.

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