View Full Version : I Need Serious Help ~

11 November 2003, 10:42 AM
I've come to realize that my work doesn't have impact. Although I seem to have technical skill, my ability to convey the passion of the imagery in my head is virtually non existant. As a result, my work comes across as very...meaningless.

I was thrilled when I discovered this forum. This is exactly the kind of help I desperately need! I want to take my art to the next level. I'm going to start off with my recently finished piece called "Feel the Heat".

Firstly, this character is female (surprisingly, yes?) - based off of those heavy weight female bodybuilders. I really wanted this image to make people suck in their give them the impression that this creature's colassal strength was looming out of the picture. I wanted to convey the sense of her intimidating physical presence, a kind of smoldering overbearing kind of personality. Ah, it's hard to describe what I was hoping to achieve with the picture.

It goes without saying that I've utterly failed here. Please help.

if the image isn't working, try clicking HERE (
(this link leads to the original piece, in it's full size, which I couldn't post because of bandwidth issues. Appologies in advance)

11 November 2003, 12:43 PM
My initial thoughts:

Would be more intimidating if those eyes were staring right at you - really locking onto the viewer. So I imagine if the head would be facing straight ahead and be a bit dipped, that would work better. A common trick would also be to depict this creature slightly from below to make the viewer feel 'beneath' and therefore get an impression of this colossal strength you're looking for.

I think it might also need to contain some sort of reference for size, perhaps in the background, to provide a sense of scale.

Another problem could arise from your choice of color. Even though I like the background very much, it also makes it appear like the character is less important than the background since it's such a dramatic display of fire-like stuff - leaving the main subject feeling a bit dead with it's grey/black appearance.

I like the composition though, how you've weighted the whole thing towards the right side while covering up the resulting space with that extended wing. Very elegant IMO.

11 November 2003, 07:28 PM
Hmm... I like the proud arch in the beak and head but I also see JamesMK's point that it would help to have her staring right at the viewer. Of course, birds ARE staring right at you when they have their heads turned exactly sideways. Maybe it would help to make the eye larger or brighter.

You could also pose her as if the shot was taken from above, with forced, exaggerated perspective to make her upper body and wings dwarf the little sun underneath. Then you could crop it so that part of the muscle structure lies outside the frame and the viewer gets the sense she is bursting out, too large for this tiny image.

11 November 2003, 07:49 PM
I agree with above statements.. I alos think that this piece has everything in one plane which is making it very flat. There is no foreshortening which would add impact. The contrast is also very gray.. more contrast would help the dramatic effect.

So you could change the head to look forward and therefore have forshoertening of the beak. I would also suggest having the right wing swqeep forward so that it is in the foreground and also creating foreshortening. Lastly adjust the contrast so that there is some black inthe image or at least darker tones.

11 November 2003, 08:04 PM
I suddenly remembered, from the olden days, this logo of the game house Psygnosis

Pretty lame by todays standards - and it is an owl, making it more biologically correct, as pointed out by pyraxis above, to have it looking straight ahead like that - but it indicates the idea I got initially regarding the posing of the head.

11 November 2003, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by JamesMK
I suddenly remembered, from the olden days, this logo of the game house Psygnosis

The first PC I ever bought was from the "firesale" that US division of Psygnosis had when they went out of business or Sony pulled the plug on them.

11 November 2003, 09:18 PM
well, there are a number of things you can do with this image:
if you really want it to be female, make it have more feminine traits, this really looks like a muscular guy and needs some of the curves in it even if it's muscular (which doesn't necessarily mean putting big breasts on it either). Being muscular really doesn't help "her" look intimdating. Sitting on the sun doesn't really do anything for the message and only makes me think "she's" getting a hot-seat. The character is in a neutral position and you need to make that an agressive one, open the beak some and bring the head more into the foreground. I would also angle the head more forward like "she" is bring "her" entire attention on the viewer. I don't really understand the point in the oversized claws, being clawed makes them menacing, oversizing em kinda makes em look silly. The pose is also neutral, I would at the very least line the figure forward toward the viewer.

11 November 2003, 09:36 PM
I really like the background and the birdy. But itīs to flat. You could make cold spots under the feet. The it would act like an shadow and add depth. Mayby som breaking ray lights.

11 November 2003, 12:49 PM
You've done a great job on the figure's image and it, by itself, has impact! I agree something went wrong to make it lose impact. It appears to be stamped on a super background that doesn't agree with it, leaving it flat and looking drab when, in reality, that intricate image is anything but drab!

My impression is that the bright background is overwhelming the incredible subtle details in the image.

I have done crows and am amazed at the coloring and strong reflective blue, white and sometimes brownish orange reflective lights that are apparent when studying the crow's feathering.

I tried a few things. The figure is definitely sitting so needs the impression of shadows under it. The light coming from behind the crow's head works better.

ALso, emphasizing brighter blue reflections of light on the feathers helps alot. That right Wing will jump right out of the canvas if the top feathering is highlighted with brighter blue feather details.

Shadows under the upper part of the wings close to the body and behind the body need to be darkened drastically and gradually brought down through each feather fading until you are back to what is already there. This will give the image the contrast it needs especially if you put highlights around the top of head and beak with a brighter light behind the head.

I think what has happened is you have been working too close to the image and perfecting it. As a result it loses it's impact. Take a break and look at it in a week then try some bold contrasts on a copy of the image and see what happens. Bright blues and blacks (not overdone ofcourse and put in the right places) look good with the orange backgrounds. It's simply a matter of darkening the shadows that are there and making highlights graduate to brighter. More Contrast is needed. The background light, if you put it behind the bird's head - more bright trim-highlights on beak and top of head and/or wing tips would also be needed.

The problem is a challenge to try solve. I can see and appreciate what you are trying to accomplish.

11 November 2003, 03:10 PM
Just a minor suggestion. At least to me, a crow's beak doesn't lend as much menace or power as a hawk's beak. That downhooked pointed beak. Also as JamesMK said above, the forward looking face might help. I'm not sure about crows, but carnivorous birds are always forward looking, so they can judge the distance to their pray. Anyway, my two cents.

11 November 2003, 05:10 PM
Just noticed this image up in another forum:

Thought it might help you to check out this pose and see how the artist achieved the sense of power and strength there...

11 November 2003, 10:11 PM
deleted text because i can't delete the post

11 November 2003, 02:20 PM
Well, I think the planet ( can I say so?) the man stand on it ,
maybe too light or too bright? do you agree with me?:)
As the planet was too bright, the character cannot represent exactly... Can you understand me ?
oh my god my English speaking is so bad >>>>>:(

11 November 2003, 04:20 PM
Only a few things come to mind:

As someone else pointed out, it's difficult to tell that this is a woman. The breasts actrually look like seriously developed pecs. I'm not sure how you can address this, because you want the bodybuilder look for her (which is a nice change of pace from the usual Vallejo knockoffs), unless you open the pose up a bit more. It's very tight, which doesn't let us really see the intensity you want to convey.

The head turned to one side doesn't bother me, TTTT. I agree that the beak could be a little more intimidating, and a hawk's beak (or an eagle's, for that matter) would probably fill the bill quite nicely.

Lighting is a real problem here. She's clearly sitting on something with an intense light source, and yet there's little picked up on her wings or body. A much stronger underlighting would tie her more closely to the background and underscore that sense of power you want to convey. Much more intense contrast on the wings, for example, where we see almost white-hot areas.

Just a final note, and it's one probably more contingent on personal style than anything else. The image isn't sharp. It's somewhat soft around the edges, which dilutes the energy enormously. I'd really recommend making more angular, with a few harder angles than gentle curves.


11 November 2003, 06:32 PM
IMO for whatever its worth is you should treat ur stills as an animation. only its even more important. with aniamtion u get multiple still to exspress an emotion or intent but with a still u get one shot. o dont know how u draw or what u think when u draw but i will get into the pose i want. but more than that i will act out an entire scene even if its just for a still because i need to feel emotionaly what the character is going to feel.

for example im doing an animation.and still of a fallen angel so ill play out things in my head and try and remember everything painfull in my life. like what it was like when that girl of ur dreams left u for no reason or why your parents got divocred or failing a test in school. all those feelings of loss. and i take those feelings and try to feel them not as mysewlf but as hte persona of the character im drawing. i think to convey a emotion u have to feel it u have to be what u r drawing. u have to act it out be the scene.

if u want to be powerful and intimidating act it out. what would it feel like to have these huge powerful claws and a massive wings spread. how would it feel to spread theose wings in a nice big stretch eminating power and strength from ur whole body. what wpould it be to look down on tiny creatures knowing that it is ur descion as to if they live or die YOU HOLD THE POWER OF THIER LIFES EXSITANCE. feel that look at yourse;lf in a mirror and draw that draw that mind set. not just the technical aspect of propotions. hell break conventional proportions who cares its an illustration exagerate. some of the best drawing are exagerated to illustrat strentgh or loss or joy.

like i said just my opion

11 November 2003, 07:01 AM
sometimes this helps, you can write it down or just hold the thoughts in your head.

think of what emotion your trying to bring across, once you know that think of the colours that go with that emotion, think of how smooth/rough surfaces need to be to combine with that emotion and think about what key points are in you illustration/animation eg eyes, teeth, jaw and fill them with crazy detail, remembering all the time that animation and digital illustration is an art your bringing things out and making them look "cooler" to use a very newbish word here, by excentuating emotions and feelings. What i mean by that is, the idea of an animation or image is not to be realistic, but to be as good/appropriate looking as possible while potraying a feeling or emotion. of course not all areas of CG are artistic, but that is a very controversial area. (if you are making a normal car in 3d as real as possible, by the book with photos, its not really as creative as a unique creature with 3 mouths, but then again the lighting you make can make it art.) its all complex

11 November 2003, 06:02 PM
it does not "go without saying" that you have utterly failed

perhaps your negative self-talk is blocking you from creating what it is you want to create? probably best to do some inner work to remove those blocks

smaller claws, much more fiery sun - this is a god, no? perhaps even you? tell us more and put THAT into the painting, kay?


11 November 2003, 02:24 AM
noen you assface, you ripped deaddreamers, ddr0066 SHIVA picture, why the hell should anyone lissen to you if you rorted someone elses design.

11 November 2003, 02:35 AM
Daz, this isn't the first time I've had to warn you about your abusive/offensive comments towards other users, but it will be the last time. One more and you're out of here.

11 November 2003, 05:49 AM
I hope I dont get razzed for this:

I have taken your image into photoshop, did a little collor correcting and done some filters, here are 3 similar versions.

The number one thing I see that separates pro work from student work is that in students never take care in "post". In the industry, nothing is ever put directly to take without passing it by a compositor or editor. At very least, color correct your images.

As for mood, the composition itself lacks balance and has no focal point. The wings posing is ok, but the body iteself is uninteresting. Think of the silhouette...!

Mike R

11 November 2003, 11:03 PM
Actually, the composition bothers me and doesn't really convey that immovable strength. I think that's because of the way the creature looks like she's liable to slide off that orb she's sitting on.
I would make her sitting alert and erect, not leaning to the side - the whole composition's left-heavy (our left) and makes me uncomfortable and not in a good way.

I agree totally with what people have said about the confrontational gaze - you need the figure looking out, directly at the viewer if you want to indicate confidence and/or menace.
And the wings provide so much opportunity for ornamental beauty - more variegated color could definitely focus attention on the figure, not the background.

Somehow too, the head and wings seem to belong together but the body seems separate - maybe thru a nice transition from neck to chest, color-wise, you could make them look more unified, as if they belong to the same body. As it is, I tend to almost see it as a big bird perched atop a headless humanoid body.

Anyway, lots of good suggestions from the forum - looking forward to seeing your next iteration! :)

11 November 2003, 12:03 AM
I would never have thought of some of the things you people were bringing up! Thank you so much for your advice!

I will have to start over to impliment the changes. In the meantime, I created a sketch of the same character, using as many of the suggestions given to me as I could manage.

The image was too big to post, so I have to link to it.
The Vessel (

In this drawing I was still trying to get across the same message as I was in the original art I posted here. This time however, I was sure to convey the real menace this character represents.

Am I heading in the right direction yet?

§ Unrelated: How do you set an avatar in your posts?

11 November 2003, 01:02 AM
whoa - that was fast!
Quite a departure from the first image....a little hard to read in the scan, but already so much more dynamic. I for one think you're on the right track here - although if you wanted to create a singular, iconic image just of the original creature, you could.

I'm sure you could still convey the power of the creature by depicting it in repose, and by itself, w/out another figure in the composition. It just depends on which way you want to go and how narrative you want to be. Just be careful again that the second figure doesn't upstage the main subject. I like your enthusiasm! :)

11 November 2003, 02:18 AM
now thats what i call bam baby new notches extreme. but becareful. ill explain.

u have a nice dynamic goin on right nowbetween the girl and the god but ... with the arm brought across his body like that it is almsot a defesive posture as thought he might actually be a little afraid of the girl, hes a god he should defiantly be taking on a power stance plus hes part eagal, have u ever notice how eagels stand with thier chest out proud powerful.

i really like how his wings fill out the comp from right to left leading the eye, id work that up a little, nice use of darks to lead the eye from the girl up over his shoulder to the head where all we see r his eyes. i might suggest droping his arm and placing along side of the darks so that the lights can catch on the muscles fro some nice detailing efects plus itll act as a great device to help keep the eye moving in that space since your bringing it up around that way anyways.

the rays of light act as a good tool to bring the eyes backk down from the wings to keep us in the compistion.

not sure what the sphere is???

major major improvement though u r defiantly on the right track!

oh one more thing becareful hes not looking at he hes looking at us, if she gonna be in there u need to have that focus be placed on her right now it feels wrong, simple fix just tilt his head down

11 November 2003, 09:29 AM
I think a few things have been misunderstood, heh!
1> the "god" is a she .
2> It's a raven.
3> She is meant to be looking at the viewer, as if she knows you're watching. (It was just a strange idea I had - to kind of make the image a personal experience you know?)

I'm still working on perspective, but I just wanted to try out a few of the ideas that everyone has given me! I really liked the one about color...I might try that one next. n.n

11 November 2003, 08:53 PM
WOOHOO!!!!!! that new sketch is AWESOME! it's like "ah! another one destroyed and the next is YOU!" hehehehe I love the more dynamic, off-balance pose, like the raven goddess is in motion. I'm really curious whatcha gonna do with the world/ball thing in there. *big thumbs up*

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