the guardian - wip - pose corrections mostly

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  03 March 2013
the guardian - wip - pose corrections mostly

Hi everyone,
I started this a long time ago. I had to leave it aside for a while but now that I'm back with it, there are several things I don't like anymore (a good thing maybe). I've uploaded the first sketch, the previous state and the latest with my corrections, so you can compare.

I was looking to create a classic cover-style illustration, a bit retro, with enough room to add some text.
In this attempt, I decided to remove all plants, or make them more integrated. I changed the arms pose, trying to find something with more silhouette and naturality. The gun should be clearly contrasted against the rock now, and not hiding in the other arm shadow.
I corrected the helmet and the neck again. The face is now better I think (it is not colored yet), although I have to work harder to find something with more personality.
I corrected the general proportion of the girl, to have the hips higher and more clear.
The suit wants to be like vinyl or rubber, reflecting slightly the surroundings and hiding all anatomy details, with some fabric for the "skirt" and "cape". I used several layers to simulate the color, the reflections, etc. combining them in different modes. I like the result, as far as it's going.
The ground will be like sand, covering most of the rocks.
I removed part of the dark areas in the closest rock. I think is less distracting now.
I've added a robot hiding in the dark cave, only the gleaming eyes clearly visible. Something to make it more narrative?.
Still undecided about the feet, the pose and the barefeet/booted issue, and how much opacity the helmet glass should have.
The light is not exactly like I pretended: It's not hot desert enough. I think is because of the way I painted the shadows (more contrast? I'm afraid it's too late).
I will appreciate general feedback, but it's the pose and proportions what I'm more concerned about.

thank you,

Jorge Pozo

sketchbook pro
cintiq 12
  03 March 2013
Great progress so far!

Something you might try is adding some atmosphere in-between the foreground figure and the cave in the distance. At least on the monitor I'm currently using, it looks as though the black of the cave is the same value or darker than your darkest values in the foreground.

A layer of some light color with low opacity over your background elements may help push things back a bit. (edited to add: This is just a suggestion. I don't think it's something you just have to do for this illustration to be a success.)

Nice rendering overall, it has a watercolor and acrylic wash look to it.

Last edited by ZombieMariachis : 03 March 2013 at 04:21 PM.
  03 March 2013
Thank you very much Josh. I have all in separate layers, so this is something I'm going to try. I'm almost done with the final posing and I'll post soon a new pic.

thanks again,

  03 March 2013
Her arm is a bit on the short side. Standard proportion would have the elbow roughly at where the waist is, and the wrist at where the crotch is, and the extended fingers reach to the mid-point between the crotch and the knee. If you straighten out her torso and arm, you'll see the arm's kind of short. The breasts are a bit high too, but I guess it depends on whether her suit has "booting" built into it.

Personally, I don't mind if your background doesn't have atmospheric perspective, since it's so close to the foreground. I think too often artists overuse atmospheric perspective and it gets a little silly at times, as if there's always so much dust and fog and mist everywhere in the world and not a clear day in existence. As long as the readability of your shapes and values and general contours are good, I think it's fine.
  03 March 2013
Lunatique: good point with the arm length: thank you!. Eventually I've drawn her again completely. There's a moment when you stop seeing things clearly. I think it's much better know. I suppose the short arm was pushing the breast up inadvertently

I've solved the barefoot dilema: I made the robot hold one boot (the other on the ground), adding some intimacy to their relation.
Josh: I tried the dusty air, but even if that pushed the cave further it changed too much the feeling. The references from the grand canyon I'm using shows a very clean air and I like that for this image. The robot is bigger now, and so the cave closer, so maybe is all right to have both darker values close.
I also made a small study of the light on her. In this step I have the direct sun light and some reflection from the closer rock. The face would be heavily darkened I think.

So I tried reducing the contrast. I hope the result will be believable, like if a high rock is blocking partially the sun light. I have tons of work ahead. I have to solve the interaction between her and the rock more clearly, and work harder on her hands, gun, feet, ... a lot of work

I played with some details here and there trying to know how far I'll go.
The face is maybe too much illuminated. I hope the glass can explain this..



Last edited by jorgepozo : 03 March 2013 at 09:43 AM.
  03 March 2013
Awesome, good work on getting the arm anatomy ironed out!
  03 March 2013
Good piece so far, some questions:

Why is she barefoot? Is there a backstory there? If not, it's odd looking considering the rest of her outfit.

The title is "The Guardian", but the pose is demure and not aggressive, like you would expect from a guardian, who should project safety and strength and a certain amount of intimidation. Again, is there a backstory?

Overall I think you could add some more color, especially in the shadows of the background - in a desert/rocky environment, you'll have stark contrasts between sunlit rock with warm, bright colors (which you have), but dark colors that are not black, they're purples and blues and greens, tons of dim reflected light. Rock is at a microscopic level crystals, which reflect light, therefore shadows in them will not be a flat black or brown. Your color composition is red/brown/black - but you have violet reflected color on her chest and visor - where is it coming from?

You could open the background up a little, too, it feels a little claustrophobic overall. A good artist to study for pieces like this is Michael Whelan, if you're not familiar with his work - this piece is very much in his style. (Which is a very good thing!) His work has huge open backgrounds, but that's to allow for the title and author and spine and the back of the book, a lot of his panels are designed as a two-page spread. You don't need to go to that extreme, but a little more "air" around her would help, I think.
  03 March 2013
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