Just tellin' it like I see it.

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  09 September 2013
Just tellin' it like I see it.

This piece came about because my eye doctor had a garage sale. He had this oversize pair of wooden glasses that used to be above his business, and I painted a mouth holding an eyeball in each lens. Many years later, I decided to revisit the idea. How did I do at setting a mood? I used a Wacom Bamboo and Photoshop Elements.
  09 September 2013
Technically, the image's pretty good. The unpleasant colors and patchy value transitions helps in creating a nightmarish feel (assuming that is what you intended). Her irises are way too small, and because you rendered the image in a somewhat realistic style, it looks too drastic when you exaggerate just one specific element in isolation. Her nose gets a bit asymmetrical, which is fine is that's what you intended, since some people do have significantly asymmetrical features. The line scribbles used to convey the finer strands of her hair next to her neck looks too haphazard, and should be finessed a bit more. Convey the structure of hair there with a sense of mass, where hair is structure by layers and thicker strands, and the really thin wispy strands are used only as a way to slightly soften the contour shapes of the hair masses.

Narratively, what is the mood you were trying to convey? She appears distraught, so does that mean you were trying to convey a sense of terror? And since the image is a visual pun of the title, did you want to convey humor?

The "pun" that's the idea behind the image doesn't really work (IMO), because the pun itself when represented visually become illogical, and doesn't create the response of "Oh, that's clever." When you "tell" something, you are outputting information, but when you "see" something, you are inputting information. By having an eyeball in the mouth, it becomes an illogical contradiction because no information is being conveyed by the eyeball, so it can't actually "tell" anything. Even if eyes can be expressive, an eyeball in a mouth can no longer be expressive because it lacks the physical attributes required for emoting clearly such as the eyelid and eyebrow and the skin around the eyes. So all it can do is to take in information and cannot convey any. Now, if there was no title to the image and it's presented as just a surreal image, then it'll work better.

When you have an idea for a piece of artwork, you should have a clear set of goals you want to achieve with it. Know exactly what kind of emotions/thoughts you want to provoke in your audience, and work out the visual storytelling elements in your image so it can achieve the effect you want.
  09 September 2013
Thank you for your detailed feedback! In some ways, I wanted to create the nightmarish feeling of a bad drug trip, so I tried to heighten the realism on some areas while skewing/distorting others (such as the iris sizes). On the other hand, I didn't necessarily want it to be taken too seriously.

I agree with you about the title- I struggle with titling images and that was a spontaneous title for this post that you are right, doesn't really work. On the other hand, I think you might be taking the title a little too literally- my thought processes when I created the title where something like when you see something astounding or horrible and cannot stop yourself from just spewing whatever thoughts you have about it out of your mouth. Like a direct line from the eyes to the mouth, bypassing the brain entirely.

I definitely half-assed the hair - I think it works at the crown of the head but not so much at the bottom, where it just seems like a random collection of lines.

As far as the effect that I was trying to convey, in my work I usually try to convey bizareness, and then leave the rest to be interpreted by the viewer. I guess I don't want my work to convey anything specifically more than an eerie mood, because I don't like to spoonfeed the viewer any particular feelings.

Thank you so much for your in-depth critique! It has given me a lot to think about and work on!
  09 September 2013

Here is a new version with some of the changes you suggested. I think I like the irises better smaller. Still trying to think of a new title, preferably one that doesn't contain the word "thingy."

Also, holy crap, just recalibrated my monitor and everything looks VERY different. Not sure I did it right. Does it look very dark to you?

Last edited by HarlequinnX : 09 September 2013 at 01:09 AM.
  09 September 2013
It looks fine on my monitor (calibrated)--not too dark at all. What did you use for calibration? I use X-Rite 11Display Pro.

The irises look better now--more plausible and not arbitrarily shrunken. You might want to clean up the circular shapes though. While a more painterly approach is fine (and I prefer it), readability of shapes/forms is still important, especially when it comes to shapes that are supposed to be perfectly geometric. Maintain the shape integrity of those as much as you can regardless of the brushwork you use.
  09 September 2013
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