The Journey Begins Challenge (2D) Entry: Michael Dashow


Hi Mike,

  This piece looks nearly finished... Not sure if this has been mentioned, but I think some  more foliage variation in the foreground could help enhance the image. Another item that is a bit distracting is the pointy ledge on the far side of the path. For some reason my eye is drawn to its shape, or maybe it is the shadow that it is casting. A softer edge or smoother transition in the shadow might be something you could experiment with. 

Keep up the great work.



hey mike

looking good as always,. great tiny details in there =) and lovely lightly you got going on in the clouds…cant wait to see it finished, very impressed


Windmills? I guess I have to use a magnifying glass…hehe…but thanks for humouring me anyway. Windmills or no, it’s a great piece of work.


Michael, your efforts and skills are most respectable. You have my votes.



really coming along nicely!


It’s really a very very nice pic, the ambiance of mornig is really good, always a great job man:applause:


Hey there,

just stumbled into this thread and fell in love with your entry. I love the sense of distance it conveys from the nearest birds on the fence to the morning horizon.



Hey Michael, charming scene! Love the sense of the houses being at a slight angle too, kind of dynamic…


oh wow , excellent.

nice pallet , absolutely love the structures in the background.


Very strong feeling of depth! It’s definitely one of my favorites.


its been about time for me to stop by ur thread again :slight_smile: hi there buddy! hows going? I see u r progressing just fine and the image is geting developed into the right direction. As u mentioned a bit before, u still need something to put in to the left lower corner. There could be flowers indeed, but think also about adding some different size of grass. Right now the grass is the same size all over the image. It really is a bit empty than and it calls for some details. So, there could be flowers, bigger and smaller grass, some shadows also, stones, some dirt as well, different color of grass… and here r some image examples how u can approach to ur “problem” :slight_smile:

I hope u’ll find at least one thing to fill that space there. Im also thinking about a blue background… or at least a bit more blue there in the back. At the moment it seams that the whole piece is in the same level… its true that in the back there arent so many details as in the front, but with some blue scheme there the pic would get more depth. This is all just my opinion. I know and Im sure that ur piece will be awesome when u finish it, no metter if u use some of my advices or none. So I just wish u good luck and keep up the great work :slight_smile:


Hey, everyone! thank you all for the nice notes.
No update today, at least graphically… It’s been a busy week here.
But hey, check this out:

For those of you who’ve been paying any attention to this stuff I’m doing at, we just released animated gif support yesterday, and how cool is that? :slight_smile:
okay, so I’m excited, sorry! Back to the challenge:

Bryce - but you were so insistent! :smiley:

Britt - I could maybe make that point less pointy, but I like the harder shadow. I had it much softer earlier in the development, and then someone (I can’t find who it was who suggested it right now, sorry!) called me on it, pointing out that all of the other shadows in the foreground were more hard-edged. And they were right. I think it fits the piece better this way, sorry!

Adonihs - Thanks! Hope you’re feeling better, too.

Lots of people in the middle there- Thank s for the votes of confidence!

Blaz - Hey, good to see you again. Thanks as always for your feedback, and for the great reference shots too. I’ve been doing lots of sketches of flowers and plants lately, myself. It’s spring here in Northern California, and as I walk to the bus in the morning, I study all the plants along the way, and sometimes take photos. Those purple plants by the fenceposts are some that grow in my neighborhood. Just yesterday I was doing sketches for how they might fit in the lower left corner.

I know that right now the grass in the foreground is looking all the same. It’s the second-largest area I still need to work on (after the sky.) I’ve ben taking careful note on my walks about all different grasses, clover, little flowers… and of course as I walk and look, trying to decypher in my head, “Okay, how would I turn that into a custom Photoshop brush?” I’m still new to messing with those, but that’s how i did the grass that’s in there now, tinkerred with one of the out-of-the-box brushes until it suited my scene and painting style. Think I’ll try it some more.

So yeah, expect a lot more flowers and plant life and variation in the foreground. Maybe the background too, not that I look at some of Blaz’s references. (Thanks again for those.)

Think that’s all for now… thanks for stopping by!



I’ve done a little work on the sky. I plan on adding stronger glows and the god-rays this weekend, maybe.
I can’t decide whether those birds work up there. What do you think? I can’t seem to find a better place for them, though. Any ideas?

I also added the flowers in the lower right corner. Again, I could really use some feedback about whether they’re working.

I have NOT done anything new to the lawn in the front aside from adding those corner flowers, and still plan to do some more based on peoples’ feedback, so hold off on that for a while, okay?

That’s all…



Ceci n’est pas god-rays?


Hey mike, awesome so far!

As for the birds, id say ditch them, if you feel weird then go with your instinct. Personally, and to be honest: the first thing my eyes caught were the birds and not the characters so to be they distract a bit. They dont LOOK bad, just kind of distract you. I think the lawn looks fantastic as it is, clouds also…the so called “God Rays”, personally I say leave them out, its up to you though. The clouds are epic enough, and adding the rays (which I always used to do) would just overwhelm them, unless they were on a low opacity…preferablly around 25%. But ya the image rocks man, great job so far!!


which one’s the girl??? i’m serious!

Wonderful image Mike…actually I like the birds very much…perhaps they should be toned down, almost invisible against the clouds as your previous viewers suggests as an alternative to ditching them altogether…sunbeams would be great too!


Theresa - Maintenant, non. Attendres-tu.
Et merci pout the nice stuff about me you said in your thread. :blush:

Adonihs - Thanks for the honesty, juyst what I was looking for. Of course we can’t always just go with our first instincts: If we did, there’d be no reason for all of these progress threads! :slight_smile: That spot up there seems like the only half-way decent place for the birds… except for the fact that it’s just above the characters’ heads, which is, as you say, distracting. :confused:
I do want to do more work on the lawn and the sky. Don’t worry, they won’t be strong god rays, but I always intended more indication of light streaming in from the right. They’ll be a lot lower opacity than 25%, though. I think it’s my post #299 that has the comp wiht them in… or just stay tuned, I’ll post them here soon.

oceanbluesky - If you couldn’t tell that the figure on the left in the short skirt and sexy legs and thin waist was a girl then perhaps you weren’t looking closely enough… Seriously! :slight_smile:
Thanks for chiming in about the birds and the sunbeams!

More updates later today…






I think this is the best I have seen from you. Truly a masterpiece.

Just one little intsy bitsy nitpick, I would think about breaking up the flock of birds in the distance. Other than that it is gorgeous!

Best of Luck in the judging!


Je ne dors pas. J’attends. Oh and about the nice things I said-c’est vrai. de rien, je vous en prie. :slight_smile: Ok, enough of such wanton insanity. How is it possible that we only have a few weeks left on this? It used to be 2 months left…and now… :eek: