Composition and conceivable textures


This is a Dragon’s Dogma fanart I’ve been working for a while. I want a strong storytelling piece that would appeal to ADs in fantasy art/book/cardgame industry (so vague, wow. But hopefully this makes some sense) and also show conceivable and interesting lighting and texture on materials. I feel like his robe, mostly, could receive a bit more of realism and textures, so I’m stopping to browse more references and figure how to work with this lighting. Any insight would be superb!

I’m using the empty space around them to communicate a sense of desolation, but I’m worried the composition might seem too empty. What do you guys think? If I draw any more details on the bg, though, it draws attention from the main characters, which is not the path I want to go. I think this might be simply an issue on character placement on the canvas.

I’ve also received some valuable critique in before reaching this point; and the post might be relevand for some more info, in case necessary.

And some of my refs and inspirations - imgur

Thanks! :heart:


The anatomy/figure/clothing have issues with authenticity that I think could have been prevented if you actually worked from photo references you took yourself. There are some details you can’t just fake, and needs to be very specific, otherwise you end up with a lot of vagueness in form like your clothing creases that lack specificity,

You can have family/friends/romantic partner put on whatever clothes/towels/bed sheets that could approximate the clothing you want, and then use household lights you have available to light them as closely to your intended result. If it’s just you, you can get in front of a mirror and use a tripod and shoot yourself as the model. You can even try different poses and angles and lighting to figure out what works best. Doing it that way works far better than trying to “Frankensteining” from whatever references you can collect online, because none of those reference images are tailored specifically for your narrative/intent. I have written about this issue in detail here:

The negative space to me is a bit stark, because the contrast it creates for the main figure is too strong. I think there’s always something you can do in the background that not only makes the composition better, but also improve the narrative too. So think about the premise of the story, who the characters are, what location they’re at, and what had happened previously just before this moment, and think about how establishing a stronger sense of place will make the narrative richer and more interesting.

Also, I think you’re missing some training in structural studies, where you really understand the distinct planes on forms. For example, a face is not just features floating on a soft egg form. There are distinct skeletal structures you need to understand that create sharper turning of forms such as cheeckbones, eye sockets, brow ridges, etc. And clothing creases aren’t just vague folds that lay upon vague cylindrical limbs and flat torsos. There are stress points, compression points, draping, and collecting that you need to analyze and understand.

All of this are stuff I teach in my workshop (though just a fraction of what I teach, since there’s so much more). I have written a lot of in-depth posts on the various subjects related to artistic development, and you can find most of them in the Art Techniques & Theories forum’s sticky threads: