Illustration work

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polycounter lvl 6
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razz polycounter lvl 6
Hi everyone!

I've been watching too much Princess Mononoke and for a long while I wanted to create my own character and make a bunch of illustrations that would tell a sort of story and little bit and bobs about the character and the world. This is the first one I'm working on. Aiming for a nicely painted out background and a different style for the character to make it look like a movie screenshot. Getting stuck on it, as I'm not entirely happy with it but whatever I do doesn't seem to be improving it much in my eyes. Any feedback most welcome, tear it apart!


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  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    I think its Beautiful! and you managed to match the style really close as well, especially the environment.

    maybe you could change up the colors of the character a bit, or at least play with the contrast or something to make her pop a bit more. she blends into the background a lot compared to the Ghibli style, unless thats intentional.
  • zachvance
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    zachvance polycounter lvl 2
    The illustration is beautiful. Well put together and executed, and has a nice touch of narrative with the posistioning in the enviroment and the items the character has with her. I'm not sure what else I would do to it, personally. @lotet makes a good point in separating the character from the background a little more. Maybe a little more atmospheric perspective added to the main big tree in the background to help the character to stand out, if anything. Only if that's what you want the focus to be though.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Lotet, thank you. I've been dealing with that before, it was intentional in a way, because I thought of her as living in the forest, so having green clothing made sense, so she blends in with the environment, but it doesn't really work for illustration purposes, or not the way I did it at least. Making some changes!

    Zachvance, thanks! Yeah, I'm not sure myself. Whatever I do on it, doesn't seems it's going anywhere further at this point.

    Took both of your feedback and made some changes. There you go

  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
  • EVF
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    EVF polycounter lvl 3
    very ghibli! super nice, and yes nice changes you made
  • zachvance
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    zachvance polycounter lvl 2
    I like both very much, but I do think the updated version works better. Great work! Hopefully we can see some more soon!
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks again guys for helping out with the last bits on the piece! I'm already sketching out a new one, so I may just post that one a bit earlier than this ;]
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Started a new one. Been struggling with the character because I didn't really think it through, so I've had her in a bunch of different poses now, each a little different story, but I'm still not sure what I'll go with. I keep changing my mind.

    You'll see a lot of Mathias Zamecki in the background as I was looking at his studies and how he painted certain elements. 

    Any feedback and suggestions are most welcome ;]



  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    background is looking really good.
    not digging any of the poses to be honest though, maybe ad some more props and/or characters or something? 

    maybe have her hide behind the tree and have someone/something looking for her over at the right?
    maybe she stole something or is protecting the fox from a predator? just throwing out ideas here, you probably have a better view of what would be fitting.
    it would be nice to have a bit more action though, since the last one was pretty calm, it would be a shame telling a similar story again.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Not digging them myself, Iotet. I've had the same idea you're suggesting, as those two are not the only sketches I've made of the different poses. In the end, it was a bad idea starting to render things out without solving the composition and story fully. It's also starting to look too close to what some of my inspiration pieces look like, so I'm going to keep this as a practice piece and move on to the next. 
    I did make new dagger designs, so there's that ;] 
    Thanks a ton for stopping by again! I appreciate the feedback.

    Here's where I'll leave it

  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thought it would be a good idea to post these things a bit earlier in the process. Here goes, more actiony. Not sure about the hail of arrows, may not work in this angle, but I'll getting it a bit further before deciding.



  • quockhanhlk
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    quockhanhlk polycounter lvl 6
    this thread has been very awesome to read so far, good work on the latest piece !

    since its a work in process piece, my suggestion would be to exaggerate the pose a little bit more, think in term of the line of action and how it would be. Personally i would bend the upper torso down a little bit more, keep one (or both) foot(feet) off the ground to suggest motion

    also i think there is a small scaling problem ( compare the size of the character and the trees in the foreground).

    Cant wait to see more !

  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Well spotted on the scaling issue. I'll be sure to work it out. I'm not too fond on the whole foreground/midground separation, so I may try to connect them a little. Already have something in mind, just need to get to doing it.

    I'll be trying out different things for the character, perhaps some sketchy line art blur effect would work well to show the motion. In the sketch now my idea was that she's behind that little hill, but I see how it would be better to put her in the front and show the feet off the ground.

    I'll be going to a forest to shoot a bunch of reference, so that should be fun too!

    Update on this piece late next week ;]
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Moving forward


  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    I like the arrows.
    my biggest issue is the posing,  It feels a bit stiff.  I wish it could be a bit more dynamic, and that we didnt have to look at it from so far away and with that side view.

    maybe you dont wanna show the character so much from the back as in my shitty paint over, but I really think you can push this further!


  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Iotet, thanks a ton! Really appreciate you stopping by and giving feedback. I've worked over it to get everything sort of down and it does already work much better. I'll exaggerate the pose some more, see if I can get some motion through in other ways as well, but it's moving in the right direction.


  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    looking good! you can probably stretch her right leg even further back so its matching the curve/action line on her back.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Ended up changing a bunch of things, thanks for the feedback!



  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Niiiice! 
    why is she running though?  maybe she stole some food or money, holding it in her hand/belt or something :)
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    You know, the further I go, the less I like that hail of arrows. And who would use so many arrows to get someone who stole a coin pouch ;P
    So I'm proposing another idea, no more arrows. I want to introduce her companion which I've been designing before her even. I even have it in 3D!
    So the story becomes about a simple race/playtime between them two.



  • evelynSoa
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    evelynSoa polycounter lvl 2
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks, guys! 

    Didn't do any work on the characters, but the background is moving forward. Just lots and lots of painting to do now.



    I should also post a painting I keep looking at when working on this HERE. This is from the movie "The Secret World Of Arrietty". 
  • TheLittlePaint_
    Absolutely beautiful work! Can't wait to see how it will turn out. :)
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Hey, LittlePaint. Glad you like it! Still lots to do on it, but I like where it's going myself now ;]

    I took a little break from painting it, as it's now just adding details. Very time consuming and I couldn't do that nonstop, so I jumped into 3D and made these little guys. Sent them out to be 3D printed too! With that done, I'm back to painting and I'll post an update when it's worthy ;]



  • Fris
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    Fris triangle
    Great job on the piece! if i could add anything i would say the character upper body shift is competing with the environment and if you want to make it more dynamic i would tilt the background the opposite way of the character shoulder weight, here are some quick notes to help if you don't mind :smile:
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thank you, Fris! I believe I've addressed all of the things you've mentioned. Changed the background up a bit as well to frame the character better. It's getting there. Soon!



  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Great work, hope to see more from this in the future :)
  • quockhanhlk
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    quockhanhlk polycounter lvl 6
    this one turned out so great, i love it !
  • zachvance
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    zachvance polycounter lvl 2
    Amazing. If this made rounds online you'd be getting folks asking what movie it's from. Bravo.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Hey guys, thank you for the kind words! Forgive me the long absence. I have been practicing some figure drawing and character design as I've found it fairly difficult when doing these illustrations. I should soon start something more with this character of mine ;]

    Meanwhile, here's some sketches I've done unrelated to this





  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    hey, your alive!
    these are really nice, great gesture and lighting.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Sure am, Iotet! Thanks for checking up on me ;]

    In case there's anyone following this thread, I thought I'd let you know that I've joined the Riot contest, so this place will be quiet until I'm done with that. You can find a link in my signature or just click HERE. No worries, there's more forest ladies over there. See you! 
  • zachvance
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    zachvance polycounter lvl 2
    Yay! I want more updates from you. Great job on the character sketches, I dig the angles.
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks, Zachvance

    Alright, as I'm finally done with the contest, I'll get back to the other stuff. Nothing major for some time, want to do some studies and learns a few things. I was thinking of some quicker illustration work, try and get the story and composition down without spending ages on it.

    By the way, here's the final for the contest:


  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Next one in line. I'm planning on painting this one in gouache, so it may fail miserably.


  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    ooh, love the look of this last one :)
  • infintas
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    infintas node
    What I really like is the angle of the composition, makes it feel like we are watching her and she is watching out for us. 
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Hey guys! Thanks for the kind words ;]

    I'm continuing on with the last one. The other one is also in progress, but with real paints, so it'll move slower. I'll show it when/if it gets ready. But here's the spooky forest before I go too crazy into painting.

    Any feedback much welcomed!
  • audi100
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    audi100 polycounter lvl 11

    hi Razz beatiful illustrations you have here, tried to make a little suggestion.
    i think on the last one the stones are a bit disconnected from the enviromnent, not sure about the roots but those might help integrate them into the environment a bit more. Guess some more grass in front of them would work too ;)
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks! I've started adding some roots to make the connection better, but ended up not liking the whole tree in the end, so made a few changes. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Still work in progress. I'm thinking of changing what I put in there as a story point, but here's the environment for now.


    And I did a little test to animate my first illustration too. Check down below, and then some WIP screenshot HERE.



    I'm also working on the other illustration in gouache, but that one is moving along quite slowly. Hope it'll be worth showing at some point.
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    Awesome as always!
    I think there is some polish you can do on the animated illustration, for example the camera motion is looking a bit robotic, rocking back and forth that way.
    I also think you could dial back the motion of the character a little bit, its looking a bit extreme right now. 

    everything else is looking great :)
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Iotet, there sure is room for improvement for sure. It was more of an exercise to figure out how it could be done, as I haven't given it enough time to make it really polished. It's very time consuming as is, and I'd like to give it the attention it deserves, but not for this one. Thanks for the feedback. I'm not overly happy with the animated piece, but I've figured out the technique, so next time's gonna be better ;]

    Will be calling this one done. 


    Wanna move on to making some hand painted plants in 3D. Wondering how helpful would those be for my illustrations. Stay tuned!
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    oh no...not the fox :(
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    I know, Iotet.. ;[

    I've been working on something else than illustrations, that's why so quiet in here. I'll post where it stands now, but other than that I'll probably just get back with the final version (if it ever gets there), cause it's 3D and unrelated to this topic.



    I have been doing some work to improve on the pieces I've been doing here. Some character studies from games and movies I enjoy. I've done these, I'll gather a bit of a reference board and I'll try redesigning my character. 


  • Chill_Pill
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    Chill_Pill polycounter lvl 4
    razz said:
    Well, might just call it done. Onto new adventures!


    Loving this one. The fox' pose and the landscape comp+render are spot on. I'd just add some wrinkles on the character's clothes, it kind of feels unfinished. But maybe I'm too late :)
  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    hey, nice work! thats for retrogasm right?
  • razz
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    razz polycounter lvl 6
    Chill_Pill, you might be right, but I'll have to take is as a preference thing. I tried keeping the details (like folds) down to a minimum on the character, but your feedback tells me I haven't done the best job simplifying. I'll be sure to improve on my next one, thanks a lot!

    Iotet, aah, you're the one making that Raziel one! It's one of my favorites in the competition! It is for Retrogasm, yes. I'm just running low on time and not sure I'm gonna finish in time, but fun to jump back on 3D again.

    Meanwhile, since I'm only doing the 3D character before work/during lunch, started something else at home.


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