The Blue Crystal

I continue my drawing training and sometimes I push the rendering of a test and finalize it, like in this one. I'm using almost no ref' to train my ability to predict color and light by imagination. Among my new skill, I'm now more confident at drawing and designing men. I can also better predict overexposed light areas and strong sunlight.

It feels great to do progress.


Source and high resolution (4K): Uploaded here.

License: "The Blue Crystal" by David Revoy − CC-BY 4.0
Tags:  #artworks  #speedpainting   | Download: Markdown


link Oel044  

Is that crystal tracting the dragon? Why its eyes are shining please?

link David Revoy Author,

Hey, yes, the crystal has a magic that attracts the dragon. It captivates the beast, and his eyes are resonating with the same blue magic energy. It's a powerful blue crystal, one you want to plug on a weapon or around your neck to control dragons.

link Oel044  

Thank you!

link Lite  

I like this image. The spatial composition is engaging. It manages to have a sense of motion and a sense of repose; the dragon is gliding in, and the figure's position suggests the motion by which he arrived there. The lighting is excellent. The colour composition, islands of blue and red in a sea of green, and the beam of pale yellow light entering from the side and echoed in the figure's hair, is strong and vivid and contributes to the storytelling. The figure is also very real-looking, and it's nice to see a male figure for a change!

Your recent direction reminds me more of <a href=>John Howe</a>, admittedly not a digital artist. But he does things like learning to make armour, so that when he sketches armour for a centaur it is somehow very convincing, even to someone who knows nothing about armour. It's obvious that he can sew, too, and understands how differents fibers and weaves affect drape, from the way he paints clothes. His dragons are based on the biology of real reptiles (and are a lot more convincing than his humans, which aren't as good as in this image). For fantasy artists I think there's a level beyond photoreferencing where you understand what you're painting well enough to imagine it in a convincing way. You really seem to have reached that point with lighting and figure-drawing!

I think part of what reminds me of Howe is the textures. They aren't all photorealistic, but the metal of the <a href=>armoured figure balancing a large blade weightlessly on her shoulder</a> looks metallic, the turf looks cropped-by-sheep, the hair on that image and this looks hairy, and the tree texture here is also good. In this image, some of the the textures give a tactile impression. It makes me automatically imagine how it would feel to have a bare foot on a mossy stone bank just above the cool water, which is very immersive. The lighting and the saturated colours and full range of brightnesses might also be relevant to my impression.

I don't really like Tsukasa Hojo's more realistic art. It looks cliched and stereotyped and somehow very 1950s. It also doesn't really do textures at all. Maybe I'm thinking of the wrong stuff. Anyway, I prefer this.

link Lite  

This is a minor crit, but the mansonry is mildly impossible. Imagine the center of mass (also called the center of inertia) of the stone block on top of the third pillar behind the figure. It isn't directly above the area where the top block is supported by the second-from-top block. This means that the top block would tip over and fall off the column.

You drew a stone wall with largish overhangs, and a window with a flat, unarched top. Modern architecture does that all the time, by using concrete reinforced by steel rebar or steel wire. The steel gives the concrete tensile strength.

But ordinary old-fashioned masonry has almost no tensile strength. If it gets pulled apart even a little, it cracks. So old stone buildings use wooden lintels, or arched-topped windows and doors. Corbels (<i>corbeau</i>) can't stick out very far, or carry very much weight above them, before they break off and the wall above collapses. If you need a deep overhang low down on a pure-masonry building, you use arcardes.

If you mentally slice a masonry structure into tiny horizontal slices, the "line of thrust" is (roughly) a line drawn from the center of gravity of topmost slice, through the center of gravity of the top two slices, the center of gravity of the top three slices, etc. (the ground is part of a masonry structure; when the line of thrust reaches the ground, you can stop imagining it). If the line of thrust stays inside the stone, the structure will stand. If it does not, the structure will collapse.

Medieval masons learned to imagine lines of thrust, so they could build things like the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. But a lot of medieval masonry buildings fell down. Modern engineers imagine and then do math, so their buildings rarely fall down. The drawings of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc are really useful, but visiting actual buildings is better. I understand you are lucky enough to live in France.

I hope I have explained this well enough to be actually useful. Learning to instinctively see lines of thrust is actually really simple but I may have made it sound complicated. I can expand or give links that explain it better if anyone is interested.

link Lyte  

I think I may actually have misunderstood the scale of the wall; when I noticed the root coming out of it it looked smaller. So maybe it isn't implausibly tall and unbuttressed, and the overhangs are small and unloaded enough to be plausible, and the window is only 30cm or so wide, which makes a flat top resonable. That also makes the shape of the background trees make more sense; the light lower down is obstructed by the nearer-and-closer wall, so it makes sense they haven't grown branches there. So much of the above crit is just me stupidly misinterpreting the image. Apologies.

link David Revoy Author,

Hey, thank you, and no apologies are needed. Your comment reminds me I should put more thought into scaling in the distance of objects in perspective, especially when it is supposed to be architecture thought to be relatively sized to human scaling. Thank you for the feedback!

link Lyte  

Thank you, that's very kind! In some ways text is a difficult channel for helpful crit, especially for long comments to strangers; the lack of ongoing feedback makes it so easy to go way off-track from anything remotely helpful. I'll try to post more briefly in future.

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