Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Something I'm working on, but I'm unhappy with something I can't quite put my finger on.  Any suggestions/critiques?


  1. My first impression is that the mountain in the foreground is closing off the picture. It's like it's turning it's shoulder on the viewer. If the whole image was moved over so the fore ground mountain was more on the right of the image, it might work better. That's just what I think. Do with it what you will.

  2. I'm feeling a lot of tension right where the clouds meet the mountain. A lot of competition for attention - like the clouds are too detailed, contrasty and the shapes are fighting. But hey, it's better than anything I can do so I think it's pretty good.

  3. You have this great curve going from the top left to the bottom right. But you just shoot right past the village. So I guess adding an element to take you back to the village would help. Or what croonstreet said.

    Good luck, I'm sure you will solve this :D

  4. Nice work, I love the sense of movement and turmoil in the clouds.

  5. First of all: I love your work.
    About this ilustration maybe all the atention is on the left side (the cloud, the mountain, the village) unless this was your intention :)

  6. "I'm not worthy" etc!!! But here's what I would try out.

    My eye was traveling from bottom left towards top right, then the line going through the echoing shapes of the cloud and the mountain veered it towards top left sharply.
    Everything is happening at left, but I feel like I can't see it, because the picture is cropped off there (like croonstreet said, the mountain is "looking" left and yet the image keeps opening up to the right). I would move the cloud, WHICH I DREW because I can't explain it.

    OR, if it's the village that should be getting more attention, maybe flip the mountain to look/"hang" over the village?

    In either case I would make the cloud somewhat smaller because it is so similar in both size and shape to the mountain. Howebber, what do I know :]

    Love your blog btw, I lurk a lot.

  7. Of course, I can't see the thing, now that I'm in this mode. I agree that the clouds' detail, unless they are part of the story, completely draws the eye away from the village. I am assuming, being human, that the village is the story, and the landscape the vs? I keep thinking I'm seeing some kind of steam-punk space ship (earth ship) emerging from the turf, and that the clouds are - well, steam-bourne. The whole thing tips strongly to the left. The shadow on the right is heavy, but instead of giving that corner weight seems to be pushing the brighter areas above it over on their shoulders. I don't understand what you are doing with this image, I guess. I can't tell what's story and what's mood and what's just landscape????

  8. Reiterating what a couple others have said...the illustration is very left-heavy. The shadow that spans to the right bottom side is trying to anchor the picture, but if you blur your eyes the clouds seem like they are (literally) sucking up the mountain-range and throwing it like a frisbee. Maybe move the mountain in the foreground more to the right and make it more prominent?

    (thanks for the opportunity for feedback! ^_^ I enjoy your blog, and your contributions to the Friend)

  9. long time listener, first time caller. even with this, impressed as always.

    i'd have to echo the comments above related to the quirky composition.
    the clouds and mountain face take command as the focus, but they are all they way over on the left as well as leaning left. also, the forested ground plane occupies a good portion of the composition, but there isn't really much going on there.
    perhaps just a crop might do it, by cutting off a good section of the bottom and right sides. and maybe tone down the highest contrast point back from that foreground peak and it's shadow to somewhere around the village and center peak.

  10. Looks like you have a lot of suggestions already, which I didnt read hehe.

    For me, I think your canvas seems squished on the left - like when you run out of room on paper and you squeeze everything into a small area and it looks out of proportion. Also the composition almost works better flipped because I think you've put practically everything in the image within the first 1/3-1/2 of the image and little elsewhere - like you are done looking at the image halfway in and ready to move on ...

    hehe sorry rambles. Its lovely.

  11. Im guessing the background landscape is your centre of interest, namely the zenith of the beak mountain... as this is where the highest contrast is, and all the other lines are drawing the eye there too.

    Personally i'd allow your village to breathe a little more, by pulling in the shadow of the foreground mountain to the right a bit? Im guessing this isn't a digital piece so its not possible to lasso tool that whole mountain a smidge to the right...heh. This was fun. You know best though :)

  12. Something is bothering me in regards to the shadow being cast in the foreground by the mountain in the foreground. I feel like it doesn't match the lighting scheme of the rest of it...

  13. Hmmm , IMO everything else has the pages texture on it, yet the clouds seem very smooth and painterly... that might be it. goodluck looking nice.

  14. I think it might be some of the textures, for instance, the sky texture seems to clash with the rest, especially with the soft clouds.

  15. I would love to see some reflected light in the large shadow of the foreground mountain - it seems so dark and cool colored.

  16. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I think the sky has a barrel distortion effect going on which is not happening in the mountains below. because of this there is a unification difficulty for the viewer(me):P what do tyou think?

  17. Latest criticism I received said that there was no story in my artwork and everything is supposed to have a story. I don't even think that's even true, but if it is, then I guess it's the problem with this one.

  18. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Sam, the quick fix is to hack off the right fourth of the picture. Turn it into a square layout, and everything snaps into place.

    There's just nothing happening over on the right. If you don't want to crop it, maybe just put an angry giant on the far right, in the distance, sneaking up on the unsuspecting town? It'll turn it into a story, too!

    Nice job and good luck!

  19. I think it's because there's an absence of a real focal point... I think if you cropped the right side to the right side of the mountain, you'd already have better composition... However, I'd also flip the painting horizontally and focus more on the direction the mountain is facing, perhaps showing more valleys and rivers/waterfalls and such.

  20. I'm geeking out over those clouds.

    O.O Cloooouds

  21. It needs a godzilla monster stepping on the village...


  22. i would nix the hill in the foreground and move in closer to the other mountain that seems to be the center of attention - OR if you nix that hill in the foreground, make it into a little village scene or winding road, something down there in the landscape to accent the giantness of the main mountain.

  23. Lovely piece there, but the eye seems to be drawn up the curve of the mountains and then is pulled across the streamer of clouds instead of being coaxed down to the village, which I assume is your intended focus. the village is lost in the shadow and I didn't notice it at all at first.

    And this sounds weird, but I feel like you have hidden a large lizard in that mountain/cloud arrangement. I can almost but not quite see it...

  24. You will never know if you are good at something until you put yourself into it...you already summed that part bro!

    Your art is so inspiring always..even this one is...trust me!
    I love the shapes of the clouds...and the distance you have created it! I struggle with that...
    working on it!

    Most of the folks have given their mind. Am sure it will help you!

    Keep up the great work bro!
    Warm wishes

  25. I think it's a simple matter of composition - where the focus point lies. Maybe placing the mountain on the 2/3 | 1/3 line would make for a better feel; make the mountain 'face' the viewer. But that means that you'll likely have to change the whole picture, including leaving out the nice clouds...

  26. That's easy. The fact that the large masses of the mountains are all tilted to the left, and the ground is uneven, gives the image an unbalanced look of unresolved mass. It looks like the whole landscape is heaving itself to the left.

  27. I think its awesome. You're the man!

  28. Thank you everyone for the great feedback!

    A lot of people mentioned that I should bring more attention to the village. For me the village is incidental, it merely says that people live here. So if it's competing for attention I might take it out entirely.

    I agree that the composition is very left-weighted! The elements that make it that way are all intentional though, so maybe instead of cropping or changing that area I will try to balance it out with more information on the right side.

    Kelipipo: Great suggestions and thanks for the doodle-over. I'm going to try and address those problems.

    Andy Mac: Beak mountain! I like it. Actually it is digital, so moving things around isn't a problem.

    Several other comments talked about story, and I think this is a great point. I actually had a story when I started, but as the image developed it became more about the landscape, so I might work to bring some of those story elements back in.

    Thank you all again for the great critiques!

  29. Hmmm. I thought the village was important, but only as a scale for that massive cave in the side of the mountain.

    You have this serene landscape; vast, beautiful and green with life. Then you have this gigantic cave leading beneath the fairy tale. What's in there? Who knows?

    The cave was the picture for me. I feel like almost all of the lines in the picture are pointing to it.

    I don't know. Maybe it's not even a cave.

  30. Is that a blue whale in the clouds? I love it, it makes me want to lean to the right, though to balance it out.

  31. I have a great idea! Let's put all the comments together, flip it inside out and wait 23 hours...and we're done!

  32. Paint somethin on the right corner , something like a rock or a tree, more closed of the view point.
    .This way the composition will have more sense.

  33. wow. can't wait to see this finished.

  34. curvature of the earth might make me feel higher off the ground.

  35. Great job!!!
    Beautiful pictures !!

    In spanish:
    Es increible tu blog... me encanta como ilustras ...
    Realmente eres un gran artista !!

  36. I think bringing the focal mountain into the right hand portion of the comp. may work a little better...as the curve of it will then lead you in to the picture as opposed to out of it...

    perhaps :)

  37. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Perhaps it needs foreground treatment in the lower/right side, like maybe the mountain ridge juts up here in the lower right corner.

  38. I have loved your stuff for a long time. To be honest if I ever produced a picture as good as this I probably wouldn't change a thing.

    I love the way the clouds are. They have interest extreme. Great job. It is like Mount Timpanogos. The clouds behind the mountains brings out the focal point. If the clouds were moved the value of the sky and mountains would clash.

    I agree with Andy Mac, moving the smaller mountain to the right just a bit. Also that area slightly below could use some interest like rocks or tree holes, etc. Maybe just bigger texture, to create more depth.

    If the values on the right side (land) had more contrast it would give a better read and add to the composition. Personally I would darken the darks and I would put a light value running from the little mountain off the picture. This would direct the eye into the focal point. And break up that dark space.

    Wow I wasn't going to say that much. I'm a nerd. I guess...... I will keep going?

    Since the left side has so many peaks, placing peaks on the right side will break up space and add interest.

    I have two more comments: one is the clouds are almost the same color as the mountain. You have separated them in value and treatment of texture. I have never been able to do this. Anyway, a slight color change in either would help. More yellowish in the mountain? or more greenish in the clouds? PS I love the purples and greens in the clouds.

    Last comment....if you squint your eyes, the rocky area from the left leading up to the mountain is lighter in contrast than the main mountain. Reversing that relationship might help.

    I hope these comments help. Most of them are kind of nit-picky.

  39. Anonymous11:28 AM

    2/3 thirds up on the right hand side of the picture requires a very small semi-dark gesture of a valley or shadow on the mountain approach curving into the action completing the compositional curve. The reason being that it would in effect act as a slingshot to throw the eye into your main directional pursuit, which you are after, but it would hold a balance that would keep the eye of the viewer from only going in one direction, even though that is precisely the direction, you want your viewer to move into. Its more a feel for a sense of balance and draw back, making for a more dynamic vibe. A simple thought. Randy Ranson

  40. Anonymous9:18 PM


  41. I wana congratulate you for such a wonderful and excellent work keep it up though its awesome


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