Foolhardy foraging

Trying to get the idea down and not to be too invested at this point.

I’m probably biting off more than I can chew with this lighting, but I can’t really do without it either.


Trying to figure out how antlers work.

Hi @Bleke
Can you elaborete what are you trying to achieve in this scene?
I assume its a midnight encounter with a strong post light and to me it looks like in would benefit from more contrast, this way silhouette is easier to read to an eye.

I’ve added some deeper shadows on your piece if you dont mind to show how it works under the spoiler


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Yes, you’re right. I’ve been too timid with the shading.

It was supposed to be midnight at first, but then I changed it to dusk to make the ruins in the background more readable.

Civilization has fallen, but somehow this one streetlight still works.

Thanks for your input! I’ll see if i can try it out tonight.

Probably need to rethink the entire composition so that it won’t feel so static.

I like the bottom left composition, allows for cearly visible shapes of human and moose and lamp post would explain strong lightning.

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Good idea to do some more composition sketches. It hurts to ditch something that you’ve spent a lot of time working on already, but what can you do?

The bottom left seems promising, however that composition is essentially split into two equally large horizontal strips. What about a lower angle, pushing the horizon lower and letting the moose and man break into the sky area? Also, maybe play on the size difference between these two a bit? Depending on what kind of action you want to have here, the moose could, for example, rear up on its hind legs:

Of course we’re now getting into kind of monster territory, it’s a scary beast at this point. Also, excuse my moose… I leave the task of figuring out what a moose actually looks like to someone else :smiley:

Edit: I should actually have put the horizon line much lower still for this kind of view, somewhere around the man’s knee or shin level…

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Thats what I had in mind. Thanks for confirming the idea! :slight_smile:

I wasn’t at the stage where it hurts. Still trying to find the right angle. :slight_smile:

Actually the horizon line is down at their feet in that image. That’s why they’re standing essentially on the same line. I think I see what you mean though… the grey area behind them is supposed to look like foliage. It shouldn’t be so tangential to their bodies. I think I’m going to bring the foliage up, quite substantially, as if they are standing beneath a canopy. With a bit of sky showing through. And bring the “camera” closer to the duelists for a more bottom-up view.

I just love your moose! It seems like he’s saying “He- hey! What are you doing, man? That’s like, dangerous! Wtf!?” :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Yeah, I thought about having the moose already in an attack, but I can’t imagine any reasonable action to take for the guy, except the top right image. If I were a moose I would use my appendages with lots of prongs and pointy bits in an attack. Rearing up would only expose weak points.

I think I’ll avoid that difficult situation and settle on the standoff before any attack.

I think that is actually a good idea. Most tension is before action

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Guess who just found the perspective assistant? :slight_smile:

Just fooling around so far.

Note to self: stop wasting time crosshatching studies

Hi @bleke!

the composition is getting better now! It’s a pretty clear triangular composition. Only thing is, the spear kind of stops the flow:

There’s any number of things you could do here.The spear and the antlers are almost parallel right now, which seems a little unintentional. I would either make it a conscious decision and have them actually be parallel, or, probably better, angle either the spear or the mooses head differently so their “lines” clearly cross…

I’m not great at intuitively finding the best compositions, but have found it helpful to just play with basic shapes - triangle, sphere, rectangle - and see how they can be used to form an image.

Right now you have something like this:

Theres a lot of interesting things here BTW, the way the different legs create a rhythm is pretty cool.

My first instinct would be to change the way the forager holds the spear:

But that does kind of dissolve the tension. Having the spear bisect the image like it does in your composition is pretty gutsy, but if you lean into it, it kind of creates a trap for the moose and makes a subframe within the image, containing just the moose’s head.

So here’s another option:

In this version, the line the antlers defone leads us back to the forager’s head, and there’s a back-and-forth tension between the antagonists. I would also let the antlers break just a bit above the bisecting line of the spear, just to make the composition a little more natural.


Wow, this is really cool! I’ve never thought of composition this way before.

It also determines the placement of the street light, which I wasn’t really sure where to put before. That’s why I left it out.

Thank you very much! :metal: :slight_smile:

And take all the fun away?

Glad to help! I find I need to be very deliberate about planning compositions, or I end up painting myself into corners, with elements haphazardly overlapping each other in unfortunate ways. It’s almost like painting is an exercise in trying to wrap an odd-shaped object in a sheet with as few wrinkles as possible. I can easily end up in a place where suddenly all the important details are bunched up in one confused mess, simply because of how I set up the initial conditions, and no amount of fine-tuning will help if the core composition is wrong.

So I’ve started forcing myself to just work in basic shapes until it works, usually in a kind of iterative fashion. I’ll sketch something quickly, see what kinds of shapes emerge and work those shapes into better abstract compositions. Then redraw based on that. It helps me because I tend to be so stuck in thinking of perspective etc. that I can’t grasp the 2d composition I’m actually working on.

Perspective in general is a little troublesome at the sketching phase, it tends to tie you down into mediocre solutions. I’ve had more success with just winging it for initial sketches and then, when the composition works, figuring out vanishing points that make sense.

Yes, it can’t be all fun and games. :slight_smile:

Without crosshatching I could have made two or three more studies and with a faster shading technique at least one more.

Oh well, it’s too late now anyway. Submissions for the monthly art contest closed today. I’ll try to finish this one as a challenge for myself.

Yes and no… a few basic shapes in perspective can be a visual guide when you’re sketching.

Agree about the struggles with composition.