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Author Topic: Second Gondolwain portrait  (Read 13641 times)
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Faugar
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« on: 06 January 2011, 07:15:15 »

Hi all,

Best wishes for 2011!

I've been working on this one for a while now, and finally got something worthwile down on virtual paper. It's supposed to be a full body portrait.
The clothing, hairdo and jewelry are sketchy at the moment. Nothing is really final, so I'm waiting for comments :)
Here are two versions I have:
« Last Edit: 13 May 2011, 23:50:04 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged
Bard Judith
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« Reply #1 on: 06 January 2011, 09:04:56 »

Stunning lighting and anatomy, as usual! 

 In the first picture, I like the pensiveness and static, confined energy that is so effectively expressed in pose, facial expression, lighting .... even the shadowing of the sky and the slightly threatening setting of the rocks that overhang her.  What is the strange, shadowy urn upon which she seems to be resting her feet? 

The second picture seems at first glance similar, but the lighting and atmosphere give it a very different feel of freshness and expectancy.  The bright, realistic skin tones - superb!  The angle of light which suggests an early morning storm has just cleared away, and the pose of the two women, which almost suggests the same.... sharp words have just passed between them but they are on the verge of turning to make it up, perhaps?    Innovative clothing, right down to the wooden clogs and the attractive sandals. 

The only critique that I would dare venture at this stage of the two pieces is that their faces seem strangely....modern.... and upon analysis, I think that is primarily due to the short, fluffy hairstyles more than anything else.  Obviously long, heavily stylized and coiffed tresses would be out of place at the shore, and conflict with their fresh, light clothing.... yet somehow the short hair seems so fifties (which is not to say that it's not beautifully rendered, or unflattering....simply anachronistic).  Is it specified in the tribal entry that the Gondalwain women cut their hair to chin or ear length, perhaps?  Is there some cultural explanation or gloss which would help us with that?  Just a thought...

Beautiful handling of water, rocks, and especially light, as always.  Bravo, Faugar, and happy to see you so early on in the new year!
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« Reply #2 on: 06 January 2011, 10:43:32 »

Wonderful pictures Faugar.  I think I have said this before but I wish I could watch you work I would learn so much.   I love that you are able to draw such supple skin.  My people always turn out so stiff looking, as if they are statues.  Well since I cannot watch you work I will have to settle for studying your images. 

Keep up the good work.  thumbup  Great to see you around.
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Artimidor Federkiel
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« Reply #3 on: 06 January 2011, 16:50:40 »

We haven't seen Faugar for quite a while methinks, so I don't even remember anymore when the request was made... lol But the pictures are definitely something where we need our Gondolwain expert, Coren!

Some notes from here: The people once again are well executed, as is for example also the dress of the girl standing which I like very much. Also the contemplative pose in the first one is especially nice :D

But there are some things in the pictures - as Judy also pointed out - that remind me a bit of pinup calendars ofthe fifties. Could be that this has to do mainly with the haircut, but I swear the second sitting girl in picture number two could as well sit on James Dean's car! She has that pose, hair, trousers and even tank top, so that all makes it appear very modern indeed. Maybe it's also because they are just sitting/standing there as if waiting for a photographer to come by, meaning: there are no objects, buildings etc. around that explain why they are there. So that put together contributes to the "out of time" feeling. Of course it's basically Coren's call, on how the Gondolwain are meant to look like, just making observations  grin

BTW, Faugar: Do you have a larger version of the portrait you made for Shabakuk a while ago (Fu Luft)? Shabakuk says he only has a small version, though it might come in handy now to be used as Shabakuk's player portrait in Santhworld, now that we're supporting customized player portraits.

Speaking of which - the Santhworld extension Nepris II with a bunch of your pictures will be released in the coming weeks (teaser here if you haven't seen that one yet, sound required)! So make sure not to miss that so that you can see that we use your pics properly... Unfortunately some of the pics made by our artists in 2010 are top secret material in order not to spoil the story, so that's why they are not eligible for a Pic Award 2010. There are definitely some great ones in there!
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #4 on: 09 January 2011, 07:09:48 »


Astounding pictures, Faugar!

When commenting, I want to distinguish two aspects: (i) the sketches as art-work and (ii) as a tribe illustration.

As regards the artwork, Judith has said everything I wanted to say much more succinctly and eloquently than I ever could. On that front, I have nothing but praise. Both pictures are executed with such consummate skill - you call these sketches!? And the first one is such a powerful painting... When I saw it the first analytical thought that came to mind was "Wait - her hair colour might be a problem. I don't think the Krean have blondes." -- followed immediately by: "Well, as of this moment, it is hereby decreed that there are blonde Krean." It's one of those paintings: if there had been no way to alter the tribe to fit the picture, I would have happily made a new tribe just to accompany the picture and pushed one of the existing Nybelmar tribes off the continent to make room.


As a tribe illustration, I think the most important question is: "What makes this a painting of Goldolwain people rather than that of any other human tribe? Were the caption erased, how would we know from the painting and the painting alone that this was a Gondolwain lady and not one from any other human tribe?" I would therefore love to see more of the characteristics of the Gondolwain tribe appearing in these illustrations.

I know that there has been a divergence of opinion on this issue before - and I for one agree that just because something is meant to be a tribal illustration does not mean that it has to be cluttered, covered with ethnic artefacts and other tribal curiosities from head to toe, horizon to horizon. For instance, personally I am great fan of Faugar's uncluttered, almost minimalist style of illustration. Faugar, every time I see one of your illustrations, I am simply stunned by the way in which you manage to capture the essence of that person/tribe with just two or three characteristic touches. Somehow the understatement itself makes that character stand out. Take the dwarves in the Bard's portrait: how the presence and expressions of those three dwarves not only show the Bard's vocation, but also her charm in the wistful look of one dwarf, and her humour, her personality through the very 'tone' of the painting. Or that orc tribe portrait you did a while ago: the rugged, fading mountains of the background suggesting an immensity of space and independence, a life on the move, a tough life but a free one. And need I mention the ajnuvic and the scenery in the Shendar illustration..


And here too there are a few such characteristic touches. For instance, let's take the first sketch, the one with the brooding lady: the lightness, the finesse of the fabric; the wooden clogs (darn - why didn't I think of that when I wrote the entry? lol); the assertive haircut, echoed in the cut of her dress, the very practicality of her attire, the boldness of her single jewellery, and the way she holds/dangles the clogs from one hand..

In one sense, I guess that Faugar minimalism I so admire is a double-edged sword: the less you have, the important the choice of material becomes. So I wish some of the more characteristic, less-subtle features of the Gondolwain had made it into the illustrations: gondolsilk, gondol-lanterns, sun-catchers, the skerries, the waterfalls, something that would hint at their prowess as traders, explorers, sea-farers and translators etc. Take for instance the geography: a stunning depiction of a beach - I especially love the undulations in the water and how the light plays on the waves. But had it been the skerries or the numerous waterfalls that span their land or the lemon trees so characteristic of their region lining those lagoons or the Aegean-type sand and (macquis) vegetation, that would have shouted 'Gondonwain homeland' to anyone who read the geography section.


To make the point from another angle: When we look at the first picture, what does it tell us about the Gondolwain? The pensiveness, the confined energy suggests a story waiting to be told - why is this woman looking so forlorn, when Gondolwain are usually known for their cheer, self-assurance, robust-disposition? Because I am intimately acquainted with the entry, my eye immediately spots the details that tell me that this might be a Gondolwain lady - and it is those discrepancies, all the details going somewhat against the stereo-type that intrigue me, that make this such a powerful, captivating picture for me. Immediately i begin to wonder: what is her story? Has she lost a loved one in one of those unending naval battles with the Aca-Santerrans and the Tarshiinite? Was she in charge of a trading fleet which was sunk?

But it seems to me that in a tribe illustration the emphasis should be not so much on a captivating story but the stereo-type. Almost like a 'picture-summary' of the thousand words that make up the entry ;)

Of course it only takes me a few words to say 'the grandeur of waterfalls' but it take hours and hours to convert a beach into a coastline/mountain range with dozens of waterfalls and rivers seen from a distance. And I think that would be unfair to ask of you. So I guess what we need to do is to focus what we have now (which I love very much) and try to come up with ways to make that more characteristic of the Gondolwain. What a splendid challenge for our imagination and inventiveness!

I make the following comments in this spirit. They are meant as suggestions and light-hearted “what-if”s rather than the 10 Commandments.


SKETCH-1:

[1] What if we make her dress was enchanted gondolsilk? – the kind that stores sunlight during daylight hours and slowly releases them as it gets darker, building up to a crescendo? I include a quote for a quick reference– more details can be found in the entry. The colour then would be white rather than grey - not off white or creamy pastel colours, but a brilliant, pristine white – think bright sunlight shining on snow, that golden-white radiance. Imagine how much more dramatic that would be – and it would also reflect the theme of ‘pent up energy’ that runs through the painting, which Judith so perceptively pointed out. Imagine the radiance of her dress illuminating some of the rock face etc – what a contrast that would make to the bold purples and blues of the unlit bits!

Aha! I just had an epiphany!: Then the whole picture would be a metaphor for the Gondolwain: a metaphor of their character, inner light, resilience...  The storm clouds, the pent-up, confined spaces, the rock face – these symbolise the external circumstances the Gondolwain find themselves in: the Ancient Krean civilisation is gone; they live in a spirited, stubborn geography; there is war on all sides...  Their “light”, their victories, their joys weren’t something that was handed to them –they had to dig deep and craft it themselves.

PS: Do we want a blazing supernova (lol) – or a more understated radiance? Hard to say without seeing it on paper first – so we might have to tune it down or up later on. I don’t know how this works out in digital media- but is there a way to do it in layers and save it as you go? So that it would be easier to undertake such tuning?


Quote
Elves might always have light on their faces, but so do the Gondolwain – on their clothes. This gives the white-washed settlements of the Gondolwain a luminous quality at firstflame and sunset, which sparks into radiant sparkles around sunblaze, now flashing on, now flashing off, the streets bustling with merchants and craftsmen and sailors and all the dramatis personae of a thriving economy, all aglow and all afire. [...] Also, some Gondolcotton can be enchanted to “store” light and release it incrementally like a slow-burning candle as the day wanes from sundrown onwards – a favourite trick used in all sorts of Gondolith coat of arms, flags, banners and related paraphernalia. Sunset is magnificent everywhere, but in few places on Caelereth is the dusk that follows it as breathtaking as in the Gondolwenith mainland: as Injèrásets, drawing her light away from the Disk back into herself in much the same way the mysterious force of alsetism pulls iron dust onto itself, it is replaced by the softer light issuing forth out of flags, banners, spreads, laundry left out to dry... and the cities of the Gondolwain begin lighting up as the sun sails away from the land, melting into the horizon.

A few other points:

-@Judith: I think the ‘shadowy urn’ is her own shadow?

- Re skin tone: Could it be darker perhaps? More bronze or tanned – a darker brown to bring the white dress into relief? It’s not essential. Whatever you think looks aesthetically better – once you change the dress, if you feel the current, lighter skin tone works better in the context of the whole picture, that’s absolutely fine too.

-Thank you for taking my suggestions on board: “aside from the anorexia  I’m thinking: slightly more muscled – so the arms should look less like sticks and more fit, with lean, long muscle. The kind that is not obstrusive/bulky, but becomes apparent in movement.” That lean, flexible strength is very apparent in the curve of her back and her legs – but right now the arms and left wrist (perhaps also her face) look a bit too thin/weak in comparison. Could you ever so slightly add more muscle tone there – without making her a She-ra? The emphasis being on ‘slightly’?


SKETCH-2: Comments to follow later.

It's getting late and I'm exhausted so I didn't get a chance to read through what I wrote. I hope it makes sense... I get the feeling that I started to ramble half-way through  undecided
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« Reply #5 on: 09 January 2011, 18:31:53 »

Faugar, you are making me jealous! I'm a true fan of you!  grin
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« Reply #6 on: 09 January 2011, 19:24:43 »

First of all - thank you all for encouraging comments and the praise, it does make a difference, trust me! Hugs all around! hug

Second: These 2 pictures are for my satisfaction primary, that is I put down what I had in my head for a whiel, and in a way that suited me. BUT, the intention is to make a portrait that depicts the tribe, not one the tribe entry need to be fitted to. I am glad these serve as a start to talk about the finished picture, the needn't be the final product :)

Third: thank you for understanding Coren, it's exactly wwhat I like best - uncluttered and focused work, and will keep to this style as much as I'm able. I also appreciate you (and others) being inspired by the pictures to see the possible stories behind them!

Fourth: all that sid, after reading your comments I'm thinking of a different approach, namely something like this:

setting is a dark evening / pre-dawn maybe. A Gondolwain female is descending a pathway of tiny waterfalls, making her way down a slope, using the light off her robe/dress/clothing as guide. Perhaps also some other prop can be added (I have to read about those lanterns...). his would make it an interesting light source and show the use of this special fabric as well.

What do you think? I'll try to make a quick sketch to show what I mean, I can already see her pose in my head :)

P.S. @Art - I believe the Fu portrait has been solved - it's a mystery how the attached full res picture I sent 2 years ago was not received properly by him, but it seems it is now :)
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« Reply #7 on: 10 January 2011, 02:22:17 »

Faugar, do you still use art rage, did you use it here?
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« Reply #8 on: 10 January 2011, 04:32:50 »

picture 1 was done in photoshop, but picture 2 was done in Artrage first, then resized and refined in photoshop. I wish there was one perfect application, but both have some appealing features - photoshop has the brush selection and filters, artrage the excellent ease of use and reference image implmentation. There is a problem with artrage however - drawing on a canvas that is zoomed out is not a good idea - the brush strokes are made and smoothed on monitor pixel basis, so when you then zoom back in you see jagged edges :(
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« Reply #9 on: 12 January 2011, 07:41:44 »

After 3 evenings of sketching, I'm still getting nowhere. I need some inspiration or a starting point for the picture. Reading the Gondolwain entry wasn't much help unfortunately, I'd need a setting a scenario. An activity or motive for the depicted person to be there would be helpful also, otherwise I'll come something not fitting and get critiqued for it, which is counterproductive. Coren - can you come up with something?
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« Reply #10 on: 12 January 2011, 08:44:07 »

The girls are in wait of a Father who is at sea.  Rumours abound that the ship was lost in the storm, but the girls are resolute in their belief that their father is alive and at any moment be on the next ship that comes over the horizon.  So they wait, watching for that ship, with mixed emotions in the cool morning light.
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« Reply #11 on: 12 January 2011, 09:09:32 »

Perhaps the one young woman is resolute in her faith that their father still lives; the other lass takes a more 'pragmatic' view, and in trying to discuss their different opinions, words have been exchanged.  "We come here day after day, Shosuanni...day after day spent on the shore while our own lives are left unfilled!". 
"You would desert our sire so soon?"
"Soon?  Arunna, it has been a hundred and three days...fifty days longer than his return was promised.  The creditors howl at our mother's threshold even as we wait..."

And so on.
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #12 on: 12 January 2011, 18:14:10 »

Hi again Faugar!

As I said, I love the two pictures - especially the first one. All that would need to be done to make Sketch-1 more palpably characteristic of the Gondolwain would be to (i) change the colour of the dress from grey to a pristine, bright white and (ii) make it glow.

Since we already have such beautifully rendered paintings (I know you like to call them "sketches" - but seriously?), wouldn't it be easier to just finish one of them rather than start a new sketch from scratch? Or would the light/shadows cast by the glow have such a fundamental effect on the colours and lighting that it would be like re-doing the entire picture? If that's the problem, we can drop the glow and I can try to come up with some other characteristic feature that could be added.


But then you said:

Quote
I'm thinking of a different approach, namely something like this:

setting is a dark evening / pre-dawn maybe. A Gondolwain female is descending a pathway of tiny waterfalls, making her way down a slope, using the light off her robe/dress/clothing as guide. Perhaps also some other prop can be added (I have to read about those lanterns...). his would make it an interesting light source and show the use of this special fabric as well.

What do you think? I'll try to make a quick sketch to show what I mean, I can already see her pose in my head


I'm just a bit confused as to what you would like me to do? Do you want me to


What would be most helpful to you at this stage? Do you want me to write the setting/story caption for the "waterfalls in the dark" scenario you mentioned? Or to write a number of different settings/activities I would consider characteristic for this lady so that you can choose between them?


But again: I would be very saddened to see all this work go down the drain. Even if you would decide to have a different painting for the tribe illustration, I would love to commission them for a person entry. Would there be any way to finish at least one of these pictures some time down the line?


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« Reply #13 on: 13 January 2011, 00:33:51 »

Sorry all, I wasn't clear due to mu frustration of not getting where I wanted to :) Thank you for quick helpful responses!

I'll change the first picture then, make the skin and haircolor darker, change the dress as described and see what we have. Will post the updated version as soon as I have it!
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« Reply #14 on: 13 January 2011, 01:03:19 »

I love the idea of blonde Krean - feel free to keep it if you wish. Ultimately, whatever looks best in the painting :) It's a relatively easy thing to insert three words into an appearance section :P
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"That doesn't sound like much of a rule!"
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