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Old 07-14-2009   #1
Amonite
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Default Dragon Rider -WIP

The Dragon's Child


I am a fan of the theme, although dragons have always given me a bit of trouble - but this is going to be a fun project There are many pictures of Dragon's and Dragon riders out there, I thummed through my younger sister's extensive collection of dragon books, calenders, and such while mulling over ideas, and discarded my first idea (a sort of mage sitting on a dragon on top of mage citidel ruins on top of a cliff with a bunch of clouds) which while would have been rather an 'epic' picture which I like (extreme depth of field, wide landscape, small figures, lots of detail) - there were similar pictures I could find in the calender (maybe not all together, but the pieces) - although if I get time, I might go back and do it, because it would be a pretty fun picture to make.

I settled on my current concept as I wanted to come up with a 'unique' dragone Rider. Originally the child on the dragon's back was going to be a sleeping little boy and the dragon was going to be at rest, but for the challenge and dramatic impact I decided eventually on a dragon in flight. Since 'The Dragon's Child' is actually a story I have had in my head since I was young (which came about when my older sister and I were swapping 'making up a tale' with each other) - the little boy changed into a little girl (who in the story, is raised by the Dragons, most noteably one dragon in particular, of the forest until she manages to sneak into the forbidden areas of the human world as a young woman)



Preliminary sketch (unfortunately it came out really light in the scanner) - for sizing and placement of main elements - most my first rough sketches the dragon I kept making too big - I wanted to get the placement and 'plan' of the piece out on some plain computer paper before I switched over to sketching on vellum



The preliminary composition. This is a smaller/darker scan than the one I have scanned for the reference for my art. Since most my art supplies are packed for the remodel of our house, then I'll be painting digitally. (As fun as it would be to do a dragon in crayon..hehe)

I was planning to use Artweaver and Project Dogwaffle (since I no longer have photoshop, it was on my old computer and the cds for it are packed somewhere) - however I may end up with a problem - I tried opening the base file in Dogwaffle and it froze, which might indicate that the canvas size I want to work in is just too large for Dogwaffle to handle, which would be very sad as it is my program of choice for Digital painting (in combination with a program that allows layers and compilation, such as artweaver or photoshop) - If this does turn out to be a problem, I might have to improvise and save out smaller sections of the base reference and paint those - perhaps just painting focal pieces in Dogwaffle, and doing the majority of the work in Artweaver.


As to the actual coposition - I am mostly ok with the placement, however, the line of the dragon is still off (mainly in the tail, I believe, but also I think perhaps the wings might need some refinement - they are supposed to be in outstretched gliding position, and the entire dragon is at a slight angle to the viewer so that the figure on her back is visible)

From the priliminary sketch to the preliminary composition, I changed the direction of the child rom head facing the dragon head to head facing the dragon tail - both for increased visibility of the child, and so I could work out a system of strapping the child to the dragon (in this case, the child's legs are strapped to the arms of the dragon in addition to the binding that goes around the stomach of the dragon, behind its wings, and over the back of the child - changing the direction also gave more room and less obscurity in the placement of the blanket covering the child, and what the dragon was doing with it

I still have not filled out the 'borders' of the picture, as I am under what design will be complementary to the picture yet not too busy (I have tried out a few, but they have all been irrelevent to the piece, or detracting) - Originally I wanted a key or a lock at the top, but it did not fit with the theme. I do like the 'breaking of the walls' as pieces of the piece go past the borders, so my borders will brobably have a bit of art noveau or celtic elements that break into or past each other.

It's cut off in the second picture, and you can only see bits if you squint hard at the preliinary sketch (or run it through a filter that darkens it or the 'sketch' filter ironically) - but there is a bottom border as well with a quote

" Of the Dragon's Child this is said - "she flew before she spoke ""

I am thinking I might need to take a photo rather than a scan, as the scan lost a lot of my background and detail - although much of that I can fill in as I go. The background/foreground is basically 'the land of a thousand waterfalls', a few ruins, and a ton of trees with special flowers


Feedback is appreciated, especially on dragon anatomy/angles/forshortening
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Old 07-14-2009   #2
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Is it possible for you to reduce the exposure on the image some? It's hard to see the lines in the image so virtually impossible to provide critique ^^.
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Old 07-14-2009   #3
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I think much of the problem I have run into here is that I used far lighter pencils than I am used to (4H, 6H, on the background, 2B, 5B only on the foreground or darkest areas) because I knew as preliminaries I would be reworking a lot and needed light marks (and since I draw darkly, I compensate by light pencils) - once finished, if it were a pencil work, I would have gone over with pencils or inks and cleaned it up - however as it is just a base, it would be extra work/time to do so if I am going to rework over it on the computer. Feedback just on what is visible is fine, since what is visible is the larger pieces of the work anyway

I found my camera, and have taken a few snapshots of the preliminary coposition, and I tweaked the pictures a bit in SilkyPix developer studio so the lines would show up a bit more, and also to get a violet cast (with the color defelection tool primarily), as my underpainting will likely be monochromatic in purples/violets -purple being rather 'magical' in a sense, but also distinctly feminine among colors vs. autumn colors or ambiguous blues, since my dragon is female, but this is doubtful to be guessed just by looking.



This is the complete view of the picture (the darkspot up top is a bit of tape behind it, I had to tape it to a window as there were few places in the house that would allow a picture to be taken without cast shadows or a great deal of hassle) The camera put a glare in the upper right, but the 'sun/light' is actually over in the left of the photo amist some mountains/clouds - I tried not to put lighting in my draft as I was not sure as I drew it where my light sources would be until near the end when I found where I had space for a sky break.


A closeup of the dragon and girl, something wierd is going on with her leg placement, which I think might have to do with the dragon arm placement.

Also on the dragon, I originally had the dragon carrying a package and an orb in his other foot, but I may get rid of the orb? Since it is neither a focal point nor important to the theme of the piece, it might be a confusing detail.


A closeup of the foreground tree and it's flowers, a bit of the dragon's wing, and some of the 'quote'. (Debating whether I should also put in a reference to a fictitious author, since it is a quote, but it's more of an oral tradition so might not need one)
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Old 07-15-2009   #4
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I definitely think the attacking dragon's positioning needs to be tweaked a bit. Either:

a) its left foreleg (or right to us when looking at the picture) needs to be stretched out more to compensate for its posture leaning over.

b) its upper body needs to be moved slightly to the left - at the moment it looks as though it's slanting and would fall over.

The rest looks really nice and promising but it's also hard to tell because even with the reduced exposure some of the line work is hard to make out - I'll keep watching the thread to see the more developed pieces
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Old 07-23-2009   #5
Amonite
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Default Riding With Dragons

A couple factors ended up making me switch my original plan, notably, my artweaver program now gets finicky when I try to open multiple pictures at once, so any chance of swapping between programs was pretty much lost. Fortunately Artweaver apparently has most of the brush capability Dogwaffle has so I am learning the program and liking it a lot better now. Also, I discovered a pic online of a small girl on a dragons back with a blanket, which was pretty much the whole concept of my othre picture, so that dampened my enthusiasm.

So I came up with this random one (what I have so far, some of the base color blocked in:



Next up is working on the individual areas, and rather than a bunch of real dragons flying around in the sky like in the sketch layer I am going to do just one or two mechanical dragons instead, possibly fighting.
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Old 07-23-2009   #6
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I noticed her brace was on the wrong leg - update plus continuation of adding color, still not much of the background yet, and I turned off the sketch layer for now.

I added a zoom filter (strength 2 I think) to the clouds, and I rather like the effect, although I need to figure out how to go back and add clear sky into my picture now if I want it.

Originally I wanted a very detailed look, but I really am starting to like the acrylic tool, so I might go for a painterly aspect instead.

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Old 07-23-2009   #7
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A closeup, since saving out smaller jpegs for display loses color/detail

I will probably paint over her ear since it is pretty random and I cannot find the right angle..

And I need to find a way to define lines - so far I have managed not to fall back on using the dodge or burn tools (I love the dodge and burn tool/burn tool especially) but have a habit of overusing, so am attempting to do a picture without using them or at least keep them to a minimum - however her face is so small that trying to lay in small details of any dark color is very difficult as the brushes get tempermental below size 5 it seems.
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Old 07-24-2009   #8
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Latest update, it is coming along much slower than I thought it would - I think I should have started with a much smaller page size - while working large lets me get in a lot of detail, it's rather silly since most of the detail is lost on viewing anyway, and timewise I cannot really do a poster sized paper. Time to focus on the background I guess before I get any more nitpicky on the figure (I really don;t do backgrounds much, so this is a learning experience in composition for me.. :P) I also have to figure out how to do the shadows, hmm...
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Old 07-26-2009   #9
Amonite
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Default another update

(updated 11:42 PM from former picture to reflect some slight changes in layer ordering and minor additions)

Slight recomposition, I should have more time now that the week has rolled around to start prettyfying it and adding in a few other elements to tie it together so it is not so empty.

I might need to move the cities and horizon even farther down - I originally started with it high to avoid a half/half horizon, but perhaps lowering the land to below the halfway mark would give me a better angle - although I am not sure it would give me enough room even if I move other pieces - I like the idea of a large sky however.

Last edited by Amonite; 07-27-2009 at 00:44 AM.
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Old 07-28-2009   #10
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haha fantastic idea! Want to see the final!
Your idea made my day ... Great!
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