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Old 03-24-2016, 08:21 PM View Post #1 (Link) Cradled
Rose (Offline)
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There's a whole rant about this piece here

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Old 03-25-2016, 05:29 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Keladry (Offline)
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AhhYour work is always so good. Also the gold leaf is cool.

There is a very strong sense of tension, a jarring un-rightness within the drawing. The title is "Cradled" but the death-figure isn't touching the woman at all, it's almost like she's awkwardly floating above Death's hands than swept up into gentle arms.

The dia de los muertos face paint is interesting because it truly does seem to be a part of the death-figure's face, rather than a mask, like I'm more familiar with. Somehow it seems twisted as well-- not the happy celebratory paintings that are common at dia de los muertos, but made from the same red you use for the blood and the bits of the woman. It makes it feel darker somehow.

It's strange, too, that you'd have death so clearly showing her face to us, whereas she's so traditionally depicted as a masculine figure with a hidden face. When we do see his face, it usually seems forever young, but Death here seems older somehow. I could almost imagine an empathy for Death, for she really has seen it all, humanity at its worst-- but the eyes are covered, so anything that might or might not be beneath that is only what I'd imagine it to be.

The triangle at the right is so bright and bold that it draws my eye, but I can't make any sense out of it. I'm not sure that I like it being the center of interest, it feels like it could be more subtle in the background to balance the square-bits on the left.

The overall quality of the picture -- accuracy and shading, etc-- isn't what I'd normally expect from you. There's little awkward bits throughout-- Death's right hand, under the woman's head, is at a strange angle like the woman was drawn first. (Though I loveee how the red has smeared across that hand.) The ankle bones seem off in the feet, and the pendant isn't crisp and maybe a bit over-complicated (but then, gold leaf is really difficult to work with to begin with). The composition could also be shifted just slightly, if it were cropped differently-- you've got Death's head sort of going off the edge, but the woman herself is so carefully framed so that she doesn't touch the edges. I think she'd be all right going off the edge, too. I do like how Death is off center as she is, though.

The two biggest criticisms I've got are Death's hair-- which feels drawn too quick and seems flat with all the lines everywhere, and the shading-- which I think is upside down. You're used to drawing dark on a light surface, so the more you color, the darker it gets. But in this case, when you color with white, you're coloring in the light. And so all the places that would normally be shadows are all lit up like a light's shining from underneath, as if Death herself is glowing. It took me a while to figure out why the lighting felt weird to me, and I think that's it. Next time you draw on black, see if you like the effect when you color only the highlights.

I love the woman's head, and the red diamonds from her hands. She's got soo much personality in her expression and the choices she's made with her hair and piercings, and the way you've done her hair-- especially the floppy part on the top-- is fantastic. The red squares give the illustration so much in terms of tone and just the feeling behind it.

Death seems rather surprised to be caught on camera, under all that face paint. Heh. It's 'cause the lips are open slightly.

I've discovered that if I take that second cropping, and turn it sideways so it's portrait orientation, I love how it looks just by itself.

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I think the other thing I'd advise that might give this more depth is to add a couple colors to the color scheme-- I love the effects of the white and red and black together just as they are, but the white chalk alone feels simplistic. Could you use a medium grey chalk or perhaps a veryvery washed out pink to add that depth? The grey might help shading Death's cloak as well-- it looks like you've tried to avoid shading it too much so that it contrasts the woman's lighter skin, which makes sense. If you had a grey, you may be able to add shading and keep it darker than her. You've already got variations in your reds, but it could use more, especially considering you're only showing one color. You've got a dark red and a bright red and the white, but there's so many little shades in between that might help variety. I don't know if it would actually help because the one thing to avoid is letting it become too busy-- right now it's already got a great balance of busy/unbusy sections.

Nice work!
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