Saturday, 20 June 2015

A head turner

Continuing the saga of the Ba bird, and I know that I promised arms last week, but a second thought is never a bad one.  Although I was quite happy with the colouring last week, I am still disappointed with the fairly dull manner with which the subject is presented.  Why didn't I do something with the wings?  Why is it so static?  But these are pretty familiar questions any artist will ask themselves, even when the work is actually better than they think.

However, I fear that this is worse than I think!  How to pep it up a bit?  What options might there be?  Well, changing the direction of the head is a good start.  We find it more pleasing when a figure is shown in full, if the head is turned in the opposite direction to that of the body.  This will apply even with a head to waist image.  It gives the body the illusion of motion and therefore life, and so adds more interest to a drawing or painting.  But we've got this far, is it worth turning back.  I think so, because you start a piece of work with a vision in your head of what you'd like it to be, and you have to struggle towards that.  If it means starting again or getting rid of a portion of the work then do it, because you almost certainly will do it better next time.  You've already gone through it once - look at the practice you've had!

The terrible deed is done - I sliced off her head and stuck it back on - brutal!
But I'll concede, starting again can be tricky, especially if you're painting on paper of canvas.  With this digital image there are certain things that make it easier.  She's floating on a layer, so I can cut her head off and flip it over.  Obviously there are some instances where this doesn't work, if the head is in an awkward position  for a reversal, but if its possible it's an easy thing to do.  Then you have the work of joining it all together again - that's what's putting you off isn't it?

In this case it's just a matter of hard slog, restructuring the neck to take account of the great tendon that shows when someone turns their neck (especially skinny people), the windpipe and the slight dip in the neck just above the collar bones.  Getting rid of the hair is easy enough, digitally sample the flesh colours near the gaps and begin to repaint. 

It looks a mess, but its all under control - no really - it is.
Then begin again on the feathers of the breast, so that they gradually blend into the skin.  Those pesky arms have got to fit onto the main torso as well, so whatever I do has to keep them in mind.  The fall of hair now on the left of the picture no longer has to move forward to go over the shoulder, and can hang straight, so this has to be corrected.

The neck now re-painted, with a few minor readjustments to the hair.
Now I'm forced to give some serious thought about the arms, because a. I need to know where I'm going to attach them to a structure pretty alien to human anatomy and b. because I'm a little worried about them, as my experiments along those lines haven't worked out very well.  The shoulders are the important starting points, where they are will dictate how the rest of the arms will look, so placing them in a convincing position is the next stage.
Just started to place the shoulders.
With this last picture you can see how I've approached that, and now hope to slowly build the arms up from this.  I originally said I would have her holding a manuscript - that's changed to a box.  So next week some arms, and maybe some eyes.

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