Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Week 04

by Nov 23, 2015Art Projects

Our assignment for Week 04 is to create 6 original compositions with clearly defined focal areas, with the following restrictions:

  • 3 in colour, 3 in value only
  • 3 no people or characters
  • 1 no character or manmade objects of any kind

I confess, it is not easy to think up original compositions, because there are so many options. Even though I’m limiting myself to scenes from my fantasy novel, Warriors of Virtue, I still find that there are too many scenes I can choose from.

I would like to draw scenes from the first novel, but this morning as I was thinking about what I could do, a scene from the fourth novel entered my mind. I will not reveal too much about it, because it would spoil the story for those of you who would like to read it, but the scene itself is happening inside a forest. It is also inspired by the incredible fogs of Belgrade that I do not remember ever seeing in Toronto, Canada. I’ve read about London fogs, but I doubt that these are much better. Last night I stepped onto the balcony, and was shocked to find a cloud of white in front of my face.

The artist in me is fascinated by them, and I wish I had gouache or acrylic so I could attempt capturing them. As I was walking today near sunset, I kept wishing for my camera (though I doubt my camera could capture the majesty). The approaching fog took the sunset colours and dispersed them, making the whole world golden, pink, and violet. It was breathtaking. I kept humming La Vie En Rose as I was walking on a busy street filled with rush-hour traffic. 🙂

But let me get back to the assignment. We are supposed to create focal areas via contrast. Apparently all visual information can be interpreted by hue, saturation, value, and then texture and edge (which are components of the first three). It is natural for all of us to create contrast with value, but is it possible to use other contrasts to tell the story?

Fowkes suggest that there is. In his comments he kept insisting on us trying to crate hue contrast. This is what I attempted to do with this image, though after I placed it in grayscale, it still had some value contrast. I also tried to use texture vs. lack of texture, repetition (active vs. passive), contrast of local value, saturation, and lost and found edges.

Do you think I succeeded?

Schoolism: Pictorial Composition Week 04 Assignment--Image 01

© 2015 MILI FAY ART | Concept Art: Warriors of Virtue. A character in the forest, while fog shimmers around her.

What kind of mood do you get from this image?


I have finally finished my assignment for Week 04: Pictorial Composition. Here is the result:

Schoolism: Pictorial Compositon Assignment 04

For the second image, I decided to play again with the hue contrast to create focus. This time, I believe I succeeded. I’m still struggling with deciding how much time I should put into each image. For the lady bug, I decided to use pattern brushes, and not bother with realistic colours at all. I had the idea as I was walking in the city and saw a pile of leaves on the pavement. Of curse the leaves were the fallen warm-coloured leaves of fall, but to make the contrast with the lady bug I had to make them green.

The third image is romantic. Somehow, I always associate romance with purples–the twilight colours. Here I used the X-marks the spot–everything leads to the kiss. I also used local colour with no shading, repetition, path (the sweep of the balcony). The male character is about to finish his transformation from a dragon into a human. I thought about adding sparks, but in the end I felt that may be overkill with the roses. What do you think?

Fourth image is one of the classic comps of move magic. The foreground character is looking to the background character who is the focus of this scene. He is further framed by the door in such a way that the lines almost suggest prison bars. The character in the foreground is blurred, while the focus is sharp on our leading man.

In the fifth image, the ducks are the focus. Initially, I envisioned a scene of rapidly moving river, hitting against a rock (The Little Mermaid style), where the rock would be the focus. Then the image got away from me. I was too tired to muster enough energy to create such powerful energy. You could say that the main tool I have used for this image is spot-lighting and empty area. I’m not very happy with this image, but sometimes, I just have to let things go.

The last image is a scene showing Emerald Lake, the home of Ness and Nessus in my novel Warriors of Virtue. I have tried to show a panoramic view with curvilinear perspective. Obviously the willow tree is the focus (though I apologize for the poor drawing of it). If you create a little thumbnail window with your hands (or paper) and drag it back and forth across the image you get a sense of someone looking left to right (or right to left) on the shore. The foreground blurred branches of some blossoming tree block our eyes inside, so they do not slide out of the picture. The value contrast and everything pointing towards the willow tree make it the focus of the scene.

I confess, while working on this assignment, I have been very tired. Let’s hope the next one inspires me a bit more. Working on Pictorial Composition Assignments is making me realise that I do not want to have anything to do with backgrounds. I’m clearly a character person. However, I hope that learning how to handle compositions and backgrounds will improve my illustrations in the end.

I’m also struggling with digital painting. I completely forgot how to blend, and I’m tired of having to invent brushes to get the textures that I want. Therefore, in the end I decided to forego blending and texturing the images.

Until next time: Cheers!