Here is the evolution of my Fafhrd paintings. Believe it or not, this is actually the 1st time I've looked at all of them together at the same time, and it's been very revealing. For instance, I didn't realize that my tablet painting is actually far better than any of the others, in terms of many factors but especially color and clarity and anatomy (and ESPECIALLY the face!) I never realized before just how oversaturated the colors are in all of my paintings and color drawings - but it sure is.
In the last 2 pics above you can see where I decided I needed to desaturate and add in a strong blue tint overall to unify colors - wow, what a difference!! This after looking at a lot of Frazetta paintings (which are generally thought of as being exceptionally brilliant and vivid in coloring) and saw that they were far less saturated - for the most part - than mine.
I also never realized that they pretty much all have the same background composition (my Fafhrd paintings, not Frazetta's work) except for the facial closeup - there's always an X form there, a big V at the top and an inverted V at the bottom. The closeup is more boring, being just a straight hedgerow.
On the positive side, I can easily see that my work does not suffer from the things I hate most about for instance what I consider the poor Warren cover artists - stiff awkward poses and shiny plasticy skin on what appears to be a manikin. I'm talking to YOU Ken Kelley!! No wonder he's at his best when he does robots - but even they suffer from it a bit.
Also, though I've been studying Frazetta's methods and techniques and art so much recently, it's good to see I'm not subject to copying his style at all. And to be fair, I've been studying the work of a LOT of artists, all the way back through art history.
I do need to work on more dynamic poses though or think more about the narrative of the paintings. But seeing these all together shows me that I have indeed gone through a pretty dramatic growth period - even before my recent more serious studies into oil painting and drawing (as documented on this blog).
I can also see that his physique has undergone changes between each painting. From an unrealistic almost cartoony bulkiness in the 1st, to his weird skeletal gauntness in the last (need to flesh out those emaciated gouges beside the abdominals - the external oblique should smoothly meet the rectus abdominus, not leave big empty notches like that!) But honestly I think I did his physique best in the latest drawing, in the post just before this one. It feels really good to see the steady improvement. And, also in that lqatest drawing, I can really see the results of my recent studies in figure drawing/anatomy - powerful sense of form developed through god placement of plane breaks and keeping it dark on the dark side, light on the light side. Man, that really does work!
Decided to check out the older paintings in greyscale and desaturated - very interesting:
This shows me that I've actually been getting values right - it's just too much color saturation. Amazing to see what a difference desaturating can make. How did I fail to notice the screaming colors before?
I know - I reversed the order on some - sorry about that - makes it a bit confusing. But I wasn't being meticulous, just wanted to see them side by side. And of course - I just did a simple desaturate (sometimes assisted with a little contrast boost) - probably the best approach would be to desaturate certain parts and leave others vivid - in general I think it's the skin and hair that needed desaturating. Also those parts of the background in bright light or dark shadow - I tend to leave them full intensity when they should be greyed down and neutralized. But the point of this little exercise was just to quickly see what happened when I lowred saturation halfway and then all the way - didn't care to go into photoshop and do all kinds of fancy tricks.