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Brett Barkley

Hey Newbold!

Great to see you posting stuff you’re working on. No art problems, man–just opportunities for improvement!

Ok, it may be late in the process for you, but I’ve attached a few ideas here and I’ll try to explain. One of the reasons I force myself to do gesture work with a carpenter pencil, or just as generally as messy as I can, is so I force myself to focus on framing, general poses and the composition of the image right then…and only then. If you break the art down in phases, you get that out of the way in this phase, then you’re free to focus on anatomy, then details…generally in that order for me. Your gestural stuff in the first image looks great. Here’s what I see in the last image (it’s just my thoughts–we all approach things differently):

I think you did great with working on her posing. She doesn’t feel as stiff as she did in the earlier image, but you have a ton of vertical axis lines, with the sword being the one that REALLY stands out. I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything with sculpture, but (depending on what you’re doing) you start out with a block. It’s not the final form —the final form is INSIDE that block.I think that’s the key to composition. You make the general block that serve as the boundary for the forms you’re focused on. This way you’re able to have everything where you want it on the page. Some stuff seems too close to the edge of the paper, particularly since they’re often strong axis lines. I’ve also blocked out the page in the rule of thirds. I don’t think this something you have to adhere to strictly, but I think it can really help.

And this is generally what I’ve come up with.

I composed the key forms, which as far as I can tell are the girl and the horse. It kind of bothered me not seeing the horse’s face, almost like it was shy. I thought about this a lot. I know the girl is the focus, but maybe sometimes the things we do around the focus (revealing half the face of a person or animal) reads in a way that can undercut what we’re trying to do with the main character. So I show both the girl and the horse. I lowered the vanishing point in order to give her more power. And I added a lot of dark toward the lower part of the image, to give it weight. This is also a nice juxtaposition for having her head rising above or out of the trees in the background. So she gets the power and focus she should have.

I hope you don’t mind me uploading some thoughts, but I thought it could give you some things to consider or utilize when you’re composing your pieces.

Best of luck!