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robbieowens
03-19-2013, 03:37 AM
Hi everyone, I'd posted this in the Wildlife section but think I may have choosen the wrong forum so hopefully I might get some help here.

I started this piece a few days ago, its a basic pre-lined drawing I purchased online, its velour - which I've never used before but so far I like it however the reference photo was a lion in captivity and I wanted to place in a natural setting. The problem I have is the lion's head was resting on a wooden stage, I've used a rock to "solve" that issue but the composition around the head doesnt not look correct. I have tried various things like grasses fading into the back ground and currently have a group of rocks there although I'n not convinced especially when my wife walked in and said, "Why is the lion resting it's head on a walrus!"

Anyway here it is, I'm looking for options to make the background more effective and less like an after thought.

thanks for any suggestions you may have.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Mar-2013/220471-lion3.jpg

robbieowens
03-19-2013, 04:55 AM
Sorry forgot to add details:
Velour 12x20", Unison pastels and Faber Castell Pitt pastel pencils

Lovedogs
03-19-2013, 07:04 AM
Hi robbieowens! To my eye it looks like there is not enough under his head to make it look like he is lying on something and maybe his side of his head could be more wrinkled and squashed looking? Im no expert so am sure others on here will help you better than I can :eek:

britgirl
03-19-2013, 07:23 AM
It's coming along beautifully. The rocks do look like rocks to me!
I agree with lovedogs that the lion needs more under his head. I did a quick mock-up in Photoshop (hope you didn't mind) adding a few more rocks under his face.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Mar-2013/981498-lion_photoshop.jpg

Hope I have been of some help
Sharon

robbieowens
03-19-2013, 09:28 AM
Thanks Lovedogs and Sharon, all opinions help.
I'm trying to convey the lion is resting his head on the rock rather than behind it, here is the orignal image that might help

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Mar-2013/220471-GetAttachment.jpg

John Palmer Fine Art
03-19-2013, 12:05 PM
This is turning out great!

pastel65
03-19-2013, 12:58 PM
Looks good - however the first thought that came to my mind was would he really lay his head on some rocks like these. Maybe google some pictures of a lion and see if perhaps there are some other options. I hope you are okay with my honesty. I am not the best painter myself but since you asked for ideas I am offering my thoughts. Pam

robbieowens
03-19-2013, 01:29 PM
Looks good - however the first thought that came to my mind was would he really lay his head on some rocks like these. Maybe google some pictures of a lion and see if perhaps there are some other options. I hope you are okay with my honesty. I am not the best painter myself but since you asked for ideas I am offering my thoughts. Pam

Hi Pam, no I'm happy to listen to your thoughts. I know cats lie in the oddest places, ours will rest his head on a stone hearth and a friend has one who rests their head on the radiator! I did google some pictures of lions lying on rocks and there are lots, so although it might look uncomfortable they do do it, however the fact you raised the question makes me think a lot of people would see this as strange an make it look unrealistic so its a fair point. I did try a few things before the rock such as hiding him in the grass but that didnt look right either as I struggled to get a sense of depth - I dont think I have it here either though which is why I'm looking for ideas

sketchZ1ol
03-19-2013, 01:30 PM
hello

agree with Pam , and also ' why ' = the story from the visual .

the grasses do have variety , which works with the lion's mane , but
if they can be roughly blocked off for now
and the lion is finished from the ref pix ,
he will be the focal point for inventions and palette .

the ref pix has some nice red-blue with the earth colours ...

very good decision to set the lion further to the bottom of the page from the ref pix !

Ed
just a thought .

pastel65
03-19-2013, 01:44 PM
I also looked up some pictures and agree that they lay on rocks but I saw mostly big boulders. Thanks for not getting too upset with me. I'm relatively new to WC and not so sure about how direct to be. I don't want to be "banned" again. (reference to when system went down when we were all told we were banned). Pam

robbieowens
03-19-2013, 02:04 PM
Thanks everyone, I think I'll finish off the lion and then make a decision. I might make it so he is lying on a plateau of rock, but then I may have to remove the grasses. If I knew how to use Photoshop I would mock up a few ideas, unfortunately I dont

robbieowens
03-20-2013, 05:08 PM
Update: More work on his head and beard, reworked some of the rocks under his chin. Still unsure as to how to approach what his body is on. C&C welcomehttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Mar-2013/220471-photo_1.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Mar-2013/220471-lion_head.JPG

robbieowens
03-20-2013, 05:12 PM
Looking at it on screen makes me think I need to extend the mane in the middle of his head, it looks too short

robbieowens
03-22-2013, 11:50 AM
getting there...decided on lying him on some flat rocks, not sure if it looks realistic or not but its the best I can do. CC always welcome

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Mar-2013/220471-photo_3_800x528.jpg

djbuds
03-22-2013, 11:56 AM
His head looks natural laying on the rock, I would think if they were exhausted they would lay any where .....great job!

Colorix
03-22-2013, 12:18 PM
Robbie, you're solving the ground beautifully! And the lion is looking good!

Now, one reason that photo works so well is the distribution of light and dark tones. Simplified into 4 tones it looks like this (and I have not saved the picture on my computer, deleted it after uploading here):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Mar-2013/117343-Resting-lion.jpg

So look for where darker tones help to shape the form of the lion, I'm thinking especially of the left (our left) side of his head, where it is in shadow.

The fur is beautiful, I feel like stroking it!

And yes, cats do sleep in the most astonishing positions!

robbieowens
03-22-2013, 12:25 PM
Robbie, you're solving the ground beautifully! And the lion is looking good!

Now, one reason that photo works so well is the distribution of light and dark tones. Simplified into 4 tones it looks like this (and I have not saved the picture on my computer, deleted it after uploading here):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Mar-2013/117343-Resting-lion.jpg

So look for where darker tones help to shape the form of the lion, I'm thinking especially of the left (our left) side of his head, where it is in shadow.

The fur is beautiful, I feel like stroking it!

And yes, cats do sleep in the most astonishing positions!

Thanks for the advice, I'll look to darken those areas - would you advise on using blues and purples to do this? I'm not sure my youngest will like it though, she already asked me why the lion had been rolling in mud!
Also what do you use to simplify the picture into 4 tones..Photoshop?

Colorix
03-22-2013, 01:22 PM
Photoshop Elements 9: >filters > adjustments > posterize, and I set the slider to how many levels I want.

Colours, now... as long as you do not blend, you can layer without getting mud. If I see the colours of your closeup correctly (computer screens vary a lot), then I see the lights as muted yellows, and the darks as a muted red-violet and brownish. If you have darker versions of the shadow colours, start with them, especially if they're quite dulled down you can also drop in greens and blues. Test it on a piece of scrap paper. As the grass is green, some greens would reflect into the shadow areas. (= lion has rolled in grass :-)

Layering complementaries of the same tone *will* darken the area a bit, as a bonus.

Moises Menendez
03-22-2013, 02:53 PM
Besides all the suggestions on the background, I wonder if you darken a little bit the right side of the lion's head to give it more form and volume, according to the black and white picture. That was a great help from Charlie. I believe that you are going to come out a winner!

sketchZ1ol
03-22-2013, 02:58 PM
hello
agree with Charlie about red-violet , and b/w summary .
also , rembie mars violet .3 , .5 , .7 , etc . may be useful .

Ed

robbieowens
03-25-2013, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone, I went back over the shadow areas with some muted darker blues, browns and greens...here is the result in b&w (posterized - thanks Colorix)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2013/220471-photo_5_post.jpg
and here he is in colour (still needs more work on main and legs) and I think I need to define some of the grasses in the foreground

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Mar-2013/220471-photo_5.JPG

robbieowens
04-08-2013, 03:41 PM
I'm pretty sure its finished, I wasn't happy with the background so I changed and think its better
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Apr-2013/220471-finshed.JPG

Colorix
04-08-2013, 04:25 PM
Great finish! Now the face has volume, and the highest contrast and draws the eye to it. The new grass is less detailed and doesn't try to steal the show, so to speak, and it hides the rocks so they're mostly hints, plus you have a bit of ground leading in from the bottom of the painting up to the face of the lion. Beautiful.

djbuds
04-08-2013, 09:38 PM
Great job!!!!!!

LunarMoth
05-14-2013, 10:48 PM
Your picture is so lovely.