View Full Version : please critique

dr strangelove
07-23-2001, 06:40 PM
Story: Over a year ago I submitted this to a contest that I found in a newspaper. In the ad they said they would publish it in a book, critique it, and give me at least a slim chance of winning some prize $$$. The last 2 never happened. The contest ended, no critique ever arrived, and they posted my image online upside-down making me wonder if they even looked at it. :mad: I hope they didn't publish it in the book if they used the same scan. The judges did seem good though, the art that actually won were far more deserving.

Anyway, I found this site and thought I could at least get the critique I wanted. I snatched the scan from their site, flipped it right-side-up, and sharpened the image (it was a very blury scan).

Tear it appart, I want to know how I can make future my drawings more appealing and interesting.

dr strangelove
07-23-2001, 07:14 PM
Um, I took a look around at other art on wetcanvas. Everything looks so....good....Please let me know if I am in the wrong forum.

07-23-2001, 07:31 PM
wetcanvas is for everyone, beginners to professionals, post all ya like :D You might try the drawing forum for more specific help, though.

I can't make heads or tails of your drawing, sorry:( Looks like a bomb and an upside down plane and a dragonfly- perhaps it is the scan ...

keep your new stuff comin' though ...


Keith Russell
07-23-2001, 07:37 PM

the drawing looks good, but the three main objects are of such different sizes that the overall composition seems disjointed.

The dirigible also seems to somewhat obscure what is happening to the distant plane. (Is the distant plane attacking or being attacked?)

But, nice handling, and an interesting piece.


07-23-2001, 07:44 PM
Also keep in mind that from that height the horizon will have quite a pronounced curve.


07-23-2001, 07:51 PM
Welcome to the forum ds. Of course you're at the right forum. If you would have submitted a strudel recipe in stead of your art work, then you would be at the wrong forum.

I'll comment from two perspectives. As an aviation enthusiast and as a part time artist.

I see two bi-planes and a dirigible. Is this a WWI dogfight depiction? Are you trying to tell a story or render a theme here? There is a little confusuion there.

There is too much perspective on the dirigible artistically speaking and too much space between the stingers. Dirigible skin surfaces are faceted.

You are rendering in black and white so you have to be mindful of tonal contrast or else everything will run together. It would have been helpful if you would have lost horizon in the distance and toned down the earth cosiderably....bob

07-23-2001, 08:06 PM
Good day Doc! OK so you have a little painting here and where do you say it hurts...hold on I'll be right back. . . . ...ok so what I see here is a nice plane in the sky... times up! so many to see you know.. he he, tell you the truth doc I see the plain but not sure whats below I think if there was a better scan there would be a better critique.. Welcome!! Keep posting..

dr strangelove
07-23-2001, 08:56 PM
Thanks for the help everybody.

Originally posted by TerminalRejection
Also keep in mind that from that height the horizon will have quite a pronounced curve.

K, next time i'll try to base my next drawing on pictures of planes at higher elevations so I can get an idea of how much curve there should be. I used several photographs of planes and the DII zeppelin to make my picture (I just rotated them around), and now that I think of it all of them showed the aircraft next to the ground!

Originally posted by jheinrich

I can't make heads or tails of your drawing, - perhaps it is the scan ... sorry Looks like a bomb and an upside down plane and a dragonfly.

I guess the main reason people thought the plane upper right is upside down is because I chose a biplane that has a slightly different feature of other planes. The wing hangs a small distance below the fuselage by 4 struts. Also, the wheels on these planes hang so close to the wing, that from the angle in my drawing you can't see them.

I'll try to find a scanner so I can post another version of this drawing soon that might have most of the problems everyone has listed solved.

07-24-2001, 01:07 AM
An easy way to give the piece depth and a sense of scale would be to give it a consistent value (light and dark) structure. For example, aerial perspective (that is the lightening and desaturation of color that occurs as you look into the distance, caused by the fact that the air is not totally transparent) would suggest that the things furthest away should appear lighter and more indistinct than objects that are closer. Thererfore, accentuate the opposite as well, and make the objects that are the closest to the viewer contain the darkest values and the hardest lines and edges. The small biplane and the dirigable are in roughly the same area, in terms of distance, so they should be somewhere in between the value in the foreground elements and those of the distant landscape.

I agree with the comments of the drawing on the diragible and the composition, but I just want to present you with another way to think of and show depth in the drawing. With the current values the piece would still appear pretty flat even if those other areas were corrected.


The horizon line is far too dark and too hard an edge, remember that it is the farthest thing away from the viewer and in hazy conditions will vanish utterly.
The edges of the fields below are too hard as well, and they are too dark for their distance. Are we seeing some fields showing through a break in the clouds below here? If so, the edges should be very soft, and there should be othr breaks showing darker earth elsewhwere, which you could put in perspective and use to indicate the land rolling on toward the horizon.

The middle ground elements are too light. Also, in order for this to read as a scene, you should indicate light direction, more than shape, with your shading. That light direction must remain consistent throughout the drawing. There is no real feeling of light hitting these objects at this point.

The airplane in the foreground is far too light and far too vague in its lines to come foreward as well. It would need to contain the darks in the picture, possibly with dramatic hard highlights, depending on the light direction you choose.

I suspect that you may need to change to a softer pencil to get more variation in the values too, You could try a 6B or ebony pencil for the foreground, a 2B for the middle ground, and do a little erasing with a kneaded eraser in the background and horizon to soften and lighten that area. Use your original pencil (looks like a 2H, but who can tell with a scan??) for whatever you might add in the ground area. Just using three different pencils in this way will help you keep the values under control.

There are other ways to organise a picture too, both in terms of value, and in terms of composition and line quality (which I am ignoring here). The important thing is that you pick a structural approach and that you keep it consistent throughout the drawing.

This exactly the kind of post that best proves the value of this site. Never be afraid to post here, dr strangelove, there is a great deal of good advice available. Welcome to the group (we can always use another Kubrick fan)!

dr strangelove
07-24-2001, 02:34 AM
Many many thanks again everybody. The trouble with me using this forum as opposed to other ones I use is I can't think of any way that I can help in return.

For most of the drawing I used a 4B and a woodless pencil marked HB. I'm going to try to get into a high school art class next year (if I'm not sailing in Canada during registration) so I can find out the meaning of the numbers on the pencils among other things. All I did was write the numbers of each pencil on the same kind of paper in such a way that I could see what each pencil did.

I don't have the actual drawing that I posted here. I have had a hard enough time getting them to make the image right side up and I doubt if I could get them to put it back in the mailing tube. I'll have to start over from scratch, which I guess isn't a bad idea. I think I might experiment a little with repositioning the aircraft too, but not too drastically. Iím also going to find some aerial pictures of the Somme, because drawing the coastline and ocean creates too many problems.

07-24-2001, 03:31 AM
Just wondering, what other forums have you been to? Any art related like this with critiques, because i would love to get the address :)

dr strangelove
07-24-2001, 02:15 PM
Sorry, I haven't visited any other art forums. I hang around linuxnewbie.org and several aquarium forums. Though its not an actual forum, I like irtc.org (http://www.irtc.org/) for 3d graphic art. Anybody can give critiques on the art, but the critiques focus more on how complex a piece is and how realistic it looks and not so much on how artistic it is (you wouldn't hang any of them in your living room).

07-24-2001, 05:41 PM
I am also new here, Dr S and I have been amazed at how accomodating and welcoming all the "old-timers" are....like there is no BAD ART....just everyone's efforts to be taken seriously.

One of the things your drawing seems to need is value.....check out other forums on design and composition. Also the drawing forum would be fun for you, I imagine. They have been very helpful to me.

Also....keep drawing!

07-24-2001, 09:20 PM
This has an antiqued sort of quality to it that I find appealing even without alot of sharp contrasts in values going on. When you say, appealing, that means different things to different people. I think that I could find this more appealing if you'd add colored pencils to it.... maybe, even just faintly.... It is oddly vague...I'm trying to figure out quite what is going on here, but that must be part of the appeal...because it keeps me lookin. ;)

and welcome to WC!