1. Narts

    When planning a composition I wouldn’t really worry so much about where the viewer’s eye is being led to (which is usually a minor concern) than first making things interesting while keeping everything in a balance.

    The problem of your image is how you’re balancing the two elements of the image (the symbol and the character) against each other and with the frames of the image. It’s not clear which part you’re trying to emphasise. The girl and the symbol are roughly the same size, which creates somewhat of a dull impression. Compositions are usually better when there is a hierarchy of contrasting sizes – a big element against a smaller element looks more interesting than two elements that are roughly the same size. Either make the girl larger in relation to the yin-yang or the other way around (depending on which you think is more important to whatever statement you’re trying to make), but don’t leave it as is. Alternately, you could try moving the symbol behind the girl rather than above her, integrating both into the same design.

    The way the symbols get cut by the border creates an impression as if the picture is cropped. There’s no breathing space. Leave some negative space around the objects – this will also help with the impression of the viewer being led out of the image by the foot, when the foot is separated from the edge by a healthy margin of negative space.

    You might also consider revisiting the character’s pose. I’m not a martial arts expert but still that looks unnatural and not like a real move to me and the proportions seem wonky in many places. It looks like she’s slipping on a banana peel more than doing a flying kick. Try finding some references of martial arts poses and work from those.

    • Super thanks for the comments, Narts. It’s good to have some well considered critique round these parts – sometimes I don’t consider myself good enough to be worth critique, and sometimes I don’t feel… humble confident enough to accept it. But I think you bring up some important things.

      Before I begin my response to your comments, I have a version here which I drafted yesterday in which I’ve attempted to address preliminary proportional issues, balance between the motif and the character and blocked down the basic colour choices. However I’ve given myself a new problem by introducing the trails of pink…

      Okay, so I hope the version linked above gives a little more insight into the direction I’m thinking. The yin-yang symbol has been intended as a faded background element, which is what was meant to provide the breathing space above the character but without simply having emptiness. Your points about it are noted – I’m a little undecided as to whether it helps complement the picture at all narratively or compositionally. It certainly needs to be changed in size if it stays in, as you’ve noted. Maybe I’ll crop the image with a landscape view, giving space around the leg. Could probably kill off the yin-yang completely in that case.

      I did reference a number of taekwondo images in drafting the pose but I admit many were of children – inexperienced practitioners with different body proportions and suppler joints. Extrapolation from those points has probably not helped in crafting a realistic image. The character also (quite literally) puts her own spin on the movements which I’ve tried to hint at with the latest revision. That said, good reference really doesn’t hurt. I’ll go back and re-consider things, especially in terms of balancing the movements from the video game with what would be a natural flow of movement for a real human.

      Again, thanks for dropping by!

  2. Narts

    Oh I see if the area above the character is intended to be empty (or faded) I can see it just about working but I think the character is positioned slightly too low. She doesn’t need to be right smack in the middle but 3/4 the way down is too far, the yin-yang might help with the balance I guess but seems it would be a tricky thing to do just right.

    It would be a battle between the good faded out yinyang that brings balance to everything and the bad overbearing yinyang that steals the show from the taekwondo girl and that will not end well.

    Personally I would just go for the simple approach of the pose without the yinyang but do whatever you like and experiment with different arrangements. It’s hard to say from such an early sketch how it will work out anyway.

  3. Innapropriate for me to comment on matters of art, I know, but if the dark purple on the yin-yang was the same purple as on the character it would symbolically re-inforce the “this chick is evil” vibe…

  4. Shrugs
    Maybe so. It’s the same colour on a different layer with a different colour blending method applied (probably hard light – I forget – which may indeed change the colour properties)

  5. Narts

    Ok now that I see the new version the only real problem with the yin-yang is that the symbol is not centered on the horizontal axis. I would move it slightly towards the left to align it with the girl and perhaps move it downwards or scale it down to eliminate the cropping at the top border.

    The pose looks better now too.

    You could do without the pink ‘motion lines’.

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