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Florian-K

Artist | Professional | Varied
Germany
Florian-K's Profile Picture




WIPs and never before seen material at KingVermilion


► ABOUT
I'm FK from Germany. I create a lot of stuff, like characters, creatures, logos, fonts, designs and insanity.

_____


► NOTE
I usually don't thank for faves or watches and I don't watch back only because someone watches me. Please don't thank me for whatever I may or may not do.





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Art Reviews - 4



TODAY'S REVIEW:

:iconakitasoldier:




"The objective in the original work was to give an impression of tension and dynamism, that's why I attempted to use some perspective techniques with the katanas."

Yes, there's definitely a sense of dynamic movement in the character, its pose and also the use of katanas and their perspective. It's good that you used them to create some kind of "star shape" instead of placing them randomly in the picture. A composition like this gives them a sense of belonging to each other and the character instead of just being some "flying objects". I also like that you tilted the star shape which adds to the overall dynamic composition very well. Another positive thing I can point out are the variations in line thickness. It's correct that objects that are closer to the viewer should have thicker/bolder outlines than objects that are in the background.
In contrast, the outlines on the character itself appear to be slightly too homogenous. There's some variation going on in the scarf and it would be nice to see the same variation within the character's lines too. Usually, all elements that bend outwards should have slightly more pronounced lines than the ones bending inwards (although this isn't a strict rule; usually you have to find out for yourself which lines need to be stressed and which ones need to be reduced).

Whenever composition and pose are involved I like to reduced an image to its basic silhouette. This way the composition can be analyzed without any distractions.
Below are two versions: the first with only the character and the second with the katanas added.
The silhouette of the character works quite well and most of its features are easy to read (that's important for a good composition; positive and negative space should always create an interesting composition without too many elements being lumped together in one place and without other elements being stretched out and too far apart).
The main issue here are some tangential objects (objects that only barely overlap at awkward places). For example, the tip of the tail touching the back adds an awkward detail to the silhouette. This area would be easier to read and stronger in its composition if there was some white space between the character's back and its tail. Same goes for the character's jaws and its right ear which are obscured by the scarf. You'll notice that in the head area it's actually not all that easy to understand which element in the black silhouette is supposed to describe which part of the body. The solution would be to place the scarf in a slightly different position or to let it bend differently to make the silhouette look cleaner.


Silhouette 1 Silhouette 2

Keep an eye on elements that only slightly overlap at awkward places and on elements that obscure others.


An important thing to think about while working with dynamic compositions is the frame of the image. It's usually not a problem if some elements are cut or go over the edges of the frame, but in this case you cut the scarf (which is actually one of the most dynamic elements due to the way it moves, how it's painted in a contrasting color and how it follows the character's line of view). Dynamic elements like these shouldn't be cut, because this way you'll literally cut their dynamic potential.
Another important thing to keep in mind is a character's line of sight. The character's center of gravity and its head are optically placed in the upper left of the picture (its line of sight goes to the left, which is even more emphasized by the scarf also going to the left). This means the viewer will put more emphasis on the left side of the picture, because he wants to follow the character's gaze. But since the left part of the image is interrupted by the frame, the whole composition feels cut short. Next time you could either give the character more space to the left or you make the canvas big enough to fit the whole character on it without any element being cut.

Another thing to look out for are similar colors or colors of similar intensity. Different elements in an image should be distinguishable by their colors if they're emphasized (this doesn't count for objects without emphasis though, like for example, not all small houses of a village in an image's background need to have clearly distinguishable colors).
If you take a look at the greyscale version below you'll notice that the light fur of the character and the blades of the katanas almost have the same color intensity. This leads to both elements almost merging into each other optically. If these colors were farther apart (for example slightly darker light fur of the character) then there would be no optical confusion between what's fur and what's metal.


Colors

The color intensity of the light fur and the katanas' blades is too similar and thus misleading.


The anatomy of the character is stylized, but there're some parts you should study a bit more. For example, joints are usually tricky but important areas. It's actually not so much important what happens within the anatomy of an arm or a leg — what's important is what happens at the places where the different parts of arms, legs etc. join, because the position of the joints and their anatomy lets you know how the rest of the body needs to be shaped to properly connect to them.
It also seems like the upper arms (or upper forelegs) of the character are too short (there appears to be almost no upper arm in the picture actually, but instead the shoulders almost directly connect with the elbows; especially in the left arm). The best way to improve anatomy is to keep looking at reference photos of dogs and other animals; in this case especially at photos of jumping dogs to get an impression of how their legs behave. There's no trick to learn anatomy other than to look it up as often as possible and to look at how the body moves.

If you're going for a more stylized version you still need proper anatomy as a basis. If you know where the different elements of the body need to be placed and how they connect, you can exaggerate them stylistically. There's a lot of exaggeration going on already (for example in the head, tail or paws). Stylization and anatomy usually clash if not all elements of the body are treated the same way. The right leg of the character appears to be less exaggerated, too soft (not tense and edgy enough) and thus appears to be weaker than the rest of the body.
The two images below show the original leg (left) and an edited version (right). The edited version isn't meant to be perfect or highly accurate, but it's there to show how the anatomy of the leg could be exaggerated more to let it appear as strong and tense as the rest of the character's body.


Original Edited leg

Left: original version / Right: edited leg
The right leg in the left image seems to show another level of stylization than the rest of the body. I edited the leg in the right image to imitate the level of stylization of the rest of the character.


You also requested a critique on the character design itself.
I like the overall simplicity of the character. It's not overloaded with unnecessary details or obstructing elements and instead shows an iconic and easily recognizable design with the almost fox/dingo-like character and its red scarf. Minimalist accessories like a waving scarf are great elements to draw a viewer's attention to the character and to let it stand out easily. The color palette is chosen wisely with red and a yellowish brown belonging to the same spectrum and emphasizing the wild and courageous nature of the character. It's also an intelligent choice to give the character's eyes the same red as the scarf.
Some detail that could be improved are the stripes/markings on the dark fur. At first I thought these are cracks of some stone coating or some organic armor the character is covered by (which I thought was a very interesting idea). But then I noticed they're "just" some stripes that are placed a bit awkwardly, because it's hard to tell what they reference. They appear to be undefined. They still look like cracks without actually being any. Maybe the design could be improved if these stripes had some kind of logic to them (for example, only being present at certain places instead of the whole fur or having a more distinctive structure resembling actual stripes of animals). You can look up different patterns of animals and try to find out what makes them iconic and easy to read. Then you can design a fitting pattern for your character that emphasizes its design without being overbearing or difficult to understand or easily confused with something else.

I hope this answered your questions and thank you for providing such an interesting image for me to talk about :)

 



MORE ART REVIEWS

If you like to get a short review of one of your pieces too, post a thumb of it in the comments.
But there're some rules to it:

► RULES:
1 — Only the first 3 people who post a thumb in this journal will be reviewed.
2 — Write a short description of what your piece is about and why you created it.
3 — Only one piece of art of each person is reviewed.
4 — If you only want a comment about something specific in your piece, mention it.


Also please consult the first journal for more details.



  • Listening to: OSTs
  • Watching: commentaries
  • Eating: mango
  • Drinking: stinging nettle tea
Conceptual Quickies 2




The idea behind Conceptual Quickies is to provide some starting points and ideas that can be used in the context of various art projects. Today I'll try to lay out some abstract ideas that have something to do with creating art. The terms I use aren't official and only represent my personal ideas.



I: FLOW

I've heard and read many different interpretations of what flow means in an artistic context. Some may describe it as an elating feeling while creating something as if everything you do just "flows" like water and basically puts itself into place as if it's supposed to be this way and no other. Others have described it as a floating state between having absolute control over something while simultaneously being challenged by it.
I personally think that flow is a product of the combination of experience, engagement, challenge and often luck, while all these things need to be in balance.

1 – Experience: Without experience there cannot be flow, because constant shifting, trying and pondering can lead to "road blocks" (or art blocks) – whenever you need to stop and think about what to do next or whenever you're simply questioning what should or could be done, your flow is broken. Experience means having an idea of where you'd like to go and having a basic idea how to get there. If you try to do something you have no clue about, poking around in the dark won't bring you into a state of flow. This doesn't mean you need to know everything in advance, which could actually prevent flow from appearing in the first place. It means being inspired and having all potential tools at hand you might need in the process of creating something. Stopping drawing to look up a reference can be part of the flow, but only if you know what you'd like to look up and if this action comes naturally in the process of drawing. If you first need to stop and think about it, your flow is most likely lost.
In short: Have a vague idea of what you'd like to do, but don't plan everything out in every detail. Instead, allow spontaneous creativity and experiments to happen and allow this initial idea to organically adapt and change.

2 – Engagement: Engagement means feeling a fire or urge to create something. If you're bored out of your mind while drawing something you really don't like, you'll most likely not reach a state of flow. To the contrary, you might actually think about dozens of other things you'd prefer drawing at that moment and might even catch yourself scribbling them instead, while suddenly being in a state of flow by doing this. The prospect of having something much more fun or something more interesting waiting for you could bring about the state of flow for it. Some art teachers might suggest that you should go with it, stop the first thing you were doing and harvest this new state of flow instead.
In short: Be inspired and if you feel the urge to create something, go with it. If something bothers you or doesn't seem interesting, try to rearrange it in a way that makes it interesting again. Sometimes if you take another look at what you're doing or if you interpret it completely differently, something new and exciting might surface.

3 – Luck: Luck can simply mean being in a fitting mood or being given a topic you really like to draw at a given point in time. Luck can also mean finding the perfect references at the perfect time or just by pure experiment combining two colors that match perfectly for your picture. These are all things you cannot really influence consciously. They're experiments you cannot predict. And this is the important part. Sometimes, if things just seem to fit and if everything seems to fall into place, you might simply be in a lucky position. Think about an author writing a paragraph that just happens to open with a word he immediately gets inspired by to write the very next paragraph. And the whole next paragraph might inspire him to write the next page. There surely is experience, skill and engagement involved, but to equal measures pure experimental luck that cannot be reproduced a second time in the same way. If this hypothetical author is out of luck he might be stuck with a word he cannot find a good synonym for or maybe it's just his internet connection that prevents him from looking it up. This lack of luck can prevent flow from happening.
In short: Allow experiments to happen. Don't push away new ideas, don't limit yourself to what you'd "normally" do and if something seems fitting, just take it and try it out.

4 – Challenge: Picking extremely easy things to draw or planning whatever you like to draw out in every detail might prevent you from getting into a state of flow, because you're over-emphasizing the "experience" part while virtually removing the "luck" part. If there's no place for experiments or sudden and unforeseen sparks to happe, you cannot enter a state of flow, because there's nothing giving you a sudden push each time you make the next step. Your experience can bring you to a certain point and right at this point something engaging needs to happen (for example, you realize that something works really well or maybe you get a new idea about what you're working on) to lift you up and make you move on. In contrast, if after each step you get disappointed or stuck, because what you're trying to draw do doesn't look like what you planned it to look like (or maybe you simply don't know what to do next), the "challenge" part takes the focus and undermines your experience and engagement.
In short: Try to do new things, try not to over-emphasize long-established habits and accept mistakes and things that might not seem to work at first glance, because you can never know what new things you'll find after having had the courage of walking a rocky road. If you play it safe, you'll only find what you already found dozens of times before – and this will eventually lead to an art block.



II: APOTHEOSIS

Apotheosis is a term I sometimes ponder over when trying to apply the concept of flow not necessarily to the artist himself but to his creation. This only makes sense in the context of "big projects", like for example a graphic novel, a movie, a book etc. that demand lots of different elements to be experimented with, pondered about and worked on.
Getting the concept for, let's say, a graphic novel rolling is a highly demanding task and it's usually a slow start. Sometimes the basic idea might be there in a few seconds, but then everything slows down, because the story and the characters need to be written and fleshed out, the art style needs to be defined and refined, the structure of the plot and the layout of the pages need to be planned etc. But sometimes there's the point at which a story, its characters and the way it's presented seem to take on a life of their own: Suddenly all the characters are fleshed out sufficiently enough that you don't need to ponder over their reactions anymore; they simply react because of how well you know them. The plot doesn't need to be planned anymore, because all threads and arcs are interconnected to such a degree, that you automatically know what needs to happen next. The layout of the pages and their rhythm is defined to such a level that you intuitively know which panels need to be where and how they need to be connected. This is the point at which the project starts to move on its own and you're simultaneously the creator and the spectator of what's happening.
This state should not be confused with an artist's whim to just arbitrarily decide things while he works on them. Instead, it means the artist is simultaneously freed from all the questions concerning concept, characters, artwork etc. (because he answered them to a sufficient enough degree that they now can work without constant stopping and rethinking) and at the same time he's put on rails defined by the project itself. He cannot decide on a whim what to do next, which would actually be limiting to his creativity, because being able to do everything usually leads to not knowing what to do exactly – instead he follows what his project demands from him and just pushes into the desired direction once in a while, while letting it unfold on itself.
Apotheosis relies on the same elements that flow needs in order to occur, but instead of being applied to the artist himself, they're applied to his creation.



III: TRANSCENDENCE

Transcendence is only loosely connected to flow. I sometimes use it to refer to an artist having reached a level at which he's struggled with a project, got highly engaged in it, got it to a point at which he managed to make it work and now is able to reflect upon it and truly understand it in such a way that it gives him new insights that didn't exist while he worked on it. One way of knowing that you've reached transcendence is by being able to reinterpret and reinvent your project without it being lost in the process, thus highlighting other facets of it or maybe even calling into question things that seem to be integral to it.
One of the best examples of transcendence is the episode "The Ember Island Players" of the cartoon show "Avatar: The Last Airbender" in which the events of the cartoon are reenacted and parodied in a theatrical way within the show itself. In essence, this episode is a meta-analysis of the show, done by the creators themselves. It shows that they not only understand their own work perfectly, but are on a level that allows them to spot its strong and weak points, to reinterpret them and present them in an alternative way and also to make fun of the absurdity of them. Paradoxically, this shows that the creators take their own work seriously, but aren't above humoring themselves and showing how much fun they had while working on the show. In turn, people that lack transcendence might be unable to look at what they're doing from a broader perspective, cannot put it into context, cannot re-evaluate it or simply cannot take criticism of it. This doesn't mean they'll never be able to, though – it might simply mean that they're currently at a point at which the project is in its refinement state in which the rules that later can be analyzed externally are still in the process of being formed initially. Transcendence cannot occur before a project is almost finished, because it would lack the insights that are only available at the final state of it. And these insights are vital.



Might be continued



— The painting in the header was created by Fons Heijnsbroek (CC-BY).
  • Listening to: OSTs
  • Watching: commentaries
  • Eating: Bircher muesli
  • Drinking: water
Conceptual Quickies 1



The idea behind Conceptual Quickies is to provide some starting points and ideas that can be used in the context of various art projects. Today we take a quick and dirty look at "the forest" and what it can stand for.

The forest is nature's metropolis, home of the wild and also keeper of secrets. It's an important symbol in art, literature, philosophy, psychology and even sociology and as such has many facets. On one had it's a symbol of life, growth, fertility and richness, easily seen in the various creatures inhabiting its many layers that are indeed structured intricately like a city. On the other hand it's a symbol of eternity, obscurity, death and the world of ghosts and gods. It's not difficult to look at the trees like pillars carrying the nave of a living cathedral. Trees in general are often seen as links between Heaven and Earth. In Norse mythology the world tree Yggdrasil connects the various worlds of gods, creatures and
Man. The rune Algiz can be interpreted as a tree offering strength and the gods' protection. In some religions the forest is associated with untamed nature and heathenism while others regard it as a place of spiritual growth and awakening. If a character wants to communicate with the gods, he usually takes one of two possibilities: He either visits an actual church (or another holy building) or he visits the woods as the church of nature; sometimes also represented by a single, often holy, tree.
And at the same time characters often see themselves confronted with something ghostly and evil hiding between the trees to watch them and to hunt them, because they entered another world that has its own rules and its own creatures.

The forest is the border between the known and the unknown, and simultaneously the border between civilization (human culture) and the wild (the uncivilized and that what hasn't been cultivated). The forest can represent the wild state of everything while human culture is a self-made construct that sets itself apart from this wilderness to create structure within the structureless. Whatever inhabits the woods belongs to the wild and chaotic and when it enters our civilization, we mistake it as some kind of monstrosity that doesn't belong. Something feral to be afraid of and something that threatens our civilized, orderly world.

This makes the forest to something exotic, but also to a place where the dark, the obscure and the monstrous lives. In scary stories the evil beast usually inhabits the forest or escapes into it, forcing the protagonist to follow it into the unknown and to confront it in its world of darkness and danger. With this the forest is a symbol of crossing worlds – not only of the known and the unknown world or the civilized and the uncivilized world, but also a crossing from childhood to adulthood – from naivety to understanding. The winding paths lead people astray, confuse them, let them get lost or take them to new yet unknown places. A child that goes into the woods to face the wild and to encounter his deepest fears will return as a man. With this the forest cannot only be seen as a female symbol of life, secrecy and growth, but also as a male symbol of fear, animality and strength. It gives life, transforms life and takes it. In a sense the forest is the primordial mother that grants life, that protects, hides and comforts, but at the same time it's the father who challenges, confronts, exposes and destroys. This ambivalence makes the forest to a potentially scary place of uncertainty, because nobody can know whether it's actually benign or malicious. Sometimes it's both, just as it can be innocent and tainted at the same time. The line between good and evil, between reality and fantasy and between light and darkness becomes blurry.

The psychologist Carl Gustav Jung interpreted the forest as a place of self-reflection and self-understanding. For him it's a playground of danger and suppressed fears that mark the transition into mental adulthood.
A person who manages to survive being alone in the woods will not only discover his most inner traits and powers but will also become part of the wild after whose rules he has learned to play – rules that sometimes are in odds with the laws and regulations of the civilized world up to a point at which the "wild man" can become a monster himself.


Might be continued



— The photo in the header was taken by Scott Wylie (CC-BY).
  • Listening to: OSTs
  • Watching: Let's Plays
  • Eating: stew with pasta
  • Drinking: lemonade

Comments


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:iconemar4art:
Emar4art Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2017  Student Artist
Your artwork is Dope do you take requests?
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:iconflorian-k:
Florian-K Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks.
Sorry, I don't have the time nor the option to draw something specific for free.
Reply
:iconnidochan:
nidochan Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017
aaa do you take commissions?
Reply
:iconflorian-k:
Florian-K Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2017  Professional General Artist
It highly depends on the type of commission. Time isn't my friend at the moment.
Reply
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