This drawing is missing something. Any advice? It seems flat to me. It needs life. It is a colored pencil drawing. Thanks in advance.

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Hi Alison!  I think you're off to a great start!  There are only a couple of things that stand out to me that I would work on if it were mine.   First, it's hard to say for sure where the light source is.  The highlights on the bird are great and imply that the light is from the lower center, but the highlight in the bird's eye is at the top.  The twigs also indicate some multi-directional lighting.  They are well done, but not consistent.  The second thing for me is that the background appears to be a wall.  If that's what you had in mind, then it's great.  If you want it to recede more, as if it's snow on the ground, I would adjust some shadows and push it farther back by using cooler colors....it doesn't take a lot, but just a hint can actually make quite a difference.

I think it's a very nice piece as is, but there's always room for improvement, right? ;) I know I can always see where my own art needs improving!   Good luck with it! I'm looking forward to seeing it again!

Pris

Thank you, Pris Hardy for all the insights. I will look at the reference pic and see where the light really is. I had a hard time seeing it and it shows in the art.I will post after I play with it. Thanks again!

A simple tool for you Alison...when you make your image black and white, you get a better idea of your values and where they might need adjusting.  I don't always remember to do it, but it sure helps when I do remember!  =]

Looking forward to seeing it!

Alison Brennen said:

Thank you, Pris Hardy for all the insights. I will look at the reference pic and see where the light really is. I had a hard time seeing it and it shows in the art.I will post after I play with it. Thanks again!

Alison, look at the black and white picture at the tonal values, the background is almost the same as the bird, you could try making it a bit lighter around the bird that should help lift the bird out of the background. Hope this makes sense? Dave.

Thanks, Dave. I will look at the Black and white!

I really appreciate all the suggestions. Thanks for the black and white, Pris Hardy. I will use your suggestions and bring this bird to life!



Pris Hardy said:

A simple tool for you Alison...when you make your image black and white, you get a better idea of your values and where they might need adjusting.  I don't always remember to do it, but it sure helps when I do remember!  =]

Dear Pris,

  I have looked at the black and white of the reference photo and I still cannot see the shadows, can you see them? The picture is from Jim Sabiston.I love his art.

Pris Hardy said:

Hi Alison!  I think you're off to a great start!  There are only a couple of things that stand out to me that I would work on if it were mine.   First, it's hard to say for sure where the light source is.  The highlights on the bird are great and imply that the light is from the lower center, but the highlight in the bird's eye is at the top.  The twigs also indicate some multi-directional lighting.  They are well done, but not consistent.  The second thing for me is that the background appears to be a wall.  If that's what you had in mind, then it's great.  If you want it to recede more, as if it's snow on the ground, I would adjust some shadows and push it farther back by using cooler colors....it doesn't take a lot, but just a hint can actually make quite a difference.

I think it's a very nice piece as is, but there's always room for improvement, right? ;) I know I can always see where my own art needs improving!   Good luck with it! I'm looking forward to seeing it again!

Pris

Thanks Dave,

I am just learning. I appreciate the help.


Dave Smith said:

Alison, look at the black and white picture at the tonal values, the background is almost the same as the bird, you could try making it a bit lighter around the bird that should help lift the bird out of the background. Hope this makes sense? Dave.

 Maybe this will help to have the ref right next to your image...and now I understand the confusion.  In the ref image, it looks as though there are actually two light sources.  The natural light is coming from above and the reflected light coming off of the snow is coming from below.  To follow the ref image, your highlights on the top of the bird and branches need to be brighter than the reflected light on the lower sides of the bird and branches.  I would lighten the background as needed, but be sure to finish the shadows on the branches and soften the edges on the branches that you want to push back into the background.  Lighten the top side of the bird and deepen some shadows under his wing and body.  A bit deeper shadow on the branch directly under the bird should help give you the realistic effect.  I hope that helps.   You are more than welcome to email me also at pencilsbypris@gmail.com.   =]

Alison Brennen said:

Dear Pris,

  I have looked at the black and white of the reference and I still cannot see the shadows, can you see them? The picture is from Jim Sabiston.I love his art.

Pris Hardy said:

Hi Alison!  I think you're off to a great start!  There are only a couple of things that stand out to me that I would work on if it were mine.   First, it's hard to say for sure where the light source is.  The highlights on the bird are great and imply that the light is from the lower center, but the highlight in the bird's eye is at the top.  The twigs also indicate some multi-directional lighting.  They are well done, but not consistent.  The second thing for me is that the background appears to be a wall.  If that's what you had in mind, then it's great.  If you want it to recede more, as if it's snow on the ground, I would adjust some shadows and push it farther back by using cooler colors....it doesn't take a lot, but just a hint can actually make quite a difference.

I think it's a very nice piece as is, but there's always room for improvement, right? ;) I know I can always see where my own art needs improving!   Good luck with it! I'm looking forward to seeing it again!

Pris

 Dear Pris,

Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. I am new to colored pencils and light and shadows so this is a great help.

I'm happy to help Alison.  I hope I have been more of a help than a hindrance though =]   I've been doing colored pencils for quite awhile, but still find out new information all the time.   I'm really looking forward to seeing how it comes out!   Good luck! and have fun!

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