View Full Version : Nice to meet you, little Merline.

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 08:49 AM
She was a friend of mine I met years ago during a summer musical session. When I found back her photographie I had the feeling that I could turn it in a picture who could translate her true personality.
Ok... here is what I could do with ArtRage, feeling that I is possible to do a better work.
Let me show you what were my choices and where I had to ask for help.
(Sorry for my bad english... I am from France).

First, the starting picture that I traced to isolate her from the background.


You can see in the tracing image that "Merline" (Her true name) has something in the pose and in the attitude that make her look like an Elf.
So I wanted to try to draw her in that feeling.

Her is the result.


Did I succeeded? Don't know... but here follow the steps...

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 09:01 AM
I placed the traced image on a layer in a new document in landscape format.
At this stage, I only know that I want an village in the background that looks medieval, strange, and dreamy.
So I ended with that rough picture.
The village was drawn with paper and pencil, that I scanned in AR.


May be if that little elf could sit in the branches of a tree, that could be nice. But I had no idea how to do that. So I only created 3 layers for first, mid and background planes.

In front, Merline on a tree or on foliage to be made with sticker spay... mid ground (2e plane) the village and 3 plane with a montagne (no imagination at all...)

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 09:18 AM
And that is where I ended with that starting idea...


Well... The foliage is flat. No shadow under the little Elf. The village is to dark and so; it seems to stand before Merline. The montagne in the back are to precise (need of a blur?)
I put a gradian over the silhouette of the village but... in the wrong way. The sun is shinning from the right and the highlights of the character are on the left: problem.

The contour of the silhouette of the houses is strange: I didn't apply the gradian to it, so it stands out in a none pleasant way... I think I will start again to color the village in a completely different way.

The eyes of the character are to clear, making her looking like a "zombi". I have to tell you that a good friend said to me (after I showed him that step)...
- "please, change the color of her trousers... she is looking like having a baboon buttock...". (ok... not cool... but will be donne in the next step).

So I think, it is not easy to "see" all the things that don't work. You need help as long you are to close to the picture.

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 09:35 AM
Changed a lot of things...


Made a mirror of the character. (Well... in ToShop!). Changed the color of.... you know. Used Dodge and Burn mode with the pen to lighten or darken here and there places in the foliage to get volume, relief, to unflatten that area.

I completely redraw the medieval village with new colors but, the most important of all is that I find out how to "feel" the sens of distance under the 3 planes.
I read in a tutorial, that it is important to draw "in value"... meaning dark is in the first plane et clear in the back (the same with saturation?). Yes, but I use colors to draw, so how can I have te feeling of that distance.

Her is a starting of an answer (Hope so...). Did you seen the top layer of that picture? I filled it with black and put le mode in "color". When you make that layer visible... all the picture become black and white.


Not bad... but I should have highlighted a little the bloc of houses on the left to push them more in the back. It is much more visible when you are in B/W that the foliage is in "3D", no?

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 09:48 AM
At the beginning of the picture, I thought that it would be nice to have the character "in a tree", over the village or something so.

I remind myself that I have made tree stencils a long time ago for the forum. You can find those stencils on ArtRage's forum... but I lost the link. However... you can download them from my site
at the RESSOURCE page (http://www.micheldelaforet.fr/zenphoto/ressources-pour-artrage/), if you want.

Why not use them to create a home or a specific place for Merline?
I used 4 layers of tree stencils to dress the first and second plane for that purpose.


ok... it is a little confused at this stage. But with a few cleanup, some resizing, coloring and so... could have a nice look.

Mick CrocKode
12-13-2014, 09:57 AM
Added a little bit of fog in a new layer (playing with transparency) and cleaned out the trees.
Well, moved them at taste as it is so easy to do with ArtRage, refining colors her and there and decided that Merline has now a good place in my imagination.


Hope you enjoyed my long speech and please, you are Welcome to tell me advices, encouragements and criticisms to help me become better with AR.
Nice to meet you.

12-13-2014, 10:44 AM
Lovely painting Mike, and very unusual. I really like your leafy effects down the bottom and the mist is very clever.

12-15-2014, 05:27 PM
Well done and thanks for explaining how you did it! Maybe give Merline a little elf face? :)

Mick CrocKode
12-27-2014, 04:23 AM
Thanks for your comments copespeak and hildee.

Well... I never had the chance to met an "little elf face" in my life. May be, cause I don't dream enough of that... reality.
Painting is like helping dreams to becoming reality, no? I will give dreams a chance to start living in my thoughts and in my pencil.

But perhaps, I am just a dreamer. :-)