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January 2006

January 2006: Phoenix



  • EMG News:
    January 2006
  • Wombat Droppings:
    Poking the Gravid Chicken
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Artmakers as Friends of the Earth
  • Behind the Art:
    Fighting Artist Blocks with Brainstorming and Thumbnails
  • Cosplay101:
    An Introduction to Cosplay Costuming
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Two-Headed Phoenix


  • Rising From the Ashes
  • Online Marketing Part I


  • Critique Corner: Phoenix
  • PA Spotlight: Crackle character from Camilla Grow


  • Movie: Aeon Flux
  • Movie: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
  • Movie: The Fog
  • Movie: Ringers: Lord of the Fans

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  • Phoenix
    by Christine (Cris) Griffin and Ellen Million

    To submit your work for a Critique Corner critique, or to try your hand at your own critique, please visit the Forum.

    It's tough to critique a piece of artwork effectively, and it's even tougher when the piece starts out this good! But here we go...

    Hubba hubba! This guy is to drool for!

    Compositionally, the first thing that jumps out is how symmetrical it is - tough to pull off successfully! I think that if you broke up the background a little more, it might read less stricty symmetrical - note that right now you even have stone/gravemaker-thingies in nearly identical places on opposite sides. I would consider moving the moon from that position, also - placing it almost touching on of his wings and down lower may increase the drama of it. (If you make a tic-tac-toe grid over your piece, the strongest places in a painting will be at the grid junctions)

    I think the colors work - I checked this on two monitors, and while yes, it is a highly saturated piece, I don't feel it's too jarring to be intentional. The magenta in the wings makes the piece particularly brilliant.

    The downstrokes in the underside of the upper wings feels a little forced to me - as if you weren't quite sure which direction to be blending. The radial motion to the lower wings feels more deliberate and helps spotlight the figure.

    The figure himself has a good feeling to him - though I would look at a few things: it feels like the thigh meeting his hip is a little low on his right side (our left). His left arm feels a little smaller and shorter than the right - this may be a function of that arm being further away and sort of rolled back, but I don't get that feeling from that shoulder.

    The dramatic lighting on his jaw is not repeated on his chest muscles - I think that it is out of place on his face, as the rest of his body indicates strong back-lighting, with no source for that jawline light.

    Some combination of his hair and and the edge of his face makes that left (his left!) cheekbone look too severe. There's also a smudge of hair that looks ill-defined and serves no particular compositional purpose that I would consider removing on the right side of his face. Look at the lighting on his right a bit, too - on the other side, his hair clearly shadows his shoulder. I think my suggestion here would be - rather than darkening up the neck area - thin out his hair and imply a window for the light! He's got a lot of hair - I think you can successfully get rid of some of it without making him look ready for a comb-over. Let me know if you'd like a redline for my thoughts here, or if I've explained it clearly enough.

    His left hand looks less well-defined than his right - particularly by his wrist/thumb connection.

    Only one other thing - if the light pooling at his feet is from his wings, let's see some shadow that he's casting!

    The painterly style you manage is excellent - I love the textures you can see in the detail, and the musculature is wonderfully rendered. There's a lot of life and energy in this piece, and the detailing seems to be right at the right level to me.

    Hope that helps!

    Artwork by Christin Griffin, Critique by Ellen Million

    Christine (Cris) Griffin has always had a passion for projects. Visit her site for prints and embarrassing archives.

    Ellen Million has always had a passion for projects. Visit her site for prints and embarrassing archives.

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