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Gegenees - Greek Myths 1 of 10 by bschu Gegenees - Greek Myths 1 of 10 by bschu
This is 1 of 10 in a ten part illustration series I am doing on Greek Mythology. This first illustration is about the "Gegenees", they are the six armed savages you see in this illustration. In Greek Myth, Jason and the Argonauts went to help the king of an island by helping him to get rid of these savage beasts. It is really fun to learn about these ancient myths while working on this series, although also surprisingly hard work too. It wasn't easy to find authentic visual support and original reading on this topic, even the wikipedia page is very brief! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gegenees

I would love some feedback on this illustration. I consider this to be the final draft but I think I can work it a bit more. I want it to be either very realistic or very interesting to look at.

I'm not sure if I should keep working on the colors and lighting or maybe keep working on detail? Does it look professional? Why or why not? What might you suggest to improve?
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:iconelectric-raichu:
Electric-Raichu Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've never heard of this episode in the myth.

as for whether it's professional enough, it depends on the style of the art overall of where it's going. this is fine for a kid's book or for a cartoony look. you might need to improve the right shoreline a bit because it looks like sea level is higher level than the land.
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2018   General Artist
Thanks for the comment. The myth is definitely there so look it up and enjoy :)

Your feedback is appreciated. I struggled greatly with creating a more realistic look in this scene and I still can't say why. I used the usual perspective guidelines, and I polished the coloring, light, and shade as finely as I could. And yet I agree, as you say, it came out quite cartoony. I think I worked it like a toy soldier scene and failed on capturing the emotion.

Regardless, it was a fun illustration to work on and I learned a lot from it.
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:iconchristianer3:
Christianer3 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2018
This is great and fantastic, good Work.
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2018   General Artist
Thank you! I'm glad you like it.
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:iconmikomics:
Mikomics Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi, ProjectComment member here!

Right, down to business. First things first, holy shit! This is really, really great work! The concept is amazing, the composition is wonderful, and it's really fun to look at!

But you're right, there are some ways to improve this. First of all, atmospheric perspective. The further something is away from you, the less saturated the color becomes. That's why mountains look pale and blue in the distance, and begin to blend in with the sky. The same thing happens with the sea, and while you definitely have shown awareness that this happens, I think it could be pushed a little bit further. It's also noticeable in the sand - they're the same color in the foreground and the islands further away. I think the sand further away should be a little less saturated, but by how much is difficult to say. 
The biggest technical issue is the Gegenees in the background. While things do get blurrier the further away they are, it should be consistent. The fact that the background gegenees are less detailed than the foliage behind them is kind of off putting. Same with the sand they stand on - there should be at least some texture, I think.

Anyways, onto the praise! Specifically the composition, because it's excellently done! The line of giants and the path lead the eye to the main action, and should it wander north to the clouds, they direct the eye back on to that path. Not to mention the spears and arrows pointing towards the center of the piece.
Your use of light is good too.The reflection light of the ocean on the rocks, the gleaming metals, etcetera. Very good work.
And my god the texture is great! In the foreground at least. I feel the transition to the lack of texture/detail in the background could be more gradual, because I notice it faster than I think I should in this piece.

To answer your questions: I think you should work mainly on detail next. The lighting is for the most part fine - some fine tuning could help I guess but there's nothing too noticeable. I think you're getting close to professional but you aren't there yet. While from afar it looks very professional, upon closer inspection your mistakes do become apparent. It's in that kind of uncanny valley of "It looks almost realistic but not quite there yet." But you're definitely on track to looking professional. I think doing some observation studies of real world objects could help a lot.

Again though, these are all just my personal observations. Take only what you will, and take it with a grain of salt too since I'm an amateur as well.

But overall, really great work with this piece! I look forward to the next installments in the series!
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2017   General Artist
Thanks for this detailed comment you really made some fine points. I am not trying to make excuses here, I totally agree with the inconsistency in the background detail, but I am still curious about the whole "atmospheric fog" effect. I used a few photo references for Greek Islands and Greek Beaches. I couldn't help noticing that the colors were actually "not" as faded as you went off into the distance. I think the difference is that Greece probably has crystal clear skies. If you think about it, it makes sense, islands probably have a lot of wind to blow away fog and particles, especially beach areas like this. So it would make sense that the less particles you have in the sky, the less ambient mist you should see. But still, I think you are 100% correct somehow, because I just felt like I couldn't push the background back far enough to correct the feeling of perspective. So finally I caved in and I just cropped off the foreground from a certain (noticeable) point, and then I lowered the saturation and blurred the background a bit.

Then, I couldn't handle the idea of going into detail with the entire background anymore :) My ability to do detail seems to be improving over time, it is like an exercise that needs a lot of stamina and it improves slowly with experience. Maybe this is why a lot of artists use that ambient fog. It's obviously a handy short cut for this type of situation. I'll have to put more thought into and find a balance of work-time to quality output.

Thanks again for the feedback, it helps a lot to confirm some concerns I have and you also pointed out some things I might not have noticed.
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:iconmikomics:
Mikomics Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, I noticed that as well when I checked it out. Yet in the Greek mountains it's still in full effect. I dunno, maybe photos of tropical oceans get manipulated in Photoshop to look more vibrant?

It's worth looking into some more. Maybe you can find a landscape art course somewhere and ask the teacher about it.
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:iconghostchiryou:
ghostchiryou Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello! I'm from :iconprojectcomment:!

Firstly, I like that you're doing a series on Greek Mythology. That subject has always interested me, and I can't wait to see what stories you do next! (though I will admit I have never heard of this one before)

This was a good story to pick for the first illustration in the series, since it is full of action. The composition you used here is nice, and in my opinion draws the eye quite well. The archers, rocks, and foliage in the corners frame the drawing, and the way you only used reddish colors in the Argonauts and the Gegeness makes you look at them more, which is what you want! However, the angles you used don't really make the Gegeness look all that intimidating. Like edgelight said, changing the perspective so that the viewer is looking up at the Gegeness at the same level as the Argonauts would make them all the more intimidating and make the illustration more interesting. Though I understand how hard doing perspective can be, I struggle with it myself, so don't feel like you have to do as I suggested. You have a pretty good understanding of anatomy. No real issues with that as far as I can see exept that the Gegeness running towards the guys with the shields's legs look a bit too short compared to the body.

Next, The details, while for the most part well placed in the foreground apart from the inconsistently placed sand grains, is good, look out of place in the background. You made the hills surrounding the building in the background all blurry, and yet the building itself is sharp. I'm not sure how to describe it, but the further back you go in the painting the more unnatural the scenery looks. Perhaps it's because you didn't fade out the background, maybe it's the details or the colors you used... I don't know, the islands and the ships in the water look like they don't belong.

Finally, in some parts of the environment it appears you've shaded with black and white. I wouldn't recommend that, since it makes things look dull and uninteresting. It looks like you used more purpleish colors in the shadows and more yellow ones in characters, and that looks very nice, so if you just did a similar thing to the background's shadows and highlights it would make everything look a lot better.

In conclusion, I really, really like this drawing! While the background could use some work, everything else is pretty much fantastic, and I can't wait to see the rest of the series!! La la la la 
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2017   General Artist
Thank you for this awesome comment! It helps to solidify some doubts I had and confirm some issues, regardless if they have been mentioned already.

I really did struggle with the perspective on this one and I'm not sure why. I'm usually quite at home with perspective, but I simply couldn't get the vanishing point to work with me on this one. The war boats (called Triremes) were moved about again and again and I simply had to leave them where they lay :)

You were the first person to see through my exploitation of detail and find the foundational flaws in this work. You genuinely have a great eye. Please keep in touch and give me further critique in the future if it is convenient for you. I am adding you to my watch now. As well as some others who really helped me out in this thread. I am really happy about this.
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:iconedgelight:
edgelight Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
A complicated scene with a lot of elements! You did a great job on drawing the figures and placing them in the landscape. The giants look like they are hard to defeat even though the Argonauts have more advanced weapons.

The figures have just the right amount of detail and the armour looks convincing. For the most parts, i think the coloring is well chosen. The sea, the rocks and the paths are the colors you expect on a sunny island in Greece.
If there is a part where could improve on the coloring, it would be the 'greens'. I think it would be better when they were less saturated and more brown was mixed into it. It would also help to tie the elements more together.
That is the only thin i could imagine where colors and lighting need some work.

Lately, i've been studying about scene composition and looked at lot of stills from movies and drawings by professional artists. I noticed they often group their figures to concentrate the action at a clear center point. My suggestion would be to place the Argonauts close together, even overlapping each other and surround them with the Gegenees, to enhance the drama of the image.
As a further step you could change the viewpoint so that the Argonauts are at the same level as the viewer, but the viewer looks up to the giants.

I hope, these suggestions were valuable. I liked your image, i am looking forward to the next parts in the series.
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Thanks for the awesome comment! And I think you have a good eye. Actually, I took most of the background colors directly from reference photos, and including the entire beach, ocean, and the greens, etc. And technically speaking the greens I kept picking were much more brownish. But when I applied that brownish green directly it just didn't look right so I just picked a green which I felt comfortable with temporarily, and it stuck that way. The brownish greens have to be complimented with other hues to make the subtle green come out, at least that's how it seemed between me and my color picker. I planned to do that but forgot. Again, good eye! I will work on that and update the image.

I agree with the camera angle and composition too. I have a life-long issue with that. I am actually not really big on characters and I always forget about emotion and mood. I tend to prefer drawing environments and things. As a result I often miss out on a lot of that feeling. I am thinking too strategically and not building up the drama. When you look at ancient masterpieces it is always as you say, people overlapping each other, and in many cases literally people "piled on top of each other" :D Perhaps I'm being too prude. It's time to start drawing some nudes!
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:iconfrostbite88-99:
Frostbite88-99 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017
Gotta say this looks good. 
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Thank you!
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:icondracogale:
DracoGale Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Whoa, I really like how you used this scene for the Greek Myths instead of just doing the Gegenees. It really shows their 'monstrous' side and the fear they portray. 
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Thanks and I'm glad you appreciate it! I had to do a lot of research to understand the story and portray all of this. After reading about their background it seemed unfair to portray these particular giants without showing some of the story. The whole essence of the Gegenees came from the travels of the Argonauts.
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:icondracogale:
DracoGale Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2017  Student Digital Artist
It's always a great touch to research your piece before you do it, you did a great job! I love it! 
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:iconthejfluffy:
theJfluffy Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017
You did well!
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Thank you!
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:iconnoctis-corvus:
Noctis-Corvus Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Mythology is fascinating. Every civilization has its' own monsters and myth's, and each one is fascinating. My class agreed that Jason is far from the best of Greek Heroes, but I suppose this is a really good start to your collection.
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Honestly I didn't know anything about Jason and the Argonauts at first. I just found these Gegenees in a list of Greek Mythological creatures, and then in order to understand the Gegenees I had to read about the Argonauts, and then I felt like I couldn't possibly portray the Gegenees without showing the Argonauts because that was the whole point of the story :) I was even more surprised that Heracles (Hercules) was just a common member of the Argonauts, if I'm not mistaken. I would have assumed that such a legendary myth would be the leader in any story he belonged to. Although Heracles did single handedly hold down the Gegenees until "the Argonauts came back to join the slaughter" hahaha.
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:iconnoctis-corvus:
Noctis-Corvus Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The point of the famous heroes, such as Heracles, Atalanta, and others, was to place the time of the journey. It also gives explanations for gaps in their own stories (Heracles' trials did take most of his life to complete, so breaks within could be filled in). 
The Argonauts used tricks and deception to claim the fleece. Heracles only really fought head on. When he left to complete the rest of his trials, it was showing that the Argonauts couldn't rely on brute strength.
You did a good job in showing the scene though. Keep it up.
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:iconsolitary-j:
Solitary-J Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I really do enjoy this, especially the skill combined with the subject matter.  I'm a big fan of the Greek mythology and it's so rare to see illustrations of secondary adventures by even the most significant figures.
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Thank you very much! And I have to agree that it seems rare. I ended up spending days doing research on the backgrounds of many Greek mythological creatures because it was really hard to get concrete details, and surprisingly even common monsters (or "giants") like this do not have much visual representation. There are actually more modern interpretations than ancient.
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:iconadam-ant2:
adam-ant2 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017
"Wooo! SPRING BREAK! YEA"-*hrrk!*
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2017   General Artist
Funny interpretation! :)
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:iconcaptainpalu:
CaptainPalu Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh my gosh this is gorgeous! The foliage and sand detail are amazing *v*

If there's anything to add I'd probably say to lighten the sky a bit, and to make your shading more saturated, possibly (this is beyond what I can do already but making more coloured shading is always a good thing)? Amazing job on it so far, though!
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:iconbschu:
bschu Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2017   General Artist
Thank you!

I think you were right about the sky. The color was based on a photo and I really liked that deep blue, but when I tried making it lighter it helped push the background back and other things just snapped into place. Thank you! I updated the main file already too.

I agree about the colored shading, it seems to be one of the major tricks-of-the-trade in painting, however I am struggling with it a bit.
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:iconcaptainpalu:
CaptainPalu Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gosh sorry for the late reply x__x'' it looks amazing though, I'm really glad I could contribute!!
Coloured shading is so hard honestly, picking colours that match is so much harder than it looks haha
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