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Journal
Art Analysis 13: Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish
Art Analysis #13: Daybreak, by Maxfield Parrish
Daybreak was the 20th century's single most popular print in America. According to Alma Gilbert, the House of Art (which handled the printing) estimated that 1 out of every 4 homes in America had a copy. When I first started reading up on this painting I constantly ran across the term "Dynamic Symmetry." It was the system that Parrish had used to lay out the composition and arrange the elements. When I looked around for a good description of it, I didn't turn up much. However, Jay Hambidge's book on it from 1920 was available through Amazon, so I ordered it. This is, I believe, the same book that Parrish would have read on it.
Since Dynamic Symmetry is so important to the composition, I'm going to focus on that rather than on palette or other topics. (Some prints of the painting are quite blue-green. I'm showing the proper colors here, though there is
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Journal
Art Analysis 13: Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish
Art Analysis #13: Daybreak, by Maxfield Parrish
Daybreak was the 20th century's single most popular print in America. According to Alma Gilbert, the House of Art (which handled the printing) estimated that 1 out of every 4 homes in America had a copy. When I first started reading up on this painting I constantly ran across the term "Dynamic Symmetry." It was the system that Parrish had used to lay out the composition and arrange the elements. When I looked around for a good description of it, I didn't turn up much. However, Jay Hambidge's book on it from 1920 was available through Amazon, so I ordered it. This is, I believe, the same book that Parrish would have read on it.
Since Dynamic Symmetry is so important to the composition, I'm going to focus on that rather than on palette or other topics. (Some prints of the painting are quite blue-green. I'm showing the proper colors here, though there is
:iconsequentialscott:sequentialscott
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Back To The Nature by Ecthelian Back To The Nature :iconecthelian:Ecthelian 6,011 743
Journal
Detailed Analysis of In The Garden of Giants
Here's a deconstruction of :iconzancan:'s wonderful painting Tears for Joy in the Garden of Giants.
http://sequentialscott.deviantart.com/journal/27962225/
I saw Tears for Joy in the Garden of Giants because it was a Daily Deviation here on Deviant Art on January 18, 2009.  It immediately stood out from the many fantasy paintings because it didn't focus on scantily clad women (though they're there, sort of), nor did it have a horrible monster, nor vicious violence.  On his web site, Zancan explains what he was going for this way:
In the immense diversity of emotions one can feel, I choose to extract a striking and rare one and turn it to spectacle. This emotion is a joy so immense that it makes cry tears; smiling and weeping at the same time, the widest range of behaviors concentrated in one single emotion.
That's no small challenge for an image.  For me, anyway, he got there. &
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Journal
Art Analysis #11: The Hindenburg, by Mort Kun
I've added a new analysis to my weekly journal of art critiques:
#11: The Hindenburg, by Mort Künstler
How composition, values, and perspective guide the eye around a movie poster.  Yes, we'll rearrange the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.  (Bonus points to anyone who spots the reference.)
Previous Analyses
#10: Dance, by Alphonse Mucha
#9: The Unknown #6, Cover A, by Erik Jones
#8: Starstruck (Michael Kaluta and Lee Moyer)
#7: A Vision of Peace (Alex Raymond)
#6: England Expects (Morgan Penn)
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Journal
Art Analysis - Why Illustrations Work
I've added a new analysis to my weekly journal of art critiques:
#9: The Unknown #6, Cover A
This week is a look at how composition and values guide the viewers' eyes around the image.  It also looks at how Erik Jones combines realism and graphical/iconic elements.
Previous Analyses
#8: Starstruck (Michael Kaluta and Lee Moyer)
#7: A Vision of Peace (Alex Raymond)
#6: England Expects (Morgan Penn)
#5: Promethea #24, Pages 8 and 9 (J.H. Williams III)
#4: Couple Descending Staircase (J.C. Leyendecker)
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Journal
Starstruck: Detailed Analysis of A Comic Page
This is the latest in a series of columns I've written that take apart specific images to look at their composition, coloring and values, and basic construction.  Basically, why do they work as images?
This one is a page from Starstruck (currently being published by IDW) with art by Michael Kaluta and Lee Moyer.  I concentrate on color and palette as well as composition and how they guide your eye through the panels.
[http://sequentialscott.deviantart.com/journal/27453387/]
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Activity


Journal History

Drawings from Buddha, by Osamu Tezuka.  Copyright by Tezuka Productions.
This analysis copyright Scott McDaniel, 2012.

The Image, Part 1



Tezuka-Naradatta

Not too long ago I started working on some drawings in which I needed to draw water, mountains, and trees in ink.  For example, in Fairy Tales I tackled both up-close and mid-distance forest and trees.  In Knotwork in the Skye mountains and water were the problem of the day.  


While I'm not completely happy with the results, I thought I'd share some of the drawings by Osamu Tezuka that I referred to several times to try to work out doing nature with ink.  All three of the main pictures I'm showing here are from his Buddha series.  The one above is from Volume 8, the last one.  Now, when I look at that I'd call it fairly realistic.  But when you start looking at the individual parts we can see how he's combining abstract patterns and textures to construct it.


Let's take a look at the water.  At a glance we can see the waterfalls and that there are rapids.  We can also tell where the rapids are running faster and where they're running not quite as fast.  This first example is from the left side of the drawing, where the water is running over a large stone.



Tezuka-Detail-Rapids

If this were out of context of the larger drawing, could you tell what it is?  I see jagged veins of white connecting to each other, and then textured dark areas.  But what does each one represent?  Why does that read as water in the larger context.  To help us along a little bit, here is a photo my father-in-law took of some the type of water Tezuka was drawing:



Tezuka-RealWater

Looking at this, it seems that the white areas are foam and the dark areas are the water.  Tezuka has also given the foaming areas a direction, so we can tell when the water transitions from falling down over a rock to landing in a pool.  Still, he's not trying to draw each vein of foam perfectly.  Looked at close up, they're abstract patterns.  Let's take a look at the water on the lower right side.



Tezuka-Detail-Rapids2

To contrast with the earlier detail, this one gets rid of the veins altogether and just uses motion lines to indicate the flow.  In context, this reads as even more foam and churn - so much that we can no longer see any specifics at all.  My first instinct would have been to go in and try to draw even more chaos and texture in there, but this is certainly more effective.


There's also lots of interesting stuff going on with the rock surface and texture.  These rocks have been worn down by the water - they're curved and don't show jagged parts.  What do you see in there in terms of how Tezuka has used pure black areas interspersed with hatching?  What does the direction of the hatching (and number of directions) communicate about the surface?



The Image: Part 2



Tezuka-MountainPlain

Here's the second of the three pictures.  This one also lets us look at rock and mountain surface, though from further away.  Let's take a look at a detail of some of the mountains.



Tezuka-Detail-MountainFace

Not so different from the water above, we're seeing patches and almost vein-like textures.  Here, though, the veins are the shadow.  I imagine him drawing those almost as contour drawings, without the shading in the shapes, and then when it came time for the inking he chose some to fill in completely and others to hatch.  I also see at least two levels of shading going on - one is at a large scale and shows the structure of the mountain overall, while others form more of the texture pattern in specific areas that conveys the idea of "rock."



Tezuka-Detail-Clouds

Moving down the picture a little bit we come to clouds.  I've been practicing clouds for a long time with marker/brush and ink and still have a ways to go, so it was interesting to see what Tezuka does with them here.  Throughout Buddha he treats them in many different ways, but I particularly like this one.  Clouds often break down into smaller and larger spheres and ovals, fractal like.  We can see that most clearly at the top and the middle of the detail.  As we move down, though, those structures break down and become more swirly until it just shows swirling lines.  At the bottom of the detail (and below in the main picture) the clouds just fade out with no defined bottom outline or texture.  That was something I had to train myself out of - giving clouds an outline on the bottom.


Looking back at the mountain, clouds, and plain, which perspective techniques does Tezuku use?  How often do we see a mountain rising above clouds like that?  What's the weather like?  How does he use relative size cues and occlusion to make that mountain seem so huge and so distant?



Tezuka-Detail-Trees

Now lets look at the trees in the relative foreground.  I've been focused on trees a lot lately - there are so many different kinds and arrangements.  I do think it's helpful to do gestures of trees just like it is for human figures.  These trees aren't very close to us - they're in the middle ground.  So, we're close enough to see their shape and silhouette, but not close enough to really get a sense of fully rounded objects.  The trunks and limbs, for example, are mostly silhouette.  That canopies, on the other hand, do show some form.  Still, it's a subtle mix of blacks and texture.  The texture of scribbles stands in for the leaves, which Tezuka doesn't draw individually.  Under all of this, though, we can still see branch structure and foliage structure, so they're certainly not random squiggles.




The Image: Part 3



Tezuka-Tree

Since I'm short on time right now I'll just leave this here for you and ask a few questions.



  1. What does the hatching and directions of the lines tell us about the tree trunk?
  2. How does Tezuka draw our eye to the people seated beneath the tree - the focus of the image?
  3. Why would Tezuka put so little detail on the focal point - the people - and so much in the tree?
  4. The darkest area of the tree trunk forms a V that points down.  Why?
  5. What purpose does the distant foliage serve to the focal people?
  6. What does Tezuka do with branch structure and leaves


That's it for now.  On a personal note, I haven't been doing these analyses lately for several reasons, but the main one is lack of time.  The day job has been sucking up more time, and I've wanted to focus on creating art, not just deconstructing it.  I do plan to continue these, but they will still be irregular.  And, they'll be shorter.  I've had my eye on The High Priestess by lauraborealisis for a while, but I'm also tempted by the freaky bizarreness of Illustionist by xeeming (both at DeviantArt).

  • Listening to: Mago de Oz
  • Watching: Farscape
  • Playing: Once Upon a Time
  • Drinking: Honest Tea

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sequentialscott
Scott McDaniel
Artist | Hobbyist
United States
Current Residence: Gaithersburg, MD
Favourite genre of music: Prog rock
Favourite photographer: Man Ray
Favourite style of art: Surrealism
Operating System: Leopard
Favourite cartoon character: Catbus
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:iconsequentialscott:
sequentialscott Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Hobbyist
Of course not - I appreciate it. Thanks! :D
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:iconsyche:
syche Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
i'm really enjoying your analyses, here, have a llama
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:iconsequentialscott:
sequentialscott Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2010  Hobbyist
Thank you. I'm still figuring out the whole llama thing... :handshake:
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:iconrohtie:
rohtie Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
love your analysis +watch
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:iconsequentialscott:
sequentialscott Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2010  Hobbyist
Thanks, and thanks for the watch. :D
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:iconrohtie:
rohtie Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
:)
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:icondunwich7:
dunwich7 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2010   Digital Artist
Cheers for the :+fav: of Noseferatu :)
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:iconjuliedoornbos:
JulieDoornbos Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2009
Hey Scott

So I was perusing amazon looking for some good books showcasing some of the "golden age" illustrators- Parrish, Rackham, Dulac, etc. I was wondering if you had seen the books that Dover puts out and what you think of them if you have? [link]

~J
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:iconsequentialscott:
sequentialscott Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Hobbyist
I poked around some more and they do look like good collections. They also get pretty good reviews as well. Thanks for pointing them out.
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:iconjuliedoornbos:
JulieDoornbos Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2009
hey, Scott! Sorry it's been so long since I wrote. Was busy this past month.

Thanks for the thoughts on the books. I'm really fascinated with these artists... probably because I remember them so well from the books I read when I was a kid. Definitely a bit of nostalgia going on.

I'm going to run off and see what you've been up to since I've been out. ;)
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