Sunday, May 28, 2017

Master Study: Will Terry

Color, Contrast

Some rules for choosing color:

1.) Determine the temperature of the light before choosing your palette
2.) Choose your color palette from the new limited color wheel
3.) Don’t go outside of the range of colors except for an intended effect 

When I did my color study of this piece I was surprised by how off my first assessment of the colors were. For example, I originally thought for sure the base of the rocks were brown with a overlap of orange from the window and that the trees that frame the image were green. What I found though is that most of these assumptions were completely wrong and its only because of the mental association I have for these objects that these assumptions were made.

Will Terry determined the colors he wanted to use in his palette by looking first at the temperature of the sky color he wanted to convey and then building his colors off of that. When you do this you realize that there is no innate color within the object itself, instead it changes depending on the temperature of the light hitting it thus giving us a starting point for what colors we will use in the piece.

In the sky we can see he uses a light highly saturated blue for the sky that illuminates the horizon behind and above our characters and he uses this same spectrum of blue to render the forms of the castle/shell, the sky, the water, the foliage in the front and trees in the background. There is no pure white or pure black in this picture only light blue and dark blues, some crossing into purple and some crossing into greenish blue. The trees look greenish to me but in actuality they are a dark blue with less saturation then the night sky. In fact the only green he uses for the foliage is the highlights on the foliage in the front and on the castle/shell. 

He creates a couple of elements of contrast in this piece by contrasting the cool night light of the sky with the warm orange color of the shell of the turtle. We see the rocks below him are again a variation of blue with highlights that are orange and red depending on how far away they are from the shell's light source. The further away they are the redder the highlights get. This combination of the two colors gives us the impression of a brown color that isn't actually there. 

The exception he makes for effect here is clear, the red apple contrasts nicely with every other color in the limited palette. He makes sure to again use a purple or blue in the shadows of the apple to make it fit in with the lighting of the overall picture. The highlight, which originally looked white to me is actually orange so we get a nice gradation from one light source to the other within the apple itself. The highlight is orange, then we see the saturated red of the apple, followed up by dark blue and purple within the shadows to make it fit in with the other light source.  

I would say the rhythmic element in the picture are the lightning bugs that decorate the picture and move up and down and around the characters to add visual interest to the piece. The wavy foliage in the foreground of the picture is another element often repeated in Will Terry's work.

The emphasis here is where the highest amount of contrast is which is our central characters and specifically the turtle and the red apple. The turtles shell has a light which contrasts with the rest of the picture and the apple is within that same color range. The most amount of green within a picture is used on the turtle which contrasts against the green and is a sweet spot between the yellow-orange light source and the blue-green light source.

Pattern, Variety, Repetition
Will Terry uses a lot of the same long triangular shapes to draw foliage in this picture as he does in his other work. Sometimes its sharp such as in the foliage that pokes up from the ground around the turtle's shell or he uses wavy indirect foliage like in the foreground to suggest movement and add variety.

The rocks are another element of repetition and they also help in adding the visual depth that is  needed to differentiate between the foreground and mid ground here. They get bigger as they get closer to us and smaller as they move away but they never dominate the foreground of the picture. 

There are strong elements of contrast here with the warm and cool colors described above but also in the sharp edges of the foliage in the front in comparison to the soft edges of the background.

The picture is heavy on the left but is balanced out on the right side by the trees in the top right corner that create an interesting negative space around the apple and the butterfly. The foliage in the foreground also helps balance out the two sides of the picture. Without it the picture would feel uneven.

The only feeling of movement that I get from this picture is the foliage in the front which keeps us from looking off the page and the lightning bugs that dance around the image and illuminate the elements of the composition.

We see sharp and well defined edges in the foreground and mid ground that helps define the look of the piece. Again soft edges are meant to be a resting place for sharp edges in a painting and here this is no different. 

Master Study: The Silver Warrior by Frank Frazetta

The colors in this picture stay within the blue, purple and light green spectrum with only a slight deviation from this at our focal point on the sword with an orange/red color. We get a clear example here of reflected light and the color within those shadows. The light is hitting him and the bears directly from above which is creating the dramatic shadows over the man. On the bears we see that any plane not facing the light source has a tone of blue that is the same as the sky however on the bottom parts of the bears where the shadowed plane faces the ground we get reflected light from the snow which is toned purple giving the shadow a lot of depth and differentiating the planes. He wants to make sure the shadows he is using are cool colored and not warm colored since this is the way the piece should feel: cold.

If I had to put down what I think the rhythm in this picture is I would say that one element of this is the eyes, noses and mouths of the bears which are all black and ascend the picture in a rhythmic fashion up the page starting on the bottom half and going right then left then right again before stopping dead center of the page. Naturally our eye would look to complete the rhythm so the next black shapes we see is in the silhouette of the man, particularly his face.

He wants our eye to fall and focus directly on the warrior's face and his sword he has in his hand
and he does this in numerous ways:

First there is the color difference with this being the only touch of orange/red color in the illustration which contrasts directly with color of the rest of the picture. The 3 rays of light that bounce off the sword are also an indication of that. We also get the contrasted black shape of his hair, face and sword
against the while mountain backdrop.

He gives us just enough information on the face while leaving the rest up to our imagination which draws us in more than if he was to make a fully rendered and detailed face. These are the only parts in the picture outside of the sleds themselves where black is used. Its not completely black since it still has some yellow and blue in the shadow itself but its enough of a difference to contrast with the color of the shadows under the polar bears beneath him and creates a interesting and provocative shape for our eyes to rest on.

This dynamic image of him on his sled  is framed by the two skis on either side and his sword keeping your eye going in a triangular fashion around him once your eyes have rested on his face. This is how he communicates the second read elements of the picture such as the ornamentation on the sled.

Pattern, Variety
The rule of 3 is applicable all throughout this piece:
-3 charms on his waist
-3 rays of light hitting the sword
-3 medals along his waistline
-3 protrusions from his helmet
- the 3 long dark shapes of the two skis and swords
-3 handles on the sled

Repeated shapes in the picture include small circles for the eyes, decoration on the sled, as well as the circular shapes of the backs of the bears and the decoration on the Silver Warrior himself. as he has several. There is also the repetition of 4 in the picture with four polar bears and their features which he uses to create rhythm and movement along with some of the decoration on his sled.

He sits nicely in contrast with the backdrop of the mountain which makes the silhouette of his head pop forward since it is shaped by the shadow which has next to no reflected light within it ( but is not entirely black since most illustrators will not use just a solid black for shadow, it would look out of place). Imagine if this landscape was behind waistline or was centered along the picture how would this take away from the contrast of the face? It would also create a lot of empty space on the top which would make it unbalanced.

This piece has a asymmetrical design and creates an interesting shape dynamic with one side leaning more towards the left and the polar bears more to the right. Asymmetrical designs are used to make a picture look more lively which is exactly what we see here it

He uses the positioning of the heads of the bears to provide movement.and a sense of liveliness that it would not have had they faced all the same direction or patterned like left, right left, right. Instead we get one looking to the right, one to the left and another one staring right at us which breaks the pattern and then another looking to the right. This along with the triangular shape of the man and his skis pushes our eye up to the top point of that triangle where he wants our eyes to land then we naturally look at the skis because they are another black shape and going from one ski to the next moves our eyes across to appreciate the ornamentation of the sled before going back up the the face.

In this piece he varies his edges pretty significantly where the bottom and top half of the piece contrast one another in this regard. For example the silhouette of the Silver Warrior is sharp and well defined in its edges. Again our eye naturally will go to these sharp edges and in comparison the soft edges of the bottom half of the mountain in the back drop and the soft edges around the arms and legs of the polar bears contrast with it nicely allowing his silhouette to dominate the picture so that our eye will not rest here. If he had made all of the edges sharp then the picture would not feel as lively I think. The soft edges are only meant to be there for the hard sharp edges to sit on.

He also uses a mixture of soft and sharp edges to define the edges on the polar bears. The two polar bears in the back are separated from one another by a lost edge that is more of a transition of color then like the other three which have sharp edges on them when they overlap and soft edges when they overlap with the snow on the mountain top.