I’ve diligently been working on my digital painting homework, and have revised the initial sketch to a much stronger one. I’ve also mapped out the values (lightness/darkness) of each feature, so I have some idea of how the finished painting will “read”.
I thought you might find my reasoning for the revisions interesting, so here are the original sketch and the revised sketch:
The most obvious change is that I’ve moved the dome to the left. That’s because the center is the least interesting place to put your focal point; the eye gets stuck there and doesn’t really take in the rest of the scene. By putting the focal point off-center, I get a more active, dynamic feel.
I’ve also moved the dome up slightly. That’s because in general, you don’t want to put objects with their edges just barely touching the edge of the image; it catches the eye in unhealthy ways. Instead, either put them squarely within the edges or solidly overlapping the edge, as in the glowing rock in the bottom right. I didn’t want to cut off the dome, since it’s the main feature, so I moved it up to sit solidly within the frame.
I added a “path” of glowing brain corals (the “rocks” with dots) to help lead the eye through the rest of the painting. It doesn’t really make sense to have a path underwater, but it’s compositionally useful and my (twisted reasoning) says it’s useful to have something glowing outside the door so you can see well enough to go in. If I think of a more imaginative thing to do with it I’ll probably change it.
The dots of light on the dome are branched coral with glowing ends. Think of them as underwater torches, illuminating the various sea life clinging to the dome. I’m probably going to rearrange the anemones, barnacles, giant clams, etc. to be a bit more decorative, and to cover the dome completely.
I chose a “night-time” setting for this composition because I felt the high contrast between the dark background and the glowing dome made for a much more dramatic composition. I may even punch up the contrast a bit more in the finished version.
I changed the tree-like sea fans to a rock formation in the background because I felt that the sea fans were “flat”. Adding the rock formation to the background allows me to shade the rocks, giving more depth to the image. It also makes the dome look bigger in comparison.
And that’s it for now! I’ll post more as I develop the actual painting – I think you might enjoy seeing the intermediate steps.
Meanwhile, in cat-land, shelling beans have arrived in the farmer’s market, sending Tigress into bursts of ecstasy. Mature bean pods are one of her favorite toys, and she’ll play with them until the pods split apart and the beans fall out. After that, it’s off for another one!
Here’s a video of Tigress going crazy with a bean pod.
I did not know that the center was the least interesting place to put a focal point. What you’ve said makes perfect sense! Thanks for the info!