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Living Flame by devious-snake Living Flame by devious-snake
Any critiques are helpful, it feels like its a little off but I'm not sure if its the wings or the body so any insight about composition, background, coloring of the flames, its all up for grabs.

Original art, took about 18 hours to complete this @_@ i don't want to look at these colors again for a little while.
Watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencil on 9x12 120lb acrylic paper. Photoshop used just to adjust the color so it looks true.

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Emberguard Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012   General Artist
This is a critique for the :iconfeedbackfrenzy:#FeedbackFrenzy competition


The idea of the picture is pretty good, but the anatomy isn't all that great. I'd normally expect a second wing to be showing, and I'd suggest you look up some pictures of fire and study them to see how the fire would normally flow and hopefully get a better idea of how it'd look on an animal. Overall the flame looks quite good at the wing feathers that are near the outer part of the wing and the tail, but the rest doesn't look like they quite work to me. Although it's great you're trying to get each individual flame tendril visible, that's not really unnecessary.

Fire can be very hard to draw, but the main thing you need to keep in mind is that although it generates it's own light, it should also have shading to it just like anything else would. The fire would be brightest where the most heat is. For example, look at this picture:
There's quite a difference in the range of brightness throughout the flame with the darkest area being underneath the log.

Looking at various pictures of fire I found for the most part there's one direction which tends to have the brightest area, just as if you were shading any creature with a light source shining onto it.
Here's a good example of what I mean:

I'd suggest looking at many different pictures of fire and drawing them to get a feel of how to draw fire and where to place the shadows/highlights based on the properties of fire.

In the mean time here's my advice on how to make your fire more realistic. Try to pick a direction of light for your picture before you start it. Then use lead pencil to pencil in your bird. After that go over it and pencil in the flames keeping them nice and loose, use photo references if necessary. From the direction of light you picked, use it to shade keeping the brightest part where the light is coming from on your fire the same way you'd shade anything else, in case you need to edit the shading use the lead pencil for the shading. Make sure that you're as light as you can be with the pencil so that once you're happy with it you can go over it with whatever medium you want. Alternatively you could make a pencil drawing and then use it as a reference image and make a completely new image with the medium of your choice.

As to the birds anatomy, the closest bird I know of to the classic look of a phoenix would be a peacock. Here are some reference images of peacocks flying:
Image #1
<a href="[link]>Image #2
<a href="[link]>Image #3
Image #4
<a href="[link]>Image #5

Of course you could use any kind of bird and put fire on it to make it look like a fire phoenix. I'm sure you could even get away with using a chicken if the anatomy was good enough and the fire done well.

Here's some examples of phoenixes that people have done to hopefully give you an idea of how it could be made to work well:





The background of your picture is interesting. While it's not anything in particular, it almost looks like either the shadow created from fire or the tops of some flames because of those darker spots, flecks and variations within the purple. Overall you've got quite a bit of work to do on anatomy and getting the hang of drawing fire but I'm sure you've got the ability to make this picture of yours work.

Hope this critique helps :)
Emberguard Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012   General Artist
*with the last line of the first paragraph I meant:

"that's not really necessary" instead of "that's not really unnecessary."
taibossigai Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Hi there, I am here as part of the Feedback Frenzy.

I love phoenixes. They're fun to create and have a very nice abstract nature to them.

I really like your choice of classic fire colours and the style of fire you used for the wings and tail. I like the variations from red to yellow and back to orange in the wings, and the extra bits of flame coming off the body. I also enjoy how you surrounded the yellow sections with orange - it helps to bring out the light and almost makes it glow.

Regarding body composition, the overall design is good. It took me a moment to realize there is a second wing behind the front one though. Using a slightly darker red or positioning the wing towards the head more would help the viewer differentiate them. The plumes at the top of his head don't fit in with the rest of his feathers though - adding some red or orange would fix this.

The overall style of this is quite eyepleasing and is reminds me of the old style shield designs from England. The cropping in the photo is a little abrupt as the wings and tail appear clipped off, I would have liked to see the entire bird completely surrounded by the background (you may have done this in real life and just cropped the image down to as we see it...if so I apologize!).

Finally, I personally like the background as you've created it. It adds a warm element to the piece and has enough contrast to distinguish from the phoenix. I hope I've helped you out a little. :)
racketify Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student General Artist
This is the feedback frenzy contest 2
The flame is good toward the artwork, touch-up in some area for the shading and implement a better background that well toward the phoneix, like maybe a volcano or something like that. So, the background would better suited for the phoneix, but beside that it is really good.
devious-snake Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student General Artist
Thank you! and yes I agree the background needs something
racketify Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2012  Student General Artist
you welcome
fairygodpiggy Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Student Filmographer
I'm a sucker for phoenixes (...I don't think that's right.) XD
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Submitted on
November 6, 2012
Image Size
10.5 MB


7 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
1/18 second
Focal Length
10 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Nov 4, 2012, 11:04:44 AM
Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 Windows