My first approach to the second part of the project was to identify what kinds of elements I wanted in my compositions. I needed the owl to be the focus of the composition, and I wanted the setting to be nighttime.
I started with some sketches of some compositions for my poster. I focused on creating a composition that would encapsulate why the northern spotted owl is an endangered species—deforestation.
I struggled a lot with color and with the composition/position of the trees. These are the first iterations of my poster.
I still need to improve the communication of form and feathers with my animal. Right now it is just a base for me to manipulate scale and positioning. The first image is with a foreground. The second is without one; it also makes the owls seem higher up in the trees.
Color seems to be one of the major issues as well. Because of how similar the color of the owl is compared to the trees behind it, the whole composition flattens out; I think adding in the feathers and details into the tree bark will help with bringing out the volume in each object. I just have to be careful not to create too much chaos with the number of little shapes I’ll be adding.
I want to do something with light and reflection of moonlight on the trees.
I wanted to try a composition with perspective instead to give the viewer a better representation of the habitat my northern spotted owl lived in. I did so by using 3 point perspective where the viewer would look down on the owls in the trees and see the ground and tree stumps.
I wasn’t able to completely finish my composition due to time constraints. For my next iterations, I want to add more trees and more refined textures to them. I also want to address the perspective of the birds; I would like to add highlights to the birds and increase the amount of detail on the wings. I also want to put more focus on the birds because I feel like they fade into the background at the moment. These are my iterations:
I experimented with color and lighting to give the trees and the space depth. I want to address the composition of the branches; they feel very random and unorganized, leading to a messy composition that competes for your attention. The small tree stumps don't feel like tree stumps, and the fallen logs have the wrong perspective.
Again, with more time, I will add more trees and refine the smaller details within the elements of my composition. I need to find a less arbitrary placement of my type because as of now, it feels like an afterthought.
I took notes during the critique last Thursday which is shown above. My main areas to fix were the perspective of the owl, the having the owls in motion to show a moment in time rather than a portrait, detailing the trees, and moving around the stumps to be more realistic. I was also asked to think more about how I was going to treat the text and making sure that the text wouldn’t overlap with the harsh shadows in the background.
I did all of these in my newest composition.
I still think that can work on differentiating the owls from the background. I would also like to experiment more with the colors of the trees. The perspective of the tree stumps still seems a bit off, and I think I can make the placement of the text more intentional. I would like to get better at showing the texture on the trees; the bark was really hard to approach, and I had multiple approaches on this composition—see top right and middle left.
With the advice and criticisms Q offered during my time with him in the breakout room on Tuesday, I wanted to make some more changes to my final composition.
He went over some techniques I could use to help me create the texture on the trees. He also talked about type treatment, patterns, and usage of line weight and contrast to help me with my trees. I also applied some advice Mark Baskinger had given our class the previous semester— “Omit the unimportant to emphasize the important”. I decided that the feathers on the owl in the back were unnecessary and distracting so I changed them to stripes. I also used thin lines and concentric ovular shapes to create natural texture on the trees. It was simple but effective at creating the bark and knots in the tree. Finally, I made some minor adjustments to the sizes of the owls, the highlight outlines, and the tree branches.
I also forgot to mention that I took Daphne’s advice and printed the spread out onto printer paper to see zoom out and see what I was missing in the bigger picture.
I took part in Q’s breakout room again for my final crit and refinement of my composition. There were a few elements that I still needed to fix to finalize the illustration.
The main issues were to address the texture on the tree, the hierarchy of textures and objects within the composition, and the treatment of text and its positioning.
The first thing I tackled today was adding branches to the shadows to make the environment feel a little more realistic. I also changed the texture of the bark by turning the lines into shapes so I could alter the thickness. I was able to create more natural textures with jagged edges by using the pencil tool to rearrange the anchor points.
This is my almost final composition:
After some new additions like removing the outlines and adding highlights, I settled on this composition.
I really struggled with my composition at the beginning of this project because I had a very static idea of what I wanted to do right at the start. My first iterations of both my animal and my background lacked depth, complexity, and interest. I was very dissatisfied with it, but as soon as I started messing with perspective, I was able to create something I was eager to explore.
My process of refining the owl, its position, and the composition was a very tedious process that I felt could’ve gone further with given more time. I changed my composition to a 3-point perspective camera angle, the depth of my animal's environment could be clearly seen. I really enjoyed the iterative process after critiques on this project. Even though I struggled with finding the right proportions, scaling, and hierarchy of detail, I was able to create something that I was pretty satisfied with. I enjoyed thinking about different ways to create the texture of the bark on the trees, and I loved working with the owl to create a movement and perspective I thought accurately represented the animal.
I really appreciated Q and Daphne’s feedback during critiques in the small breakout rooms. I was able to really refine and shape the decisions I made with my composition with their feedback. It helped guide me to a conclusion that I felt like I liked; there were things that I felt like I would need more time to resolve though. The tree stumps, the details on the bird’s wings, the highlights, the texture of the trees, and the shadows could all use more refinement given more time. I feel like even the composition could be reworked to better contrast the owl and the trees. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I can’t wait to start the animation!