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You Can't Run by Cyberdrace You Can't Run by Cyberdrace
Throwing rocks worked when AJ did it, right?

Started this right after the episode aired and then I just left lying there unfished, because of various distractions.
Alas, I finally got around to finish it now! I hope the composition works... it looked more consistent as a sketch, but oh well!
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I love this! The view and angle of it is really interesting. The color pallet is very good, and diverse. The way the ground looks is really cool. I like particularly how you took the green from the trees and reflected it onto the ground towards the back. The color of the grass towards Spike is pretty. The timberwolf is very menacing, I like the eyes. Now before I say this, I can't really say I have any experience with digital art. The only thing I would suggest is to be a little more creative with the texture of Spike. I can see it would be a little confusing on how to shade him because... well... he's kind of plastic looking in the show. XD
However, he's still a dragon, so he could be scale-y...
Anyway, I loved this! Keep up the good work! This is my first critique, so I hope I did well :)
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
20 out of 21 deviants thought this was fair.

Overall I really like this piece. It reads really well as a thumbnail, overall layout and perspective are great, chosen colors and values are okay.. Buut when it comes to looking at the whole picture, it all just isn't rendered and executed well enough.
Your skill level is really balanced at where it is (different areas aren't notably worse or better than others) though and you have a great base for improvement.

Color scheme is good. The blue-green gives a nice dark mood, but you could've got more of that blue backlight out by using it on shadows. Also you could go further and include more colors like yellow or teal around to give the picture more impact while still keeping the same color scheme.

First thing I noticed though was the very, very soft and low contrast value blending on everything, plus the lack of harder edges around the environment. It makes the image feel unnecessarily soft and blurry.
You don't have to make all the shadows smooth and gradient-like, there can be more rough and harder shadows with clear edges and sharper lighting. You lose a lot of impact if you introduce mid-value areas between light and shadow around majority of stuff

You need to get some textures going on on everything. Not necessarily texture brushes, but just harder edged brushes to further reduce the softness of everything, especially for environments I recommend something else than regular shaped brushes like round.
You can get away with just having hard edges, but you can't get away with just having soft edges. Best is to have a healthy mix of both around all objects.

You also seem to be too careful of your brushwork, let it flow and scribble around more. For instance, when you paint grass, you don't have to carefully do it strand by strand like you've clearly done here. Instead you can create an impression of grass by scribbling more chaotic lines of different colors and values around.

Get more reference on forests in general. It reeeally doesn't hurt to take good looks on a hefty pile of photography before the work and during the work.
Trees aren't such smooth straight poles, and branch structure is quite different. All your branches are very thick related to the trunk, and spread out in pretty much the same angles. Paint bark rough, and have light be more inconsistent on the bark surface because there is always a lot of stuff like moss and cracks going on around the surface, all your wood surfaces look very dry and plastic-y due to this regular smoothness and soft shading.
Don't be afraid to show us some leaves either. They still exist pretty far down especially since we're having a forest clearing going on here.

Ground needs the same treatment as trees. It looks so smooth and cries for some texture and rough lighting going on, plus more things like grass, leaves, branches, moss and rocks to give it more interest and make the place feel like a forest. Current amount of stuff on the ground just isn't enough, and adding more cannot hurt in this situation. Again, you don't even have to try and paint them invidually, you can just throw pretty loose lines and blobs of color around to just create an impression of branches, pebbles and stuff.

Rethink your bushes a bit, get some reference images again. Make them have visible branches and some more visible invidual leaves to break the cartoony afro shape.
I would also remove the middle one on the midground to open up the forest a bit and make the image breathe. It'd also add more interest by revealing the roots of the tree and you could make the varying flora behind the bushline to reach out forward around the roots.
The way those repeating similar bushes barricade the forest and frame the timberwolf looks kinda odd.

Spike especially has waaay too soft and simple gradient shading. It just doesn't work when you try to make rest of the piece follow more realistic idea of an environment. Again, you can break the overly soft shading by mixing in some harder brushes and less blending. You don't have to make his shadow so deep either, you could just shade him with blue since shadows absorb some of the color they see, which in this case is the blue ambient light around the forest.
Arm's shoulder position looks kinda odd and makes his pose feel really stiff. Although he could be sorta stiff given the situation, it's now stiff in a way it doesn't just feel right and it eats the impact of the picture a bit. This could simply be fixed by making him more relaxed just by moving his shoulder down.
Also I miiight reconsider his position. You're cutting him out of the picture in two places and that hurts the composition. Considering his contrast, he's the focal point of the picture and should be closer to the center.

So yah, most of the stuff here revolves around breaking the softness of everything and getting into the world of harder edges and more carefree painting.
I can't really tell from here what kind of brushes you use, but this really feels like Corel Painter, which seems to have a lot of very soft blending brushes as a stock thing. In any case getting some hard and rough brushes is a must for you, and it'll help your work immensely once you just quickly get the idea of them.
Use more reference to get the environment things look more like what it's supposed to look like, no copying, but just to get better idea of how things work. Internet has a tremendous amount of photography, and I'm sure there are also a lot of trees near your house to creepily stare at.

But yes, like I said in the beginning, you have a good good base for improvement here. You have an excellent grip of all basics, but now it's just time to step it up a bit and get some more stuff going on like major life/photography referencing and better tools.
It's like you have leveled up as an artist but forgot to spend your talent points.

Keep going. I'll keep an eye on you because I like where you're going with your style... And just happy to see another pony painter interested in getting environments going. There aren't enough.

...Gosh, this escalated quickly. I just intended to do a quickie here but got carried away. I guess I've already said a lot of stuff here that you already know...
What do you think?
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39 out of 43 deviants thought this was fair.

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Adaphion-Kaparose Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
any sort of explanation as to why his fire breath isn't working? 
EliteSniper1109 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2013

The timber wolfs head exploded into sap and splinters, seeing a way to escape Spike ran for it. He heard more Timber wolves behind him but every time one got close it suffered the same fate as the last. When he got out of the forest he stopped to catch his breath. Looking towards it he wondered what saved him, little did he know that his saver was only a few feet away in a bush with a L96 sniper rifle.
Bendykins Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
009-1 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013
Amazing =D
DragonKingAlpha Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Creepy, but way past cool.
flyingdoombunny Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
And then spike died
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
[timberwolf intensifies]

Seriously though this is giving me the slightest bit of vertigo if I stare at it for any amount of time.
Cyberdrace Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess I'll count that as a success?
Here-for-the-ponies Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Your icon is too fitting to say otherwise XD
But seriously I kinda like that effect.
Cyberdrace Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
haha okay^^
and I'm glad you think so, thats kinda what I was going for :3
FeanorKelsick Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
Really love the background, so mystical and Everfree-ey..Good stuff!
Culu-Bluebeaver Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013
Wow the shading and atmosphere in this picture are just fantastic :clap:
CutieKittie999 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome, just awesome!
BlackGryph0n Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013
They're made of wood!
And you're a dragon!
(Srsly though, this is awesome!! :love: )
silvermoon442 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this is gorgeous! I think you can add some more texture to spike's skin- it's a bit too soft and gradient. But this overall piece is astounding and looks wonderful! :love: I hope you don't mind me submitting this to a group I'm in, #All-My-Little-Ponies!
BellaThorne0403 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*Mudkip comes in and kils timberwolf then runs off*
Me: :O_o:
Greenhatman Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013
Oh man, poor Spike. He looks so helpless and afraid here. Makes me want to swoop in, grab him, and carry him off to safety!
BoneSatellite Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
Wow, that's gorgeous. The green glow in the background makes me think of the greenish twilight in Wagner's Ring cycle.
Bunnairry Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whoa, very nice~
ElementOf-Loyalty Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Spike is so innocent,he's just a baby.(Y~Y)
TorturedArtist745 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
Spike, turn that timber wolf into kindling and torch that son of a bitch.
Applejack2011 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
Captain-Brony Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Torch'em Spike!!!
Rebron-y Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cakeFTW223 Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
Jelenadbz Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Student Filmographer
HareTrinity Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh dear! Maybe Spike should run?

Nice pic! :)
Redwritingwarrior Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
spike you green idiot! you breath fire!FIRE! you have the advantage against a pile of living sticks.
Blackvegetable Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
Hoo boy! ^^; Nice artwork though! :D
Marzzel Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Really nice picture!
How long did it take to be done?
Cyberdrace Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you^^
And I have actually no Idea how long it took since I was on and off working on it for like a month. So I guess maybe 10hrs?
Marzzel Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You need to record your times XD
Naw, but really good work, seems it really pro.

Keep it up!
SuperOptimisticEmo Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
nice knowing ya Spike
RainbowDash3221XD Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
phokingreal Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Student Artist
Throwing just ordinary rocks won't work, but....ROCK WILL!!! *air guitar* yeahhhhh!:headbang:
Amphibnia Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
love. it.
electricdar Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
Wow I'm glad you finished it!! This piece looks fantastic :D :heart:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
crasydwarf Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
Looks good. Really good.
Nicely done :)
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Submitted on
February 25, 2013
Image Size
2.8 MB


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