Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Seven Flags

What is wrong with these flags? If you know, please leave a comment today before midnight, eastern time in USA.

I’ll post the results tomorrow. The person with the best answer can have their choice of a free signed Dinotopia art print. Five runners-up will be eligible to receive a free doorknob hanger, signed bookplate, and bookmark.


Anonymous said...

A flag waving in the wind will be creased diagonaly from the high end anchored to the pole towards the low end furthest away. Gravity plays a role in how a flag blows in the wind. The waves would not run up and down but more fluid.


Kevin Hedgpeth said...

The flag images have been rendered based upon a generic 'sine wave' undulation: a convention used to trigger the viewer's association with what they believe to be representational of said flag movement.

I would say that the images are not based on observation of the actual subject in motion.

--K. Hedgpeth

Anonymous said...

M.J. Smith's got it right: real flags flying on vertical poles on earth exhibit the effects of gravity by creasing diagonally downward from the upper anchor point. Even flags made of light cloth flying in strong winds reveal this effect of gravity.

The 7 flags you show suggest a steady, gentler wind in which gravity would produce significant diagonal creasing.

Often the top edge of a flag will collapse down toward this diagonal crease. None of the seven show that tendency, either.

None of the seven flags in your image exhibit this effect of gravity on the flag.

Anonymous said...

Ow, too late.

Yup, those flags look like the flags you see in diagrams and schoolbooks. They just move in one axis, they don't fold at all. The only way one could achieve such effect in the real world would be by putting the flag up diagonally so the wind gives it sustentation.

Anonymous said...

Hi James

your Art is wonderful. Regarding the 7 flags - which is an utmost interesting topic to me... As Viennese Master HUNDERTWASSER ; i'd like to draw new ones for countries - , this is my analysis, please :
1-) The " shape " of the wind is impossible and there are almost no " shadows "...
2-) The end on the right that's come up is impossible that way in the natural world.
the shadow central should not be a single color reflect further not black...
3 and 4 -) at great speed as it seems to be yo can never the end of the flag since it's always on the move.
5-)the flag is lying horizontally on a table or a plan
6- the flap is a vertical solid shape
7- the wind is not " waving round but square... In Nature this is impossible....

please contact me,
Have a nice Day,
Best wishes

drawing artist and conceptual artist

Anonymous said...

this is easy, the flags were not painted by james gurney, therefore they are sub-par and not worthy of being published or reproduced. they should have only been used as placeholders until james gurney had time to paint them, and then they should have been immediatly destroyed and replaced with james gurneys image.

were can i send my address for the signed dinotopia stuff i just won?

Roca said...

All of the illustrations are idealized versions of flags with little basis in reality. In the case of numbers 2, 5, and 6, and possibly 7, the left-most side of the flag is rendered incorrectly. A flag is secured to its rigging by two grommets in the corners, and as such will bow outward in a strong wind. The straight line depicted would be unlikely if not impossible.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the previous posts. The flags do not feel like they are naturally blowing in the wind, unless they are unusually small or made of uncommon material. Like the pictures posted, we all have a strong desire to see a flag "wave" in a stereotypical manner.

Anonymous said...

Hi James...

And back again ...with my best hugs to Number 26 our family's favourite Dino...

Winds and their proper volume- shapes, compared again to the volume-shape of flags...
Probably those flags were material laid on a different volume shape each time.

N°2-) British one would be a veil laid on a deep Black shape...
Actually this shadows remind us about the treatises of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Wolfgang Von Goethe about colors ; nature and reflects ..

N°6-) italian case is stick to a vertical wave ...

Please, allow me ad an 8th one, with for instance lying upon a rosebud or pine tree... and possibly another blue one, laid on a geyser !
Shapes fun for drawing and mathematicial enigmas ! ... but that's all folks !

please contact me, what about a collaboration ?

Have a nice Day,
Best wishes

drawing artist and conceptual artist from the Riviera

gail said...

Simple answer. Whoever rendered each flag broke a simple rule:

Draw what you really see, not what you "think" you see.


Anonymous said...

While I agree with the previous comments about the direction...

The more obvious answer is: That the lighting is wrong. All of these have a harsh light from the left and the light doesn't interact with the material.

In real life, the lighting would be more natural from an overhead angle. Also the fabric would interact with the light.

Anonymous said...

While all my be correct...The depiction of China's national flag is wrong. It should have five stars on a red background.

Anonymous said...

Also, wouldn't it depend on what material the flag was made and how it was weighted to ward off tearing. That would make a difference in the shirring of the flag. I have watched banners and flags act much like the flags that are depicted.

Ubiquiste said...

Same answer about the wind undulation. But the movement of the french flag looks more natural to me than the others, it's less vertical and less generic.

Also i'm french, so i'm not very objective ;o)

Anonymous said...

Possibly the shadowing is off, most of them seem to havve been shadowed with more a percentage of black overlay opr whatever.

and yeah of course what everyone else said about how wind doesn't nreally come from just one location, hence a lot more 'tortured' looking flag.

But I'm not that intellectual so who knows really.

(and now I want to go to six flags again).

Anonymous said...

i'm going to go out on a limb here and say its a trick question. and i will say that there is nothing wrong with these the context that they were painted.

i'm guessing most of these if not all of these are from text books. so the purpouse of them are to learn from. so the flag needs to be shown in artistic way to capture the readers attention. but also in a way that shows maximum detail in the flag. so the reader can learn from it.

in this context there is nothing wrong with the flag. different art has different purpouses and for this purpose everthing works.

even james gurney shows this in his dinotopia paintings and images.

infact in the blog post he made last month he shows that it is sometimes more important to use your artistic license to make the image feel right, instead of it being correct in reality.

check out this blog post:

he writes that he used the reference image to get his basic outline. but then he made the legs longer, added a darker shadow, and then added in simulated wind blowing through the clothing.

so i beleive this was a trick question. nothing is wrong with the flags. in the end somtimes its more important to draw the viewer in, or make an image feel right then to actually have it correct in reality....


Anonymous said...

i think this is also a good quote to support my guess that this is a trick question...

james gurney wrote
"Every photo is just a starting place, and the fun begins when you make departures from the facts they present."


Anonymous said...

Here is what I think is wrong with the flags:
1. The top edge of the flag appears longer than the bottom edge. The top edge has large wrinkles in it, but is approximately the same length
as the bottom edge with hardly any wrinkles at all. A wrinkle would
require more cloth and thus shorten the visible length of that portion of the flag. Also, the width of the stripes are inconsistent in a way that is beyond just the curling of the flag. (For example, the white
stripe is clearly wider than the black or grey stripes near the mast. However, near the end of the flag, the white stripe is curiously the same width as the grey and black stripes.)

2. The angle of the flag's ripple nearest the mast is not parallel with the mast or the trailing edge of the flag. A ripple at this angle would cause the trailing edge of the flag to be at a similar angle. But the picture shows the trailing edge to be parallel to the mast, and it cannot be with such a ripple in it.

3. The bottom edge of the flag appears longer than the top edge. This flag has ripples that are somewhat parallel to the mast, yet the trailing edge is at an angle to the mast. This could only happen if the flag was a shape other than rectangular.

4. Same as #3

5. Same as #3 and #4, the white stripe in the center is clearly not uniform in width from top to bottom. The top of the white stripe has a few small wrinkles and is narrow. The bottom of the white stripe has one large wrinkle is still wider than the top portion.

6. This flag is depicted as having a curl in the center of the flag near the center icon. The left part of the central curl is concave while the right side of the curl is convex. This would cause a foreshortening of the icon's leftmost side and an extending of the icon's rightmost side. But the icon appears flat to the viewer in contradiction to the curl of the flag's fabric. The icon would also be slightly slanted in accord with the slant of the flag.

7. The shadows don't make sense on this flag. The first third of the
flag (near the mast) is shadowed like something is in front of it. If you assume the mast is causing the shadow then the light source is somewhat to the left of the viewer to cast this shadow. That explains the brightness of the central curl on the middle third of the flag. But then the last third doesn't make sense because it is brightly lit when it should be in the shadow cast from the curl in the middle third of the flag.

Michael Lukyniuk said...

I'd say that the problem is that in real life flags would have chords attached to them and they would be a little more distant from the flag poles. The China flag comes close to what should be expected, but the chord is still wrongly illustrated. Its also fairly unrealistic to have the folds as depicted -- when there's a strong wind, flags ripple (they don't undulate); when there's little wind ... well, nothing happens. And in real life, there's a lot of wear and tear on flags.
But if you are a cubist, or from the naive school of art ... maybe there's nothing wrong with these flags.

Merry Christmas, James. I received Chandara from Santa and like it a lot!

Ezra said...

The first thought that came to me was that the folds should be diagnal not vertical.


ZD said...

Knowledge of gravity is not needed to paint a flag. All the artist needs to do is look at a real flag and observe.

The artists who painted these flags did not study the way real flags look, or if they did, they did not see them correctly. When somebody does not see an object correctly, it is because they have substituted the information their powers of observation with simple version of the object in their head. In this case, many of the artists drew geometrically predictable curves because they are simple and easy. If these flag artists had more ambition they would not be satisfied with their flags, and they would keep pushing the painting until the flag was waving convincingly.

Anonymous said...

Cheers to all,

the drawings on the flags are slicing the spacetime : how may these be signs of elevated civilisation ?
all would prefer to bath in a bluesky nearby the seventh one...because we love america...
Perhaps flags for a better world should show symbols of grace, peace, understanding of Nature the Heart of Earth, hopes and friendship as possible. If all would be with flowers : what a bunch for humankind !
let me wish you inceasing infinite marvels and a good health

Anonymous said...

Hi anew : But what quite goes well with flags ?

lots of sun on the riviera t'is morning Turquoise Mediterranée ...
Go well are the initials of the 2 flags over the papers :
- C for China...1-)
- U for Usa...7-)

See you ! thanks for attention.