Tuesday, October 24, 2017

6 Ways to Organize a Detailed Design

This drawing by Tony Sarg (1880-1942) is crammed with detail, but it's very well organized, which makes it easy to look at. 

1. Simplify the tone of the ground plane.
2. Limit the palette, repeat a limited range of colors.
3. Use simple, clear silhouettes.
4. Make the perspective simple and accurate.
5. Use simple, frontal lighting.
6. Anchor the forms to the ground or delete the shadows.
Previous posts on Tony Sarg's Sea Monster Hoax
Wikipedia on Tony Sarg


Scotty A said...

Whenever I have a street scene like this, I often forget how wide the sidewalks should be. I find myself with big buildings just lurching right over the street, and I wonder where the heck am I going to put all the people? And fruit carts!

Luca said...

Useful tips as always!
And i think that they are more important for a painterly style (for example, your Dinotopia illustrations, full of characters and details but still readable and organized) than for a "comic book style" like in Sarg's illustration (i know it's not correct as a term but that style always make me think to comics) , since in that drawing/coloring style it's the contour that takes care of details and readability, while i find way more difficult to obtain the same level of organization in a painterly style, without the contour. I think the difference is that a "contoured" style doesn't aim to realism and doesn't care too much about atmosferic perspective and brush economy, things you have to consider painting.

Eljohani said...

Is limiting the color palette generally more pleasing in a painting ?

An unrelated subject:
Are there writings by the old masters talking about their personal opinions in art, things that aren't facts or rules, but merely tendencies that they like to do or avoid when painting.


Jim Douglas said...

It's interesting that most of the people do not cast shadows, but the horse and wagon in the foreground do. The image appears relatively realistic but there is so much editing and selection to clarify the overall impression. Great stuff.

Drake Gomez said...

An illustration reminiscent of Herge. Or perhaps Herge is reminiscent of Tony Sarg--hard to know. Nice stuff either way.

James Ramsdell said...

Number 5. Use simple frontal lighter, which allows him to either: ???

James Gurney said...

James, I meant it to read that with that frontal lighting, he could either show the cast shadows or delete them.