Scissor Frog

I feel like the scissor legs are off in terms of perspective but I can’t figure out how…

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Hi Alexandra,

Please don’t take offence at the below critiques.

  1. Yes it all looks to come down to perspective. Too me there appear multiple issues as the head appears rotated to the body (this could be intentional, just pointing it out) and the scissors are out of alignment to the body.

  2. I have attached a couple of images. One shows some rough guides to point out ‘possible’ perspective issues and the other with the scissors rotated. The rotation appears better but there appears to be a Z axis rotation (twist) in the scissors also that I didn’t try to correct for.

  3. Using bounding boxes and basic shapes as part of the perspective can be really helpful. I’m not going to try and rehash what I know as it will be illegible garble by the time I finish :grinning:, so I’m going to go visual and point you towards two artists on Instagram that I’m hoping you will find quite useful:

Let me know how you go.

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Why would I be upset? I believe this section of the forum is called “Critique Corner.” No? :slight_smile: I should have used my Drawabox understanding to get the blades instead of winging it. I see what you are talking about. I wonder if I can fix it now or if I have to start all over since I have the dark black already blocked in. Thank you for taking the time!

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Sorry, I’m so used to being shut down when I offer any form of critique even when asked for… I find that most people are really asking you to just confirm their stuff is perfect and great :grinning:. This site is the one place I found where that doesn’t happen, though I forget that as a lifetime of learnt behaviour is hard to discard :joy:.

I’m assuming it’s pencil? My experience of correcting wasn’t great as I usually draw to hard bruising the paper and I could never get the paper clean enough to get back anywhere near white enough. I’m guessing only you could judge from your experience if it is possible. Though starting again would allow you to approach the perspective again… what if you roughed out a new one to get an impression and then you can decide if you should invest the time in the new one or try and fix the old (I’m guessing they take a hell of a lot of time… they would for me)?

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Hey Alexandra! Great drawing!

It’s almost funny to see someone as mindful of potential offense as Craig. He is very knowledgeable (as you can see from his contributions here alone) but demonstrably careful with what he says. I’m still working on loosening him up (as I think I am a pro at powerhouse freestyle offense. LOL!)

As to perspective here—honestly, your image does not come across as wrong. However, there is an interesting set of issues here that are worth discussing. When we are building novelty, we must, by definition, move away from familiarity in some domain. As such, there is a tug of war between the driving force of being original and the compulsion to appeal to familiarity (fluency in processing/recognition.)

To break this down, it is important to remember that our threshold for “reality deviation” in the visual arts is quite high. It’s almost as though we resort to some type of simplified physics plan when exploring a representational environment. Neuroscientist Patrick Cavanaugh wrote about this in 2005 in Nature Magazine with an article titled “The Artist as Neuroscientist.” It can be accessed here:

Here are a few figures from that piece to get an idea of what I am talking about:

As you can see, there are significant issues with each of these images, and yet to the average viewer, they do not come across as “wrong.” And I would argue that this threshold rises with increased stylization and novelty. So honestly, I do not think that you are “wrong” per se with your perspective here. I mean who is to say how a half-scissor frog should be represented?

Where I think the crux of your feelings on the subject is with the appeal to processing fluency (i.e., the ease with which something may be processed.) Studies into recognition have shown systematic variations in naming latencies suggesting that certain manners of orientation affect perceptual fluency. In other words, these latencies support the idea that the orientation of a representation may have much to do with how well it may be perceptually processed. This consideration is often regarded as a “canonical perspective”.

Here is an example of canonical perspectives from researcher Stephen E. Palmer:


Often, as a general rule, people will consciously (or sometimes unconsciously) try to balance the novelty of the “whole” with more familiar “parts.” On of the ways one might achieve the latter is to appeal to a canonical perspective–(in this case a sort of “archetype scissor.”) So ultimately I do not think that the “problem” as you see is a matter of a “wrong” perspective—but rather a dissonance experienced between your attempt to successfully balance the novelty of scissor-frog with familiarity (specifically a more canonical orientation of the scissor.) I think that you want the scissors to be more “iconic” in their representation but I do not think that it is necessarily possible in this context. Yes, you can change the perspective to try and nudge it more towards something canonical (which is probably further away from the side view and closer to the front view) but it will likely not “jive” with the current orientation of the frog.

In other words, I think your representation is just fine.

Understood. In my case, I find that it’s helpful to hear what works and doesn’t work, what’s strong, and what could be improved. I’m hear to get better as an artist and learn. My family can tell me it’s great. :slight_smile:

This is charcoal and pastel.

I think the issue I am having is that the frog is looking up and he is slightly rotated towards the viewer, and when I took a photo of the scissors at the same angle, this is how they looked, but for some reason, they seem too rotated here. But maybe I’m wrong. I appreciate your feedback. This is an interesting conundrum.

You know, this may be it. Because when I look at my photo reference (which I’ve attached here), then I think I’ve gotten it right, but when I look at it, I feel the scissors should be rotated down more so that they seem to have more depth than they do right now, but the frog is slightly rotated up and forward so you would have to see more of the bottom. It’s a visual cacophony. And on top of that, scissors have a fixed point around which two levers function, but the frog has only one lever on the upper body but two for the legs, so there is no fixed point like with the scissors which also throws me off. If that makes any sense. Thank you. Very helpful.

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I kind of wonder if stepping into the ‘uncanny valley’ could be part of it, or am I just joining dots that don’t exist — my mind is good at that, making ■■■■ up :joy: — curious on your thoughts AWaichulis.

I realise that the uncanny valley references our uncomfortability when it comes to humans that look almost real but not quite (think attempts to us 3D for rendering humans in movies just a few years ago), but I wonder if that would come into play here also. Maybe the closer we get to realism (of anything) in painting the more a painting can feel ‘wrong’ if something isn’t exactly right such as lighting, positioning (as in here), etc.

Just some random thoughts I have been mulling over and thought i’d share that confusion… sharing is caring as they say :joy:.

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