For this exercise I was asked to look at the image bellow and describe it, as well as answering the following questions:
What the image is about. What is it saying? The image is about two children getting into a cave where there’s a treasure guarded by a big sleeping dragon. One can also see armour lying on the floor and the whole cave is illuminated by an antorhc carried by one of the characters.
Work out the narrative and identify the story. The image is narrating an adventure, it talks about risks, danger, bravery and rewards. It’s definitely an illustration that describes a story for an audience of children or young teenagers.
From the two main characters one could think there’s one adventurous who leads the way into the cave, and the second who might think it isn’t the best idea to be there and therefore is pulling in the direction of the exit. The dragon is sleeping and holding golden coins and a throne, probably has been doing it for years since the pieces of old armour on the floor indicates that other brave warriors have tried to get the treasure in the past, probably with no success.
Describe the palette and tonal range which has been used. Note if the colours are hot or cold, whether the elements are detailed or textural, and where these approaches are used. The main palette is a triadic including blue-violet, red-orange and yellow-green; even though the dragon has a lot of pure red, probably with the intention that it stands out from the rest of the illustration.
If I look carefully at the image I see it as a low-key painting or illustration. Even though it seems to be a high contrast between the warm colors (red-orange) and the cold ones (blue-violet) it’s more about the hue than about the tone. In my opinion if the artists would have used high tonal contrast he’d have achieved a more compelling result, using darker tones for the corners of the cave and lighter ones around the flame and in the direction of the exit.
Is there any connection between hot colour and the importance of the element in telling the story? There is. The dragon is the main character in the story, specifically the main villain and the golden treasure (yellow) that he holds its what drives the other main characters to be there. These main characters are definitely highlighted with the warm tones from the cold background.
Begin to identify the hierarchy within the image. Which are the most important elements in terms of carrying the narrative or conveying the ideas and how have these been treated? I’d say that the main element is the dragon with the golden treasure and the second most important is the flame which does the job of catching the viewers attention and pointing it to the other two characters of the story (the two children). I'd argue that the dragon and the flame have almost the same weight and it would have been better to reduce the impact or importance of the flame to make sure it is not competing with the dragon.
The green chair would be number four in the hierarchy and only at last one realizes that there are pieces of armour and swords on the floor, to finally “zoom-out” and see the whole cave.