An illustration of a crow in a winter landscape.

Due to their dark color crow feathers don’t have a lot of shading on their own. To make them look three-dimensional despite that, I needed to focus even more on the subtle, diffuse reflections.

This way, the character is integrating well with the rest of the picture, since the crow is visually interacting with the background.

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What you can learn about color composition from old coat of arms

Die Wappen der Stände des Heiligen Römischen Reichs 1510

On of the roles of the composition of an image is to depict the most important elements of the picture in a clear, recognizable manner. For color pictures, not only the placement of the elements is playing a central role, but the color composition as well.

An obvious method is to separate diffrent elements or layers within the image like foreground and background by different color saturations of a difference in lightness.

There are many approaches for setting up a color composition. To acquire some helpful rules of thumb, it can be useful to look at some of the oldest works of visual design in history: Coat of arms and flags.