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This is a pinup for a magazine, deadline is next wednesday and i'd really appreciate any tips, critique and/or suggestions!
It's still work in progress, I hope this is a good moment for some feedback on the basics, before investing time in the details.
Thank you in advance!
ps: I am planning to keep the hair flat and in one colour, to contrast the rest. Good idea or not? I'd appreciate your thoughts!
Off the top of my head, I think the body tones could use some softening in areas. It has a very sketchy feel to it, which doesn't come off as a style, but rather like it's just unfinished. Her clothing that's being blown in the wind looks very stiff and rigid, it could do with feeling lighter and softer, as it's being caried by the wind (maybe do some studies of drapery?). The top of the image also looks over crowded, maybe that thing above her head (tree branch?) could be removed to give it a little room to breathe. I think it's quite a nice image, but it has a very unfinished feel to it right now.
The first thing you should probably do is clean this up a bit, try to have it not as sketchy from the start so you don't have to clean it up. The one thing that bothers me is the hair, it wrappes around her but seems to dissapear, and BOOM! Theres a ton more hair, it wasn't under her arm, is that hair coming from her arm? I agree with burl that you should work a little on the drapery, the top kind of looks like her body has just been painted.
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i think the contrast will come out hot...maybe add a lil more to the rest though (detail, or woteva).
I'm not sure about keeping the hair flat. Perhaps a little blending coming out the forehead, fading to flat tone as it gets further away, would be a little less stark.
Ah, I like the idea of implementing flat shapes into the image. It should be an interesting challenge, but I think there are a few things you could do to make it work better.
First, the shadow across her face isn't going to read if it you don't show it across her hair as well. The values on the feathers coming out of her hair need to indicate they are in shadow as well. The shapes of the feathers too need to really be refined to show what they are doing. Whether they are just sitting in the hair or attached to her head somehow. This needs to be indicated in their shape.
The problem with this style of flat shapes is that you need to be even more descriptive with the shape itself since you wont have rendering to do the describing for you. So if they are attached to the head, really make the shapes "wrap" and show perspective to get the point across.
The hair gets a little thin in places showing too many strands of hair. Think of it as a design element or a high contrast backdrop to emphasize important parts of the silhouette of the figure. You can make it read as hair at the edges where strands can break off but it should be more or less a larger closed shape. Remember, at this point its a very important design element, so push it.
Lastly, I would soften the anatomy of the neck and the back of the left hand. Indeed, soften the values over all on her body. Render her skin subtly and softly, then render the drapery, with all its folds and overlaps, with sharper value transitions. This will provide some contrast that will help things read clearer in the end.
Go back and show thickness to all your clothes (like the wrap around her arm and the strap for her quiver) and take a long hard look at the work of Coles Phillips (though i'm sure you must have already.) see how he uses his flat shapes and silhouettes to give the impression of the details.
Looking good man, Keep on it!
...my humble and uneducated opinion.
I like it! Flatness and all. Because this is such a graphical image and relies so much on silhouette, I would (as others suggested) smooth the grays. The strokiness of the shading inside her form is distracting from the power of her outline.
I'm assuming this is a digital image. You could make your life a lot easier by layering the design elements more thoughtfully. There are a couple of places (the branches in the background; the clump of hair in the middle right) where things aren't moving behind other things properly. This is where digital pisses all over ink and paper: the ability to isolate elements on separate layers.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
I dig the hair alot. Great motion, shape, impact. Occasional strands lack confidence (the upward pointed strand above her left elbow, for example) but overall I think it works quite nicely.
The skin does need some cleaning though. Her belly looks like tree bark and her hand looks like a mummies. Try not showing any more render there than you absolutely need to. Check your ref for this if you're using any, and if you're not using any, get some. It will also help with some structural tweaks that she could use to the rib cage and left arm. Also, I'm not for sure about those feathers coming out of her hair up top. See if it may read better without them, they feel distracting to me.
Also, if you're not going to draw that right hand, don't draw it all the way. The sketchy ghost looks like a placeholder that was never returned to.
And very last point, you will get better pop from this if you make either her or her background a different tone. Right now they're very similar and it makes her look outlined. Dropping the bg to a midtone or dropping her lit areas to a midtone, either way will give this more space.
Thank you everybody for your great suggestions and comments.
I'm still a bit new here, i only realized later that this is a work in progress and is therefor in the wrong forum! I appologize, but will continue in this thread for convenience sake.
The major adjustments are the right arm, facial expression is less serious, removal of the thing above her head and feathers, adjustments on cloth and bra and skin, flow of the hair. I also used DavePalumbo's excellent suggestion to make the background bluer, though it still needs a lot of work.
I wanted to give her a modern, or sf aspect, like she's a timetraveler stuck in an primitive era or something, so tried some tattoo designs.
Things to do:
Bow, cloth, detail legs and lower part, background. I'm in doubt about adding just a few feathers, perhaps only on one part of her head, just to make her more recognizably different than the protagonist of that game 'heavenly sword'.
maybe, the blacks should really be pushed, in a vector style to mirror the hair. I feel that the hair is a bit flat, although I know you said you wanted to keep it that way perhaps 1 dark shade of red to show that it is hair would work well.
It's a great piece and a great composition, I hope my reply doesn't come too late!
One suggestion that I have would be to add a little texture work to the hair--not necessarily making it have form, but add some whirlygigs or something to spice it up. I can see some ways in which this could be not what you're looking for, but I wanted to make sure.
Also I would try to integrate the hair a teensy bit better--it stands out a lot because it's a super-saturated color on a black & white background. Maybe make the color a bit less in-your-face?
That looks just brilliant! Thanks wanwan, i was sceptic at first but you've completely won me over I was also considering grey shades in the hair, but the red works a lot better. Thanks a million!
The final result (well, as finished as it could get before the deadline..)
Sadly the bright colour got a bit toned down because I forgot at the last minute I had to make it CMYK..
I'd like to thank everybody very much, as soon as I get this 'thanking' system figured out on this forum :/ (it's some kind of reward system?)