For the longest time, I never did any "real" art. More or less I doodled crap commissions for easy dimes, but in the recent year, I've been struggling to really find myself as far as art goes. With much consideration to it, I certainly don't mean to make a career out of it, but there's still the drive to really ... pick up the pieces as far as style and actually creating something that I can be proud of (even if it's for a few hours before I begin to nitpick it to death).
I've dabbled in every style imaginable, so I guess you can say I've a rather eclectic collection of various pieces of styles under my belt, but not a single one I can be consistent and happy with.
In my hours upon hours upon hours of practicing things I want to draw, I still find myself slipping into bits and pieces of the various styles I've drawn before--or I happen to glance at another's work and fall into the immediate habit of trying to mimic the style because I like what I see--that's not what I want.
Moreover, I'm finding my biggest and most frustrating problem comes with "painting" images. I can get sketches, ideas, figures, everything down just peachy, but when it comes time to slather on some color I get flustered and honestly lost. Sticking to monochrome when shading is a nono (as seen in a portion of my current, sad attempt to paint something), but it happens time and time again. I guess you can say I'm a little "afraid" of color, and I'm not 100% sure how to approach methods of getting out of that old habit of pencilwork, lineart, color within, and done. It feels like a coloring book, and frankly I'm finding it more and more ugly every time I do it.
So I guess what I'm looking for is perhaps some input or suggestions on some decent "starter"/practice techniques when approaching digital painting. I feel messy and lost without my lines, and everything I try seems ...too soft, with no dimension. I feel like every style I know is clashing and fighting for dominance every time I try to color or draw, it's pretty maddening. Not to mention the perfectionist in me wants smooth, clean lines because I'm far too used to it.
An example (albeit a horrid one, this was more or less a piece for practice rather than accuracy, I know the dress collar and everything else is atrocious). Every paintpiece I do feels like this. Flat. Drag. Sloppy. Ugly. Not terribly dynamic in any way. Though when I do simple portrait sketches I'm...okay? In the face. Fabric can bite me (texture is a whooooole 'nother problem).