I would recommend David Rubins book on human anatomy for bones and muscles of the face; to have theoretical background.
It will help you make sense out of the Asaro head that Bette posted- you need to know why shadow and light falls on the planes.
//You might be able to memorize everything and just skip the entire anatomy phase, I know some professionals don't know all the muscles in detail- they do know however all their shapes and how the function.. I think there is little way around it.
@bette do you have any idea were to get such a head because it seems really really helpfull, but is there only the head that you showed on the picture or are there also a amle and a female version???
The head is called "planes of the head" or "The Asaro head"
i found a website selling a version of the head: http://www.planesofthehead.com/index.php
They dont seem to be selling the version i am used to though, look around on the net, im sure youll find one aviable somewhere =)
From the website about the mannequin:
"The model is applicable to both sexes and all races, with variations arising only in proportion. The left side shows the basic structure of the head's planes as seen in a rounded and or younger face. The right side shows a more complex structure characteristic of a thinner and or older face."
Dont worry about getting a male or female version, right now, focus on being able to show the form of the face.
I am sure you get this all the time, but you are amazingly talented for you age and even more so than some college freshman I have seen. That was to float your ego Because you are so good I will take aim at my primary issue with your work, your anatomy needs work. I don't feel you should go back and fix anything just keep developing and working. If your family allows it you should attend some life drawing sessions in front of a nude model. I started doing that around 15-16 and it made a world of difference in my art. Whenever I feel like I am rusty I go back and take a class. I don't know where you live but most towns and cities have these types of uninstructed classes. They usually run $10-15 USD. Keep it up you are really really talented.
Something that I can give a little advice on, I think, is start to study animals when you're working on fantastical ones. It seems like you're picking up portraiture of humans fairly well already, but the anatomy on the dragons is lacking. Part of it's my personal preference, but I really love it when animals look like they could actually work in real life.
Try studying the anatomy of some bats, flying birds, and renditions of dinosaurs so that you can work on your dragons some.
Just a quick search, for instance, brought up that! This will make your animals feel more concrete, and help you branch out into doing your own designs. It looks like you're really off to a great start, though - just don't be afraid to draw pieces of things, and study whatever interests you. It will help you a lot in the long run.
The biggest problem with your images is that you're approaching your subjects as if they were made of lines. This is giving your paintings a very flat, uncanny-valley look. You need to approach things like the human head for what it is, a three dimensional object. Everything is defined by highlights and shadows. I would, as Bette said, suggest to break down the shape of the head into simple shapes and focus on that. Don't worry about things like eyelashes and single strands of hair. Only focus on the shapes in the face and how they catch light.
I feel that your latest image, the nude angel, is a step back from your older work. You've almost completely ignored the the way the light is hitting the round shapes of the body (My guess is that you looked at a pic, drew the image, and then slapped in the background. The result is a background and character being light by separate light sources.). Your older environmental pieces showed an understanding of shape and light that isn't there as there as much now. The soft shading you are using now simply looks fake. It flattens the image.
I did a rough paint-over over one of your portraits to show how by focusing on shape and form, as opposed to lines and soft shading, you can add lot more life to an image. Since I didn't have the original ref, I had to make a rough guess of the light source.
@ akgreene, i know that my anatomy is lacking considerably in my creatures but lately i've been focusing more on the human anatomy so i haven't gotten around to doing the animal anatomy. but thanks for the advice next time i'm incorperating a animal in a painting i'll just have a search on the web for anatomy pics
@keith_v, thanks for your reply, i really appreciate you for pointing out the problems that i have with my paintings because i knew there was something lacking but i just couldn't figure out what it was. but after reading what you said about me thinking in lines instead of planes of shadow and light. you just nailed the problem which i having, so thanks for that because now i can work on it
and i really liked the fact the you did a paint over of the portrait because it helped me to visualize better what you said, so again thanks for that and your reply has been really helpful ! i greatly appreciated the time you put into it to help me !
in the futher i'll keep in mind, the light source which i'll be using instead of what i did with my last work, kinda ignore it. and working on using plains of light and shadow instead of treating a painting as if it was a line drawing, because i know that that one of my biggest problems is.
so thanks for the replies i really appreciate it !