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I just wanted to post my latest portrait piece. Lately I felt like I needed to make some big changes in the way I work as I'm taking my first steps to approaching employers with my portfolio, so I wanted to finally get involved with the community and gain some real insight into how I can become better.
I've been working on this for a couple of hours now. I started the piece with the intention to work on my problem areas: Colour, values, emotion and noses. It's still a work in progress but any tips on how I could work on it further would be greatly appreciated.
There's a little story behind the image that I know is not apparent from looking at it, but I've been trying also to add a little more meaning to my pieces in hopes that they will have more life.
"She looks up at her would-be destroyer.. The man who just reduced her world, her family, to ruins. She gazes curiously with her new eyes and the chill of eternal life, not with hate but with hope. He saved her."
Thanks a lot,
Last edited by Kimarah; July 31st, 2010 at 10:07 AM.
I don't know if it is a style thing, but I would put facial feature like this.
you might want to put her in a environment if you want to convey a story.
Oooh, cool! I really like the colors you used (those eyes are popping!). If you were aiming for a stylistic kind of approach, almost kinda anime-y, I think you did very well. If you were trying to go more realistic, however, I think there are several things you should pay attention to.
The main issue is that the face appears to be almost flat. She doesn't seem to have a nose bridge (Voldemort syndrome, ahh!) because there are no defining shadows falling...well, anywhere, really. I think you could eradicate this issue if you decided on a light source somewhere. I feel like her nose is a little too low in any case, and the distance between her upper lip and nostrils too short. For the face, I suggest you look at sakimichan's gallery on deviantart (she also has a semi realistic/anime style), this pic in particular:
The same goes for her neck. It looks hollow where the shadow's falling, and suddenly poking out where it emerges from the shadow. I just suggest, again, choosing a light source and getting a reference picture. (It's hard to crit it, since I can't quite tell where the light is falling.)
Lastly, this might be totally subjective, but I think her expression doesn't really match the backstory you're giving her. She looks too doll-like and glassy-eyed to convey the complicated emotions you're trying to illustrate; hope, curiosity, "chill of eternal life" (pretty cool ). Her mouth is actually terribly distracting in this aspect--when I'm looking at her eyes, the mouth sorta merges into a dark hole that makes her look comically querulous. It's also WAY too circular...her lips are enormous. I suggest reducing the impact on the lips by a) making them smaller, b) making them lighter, and c) perhaps making them slightly open, which would reinforce her curious, searching expression. This way, the audience would be able to focus on the eyes, and not linger excessively on the lower half of her face.
I hope this wasn't too harsh, because I actually really like your painting. It has a wonderful soft quality, and I think that, minus the glassiness, you painted her eyes beautifully. Something I found that really helped me with emotions was to keep a mirror near my computer, so I could use my own face as reference to make sure the emotions looked genuine.
Hope this helped! And keep going, would like to see more!
But Lye's also right about that expression; I had trouble believing it fit the circumstance as well.
Thanks a lot for your replies guys, they've been really helpful.
@ Vicsio - I didn't really need to convey the story through the image, it was just for myself really. But thank you for the suggestion.
@ Lyethia - Thank you so much for your reply, you've been very helpful and I'm glad you like the colours I used as my main hope for the piece was that I brought some vibrance.
I wasn't really going for an anime style, but I usually like to draw my lips quite plump and the nose low. It's my personal style but I realise that I need to do some work to make it more believeable on canvas! Thank you also for the suggestions about lighting I've taken this on board with my revision and I think I've gained a little experience in the subject. That's what this is about right? I've also worked on the neck in hopes that it looks less strange.
Lastly, about the facial expression and her lips. I've taken steps to bring forward the emotions I was talking about in my little story, namely with the eyebrows. About the lips, I never really noticed how they take away from the eyes untill you said it and I have to agree with you! Because the shape they had was what I was looking for I made them lighter in hopes they wouldn't take away from the rest of the image.
Thanks again for your reply, it was great to hear from you.
@ Cixeled - Thanks for the reply, you said most along the lines of what lyethia did, so see above I guess!
Here is the revision so far. I haven't really worked on the shoulders yet so you can put them down to WIP. It's a lot rougher than the first due to a lot of painting over shadows, but I hope you can see me working forwards instead of backwards.
Argh, looking at the picture now it just doesn't look right. The shape of her face needs huge revisions, namely her cheek on the right side of the painting needs a lot more shape along with the chin. I guess I'll get back to it with a fresh eye in a little while.
Don't despair!!! It looks a LOT better than before! I think there's a pretty easy fix to your problem. I did a quick paint-over, and also took the liberty to adjust some other things...
First of all, I'd suggest that in the future you use the edit>transform>flip horizontal option to check and make sure your face has the right proportions. If it doesn't, I suggest the Filter>Liquefy tool for quick, easy, and painless adjustments.
Here's the horizontal flip of your image:
And here are the adjustments I made.
Hope this helps!