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Greetings wise world! I would be really, truly grateful for crits on this one.
I completed this piece last week but wasn't able to get much feedback durring the process (it was for the CHoW, but I don't like to post unless I also have time for feedback... stupid personal thing). Anyway, at the time I thought it was pretty Ok. But it hasn't been well received, which makes me think I'm missing something big here.
The things I know are problems (but despite trying weren't able to fully correct): the upper body anatomy isn't as well defined as the face and is missing some highlights for bones/muscles, and her right arm has an odd highlight on the inside that is driving me nuts, the curtains aren't great, I need to work on fabric more, the bodice might look odd, but I used a new brush for the first time and really liked (and still like) the texture and square-ness, so I kept it.
Things I like: her head and little crown. I think it looks good with the backlighting.
I'd love feedback. I feel like I'm working hard and improving, but obviously there's still something I'm not getting.... thank you thank you
Some thoughts from someone who has himself gotten shellacked in C.O.W.s...
-- The head and neck don't exactly connect to the body correctly. You went for, I think, a great pose that is also very tricky. Were you using a fashion mag for reference? If you follow the center line of the torso as defined by the cleavage, you don't hit what would be the center of the neck if it wasn't covered by fabric.
-- If you squint at the piece, you really lose the figure in the background. In fact, almost the entire figure is rendered within a very small range of values. Lack of planning on this level is, I think, the biggest downfall of your piece.
-- Great expression on the face, but it is slightly off. Facial details, I think, are crucial to selling the image. Your mouth seems awfully close to the nose, even accounting for a bit of foreshortening in a head tilt. Again, if you were going from reference, I'd take a closer look to the spacial relationships of the features in the face. Your rendering of the face is also the primary victim of the limited range of values, in my opinion.
-- Your piece isn't in color. The ChOW community blows me away with the caliber of work that is produced, and your piece is at a huge disadvantage by comparison by being a grayscale piece.
-- The bottom half of the figure has form, but it is impossible to tell what I, the viewer, am looking at.
-- Your rendering of the background is simply too crude to compete with the other artists in the challenge.
-- The level of detail is inconsistent. We see the fine detail of the lace headdress, but the woman herself is blurry and unfinished by comparison.
-- Man, you are close. I LOVE the design of the head piece. It may have been the single strongest design element in the entire challenge that week.
-- You NAILED the countenance of the figure, in my opinion. Her personality surges through your piece. In fact, I'm rethinking the nose-mouth distance thing. That may be accurate for the expression (the face is still off, I think, but not for that.) Really nice.
I look forward to seeing your progress, especially if you work on accuracy and values. Hope this helps.
I agree with all of the above. But I want to point out to DPFX that Zy was probly not expecting to compete with the top dogs of Chow--he just saw that his piece wasn't embraced like he would have hoped.
The values are the number one thing here.
Number Two is that you've cropped, in my opinion, too high. The tilt of her head is nice but her torso is soo straight. If she had any gesture, it would be in her hips, and you've cropped them out. I think ideally tho, you would put more gesture into her torso too.
Three is the confusion caused by the lower portion of her dress.
Four is the lack of finish in the rendering.
I put rendering as last because it is the icing. The other things are the foundation. But to compete in chow, it is equally important, and you'll need to put in at least 10 hours up to 20 hours.
DPFX-- Wow, I can't tell you how grateful I am for your thoughtful crit. You're right on the anatomy, I did use a ref at the start but modified as I went along. The color I completely agree with you on, color and value are something I'm tackling for the first time this year. It's been a long time since I've struggled this much with art!
Which is why I also really appreciate your encouragement. I am 100% inspired to go home right now and study values and detailed rendering for the rest of the week, and I definitely wasn't feeling that way before reading your post. Thank you.
Artfix- Thank you also for your thoughts. Your comments were very sobering-- 10-20 hours, wow. I guess I had an idea, but never really appreciated how true that must be. It's good to hear one of the top dogs say it