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Hey all! I'm trying to build a portfolio so I could really use some feedback on my work to improve.
I guess I'll just start out with this digital painting.
What can I improve on?
There seems to be more attention paid here to fancy rendering than to structure and composition. You've got these finely detailed areas like the wound on her arm and the little chains on her shoulders, but she's wearing armour made of paper, her fingers only have one joint (and that's in a weird place) and apparently needs a shave. Not to mention, the way you've rendered the shine on the back of her hand makes it look like she has three breasts.
Remember that everything has thickness. Even a piece of paper. Apply that to everything on your character and in the environment.
Draw or paint your character without the armour first, then do the armour over top so you'll know it fits and you'll be able to draw her face without all that junk in the way. and check your anatomy carefully. Right now she has a very narrow mouth that looks like she's trying to kiss the viewer, and some sort of rough texture on her chin that really doesn't work. Same for hands. It's okay to simplify if they're at a distance, but up close you need to go the distance with them. That means two joints per finger, knuckles in the proper place, etc. Also, I have a hard time believing a warrior with battle-scarred armour would have long, manicured nails.
Use reference. Use it a lot. As Glenn Vilppu has said, if you don't know what something looks like, how are you going to be able to draw it? Like that helmet, you're clearly guessing what it looks like and chose a simple design. Same goes for the armour and the sword. Speaking of the sword, it tapers WAY too fast, making it look like someone stuck a dagger in her shoulder and she hasn't pulled it out yet.
I expect someone will be along presently to talk about value ranges and light sources, but that should be enough to give you food for thought in the meantime. Remember that structure and planning come first, style and detail comes last. Mixing them up can turn a simple task into a challenge.
The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress
My online portfolio
"Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
The hands need a shape, shoulders too small, and she's wearing uncle Magneto's giant helmet.