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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Student: Rachel Keslensky's Portfolio


    I'm Rachel Keslensky, and I'm studying Human-Computer Interaction at Georgia Institute of Technology. My last "formal" art classes were in high school back in 2004.

    I've been advised to come here, although I'm not entirely certain what needs working on. Most of the portfolios I see here are more focused on what I consider "photorealistic" work, and the lack of anything else on the forums makes me hesitant to post my work since it deviates so much from that norm. I'm not certain if the advice I would receive here would be useful in actually improving the work I'm currently doing, as opposed to just steering it into looking like all the other work I see here.

    Any input would be most valuable.

    My focus has been in sequential art, concept art, and character design. You can see the work I've done so far on my comic at


    - Rachel Keslensky

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Washington (state), USA
    Thanked 143 Times in 127 Posts
    Hey! Just out of curiosity, who was it who suggested you come here? Was it a teacher/professor, or a fellow art student?

    It's true that a lot of the artists on this site are striving for a certain level of realism in their concept art, but there are quite a few good artists here who work on comic art or more stylized illustration. I can see you aren't going for realism, and that's perfectly fine, I've seen plenty of markets in the industry that utilize more diverse stylization and cartoons. But one thing people on here will almost always encourage is studying from life outside of your fun cartoon drawings. Even though (and actually, especially because) you focus mostly on drawing anime anthro characters, spending many hours drawing and trying to understand realistic human and animal anatomy is going to really help your characters. And even though you use mostly simlified cell shading, you should spend many hours drawing and learning realistic shading on simple (and then more complex) objects so that you will understand where the cell shading should go to look correct. As far as improving your style besides the of understanding the realism that it is based on, I would say work on diversifying your line thickness - a.k.a. read up on and practice line diversity with inking.

    Good luck to you!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    I am no professional artist first and foremost.

    I definitely like your work, its creative, original, and engaging to look at because of that uniqueness. Every artist has their own unique style, and each artist must develop that style while learning to draw or paint or just art in general. Many artists are sought after for their highly unique styles that they bring to the table, so uniqueness and your own style is great.

    That being said the art world is a huge and vast land of styles. A grand scale from abstract, to fantasy, to photo realism. Every artist I think learns slowly that they need a repertoire of styles to meet consumer demand. And each style each artist learns they slowly add their own original traits to that style.

    The question is do you think it would be good for you to branch into other styles of art? Everything you study and practice will only make your art work better as well as more diverse should the necessary situation arrive where you need to draw in a different style or different subjects etc etc.

    Keep it up! best of luck to you.
    Wisdoms dawns the veil of pain,
    Light reveals the illusion slain.


  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    (Note: Same person, different account. I thought this post had been eaten by the moderators...)

    Saramel: One of my readers suggested it, and I didn't quite know how to respond to it other than giving the forums a shot. Admittedly, I had been functioning with a rather... distorted view of ConceptArt previously.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New Haven, CT
    Thanked 973 Times in 520 Posts
    This is a tough portfolio to crit, because off the bat you seem to be a little defensive that people will push you to change your art, and you are "not certain if the advice I would receive here would be useful in actually improving the work I'm currently doing."

    I don't want to change what you love to do. I'm going to be blunt, because I don't really know another way, but please believe I'm not trashing on your style or subject matter, and am truly trying to help you.

    You will need to learn more of this realism stuff to get better at what you want to do. Learning more anatomy (human and animal) will enhance all of your characters. Learning more about gesture drawing will help how natural and expressive they look. Some perspective will give you the tools to make more interesting and compelling backgrounds. Composition, color theory, story telling/sequential art will all helps. Basically 90% of what the realism guys are doing, directly applies to a more cartoon/stylized look. In many ways, it takes a greater understanding of realism to do really well executed cartoons than it does to do realism. Realism you can observe and copy (to a point). Cartoons you have to UNDERSTAND, then translate and adapt.

    I hope that makes sense Good luck.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    HELLsinki, Finland
    Thanked 2,687 Times in 1,644 Posts
    Well, these arts alone don't really show much, portfolio wise. It's just a bunch of headshots mainly, with pretty shoddy perspective and backgrounds that though aren't that disruptive in their respective images, really don't show the knowledge of perspective and ability to draw backgrounds and environments you may have. Though honestly from what I glanced of your comic, that too seems to operate on "99% blank backgrounds and talking heads" mode, something that's a real personal peeve with me when it comes to comics.

    And like said, even if you might not want to start only doing photo realistic work, learning to draw that too takes absolutely nothing away from you. Rather you'll be able to do more things if you wish so. And I agree with J Wilson, your original post does come off vaguely as "it's mah styleeee".

    Overall if I had to say something I'd improve with these, I'd put a lot more attention to construction and gesture. Many of these have weird construction mistakes, like having a nose in a different angle than the rest of the face, having the neck not be in the middle of the body and the gestures and poses look very stiff and unnatural, there's no believable weight in the characters and what they do, as if I'm looking at a bunch of plastic action figures instead of actual characters that live and breathe in their world. And a lot of the shading makes little sense considering the light source, form of the character or the lines in them.
    Last edited by TinyBird; February 12th, 2012 at 02:39 PM.
    "I eat comics and poop stylization"
    Sketchbook (Critiques, no compliments please.)

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