Art: WoTC/ Fantasy Flight Games/ etc. illustrator looking for portfolio critiques

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  1. #1
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    WoTC/ Fantasy Flight Games/ etc. illustrator looking for portfolio critiques

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Tony Foti and I'm looking for portfolio critiques and some advice on where I should focus my art education.

    Here's a sample of some of my work from the past couple of years, and if you wan't to see more feel free to check out my website or facebook page (sometimes fb links don't work, in which case you can just search for "Tony Foti Illustration" ::

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  3. #2
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    Uhh it's not the first time that i'm looking at your art. Nice to have your here!

    Your portfolio is ok, i like it a lot, simple, clean and full of amazing things. For your art i think you might want to work more on surface rendering and proprieties, you tend to render every material very similar. I can't see any structure or landscape on your paintings, if you can add more it will make your work more strong cause of the contrast with characters. There are even some mistakes here and there but mostly is stuff that i'm pretty sure you know that stuff already.

    What are you looking for? I'm asking this almost to anyone lately.

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    To me it seems like you already have a focus, which is fantasy illustration (maybe sci fi too). I can see you doing work for RPG books and things like that. I have no critique to give on your actual work because..I think it's just beautiful and highly skilled. The 2nd one is my favourite, I keep staring at it. Sorry that I have so little to say but I wish you luck in your career!

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    I totally know what you mean about the simple backgrounds. The majority of my work is trading card and spot illustration art, which I prefer to keep simple both for clarity (small print size) and compositional reasons, but I've got a few book covers coming my way later this month that I'll hopefully be able to give a lot more depth to.

    The way I tend to give things a similar sheen is something I fight with a lot. It's a design choice, but I also realize that a lot of people probably aren't as into it as I am. I'm always going back and fourth in terms of whether or not to highlight personal style or technical expertise in my illustration work. Because of the style, though, I'd be willing to bet I'd run into more problems than usual if I tried to render everything more like painting from life.


    Thanks for the feedback!


    Quote Originally Posted by Hitsu//San View Post
    Uhh it's not the first time that i'm looking at your art. Nice to have your here!

    Your portfolio is ok, i like it a lot, simple, clean and full of amazing things. For your art i think you might want to work more on surface rendering and proprieties, you tend to render every material very similar. I can't see any structure or landscape on your paintings, if you can add more it will make your work more strong cause of the contrast with characters. There are even some mistakes here and there but mostly is stuff that i'm pretty sure you know that stuff already.

    What are you looking for? I'm asking this almost to anyone lately.


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    Ok I've looked at this post here, all amazing art, with the ridiculously distinguished clientel, and I wondered why this guy who's at the top (were we all want to be) is asking us for advise. The only thing I can figure is that you don't really feel statisfied? I agree with Hitsu-San that you probably already know about any of the very minor technical problems with your work. I suspect you posted this because you feel like there should be more and you are half hoping that somebody will say something that you can jump on and strive towards... probably not gonna happen cause you're the guy who should be critiquing us.

    I have wondered myself what I would do if I 'made it' and no longer had to strive so hard. Would it be fulfilling or a bit of a let down? I'm just guessing here and maybe I got it completely wrong, in which case I'm sorry. But if I'm right I would suggest branching out of the genre art and creat art just for art's sake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorinji_Knight View Post
    Ok I've looked at this post here, all amazing art, with the ridiculously distinguished clientel, and I wondered why this guy who's at the top (were we all want to be) is asking us for advise. The only thing I can figure is that you don't really feel statisfied? I agree with Hitsu-San that you probably already know about any of the very minor technical problems with your work. I suspect you posted this because you feel like there should be more and you are half hoping that somebody will say something that you can jump on and strive towards... probably not gonna happen cause you're the guy who should be critiquing us.

    I have wondered myself what I would do if I 'made it' and no longer had to strive so hard. Would it be fulfilling or a bit of a let down? I'm just guessing here and maybe I got it completely wrong, in which case I'm sorry. But if I'm right I would suggest branching out of the genre art and creat art just for art's sake.

    That's quite a thought! While I don't know if I would call it dissatisfaction, I am pretty much always looking for any and all ways in which I can learn something new as an artist. In Richard William's book "The Animator's Survival Kit" he mentions how he knew a lot of the best draftsman in the industry during the silver age of animation (Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson, etc.) and they all constantly felt like they were lacking as an artist and needed to get better. I think it's just that constant hunger to improve that makes a lot of great painters.

    That being said, I think you can get quality critiques from anywhere, because people at different levels tend to look at different things. A lot of my professors at school (I'm in the illustration program at San Jose State, though am currently taking a semester off to nurture my freelance career)
    have very clear artistic leanings (for example on of them just wants us all to be California impressionists), and each can offer a kind of knowledge, but not all of it. So I like to branch out.

    And @Eddie12e, welcome to ConceptArt!

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    Maybe that you're seeking for a personal style? I can't see yourself when looking at your art, it's very generic. And your surface rendering gives them a much more generic look, if this is for choice it doesn't matter man cause you're spending your time and efforts in this thing and does count so much if you can or cannot relate to what you do. It's like you cannot relate to your work, this polished and flat grips on your drawings makes them pretty and everything but without energy. Maybe clients will be fine with that but you never can be happy like this.

    This is so much guessing cause right now i've only see your work relate art, maybe i'm wrong but generally when i feel something like this it's cause there's something wrong going on.

    Anyway, don't fight with personal style, this is everything that we have as artists cause everyone can learn technique but no one can learn to be you. Your work will be much more appreciated if becomes both cool and unique.

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    What Hitsu said. You're really really good at the official WotC style, but that style is pretty formulaic at this point (same poses, same facial expressions, same palettes, same compositions) and, to my eye at least, it doesn't really allow an individual artist much space to express himself.

    "Wanting to improve" in a technical sense is fine, but if you want to "learn something new" all you need to do is get out in the world and create work that responds to what you find there. Or in the more succinct words of Anton Chekhov, "If you want to work on your art, work on your life."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    What Hitsu said. You're really really good at the official WotC style, but that style is pretty formulaic at this point (same poses, same facial expressions, same palettes, same compositions) and, to my eye at least, it doesn't really allow an individual artist much space to express himself.

    "Wanting to improve" in a technical sense is fine, but if you want to "learn something new" all you need to do is get out in the world and create work that responds to what you find there. Or in the more succinct words of Anton Chekhov, "If you want to work on your art, work on your life."
    That's really great you guys, thank you. I became obsessed with the technical aspects of painting while in school, always sort of holding off on emoting too much through the work because the mental process was too strenuous already. I would tell myself that I was still learning to paint, so I wouldn't focus on really digging in emotionally. I don't feel that way anymore, but I imagine it will be a gradual process and I'm still learning all the ways to express myself through composition/ color/ etc

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    Really nice portfolio. I would agree that more variance in material handling would make for an improvement. Everything has a fairly matte look (except for Vader's helmet, which looks great by comparison), and some of the detail sits a little too much on the surface.

    There are places where I kind of feel like you've missed an opportunity to do something that would read better or just look cool. A good number of the images (while all being really good), could have been improved with some additional thought about where you want to have your impact made, and structuring the values accordingly.
    For example:

    the Burning Man image would have worked so much better if it was set at late sunset or even night time, so the fire and foreground really popped.

    The Princess Leia would have been awesome set against a background that was a little darker so that her white outfit/shape was better defined.

    There are a few more where I think some subtle changes would have added a little more drama and punch.

    Last edited by J Wilson; March 4th, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
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    I hope you don't mind that I did a quick paint over. This piece I felt like the ground behind the figures was a little too bright and somewhat competed with the figures. Not that it was overly distracting, just that by toning it down I feel like our eyes know exactly where to go, rather than getting somewhat hung up on areas that don't do anything for us.

    The area behind the injured man's shoulder is an area of high contrast. The bright ground next to the shadow side of his head keeps pulling my eye. Similarly, toning the armor down from the shoulder and below means less distraction. I think face, magic, and gleam on shoulder keeps us looking right where we should be.

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    I think it's too dark and burned J, here's my personal touch with your corrections, let's see what we can get out of this, i'm having fun:

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    Wow, really love the first one! So dynamic and so much action in it, and the coloring and contrast just blow me away.

    The 3rd one would be my least favorite, I'd always recommend you to take it out of the portfolio. Perhaps it's the lack of shadows, it feels like the character is cut out and paste onto a white background. If you don't feel like adding a detailed background, you can always leave a bit of paint out (sort of like this: http://www.auroradark.com/JoChen/images/SuiCamus.jpg)

    Some of your images felt cropped, i.e. the 2nd picture, the king, the asian girl with fire sword and the dark Vader. It just feels like there's a larger painting, but you decided to crop it down. Maybe the characters take too much presence, or maybe the composition makes the character too close to the edge, either way, I felt they could look better if the character is smaller and there are more background.

    Also, I'd like to see more full body illustrations. Most of what's shown here are half body or less. I saw some nice full body ones on your website. Personally, I think full body (or even 3/4) tend to bring more out of the picture.

    love your works.

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    Please share how you landed your jobs with those two companies!

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    Anthony I am pretty infatuated with these images, you can really render human faces and emotion with a sensitivity that that i could only dream of achieving.

    you mention
    "In Richard William's book "The Animator's Survival Kit" he mentions how he knew a lot of the best draftsman in the industry during the silver age of animation (Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnson, etc.) and they all constantly felt like they were lacking as an artist and needed to get better. I think it's just that constant hunger to improve that makes a lot of great painters. "

    I remember that at a certain point in describing his own life-long ambition at drawing he talks about re-learning to draw from a sculptors point of view.

    you can make human faces exceptionally well... but as my eyes move away the other objects seem to be created with less affection and attention. Not that rendering everything to the same degree is always a good idea but if you tried to think about the forms and textures of other details with more intensity you could find some new and exciting avenues.

    but seriously these are amazing.

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