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A Kingdom Hearts Fan Art that i did recently. I have shown some other people this picture and one of the top revisions I get is that the picture needs sharper details on the skin tones and overall the picture is kind of soft. Now I have noticed that alot of my art has a soft look to it. This is something I would like to change.
Not only would I appreciate any critique on this picture I would also appreciate any tips that can help improve the overall soft look of the picture.
Any replies that don't flame the fact that this is a fanart would be greatly appreciated.
So, your brushwork is too soft, but I think a big part of the problem is that your knowledge of the subject is too fuzzy.
The center figure is a good step towards three-dimensionality. You need to keep the color of your light consistent. If the globe's light is blue, his face isn't going to be a warm peach. I think if you get that straightened out and sharpen your rim lighting, it'll make a big difference. The figure on the right is the worst. He's like a flat drawing held at an angle so that light bounces all over him.
You've done a good job establishing a primary light source, but I don't think you're prepared for secondary light sources. Buy three different colored light bulbs and set up a still life. It's a pain, but you need to observe these things before you can draw them. Besides that, you need to break things down into simple planes: front, side, top, bottom. Things will either be hit by light or in shadow. Reflected light exists, but should not be a concern at the moment. Sculpt the figures into space.
Study anatomy and draw from life. Here's some handy links I've seen posted in these forums:
Also, here's a diagram..thing. Not sure is it's any help, but I was compelled to make it for whatever reason:
Thanks alot for that explaination. Im going to fix my lighting on the face and try to make the right figure pop out more.
I appreciate the response greatly and ill update with a revision soon
Here is a revised version
I tried to make revisions to the best of my ability with use of Grunler's reply.
I must say i do feel like i have a better understanding of lighting and creating sharper details but im still unsure so please feel free to comment and critique it as u may.
I would appreciate any help.
This looks SO much better now! You've done an amazing job, congrats!
A few things I can say is that you can go crazier on the guy on the center; have some blue lights hitting his face, similarly to what you did in red with the guy on the left. Also, he seems to be the "blurriest" of the three, which shouldn't be so, for being in the center, he's our center of attention. I think this is because the pink rim of light is still too blurry for him; I think it'd look better if you did it in a way similar to the guy on the right (sort of blended into the picture), and then just add a sharp rim of light all around him (like the left guy's arm). Remember, not to use a soft brush, or else you'll keep getting that "blurry" look, only use it in small details or to do soft gradients.
I hope this helps!
It's an improvement, but I still get the feeling you haven't bothered finding reference. You need it. On the right figure especially, you're applying light as though it were some kind of phosphorescent haze.
Try working on one light source at a time. At the very least you'll know where your shadows are. Here's a simple paintover to give you an idea. I'm not confident it's accuracy though, so you might wait for someone who knows more about light.
I definitely see more of what u were talking about when come to lighting the figure on the right. I tried doing some simple color overs trying to capture each light source differently and one at a time like you did. My question would be is it only that figure to the right that needs this treatment or would all of them need it? I ask this because as i color over the other figures, things start to feel more washed out then they do refined with this process. I'm trying to stay away from over saturated colors.
I agree with everyone above. You need reference, which helps with everything!
But on top of that look at what artists have done before you. You work looks very photoshoppy because you are using these flat brushes with soft edges. Try to add more hard color and hard light, and diffused light where it is appropriate.
Look at any piece from the Renaissance and you notices they look remarkably well, yet they can be made up of a few hard brush strokes.
What I'm saying is don't be afraid to use hard strokes.
linkz, You're not going to get where you want by painting from what you know. You need to critically look at the difference between your painting and the band photos or other reference.
The only way you can do this without reference is by doing light studies for like a year and even then its still handicapped.
I also think this many light sources cheapens the image. One light source with just one color can be the most provocative. Its also going to be a hell of a lot easier. At the very least, I would make the dominant light source much more obvious as being dominant and make the magic balls much less strong.
Michael komarck does a lot of fancy lighting effects that are all very convincing. He also does some(what looks like photo overlaying, etc). You can skip the photo-realness of it since that's not your style. Just look at how he's letting the light hit the forms, and glowing lights lighten more distant figures, etc.
That is just one artist that may help. Find more references! be critical of your work. Where are they using hard edges? Where are they using soft edges? Where are they using blooming light effects?
He could calculate it as well, that would not require a reference. Considering that the four light-sources are point-lights it would be far from impossible to do it that way.
Dont want to be a bastard or anything, just saying that there are other ways to solve the problem.
You can find my drawing blog here
It's mainly a blog about how I develop as an artist, but I post my exercises and how to's on it as well, so if that interests you than take a look.