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So, hereís the deal; ever since I got my first critique here, and had my eyes opened to great art, Iíve felt like everything Iíve drawn or painted has been some sort of failure because it didnít turn out perfectly like I wanted it to, and as a result, Iíve painted less and less each year (kept up the studies though), and wondered why Iím such a terrible artist. To make a long story short, a fellow student gave me a critique on my work last week, and mentioned that I was too hard on myself, and that I should look at my work objectively like I do everyone elseís work. Suddenly, Iíve found that I can draw fairly well, and while Iím still sort of in shock by this, and Iím still having a hard time figuring out how to be truly objective when Iím looking at my own work. In the image Iíve attached, I can nitpick and spot flaws until my eyes fall out. So, what Iím in need of is the opinions of people here. What issues do you think take away from the quality of this entire piece? Do I need to just leave it alone and move on or is there something that you think is a dire problem? Iím really sort of against a wall here.
It has a nice overall effect and I like the colours you've used.
What stood out to me at first glance is the awkward angle of the creature's head. Not sure if it looks off because of the way you painted the fur round its neck or if there's an underlying attachment issue, but I thought I'd point it out.
I also feel the turquoise in its eyes is a little too bright and doesn't affect things around it the way a light that bright should. Maybe toning it down to less than the staff would help with that.
It's good that you have found new encouragement for doing your art. Its good to have a balance. You'll see people that are not hard enough on themselves, and they will never be very good. I think it's good that you are hard on yourself because that means you are critically noticing the differences between your art, and the best art which you're comparing to. But if you're so hard that its crippling you, then yes, find a balance.
Moreover, if you keep noticing things which you want to improve, then fix them. Do you have something better to do? If you find that there are underlying issues causing the problems, and you're polishing a turd, then start over. Learn, and improve. If you want to be competitive, then you do need to fix problems until your eyes fall out.
Your image has a nice mood--reminds me of what I shoot for in my paintings. Generally, the figure looks way too ambiguous and rushed. His head isn't reacting to the overhead light very convincingly. The back shoulder looks lit the same way as the front shoulder. The rendering in general looks rushed and incomplete. I can't even tell what's going on with his eyes. His hand is too rough too.
You need to take your time at this stage, zoom in, and really TAKE YOUR TIME. Render that shit. And GET REFERENCE.
Also, put some lighter fog subtly behind him to pop him out.
Thanks guys. I’ll go for a lot less glowyness in the eyes in my next version.
I’m going to go ahead with gutting and fixing the problems. I really felt like I killed it when I added the fur and the cape over the body. All the gesture just seemed to die. Then I tried to compensate for that loss by adding the magical S shaped swirl. I think it worked ok, but it feels like a cheap way out to me. God, this is going to be a busy week. For the next six weeks or so I’m supposed to be working on portfolio pieces (college assignment) so, you’ll probably see more of my stuff here soon.
Not to say you need to compose something elaborate, but I would focus more on storytelling. Is he powering up some mighty spell? If so, think about how his gesture might indicate this. He might be in deep meditation or struggling desperately to contain it. If we've just encountered him unexpectedly in the woods and are terrified, maybe kill all the fireworks and go for a more subtle indication of magic and more ominous lighting. If this is more of a portrait, focus more on the character and less on spectacular ambiance. Essentially, I'd like to see something more specific and with more intent.
Something I've started doing when I find myself dissatisfied with a painting is to try to look at it more holistically, and analyze whether or not its very foundation isn't misguided. Not to insist that's the case here, just continuing the topic of self-criticism.
I'm probably repeating something you have heard before but do lots of sketches and then build off of the sketch that you find most interesting. If you are going to spend endless hours on something it helps if you find it interesting from the start. If you are just trying to get an image out of your head then it is a sketch something to build on or not in the future.