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When I showed this WIP to a friend they had a hard time 'reading' it. (Mostly the pose/anatomy) I used a photo reference of myself for her pose, so for me it doesnt look 'off' which is why I'm having a hard time knowing how to tackle the issue...
I just think I need a few more people to look at it, and dish out some feedback; can't think of a better place than CA to get that.
It's still in WIP stage so please feel free to crit what you think could be improved .
Providing references to you (found on google images):
I think something that may help with this image is darkening some of the violet hues in the background to the right side of the picture plane. I notice that the soft hues of her hair get kind of lost against it. The hue your using for shadows on the figure also seem a little too closely related to the background as well, you could try using a bluer violet where deeper shadows are being cast.
"In the age of the internet--ignorance is a choice."
I would say that the gesture is a little boring, the back isn't arched really, I think if she arched back more it might look a bit more like she was exerting some force to get her skin off.
Even if she isn't a real person, I think it's understandable I wish to see her in a gesture that's not impossible for a normal human. Looking at it again, even if she's a pro contortonist, she can't have normal sized arms. Her left upper arm, for example, is much longer than it should be and the left lower arm should ends before it starts if the hand is before the torso... The upper arm doesn't show foreshortening and if did, it should look even shorter... The right arm is problematic too, I can't imagine how her shoulder is if the elbow is there, there's something wrong with it.
The hips are too simple IMO, well the skeleton is just totally wrong (I'd expect some sturdyness from a stylized skeleton too but this gal is too realistic to be okay with a very stylized skeleton).
Get referemces and work on it more, there are quite a few nice elements in your painting (for example, I like the idea but the girl's expression and the happy colors as well. the arms are graceful even if wrong as a whole, the hands sketchy but not a bad start), it could be a fine piece if you can fix the major flaws.
Also it'd help if you didn't make the skin peeling off just a line that's following the line of the arms exactly. It's just creates a parallel tangent and obscures what you're trying to show, making the two parts (skin and bone) look unconnected. Heck, her other hand's fingers aren't even touching the skin and like said the fact that she's taking her skin off could be much clearer. Pose in front of a mirror and try taking your shirt off in different ways, to see what would work best for your image.
Here's some ideas:
Thanks so much everyone, have pushed this further; please see below.
The original idea for this piece was to have her taking her skin off to reveal a glowing heart, but I sorta liked the hollowness of the first sketch, when she had no sternum. But exploring more I am very content to revert back to the original idea and get the glow in there. It also helped me with separating her chest skin from her arms and making the skeleton more realistic. Though I'd like to develop the lighting more now the top left isn't the focus source.
Thanks shiNIN for the comment on the arms, TinyBird, yes I did take a lot of photos of myself in front of the mirror and this was the pose I liked most, I've followed the reference closer now. In the photos I'm taking off a blue t-shirt so there's a distinct separation from the arm skin, should have imagined it was skin coloured. I hope having the translucency glow helps separate the skin now. It was very fun to paint anyhow Though perhaps it suffers now as she has a non standard chest area.
Not really happy with her face or hips now, but I think it's coming along. Will work more on it now.
Critique still very much welcomed.
Did that thing where just after you post you compare the before and after and instantly see you could do better. contrast. needed to push it more. Afraid I loose the 'warm' atmosphere, but I do hope it better shows the light within her.
Her arms still look awkward in the edited version. I think you took the ref photo from an angle which makes the lower left arm look longer than it should be. By doing that, you're losing visual believability in the picture, even though it might match your ref. The ribcage is a front view which is at odds with the angled view of the rest of her.
I'd consider changing the whole figure to a front view and take new ref shots of yourself in that pose. I checked in the mirror and your elbows should meet in the middle one above the other which will balance out the foreshortening on your forearms and also match the ribcage. Or, keep it as a three quarter view but change the ribcage and maybe move the lower arm into a different position so it reads better.
Anyway, just some thoughts and suggestions. I hope they help a little, and good luck with it.
It looks like she has 3 elbows in that last version. I think the reason is that one of the elbow positions is totally unrealistic.