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Thread: I need some advice on what I could do better

  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
    Lincoln, England
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    Wink I need some advice on what I could do better

    Hi everyone,

    I am a new poster and would like some suggestions on ways to improve my work. I'm being rejected from all junior concept art/2d artist positions and all things related, so I could really do with your help I've just graduated and although I always asked for tutors feedback, I felt it was always overly positive...even though I even requested for them to be very critical. I feel there are many changes I could make, I just would like someone else's opinions also. So here is my blog with a few paintings done in Photoshop and maybe I'll start to get on the right tracks.

    art blog
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  3. #2
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    Oct 2010
    Cape Town, South Africa
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    Thread approved.

    Glad you have started posting, however I would ask that you put some of your images in this thread itself.
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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    I had a look at your site. Most of the work there I would describe as "a good start." Meaning, it lacks finish...and that extra something that's going to get you work.

    You really need to dig deep and push what you can do. It's digital -- you can't hurt anything. There's an undo button. Try some shit. Think about textures. Think about angles.

    Stare at landscapes. Stare at photos. Stare at this thread (I've had that thread open for a week in its own tab. I keep going back to it).

    You've picked a very competitive field, you're up against a lot of talented and hard-working folks. You're going to have to startle somebody into giving you a job.
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    I'm giving you crits on the website and the way you show your art, alright? Because you've mentioned the job rejections, I figure that's what you want critique on.

    Those landscapes have character and a nice clean, esoteric feeling to them.
    But I'm not too sure about the whole presentation and your actual skill level - really go through your site again and look at it from the perspective of someone who would want to employ you.
    Where exactly are your strenghts? What can you do on a professional level? I can't tell.
    For example you say you have a degree in animation, but there is almost no animation work besides the very simple environmental show reels on the site (I can't open one video btw.)
    There's a Maya badge on one page but I can't tell what skills you have in that program. The only 3D work I can find are the very simple toy trains in the VIP section. Is there more?
    You do graphic design? Is there any graphic design related work on the website?
    You do environmental art - what were the projects for? Is there a job, a concept or are they just doodles?
    And then you have a section for character design and there is only one lonley picture of a dwarf. That one doesn't look like you have a lot experience with figures, cartoons or character design.

    Then there are a lot of things on the site that are technical things.
    For example there's advertisement on the site - under your Facebook picture I see a woman holding her belly fat, surrounded by blinking lights and some slogan about diets.
    You can get nice and clean portfolio websites without advertisement for about 8 dollars a month (Jimdo, CargoCollective).
    Even Deviantart offers super cheap, super easy and design-wise appropriate portfolios for 2 or 3 dollars a month. The clean adress ( would be a bonus.
    I can't watch one of the animations because musical copyright problems of the country I'm in. One of the environment pictures is so big that I have to scroll to the right, while all the others pictures are small.
    Edit: With add block, the site looks completely fine on my home pc. That table breaking pic isn't there anymore either.

    The showreel itself is a really good idea, the simple layer animation is a nice touch and really brings these things life... but then... the site says you have a degree in animation.
    You could totally polish this showreel up in half a days work by making a HD option available and resizing that tiny window on the page, adding smooth black fades instead of abrupt black screens.
    You could adapt the second environment picture in the showreel to the screen/zoom in on it instead of having a big black frame.
    Then make a quick layer animation for all of those pictures.
    For extra emotional impact, music would be awesome. There are a lot of stock music sites that offer really cheap but well-done, appropriate music.
    Last edited by Kiera; November 28th, 2012 at 12:49 PM. Reason: Unreadable blocks of text hurt my eyes.
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  8. #5
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    Nov 2003
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    Here is my take on your portfolio:

    1. The work all feels a bit "generic fantasy landscape" in terms of content. If it were me, I'd start doing self-assignments of specific scenes from specific books (i.e., ones that haven't been adapted to movies or comic yet) to demonstrate to potential employers your ability to take a written concept and translate it into visual form.

    2. If you want to do landscapes, learning to work more realistically would really help. Right now I can get a sense of what you're trying to do in terms of atmosphere, textures, and forms--but I'm not really sold on any of it. If it were me, I'd put in some serious time painting landscapes from photos and direct observation to try and internalize the process a bit more. You probably want to enroll in an actual landscape-painting class with an instructor who can hep you with specific questions.

    Basically, you need to put in a lot more mileage than you have so far if you want to work in this field. It's extremely competitive.

    As always, just my two cents.
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  10. #6
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    Feb 2005
    Bucharest, Romania
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    You should put a lot of speed paints, and different in subject, because right now your work seems struggled, as if you gave them too much thought and were afraid to go fast and loose on them, first impression increased by the small number of pieces, as if you worked hard on each one and were afraid to discard it. A potential employer should be able to appreciate your speed and your creativity and the number of concepts you can come up with in a day, and you'll probably go over just as many drawings in a full day of work as you have on your site.

    Also, at the traditional work part, a better idea perhaps, would be some graphite sketches or anatomy studies, or better yet, pages from your sketchbook drawn in the subway or park or something like that. To quote an instructor from some portofolio reviews to give you an idea of what is expected to be showed: 'Don't post anatomy sketches - I don't want to see that because you *need* to be able to make those anyway to make character concepts.'
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  12. #7
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    Dec 2008
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    As a non-professional looking at your site, I can only agree with the previous posters. But to add to those comments: Almost all of your environments basically look like variations on a theme, similar shapes, lighting, etc, as though you were doing several paintings of the same alien neighborhood all at sunset. Your environments look cool and weird, but not real - or rather not believable as real places. Part of this, I believe, is due to your rendering abilities. Can you do a normal landscape (mountains, forest, lake etc etc) and make it look real? If not you are missing the basic understandings of environment that you could then manipulate to create a fantasy landscape. I assume if you've just graduated you've got a *lot* of art done in college - post more of it, especially figure/anatomy work that shows what you can do.

    In my admittedly non-professional opinion, a website portfolio is not supposed to be a exercise in self indulgence or navel gazing at your favourite pieces. It is your forum to communicate to potential employers the full range of your skills. So you need to show everything you can do, and more than one example of each - for example, if I was looking for someone to paint a portrait for me, I wouldn't look twice at a website with a single portrait in a single medium.

    I would really encourage you to post some WIP's here so you can take advantage of all the wonderful people who take time to comment.


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  13. #8
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    Feb 2008
    Mölndal, Sweden
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    Looks like you mostly lack fundamental training imo. If you want to paint landscapes, go outdoors and paint landscapes as well as study landscape master paintings. And by the latter I don't mean to just look at other concept artists. Check out old traditionals masters. Try to figure out their secrets. That's what'll give you the skills you need. Your enviroments look like a good start, though.

    As a general advice for portfolios. Don't just put everything you do in them. If you're really interested in being an enviroment artist, put that in there exclusively. And only upload your very best pieces. You don't want an art director to be afraid of hiring you because they see something that isn't up to snuff with the other stuff in there.

    Good luck
    "I've got ham, but I'm not a hamster"

    Sketchy Link

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  14. #9
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    Jun 2009
    Lincoln, England
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    Thanks guys, much appreciated I've actually, only just started looking at the 'old masters' properly...better late than never! I've heard the 'just go crazy part' before and agree I should just do it!! I am going to go away and get stuck in
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