Of Hominids and Hummingbirds
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    Of Hominids and Hummingbirds

    I am aiming at a career in Illustration and this is my first complete Illustration. I would say that I'm a 2 out of 10 toward my goal. I would greatly appreciate some feedback on how to take this piece to the next level Harsh/Honest critiques welcome.Name:  Of Hominids and Hummingbirds (100%).jpg
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    It looks like you really challenged yourself with this picture, which is always good (:
    There are a lot of issues with the anatomy though, I think you're better off leaving this painting for now, and practicing more on figure and face construction. You can continue with this piece if you really want to, but you'd have to redraw pretty much the entire thing to get a really strong piece, as everything is just that little bit off. I'll leave more precise crits to someone more skilled than me, just my two cents (:
    I really like the little birds, but they don't really seem to fit with the rest of the picture, I don't know if it's because they're sharper drawn or because of different colors than the rest, but it's a bit jarring.

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    looking at the first page of an image search of hummingbird, i see at least two out of the three birds bearing such a likeness to the ones in your pic one wonders if youve done anything past the point of copy/paste on the birds. This isn't necessarily a problem if you're up front about it and use images which is ok to use for your own purposes.

    As it is, that's probably why the birds look so jarring when incorporated in what is otherwise an image which I assume is from imagination?

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    Ambitious. That's good.

    The thing that bothers me the most is uneven attention to form and detail. It's almost as if you have allotted the same amount of definition to any basic structure, no matter what its size - so the digits look sharp but upper arms look blurry and un-detailed. And in contrast to that, the hummingbirds are so minutely detailed that they, indeed, look like pasted photos and clash with the softer handling of the rest. Likewise with the flowers, and the hair is a complete disaster because it's symbolic, instead of textural - you have been designating "these are hair strands", instead of painting the mass of hair as it reflects the light.

    It would have been better to use a more balanced approach to levels of detail. It is better to use the variation in levels of detail to bring out the focal points of the composition, instead of focusing on random body parts.

    Form handling could be better. Your lighting is very uncertain; I cannot read the light source position clearly. Some things look painted in volume, but others are flat. The big hominid's face is a disconnected set of individual facial features, floating in the flat expanse of its cheek. Similar lapses in form awareness are everywhere.

    I recommend reworking this composition again. Do a structural anatomical drawing and a tight perspective study. Plane breakdown wouldn't hurt. Calculate the light direction; perhaps add a falling shadow, if the overcast lighting isn't important. (If it is, you'll have to work with ambient sky light and occlusion shadows to emphasize the form.) Prepare a value study in black and white, so you can work out a readable value composition and lighting. Only then paint.

    I also recommend working systematically from big to small. Ideally, at every point your painting should look like a painting; it may be less detailed in the beginning than in the end, but the form and light should be there from the start. Rushing into detail too early tends to result in a very disconnected bits. Defining the biggest masses first will make a solid base for detailing, and hold the whole painting together.

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    Cool, I do intend on doing an anatomy study soon, I'm sure there are lots of subtle little fleshy bits that I didn't include. The hummingbirds were meant to be a splash of color against a monochromatic family complexion. Thank you for the feedback

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimer View Post
    looking at the first page of an image search of hummingbird, i see at least two out of the three birds bearing such a likeness to the ones in your pic one wonders if youve done anything past the point of copy/paste on the birds. This isn't necessarily a problem if you're up front about it and use images which is ok to use for your own purposes.

    As it is, that's probably why the birds look so jarring when incorporated in what is otherwise an image which I assume is from imagination?
    I painted the birds, using pics as references. There was no copying what so ever, it was all free hand and eyeballing. But thank you for helping me see that my ability to replicate is farther along than my ability to create from imagination I will have to do more anatomy/concept work, which sounds fun Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Ambitious. That's good.

    The thing that bothers me the most is uneven attention to form and detail. It's almost as if you have allotted the same amount of definition to any basic structure, no matter what its size -
    Thank you so much. You are entirely correct, as this started as a simple hand study where I did not know how to use Photoshop. Because of the Train Your Brain contest, I decided to push myself to finish the piece for entry. These comments are awesome as my next task is to crawl back into my cave-space and learn the names and locations of all the important body structures. I'm thinking the face is more important than anything else, please let me know if I'm wrong. I will take what I have learned in doing this one, and hopefully my process will be more uniform and less distracting Thank you.

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    No more blur tool until you're at least 7 out of 10 towards your goal, okay? All tools are good in their proper season, but tools like blur/smudge and dodge/burn sore thumb as a beginner's crutch.

    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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