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My first time here, took awhile to figure out how it works
Please spill out your ideas to improve this!
Thank you all!
Don,to worry about sugar coating it.
Hello, and welcome to CA!
Personally, I think you need to push your values, create a more obvious point to the scene, and work on your composition/cropping a bit.
At first, I couldn't figure out what the light source was. It looked like everything was being lit by a vague coming-from-everywhere kind of atmospheric light, but after a while I started to notice little cast shadows opposite your pink tunnel thing. Don't be afraid to shine a bit of light on the scene; it can really help add a realistic 3-dimensional touch and make your light sources feel like they're actually emitting light.
I also spent a bit of time looking around trying to figure out what you're trying to show us. Is it that blue panel in the upper right, or the robot torso thing next to it, or the pink tunnel? I think it helps if you go into a piece with a specific thing that you want to show us, and plan the composition and lighting around showing that thing off. Make us think it's as awesome as you do. With this image, I feel like you're just drawing and there's no particular subject that we're supposed to be looking at. I don't even know what this piece of equipment does or if it's important.
For the composition, I feel like there's just a little too much space around the outside with nothing in it. It's good to have a margin around the subject so the important elements aren't getting cut off, but I think this is too far in the other direction. The right border is the biggest offender here; you could easily crop a couple inches off with no effect on the scene.
The perspective is also a little odd, but I can't figure out if that's intentional as it creates an organic, cobbled-together mish-mash design theme that fits with the rundown texture of the materials.
Great work on the texture btw; the materials are immediately obvious and I love the rundown scratched up rusty look you've added. That with the color palette and the low lighting create an excellent sense of mood.
Zoom out, or look at it in the navigator. There's no dynamism to the values. Composition is hugely important in illustration, and big shapes and values are hugely important in composition. You need to use those to establish and support a focal point. Right now, the tunnel seems like the place where I want to look, because it's this big circle that's brighter than the rest of the painting. But I feel like that little guy is where you wanted me to look. However, he's practically the same value as the area he's in.
Ditto the comments above. I think once you have reworked the composition (cropping or otherwise), it would be good to create more contrast on your focal point (perhaps the sad little robot?). One of my fave way to create a little bit of more framing (learned when I was editing photographs) is to create an Overlay layer with a darker value near the edges of your image so that there is more visual contrast towards the center.