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I'm having trouble to set up a realistic (and appealing) lighting on this one. Keeping track of all shadows and their right angles is something I never really got the hang of, despite watching my share of tutorials and guides. Any suggestions of good guides that cover this? Thanks in adv!
I'm also having trouble when finishing a painting. I'll get lost on whether I should be adding more details, fixing stuff, cleaning lines, adding texture, color -- or just finishing everything as it is. Then my focus just nopes out of the room and I'm left with a finished 30h painting that looks like a speedpaint. This is the story of my portfolio.
Back to this wip, it is a wasteland/zombie/post apc landscape with a few guys leaving that rooftop and crossing a makeshift bridge. I might remove the wagon in the background or even the warehouse in the back if these seem to be too distracting/not adding to the story.
Art is hard.
As your question seemed to be about your overall approach and not just about this particular painting, I decided to have a quick snoop on your deviant art to see what you're up to.
I think that overall you would be helped by really going back to basics and developing your foundational skills. Of course it's nice that you want to paint pictures from your imagination but I think it would help you greatly to do some environment studies - for instance - go outside with a sketchpad, paper and pencil and sketch some scenery. If you're not the outdoors type or the weather is crap - you can use photos and sketch digital - but just avoid the obviously colour graded photos - things like wallpapers tend to be rubbish because the colours are totally unrealistic. I freeze frame films or documentaries because film tends to be less obviously post produced.
Secondly it wouldn't hurt for you to do some anatomy studies to improve your figure drawing.
Studies fix everything for every artist. There's no good artist out there who doesn't do them all the time. I think it would really help you improve your skills especially if you are trying to achieve more realistic lighting etc...
In terms of more specific crit for this piece. The value range is fairly narrow - this isn't death on a stick, but if you're starting out, I would suggest more contrasted scenes (i.e. bright sunshine) - doing cloudy low contrast days is a real skill because the light is not so obvious - it's easier to get lost. I would also recommend doing more planning - do a bunch of thumbnails to work out your composition and values. I never used to do this and it showed!
Hope that helps