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To my dear prospective critics:
I am trying to build a portfolio leaning towards concept art or fantasy illustrations.
I have made this in last week’s chow, and I think it could be a good portfolio piece.
I would love some feedback on how to improve this further.
The wings are supposed to arch forward. I am not sure I pulled that off. the rest at least reads fairly well I think. But I know I can be blind to shortcomings while working on a piece. Any help very much appreciated!
To me it looks like you didn't use reference for any part of the image, especially for the anatomy and light.
EDIT: Whoops. Fireblade was faster :-) Well, no matter, hope my scribbles help too.
Hello Ashess. Part of the problem is that light is inconsistent in both your references and your painting. Each of those photos has a different direction, strength and even type of light (spot light, ambient light, multiple light sources and so on). Differences in point of view also do not help. They are nice pictures for muscle structure, but it's negotiable how much they actually help you when everything essential is rather different from what you are attempting.
When you think about single light source, try to think of it as an perspective escape point for all shadows in your picture. I'll put some lines in your picture that might help illustrate what you currently have.
Red lines according to the direction and length of few of your shadows suggest the angle and direction of those light sources. Yellows are according how you have suggested few rays of light. Having that much difference in the shadows would require multiple sources of light, but then there would also need to be mixed shadows and highlights from all of them. You starting to get the problem?
The anatomy needs work too, but before you get the one real light source sorted out, it's pretty difficult to do coherent light and shadow on the body.
About the wing.. currently you have kind of a sideways view of the underside of the wing. If you want it curve forward we would need to see part of the topside of the wing, something like my green lines show. Again, you need to figure out the light source to make that look right.
Try to find reference that is much closer in point of view and direction of light to what you are attempting. Best thing would be to try take some photos yourself as that would increase your understanding of the pose too.
I think there are two reasons why it looks like you're not using references;
a) you don't understand enough of what you're looking at. An example would be anatomy, both on the humanoid as well as on the wings. Sure, I can see what part of the reference you were looking at. But it's just not convincing.
b) You're lacking the purely technical rendering skills needed for this sort of relatively ambitious painting. You're dealing with all sort of challenges here, different materials, lighting, all from imagination. It's just too much to pull off successfully at this point in time.
The bad news is that this is not like issues with the creative process where you can simply start doing X (like start collecting reference as you did, or start doing thumbnails) and the problem will go away. The good news is that both understanding of what you're looking at and rendering technique will come with time and practice. Look at all the amazing pros who have old, forgotten sketchbooks here (like Jana Schirmer / janaschi and others). There's one thing they all have in common- plenty and rigorous studies from life. Draw from life, paint from life, paint from photo ref whenever painting from life isn't possible. You need to do it consistently. Only once you have several hundreds of hours of experience in painting from life can you hope to extrapolate enough information from your references to engineer a painting like this largely from imagination.
Please bear in mind that I'm holding you to professional standards here, since that is what you're aiming for.
Grinnikend door het leven...
I really need to thank everyone for giving so much help.. really amazing.
okay, I went back and shot some photos trying to pose. didnt get the lighting right at all im afraid, so additionally I made a quick mock-up with a 3d program.
well it needs all the details the old one had obviously and there's all the textures and things to be sure. but maybe this is more like it?
Benedikt- I understand that I might have aimed a bit high with this. but maybe with a the added help of 3d models I can get there anyway. im happy Im getting graded as a professional. that is the aim, after all!
@eezaque- tried those fotos. and 3d model, which is easier to get right lighting and camera-angle wise. but less so with materials. OO!
Last edited by ashess; June 6th, 2014 at 05:33 PM.
@samwalu- tried fixing the shadows/ light. a little sad about that as I lost my strong diagonal running through the picture.
@fireblade- it actually looks rather great with all that light. not sure that's what I wanted though. it is more dynamic. mustly bc of the wings I guess... mhh. still not sure how to incorporate that.