Nice picture you have here Right now everything feels like it's the same material: Sand, rocks, creature, etc. I would try texturing the surfaces to give them more life. There are some issues with lighting and overlap in the rocks, like in the upper left corner (the lighting doesn't feel real yet); are you using any references? Is the picture just meant to be a portrait of an octopus, or were you going for something more? The figure feels a bit airbrushed right now. Is this done in photoshop?
I also feel like there could be more fish in the picture since you placed two randomly at the bottom, to add depth to the picture if you can work them in compositionally.
This is a great start but I see lots of room for improvement. I'd suggest looking at references of octopus to add more details since now it looks a bit plain/too simple. I'd add more seaweed, sponges some coral reefs etc to break the monotony feel of the image a bit. The sea bed also looks really fake, like it was just quickly put in. I'd suggest placing some varied sand dunes and putting in some sunlight ripples. Good stuff through!
Thank you both for your observations, I shall be keeping them in mind to implement on my next attempts :^)
I think what I was going for, is like when you're playing a video game, or looking at movie extras, you sometimes see these clip art pieces that were unneeded for production and look sort of unnecessary, but interesting.
But I do agree it did not turn out to be as interesting as I would have hoped. I used CS5, and made the fish in Paint Tool Sai. I suppose what I may have been going for with the two fish, is that all the other fish were hiding, and the two were cautiously keeping their distance while taking a look..but you're right in that it is a bit empty.
I made a small breakdown of the original work, for critique purposes and for people even worse than me to see what I was doing
Bland and a bit off, is what I gather to be the bottom line.
Looks like it's time for more practice ^
Thanks again :^)
I really like it James, it is very charming. If it were me I would push the light some more to create more contrast and depth but this would just be personal taste. Would also try and break up some of the uniform edges of the rocks and perhaps add some texture here and there. The Octopus skin for example, you could really push the texture in the areas of light. I don't really know how to crit other peoples work as it is always tainted with my own preference and is not really a reflection of the work per se. All in all I think you have a solid piece of work, it's really up to you where to take it.
Try varying the colours in the painting, especially in the environment. At the moment each element in the painting is coloured as a single hue of different shades that gives an impression of it being 'flat'. Octopi skin full of reds, yellows, and purples as well as orange (and some often have patterns on their body) So have some fun and splash a bit more colour around