Hi, my name is Andrew Dieterly and I have just graduated from Kutztown University with a BFA (concentrating in drawing). I am currently working in a grocery store bakery to make a living. In my art, my strengths are in drawing and anatomy but I am really trying to improve my color and composition skills.
Where I Would Like to Be->
Ideally, I would like to work as an illustration freelancer, even more ideally making book illustrations, cards, etc. I would gladly accept a regular position in games, film or even design as a 2d or 3d artist, although I'm not as interested in those personally.
I would also like to write and publish my own books but that is something I have pushed in to my personal work rather than professional. I don't want to have to sacrafice anything simply to make sure that the book gets published on time so that I can pay my rent.
Problems That I See Often->
Color is absolutely baffling at times, as well as picking color palettes.
Creating functional compositions is usually a problem. Particularly ones that also have a sense of deeper space in them as opposed to may of the pieces I have below which generally consist of a figure with something that could be replaced by wallpaper in a spacial sense.
I think you are right in your own assessment about needing to work on composition in relation to the story you want to tell. I think you are also right in that you seem to be mostly interested in painting the figures and then the backgrounds seem added like an afterthought?
I would suggest spending some time taking different story ideas for illustrations and then drawing lots of different thumbnail compositions, concentrating on things like abstract patterns of light, midtone and dark values, shapes and repetition/contrast of shapes, position of viewer (who is the viewer in the story? Where are they standing? Why are they standing there etc?).
Do lots of these, then try and assess which ones work best from a storytelling point of view. Then pick a new subject and repeat. Resist the temptation to jump into a detailed painting, just concentrate on working out different ways to tell the same story.
The bonus of doing this is that if you keep doing this you will end up with a stockpile of planned out thumbnail ideas for paintings that you can turn to anytime.
i don't think i'm gonna tell you something new about the color but when you wanna get another color for exemple blue in an orange mood don't directly pick a blue in the selector but use the color theory and relativity to find a matching blue in this orange mood (i think a purple would make it) think about mixing colors. This might help with the shadows and hope it did