I've been hesitant to make this thread because my art is a bit stylized when it comes to proportions. I'm looking for some advice on coloring, presentation, and lighting - particularly. Or just anything you would like to point out to me. I want to become a better artist so don't be afraid to be honest.
Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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So ignoring the quirky anatomy the pieces lack a sense of unified lighting and the gestures seem stiff and awkward. There is no intent by the characters to engage the viewer. Color could be more interesting and I think working from life will give you better ideas about color. All your objects are painted in monochromatic strings that don't interact with the objects around them.I would work on those things.
Ask: "Where is the light coming from? ... So, that means the edges of my shadow shapes should look like this, and my light logic works out like that". But generally, ask yourself "what is the light doing? Where is it coming from, and what does it do when it gets there?". Little value composition thumbnails may help. Lots of them. When analyzing other folks' work and when starting a piece.
gestures seem stiff and awkward. There is no intent by the characters to engage the viewer.
They're "squashed bugs": No limb is foreshortened in perspective, the head block, chest block, and hip bock aren't at angles to each other so there's no curve going though the figure from block to block.
Unsquash your bugs.
Build that figurine from Bridgeman, pose it, and set the "camera" in the best place. If you don't have a figurine handy, do it mentally, or on paper. But the figureine will help. Build it.
If you need structured exercises, start grinding here, maybe, and maintain your sketchbook to get crits?
You're showing some skills in your pieces, you already have some foundation to build on. Good luck.
The two postes above nailed it, their suggestion should be your main focus .
I've checked out your DA; you've seemed to made some big steps foreward - keep at it, open a sketchbook here .
On your DA, the description under the Elf girl says:
"A elf girl set out to find their kidnapped sibling."
The idea is interesting, but your picture doesn't convey that cool idea.
Just that small piece of juwelry in her hand could be seen as a part of storytelling... but it's so small that it's barley noticable.
Here are some question you could ask yourself while painting:
Where does she come from, is she from a poor neighbourhood, a village in the woods, from a city? Does she have a religion, can she do magic, is she a skilled fighter, does she come from a sheltered background without any survival skills at all?
She's trying to find her sibling, is she just at the beginning of her journey or somewhere in the middle? Who was her sibling, is it a sister, a brother, a baby? Why is she the only one who goes searching for that sibling? Who or what is she up against?
Good characters usually carry a part of the world they live in and a part of their story in their design.
You can all express these things by dirt on the skin, acessoires which show something about the way of living like a bag with food or money, appropriate clothing for the climate, torn clothes, necklaces or hairpins (rich? simple? from nature? from civilsation?), sunburn on the skin or the anatomy (soft, white and princess-like, a skilled fighter with scars and tense muscles, a regular kid who got thrown into trouble, a kid from a farm family where hard work is normal)
Right now it's a young looking elf without many background clues, just that her armour doesn't make much sense and looks scrambled together (stolen?).
But it is in perfect mint condition, made out of expensive metal and fits her bodyshape perfectly (custom made??).
While she has all that expenisve armour, she doesn't have any other piece of cloth on her body that looks expensive (huh?).
2 more great replies, I'm extremely thankful of this. All of the things you've all mention make a lot of sense to me which is also something I'm thankful for. I almost feel embarrassed for releasing these two pieces onto the internet. As soon as dpaint posted I've just been drawing from life, practicing my gesture drawing and oh my gosh; foreshortening. I did a drawing earlier that involved successful foreshortening + good anatomy and it was like something just snapped. And all of the links are just fantastic. I'm just soaking up all of the information you've all provided me. My sketchbook has been developing faster than ever since I started posting here... I should probably stick around!