Portrait- Help please

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Old 10 October 2012   #1
Portrait- Help please

I'm trying to make my artwork more interesting to look at as well as get my technical skill up to snuff. I'm trying to convey emotion in this piece, but I think my colors/shading/everything are not very good. I've tried to figure out what is wrong with it, and I've fixed some stuff, but I would really appreciate anything that might help make this a better piece (esp. with regards to the hair, neck, and background).

Imgur made my pic a little blurry, and the screenshot made it a little lighter than it is supposed to be.

[ SPOILER - Click to reveal ]
Spoiler:
 
Old 10 October 2012   #2
It's really hard to critique obviously stylized images, because there's such a flexible range of judging parameters (this is why Steven Stahlberg doesn't do paintovers in his thread for stylized images). There are many critiques for stylized works that can be deflected by a simple "that's intentional for the style," or "I don't want this to follow rules of realism."

I think it'll help if you think about the whole image, not just a head. A portrait is more than just a head pasted onto a flat background. Think about the premise and the narrative. Why is this man sad? Where is he? What has just happened at this particular location? Can you incorporate the premise/location into the portrait to give it a stronger sense of narrative, which will in turn strengthen the emotional resonance?
 
Old 10 October 2012   #3
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