Rainy Day WIP

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  07 July 2014
So fixed the background a fair bit. I also moved the sun from the center to the corner because I felt like it was a more interesting composition. I changed her face to be a closed-mouthed smile, but I'm still not sure which one I like better, so I'll just post both versions:

Closed mouth smile:

Open mouth smile:

Last edited by BobShmob : 07 July 2014 at 02:34 PM.
  07 July 2014
The closed mouth smile looks much better to me (less creepy/manic, and a bit more serene).
  07 July 2014
So I have an issue with her boots. I don't have a pair of boots like that, and neither does anyone I know, so I'm having trouble figuring out how the lighting should be. They're supposed to be shiny, blue rainboots.

  07 July 2014
You need to differentiate the amount of the specularity of her leggings from her boots. Unless she's wearing very shiny leggings, you need to make her leggings a lot more diffused and less specular. The boots do look shiny due to the hard-edged specular highlights, but they'll kind of vague and undefined.

Have you tried searching for references via google images? You can also use 3D and do a test render as reference. I'm sure there are fully modelled and textured boots you can download for free on the web, and all you have to do is set up the lighting to mimic your scene and make sure the material for the boots is correct and then do a render and use it as reference.

You should pay more attention to your brushwork. You are rendering everything with the same kind of brushwork and every surface type looks too similar. There are different brush types you can use to introduce more variety into your painting, such as bristle marks, chalky textures, dry brushing/scumbling, etc. Explore the different brush types and customize a few of your own. Take a look at the works of leading digital artists out there like Craig Mullins, Jaime Jones, Ruan Jia, Maciej Kuciara, etc, and see how they use a range of different brushes to describe different surface types, as well as create expressiveness by adding a variety of visual interests.
  07 July 2014

So I tried to fix the boots and leggings. I've been looking at google images for the boots, but it's not super-helpful. I don't have any 3d programs, and I've never used one, so I can't really make a model. As for the brushes, I'll see. I don't actually know how to make custom brushes in photoshop, so I'll have to look up tutorials and it might take a bit. When I'm in college I'm planning on taking some classes that'll make these things a little easier, but for now it's all kind of just trial-and-error :/
  07 July 2014
You don't need to build any 3D models. There are tons of free models you can download on the web. There are also free 3D programs you can use. 3D can be a very helpful tool even for 2D artworks, but you do have to take some time to learn some 3D basics so you can at least navigate the GUI and set up something with lighting and shader and then render it.

Creating custom brushes isn't hard. You just need to actually go into the brush settings and experiment. There are plenty of free tutorials on the web that will show you what you can do with custom brushes.

Beware that many schools don't teach you the stuff you really need to know in order to improve as an artist. Many just teach you stuff you can learn from the user's manual or from free tutorials online, instead of the most critical creative concepts and the "why" instead of only the "how." So make sure you choose a school with a faculty of artists whose work and professional experience you can respect. Also, don't forget that some of the best art education you can get in the world right now are online workshops, taught by people who aren't hampered by the bureaucracy of established institutions.

Now, back to your image. One of the problems you have right now, is the way you're rendering everything as if there's some kind of banding artifact from image compression. You need to think about how forms turn and the degree of the curve, the smoothness of the curve, as well as where the flatter planes are. Some cylindrical or round forms shouldn't be rendered with that banding effect and should be a lot smoother in order to differentiate them from the forms that have more angular planes to them.

Anyway, you can choose to continue with this piece, or take a break and do some learning/practicing/experimenting so you can pick up new knowledge and skills and then apply them to this piece. If there's no deadline forced on you for this image, then it doesn't really matter if you force yourself to finish it now or put it away for a while and do some R&D, then return to it.
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