Hey Thomas, hope you're well bud.
Nice studies man, keep 'em up. Apply 'em n stuff :)
Firstly you're doing AWESOME so don't take anything I say as a dig at you or as patronising you cos I'm not trying to, and I don't know what you do or don't know. And im nowhere near a Pro either^^
Paint-over as promised, and some thoughts.
Thought no1 :)
Ok, so we all have our heroes, that's awesome and they inspire us. But remember there's only ever going to be ONE Dave Rapoza, and I'm seeing hundreds of mini Rapozites popping up left right and centre at the moment.
I thought rather than say, study Dave, lets go to the source, those old guys, the dark/light masters.
Here's a set of Carravaggio, Valasquez and Rembrandt. There's a Rapoza on there too for good measure. Spot the odd one out? Yep that would be yours :)
So you want to get into this kind of portrait art, STUDY those guys... and bring it in to 2012, like Dave is. But please, try to make your stamp on it. Cliche time, think outside the box, what really can you do to set yours aside from Daves? Spend some time on that.
K onto the paint-over.
Well it's values and mood at the moment, hopefully we can bring yours into the sphere of the people above more.
I did this quickly, mainly using a big soft brush for the lighting, Dave (and those masters use a much more sophisticated layering technique for their light, built up slowly) So get into that, spend time and don't rush the lighting.
Here's what I did
Think in terms of Light and No-Light (shadow)
So basically for the paintover, I just added a flat layer of colour set to multiply.
This "turns out the lights" so your figure is sitting in the dark.
I mask this layer and erase away the shadow with a big round airbrush, medium opacity (painting on the light) Alternately you can work by painting in the shadow, or alternate between the two. For speed I chose to erase away shadow.
Take your time here anyway.
For more speed I added further lighting with levels adjustment layers, don't use this shortcut though unless for minor adjustments as it's unnatural.
Add texture, give us some interest.
I used some skin and splatter type brushes. With an FX layer added. This is set to Bevel/Emboss, did and outer bevel, adjusted the light direction. Gives a quick easy bump mapping effect, again do this properly, this is a shortcut.
Whacked on a photo texture, erase part away - don't make the whole thing textured, it looks flat and unnatural, vary your texture. texture the light OR the shadows, don't have it all over, or texture areas of interest.
Colour is up to you, vary your rim light for more impact, compliment your skin tones.
Vary up your skin tones.
I did it with some colour layers, colour pick the base skin tone, then shift the RGB sliders ever so slightly and paint in different hues. Be careful with saturation here.
Contrast, Contrast, Conrast.
Cool/Warm your light and shadows.
contrast in saturation - think about your areas of focus, dont put some uber saturation in somewhere where we're not meant to look, save it for the areas of interest.
Vary everything up, large/small brush strokes, dark/lights, texture/flat, hard/soft.
Keep it interesting, do as much as you can.
PSD attached, think it's earlier than where I got to in the end.
Sharpen areas of interest, filter. Blur out other places. Add some fx in the atmosphere if you like.
experiment with everything photoshop has to offer you.
Happy painting matey!! Looking forward to your updates.