CGMythology's Sketchbook
I resumed working on the image, it has come quite a long way!  Will try to push the details as far as I can with this one, very pleased with how it's turning out.  Feedback welcome as always!



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The church triangular beam is off centered is that normal the one near the cross?Also i think you need abit of atmospheric perspective to push back the church in space. Remember that element get desatured and ligher as they get further back in the distance.I personally dislike when we cannot see the base of a structure somehow it create a wierd carboard feel to the background. There a few tangente notice atleast 2.There the shoulder and glove section on the left that look kinda different than the other glove i think it intentional here since you want to attract the eye there with little accent of more saturated and constrast color maybe just tone it done just a lil bit.

WHAT I AM TRYING TO SAY IS THAT IT LOOKING GOOD because i consider most of my critic to be nitpick to push you further.They say it the little detail that count so here i am.


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The journey of an artist truly begin when he can learn from everyone error.
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Hi! I enjoy checking ur process, and I really like the last art u are making. Somehow enjoy this Card illustration style. 
Here is my suggestion and paint over. 
1) Overall it's nice, but the first thing I looked at on this was not the scene of killing or the girl, it was background church that interfere with the tower. In my opinion there are too much details on the background that moves the focal point there. As i look at the proccess the interfere church comes with u, I guess u just got used to ur drawing and couldn't see it.
2) I actually can't understand the sword hilt shape, if it should look like that, please tell me.
3) There is a 100% white on ur sword and shirt. It looks too bright, and I think u always should avoid the 100% black and white colour on ur drawing, except for the time when its style feature I guess.
And just a small things:
In my opinion u don't have enough variety of folds on their clothes. Leather armour looks too polished, but i guess u will add more texture. 
And the guy in tower window.Right now he looks just off the place and too wooden, he is just standing and almost lost in this window. If u need him in ur storytelling, like he spot the scene, in my opinion, u should add more action to him, for example, let him pop up from window and scream.
I hope it will be helpful for u. Looking forward to see finished one!




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Oooh, the latest illustration is very card-like. Nice job! You sketches are pretty clean too.

Regarding the WIP I have a few suggestions in addition to the excellent ones above if you don't mind. They're highly dependent on style so please check if they hold true for your target style.

This turned out long so I broke it into topics in hopes of making it easier to digest.

Saturation

You've been struggling with saturation and values, right? I feel that modifying the way you start coloring + looking at hues and values with a different mindset might help.

You're starting from super saturated base colors. Taking a subtractive approach—removing saturation—tends to be harder than taking an additive one. You know at some level that you can use colors to drag the eyes to some detail, thus the tendency is to pile more and more saturated colors on top of the base to do so. Removing them on the other hand is unnatural.

This makes starting from a more toned down base a good strategy to deal with saturation when you can't fully control it yet. If the piece looks too lifeless in a way you don't know how to proceed then you can use some gradients or quick saturated brushstrokes to breath some extra color in the base. Just don't use too much of it right away, be picky.

Expanding on this, think of saturation as a limited resource. You can use it to bring focus to some area in the same manner you can use value extremes (brightest and darkest) and level of detail. So the idea here is not to think as saturation as something that just happens, but as quantifiable thing you can use strategically towards a goal. Add it progressively and watch out to not use too much of this precious resource to the point it loses impact.


Values

You're strong in your line work. You should rely on your pretty lines ofc, but I suspect they're playing an outsized role in your choice of values without you noticing. You tend to use the darkest values were lines used to be, including inside an object (eg shirt folds) instead of using the surface, shape and light as guidance. Think of values of something dependent on the coordinates and angle of that area, not outlines.

That's not to say you can't use outlines in a painting, you can and they'll look neat. The trick is to do it deliberately.




Pink - Object silhouette. As a hacky rule of thumb you'll see a bigger variation in values there because you got bigger plane changes happening in the object as a solid mass than in its individual parts like every clump of hair.
Cyan - Inner volumes. You'll see subtler value changes there: These areas don't advance or retreat too much into the space nor they are under radically different lighting.
Dark Blue - Outline. A touch of style. This is a reserved darker value to make an area of interest pop, a bit like if someone turned SSAO for this area.

Another detail worth mentioning is how I didn't outline entire "inner components" such as her mask evenly. Even outlines make all sense when working with lines but aren't realistic when you're throwing volume in; perspective wouldn't let you see their entire edges in an even thickness.

Speaking of outlines, there's also the negative space outline to play with:




I have no idea of the formal term for it and I'm too lazy to look it up, but the idea is to use a bit of negative space to outline things when you need a tiny degree of separation but not that much.


Hues

Another thing I noticed is that you tend to remain within the same narrow band of hues for each material. Hue walking (yes I just made this up) is a resource you can use to tie different objects to a same scene that you're not quite using. Right now your hue choice is guided by material x value: You use the same set for all objects of a given material then you group them by values, like all shadows of hair being redder, all halftones golden.



(color groups at 100% saturation)

You can make similar sets look wildly different by changing saturation and values; you can sneak extra crazy hues into a random material to make it more interesting to look at; but more importantly, you can tie hue variations to location instead of values.

A quick way to start playing with this is to use the radial gradient tool on a 5%-30% opaque layer in overlay or multiply modes. This is not simply a trick, this hue "contamination" of near materials has a touch of realism because it represents soft bounced light.


Wrapping up

Here's the paintover in a single piece. Don't take the color choices as gospel, I was more concerned about their relationship than picking palettes.




As a last tip try to modify the presentation of the illustration to debug it. Turning it into a thumbnail, switching to grayscale, or using PS filters that limit the palette/intensify outlines are all valid strategies to analyze the aspects mentioned above and the overall readability with fresh eyes.



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darktiste:  Great input!  I applied the atmospheric perspective on the background buildings to give it more depth.  I did my best to fix those problem areas you pointed out as well, thanks again!

Delorias:  Thank you!  I tried to push the buildings further back value wise, and blurred them a bit so they don't pop so much.  Hopefully it looks more natural now.  Great point about the 100% white/black as well, revised the values in that regard and tones them down a bit.  I revised the background figure as well, don't want to overwork him as I want the focus to be on the central figures, but hopefully it looks a bit better now!  Also added some texture work to the clothing to give them more variety.  Great input, thanks again!

dimensional-knight:  Thank you, glad you dig the style! I love your suggestions in regards to saturation and contrast/values.  In general I love using high contrast and strong colors for my images, but I guess I'm going about it too early in my process, so thanks for pointing it out, I will do my best to keep it in mind!  The paintover you did is  excellent and ridiculously useful, and a huge help in terms of values and colors especially, so I updated the image with that in mind.  Really grateful you took the time to help me out with that, very much appreciate it!

............

The feedback I received was ridiculously useful!  I took everything into consideration and heavily revised the image.  Learned quite a bit about colors, values, and saturation with the critiques provided so I'm extremely grateful.  I worked on the image a great deal and tried improve it as much as I could, and am pretty satisfied with the final image.  Of course there's still some time for some minor tweaks and such if necessary, so please feel free to let me know any final input as always!  Thanks again to everyone for the help, I'm ridiculously grateful for all the input I received!!!



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Oh no there's a witness! <o>

Sorry, this is just the type storytelling of detail I can't get over, haha. You've made a pretty good progress in the readability, good job!


About colors and saturation, by all means, you need to do what you feel is more to your taste. I'm not well-versed in super saturated styles but I what I can suggest is for you to look at how your favorite artists deal with it. My guess is that they use composition and negative space, or lines/water proof volumes, or hue contrast to direct the eyes. Take note of their strategies and experiment.

As a random side note that just occurred me, the difference in perceived contrast is possibly being compounded by display color calibration differences.

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Thank for coming by cgmythology you remind me it time to post more stuff those are getting old.

My Sketchbook
The journey of an artist truly begin when he can learn from everyone error.
Teamwork make your dream work.
Asking help is the key to growth.
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dimensional-knight: There's always a witness :D  Glad to hear you noticed improvement, much appreciated!  Great point regarding monitor calibration as well, haven't calibrated in years so might that effect my color choices.  With that said, I think they trick for me regarding over saturation is to force myself to chose less saturated mid tones on the initial phase.  Thanks again for your input!

darktiste:  My pleasure, always enjoy your work as well as your input!

..........

Time for a new painting!  I haven't done a self portrait in probably over a decade so I decided to sketch a new one.  I'm going for a fantasy theme with this, going to paint myself as a badass knight because... why not?!  I spent a lot of time on the sketch as I usually do, this just makes the painting process much easier, but I want to make sure I perfect it before I even paint a single stroke, so any feedback at this stage would be greatly appreciated.  Here is the sketch:



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Nice! I see you brought in the dragon from your last piece lol. Giving yourself a halo is pushing it a little, perhaps, but hey it's a good look for you XD. It's interesting that you say you like to make the sketch perfect before painting, I kind of do the opposite, otherwise I feel like I try to hard to preserve the drawing and end up kind of painting by numbers a bit. So I usually do something sorta general.

The drawing is looking good here, though. I like the details on the sword and armour. The pommel of the sword looks really cool. I would say that I wish the criss cross pattern on his sleeve would wrap around the form more, and i wonder if the same idea can be applied to other stuff as well. Like the belt or the pattern on the breastplate. The rivets on the shield should get more and more elliptical as it goes back in space. But I know it's not done, of course, so I'm kind of nitpicking.

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Wow really impressive work there. I really like the detail of the Assassin assassinate the king. Everybody already giving a great feedback and the result is really show.

I like the well define line of the knight. Hmm I know this is still sketch but i think the shoulder armor maybe felt a little off. Maybe perhaps separate layering doing armor on his body so you can see more the correct perspective. Still really digging the knight. He looks ready to slay some dragon :)

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Nice drawing, something that jumped out to me is the shield maybe move it more to the side and extend the canvas horizontally, because it feels really pushed in.

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My only critic is toward the texturing i feel like you make object that tend to be to ''clean'' they almost look like fresh out of the box.Adding a bit of aging to your object should solve that.

My Sketchbook
The journey of an artist truly begin when he can learn from everyone error.
Teamwork make your dream work.
Asking help is the key to growth.
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JosephCow:  Thank you!  I think the halo adds to the fantasy theme so I'm keeping it :D  I fixed the shoulder area as suggested and implemented all your feedback.  You make a good point regarding focusing too much on line in the beginning, but I feel I'm more of a natural painter than a line artist, so I'm purposely forcing myself to spend as much time in the sketching phase as possible.  Thanks again for your input!

cicakkia: Thanks, glad you did the Assassin's Creed - inspired piece!  Also altered the shoulder a bit, hope it looks more natural now!

Hobitt:  Excellent suggestion, just implemented it!

darktiste:  Great point;  In general I tend to keep things clean early in the process, but I'll definitely add dirt and more texture towards the later progress.


............ 

Today's update, refined the sketch based on the feedback received and began the painting process.  The silver armor was tricky, in general I like to use desaturated tones when painting silver or metal, but I tried to keep in mind that the material is reflective so I added some blues and greens on the coloring, will push the colors and values even further as the image progresses.  Any input is appreciated as always!




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I am not sure about the armor so far because of how you should be thinking about what kind of color are reflecting on them for example the shoulder guard is blue due to reflecting the sky as it face mostly up but when it come to the gauntlet as much blue doesn't make sense as it should reflect more earthly tone.Also the specularity isn't there yet.I say go with more white tone with a brush with some opacity on it to erase some of that blue color on the shoulder since your sky seem more white than blue.You can also add stronger blue where the armor face section of the blue clothing also account for some bounce light for object that are reflecting and pretty close.Switch you hue reflection from blue toward the top and earth torn toward the bottom and mix what ever color is near the object into the color mix.Armor are one  those subject matter where understanding of light is important to the next level.

I added a little paint over so you don't have to struggle to much about the mental image of what i mean. Here i didn't add yet any of the earthly tone yet. I just play with some burn and dodge brush with and a low whitish brush soft with a flow around 1% to 5% to calm those still to blue reflection.


Edit after looking at reference i strongly suggest reworking the armor section entirely there is just simply way to much saturation going on in my opinion.So i think the big big take away for both of us is more more and more reference it can prevent us from going to much toward were own tendency.


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My Sketchbook
The journey of an artist truly begin when he can learn from everyone error.
Teamwork make your dream work.
Asking help is the key to growth.
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For the armour, are you going for a mirror reflected surface? Or more diffused reflection? I think that either way just dodge and burning it isn't the answer, it may have to be darker over all with a sharper highlight. That's what I tend to see in references or when I've seen armour on rare occasions. For example:

Of course this is inside, with lots of artificial lights shining on it, so it's not the same as outside with just the sun and sky. But it's basic aspect is a dark grey tone with reflections of the room rather softly in it, but then a bright, hard highlight on top. So I would probably try to emphasize that appearance by making the banding on the armour softer and less chromatic, but making the specular highlights sharp on top of it. I also think the style of the suits of armour in this picture is interesting. They have a very cinched in waist, and then the fullness is up higher at the chest. I don't know the period they are from but it looks kinda kewl.


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darktiste:  Yeah the armor was a bit early so I didn't push contrast that much, I tend to do that as I paint along.  Thanks for the paintover as well, very useful;  I reworked the armor heavily, hopefully it looks more natural now!

JosephCow:  I'm not sure to be honest, just whatever is more natural looking I suppose.  Great point regarding the sharp highlights, will continue to incorporate that feedback as it's not quite there yet.  Great reference as well, very useful for the values in particular!

...........

I refined the image as a whole and spent some time working on the armor, tried to make it more natural looking and brighter, which helps I think.  It's come quite a long way and I'm fairly happy with it.  I'll continue to revise it and hopefully the armor looks even more natural by the next update.  Here is the current progress:




Any feedback is welcome and encouraged as always :)

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Nice, that armour looks like an improvement! It reads more as reflective silver.

I kind of think the glow around the halo and fire from the dragon should be lighter, like if you put it in B&W, the orange glow is actually darker than the sky behind it which doesn't really make a ton of sense. Things don't really glow dark, so it gives kind of a strange effect to me. The face is looking very nice though.

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JosephCow:  Glad to hear it!  I tried out a different  approach with the silver/armor and I'm glad I did as the results look fairly natural so I'm quite happy with it!  I reworked the halo a bit, made it lighter but more saturated.  I'm not really too concerned if it looks natural or not, as that's an obvious fantasy element that I can take some artistic liberties with I hope!  Thanks again for all your input!

..................

So I resumed on the image making note of all the feedback I received, and it's pretty much finalized.  I'm very happy with how it turned out, put a  lot of love and effort into it and I think I have a strong image as a result.  Thanks again to everyone who helped me out with this one, it was a personal painting that meant quite a lot to me so I'm very grateful!  Below is the final:



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Ready to begin a new painting!  I wanted to tackle a mermaid theme this month for 'Mermay', although we'll see if I'm actually able to finish the painting in time, but we'll see.  I finished up work on a sketch depicting the sirens, and the figures themselves were reference from Howard Loyn's photography /reference pack.  I'm fairly happy with the composition and theme of the sketch, but please feel free to let me know any feedback before I proceed painting.  Here is the sketch:



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I reworked the sketch a bit and began the painting process, it's come quite a long way.  I forced myself to use less saturated colors than normal at the beginning which I think helps, really looks more natural in terms of saturation so I'll be using this technique more in my work.  I'm fairly happy with how it's turning out, although it has quite a long way to go.  Any feedback welcome and encouraged!



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