Thursday, October 13, 2011

Portfolio Review: Chun Lo

First off, I want to apologize for the long delay. I was gone for a week and a half at a painting workshop, and it's been taking me a while to get caught up on everything. I'm really sorry to have kept people waiting!

Next up is Chun Lo, a freelance illustrator. You can see more of his amazing work at and

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I'm not going to lie, this was a really hard review. Your work is very impressive, well rendered, and visually appealing. I had to dig deep to find something to critique!

Your rendering is top-notch; definitely no trouble there. If I had to pick one thing to comment on, it would be that I think if you could work on adjusted the compositions a bit more to help push the storytelling and give you the edge you're looking for. Each piece is beautifully rendered, no problems there, but you could work on the rhythm and energy of the forms in each piece to strengthen the sense of
movement and make the narrative clearer. Great rendering always impresses, but a solid narrative will keep the viewer coming back again and again to revisit your piece.

On a minor note, I noticed while looking through your portfolio as a whole that the colors are very similar from one piece to the next: lots of midtone gray with areas of subtle orange or red. It's a good look, but maybe try a few different color and lighting setups just to show ADs a broader range within your chosen subject matter. :)

This is beautifully rendered. Just stunning. The texture in the rocks, the gesture of that dragon as it flies away from us, the detail and design of the alien thing are all wonderful. However, this is a good example of a piece where the composition isn't really working. Each individual element has nice rhythm and an energetic gesture, but the pieces don't all coalesce together as well as they could. The mage/warrior creates a line of energy that points up and out of the image to the upper left; the stone pillars create a nice movement, but as a whole things feel a little scattershot.

Ideally, what you want to do is use the gesture lines of each elements in the piece to direct the eye. Which elements are the most important? Where do you want the viewer to look first? You've got these great energetic forms, you just need to get them positioned so that the gesture sweep of one leads the eye to the next. I think one setup that would work would be to have the gesture of the mage leading into the dragon, both of which then lead up to the central "eye" of the alien thing.

Looking through other pieces in your main portfolio, I feel that this is a concept you are familiar with, just make sure to keep it in mind even in these tightly rendered pieces. Good composition is just as important than technical ability, if not moreso.

Another thing to think about is, what is going on in the image? Are the dragons working together with the mage, or is the mage in league with the alien things? Is this a fight at all, or are the dragons just investigating this strange alien presence? It isn't entirely clear. You've got that splash in the water, but at first I thought it was another landscape element. Where is the splash coming from? If the alien thing is the aggressor, you could instead have it shooting a laser blast into the water directly below, and having a huge wave/splash/steamcloud/etc pouring forth. If it's not hostile and is just floating there, then maybe make tone down the tenseness of that mage.

In this overpaint, I tried shuffling a few of the things around. It's not a perfect solution, but it shows one way to arrange things to get a little more movement. I drew gesture lines to show how the mage leads into the shape of the dragon, and how the dragon's wings frame the central purple eye. This is just one way of approaching it; there's a lot you can do with this theme. :)

(looking at this again, I could have pushed the mage a little more to the center; I think that might have looked better).

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That dragon is awesome. I love it's great pose and fiery maw. Fantastic work. The composition in this piece is a lot stronger overall than the previous piece. I'm not sure what the creature on the right is, though. I can't make sense of the head structure (if it has a head). The rightmost portion of the body makes me think it's a worm/snakelike creature, but then you have that single appendage in the front. The design could be a little clearer. Ooooooooh wait, I think maybe that appendage is not a foreleg, but the lower jaw of a worm monster? The overlap with the foreground element makes it look like it's connecting to the ground, and the upper head structure is a little unclear, so it wasn't reading very well and was throwing me off. X) I think if you just rotated that lower jaw up so you could see the whole thing, it would help lock the form of that monster into place.

Here is an overpaint where I clarified the shape of the monster on the right a little (assuming it was a wormy creature), as well as tweaking the light a little bit. It didn't make much sense that the light behind the dragon's head would be brighter than the two suns when it's that cloudy, unless there are huge floodlights back there or something. Aside from those two minor things, this is a really solid piece. Great work!

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This is one of the better compositions in my opinion. I love the rhythm formed by the repeating shapes of the curved spires/legs, and I like how the priest on the monument in the center is framed by the diagonals of the man in the foreground and that long foreground leg. I also like how you've peppered the red areas throughout the piece, so that it's unified but not overwhelmed by the color. Very very nice.

My only critique here is that the black on the monument in the background is way too dark. All of your pieces have a lot of great atmospheric perspective and depth; you're really good at that. But when you have a background element the same value and color as a foreground element, it flattens out the illustration and interferes with the sense of depth. See how that black area on the statue/monument is the same color as the curved legs in the foreground? The other spires coming off of the monument are much more in the right value range. Just lighten that part up a bit, and you're good to go.

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Very nice. Gotta love those Tieflings. :) The rendering on this, especially on his face, is absolutely stunning. And again, this is a stronger composition overall. The shading feels really anchored in midtones, though. It works beautifully in the background (fantastic job there, love the details), but it's a little flat in the foreground. The dark spots on his body are inconsistent, and feel more like holes punched into the image rather than connected shadows. Unify the shadows a little more. That light is pretty bright, don't be afraid to make the highlights and shadows a little more high-contrast in the foreground here.

My other comment is that I'm not sure about the narrative. I think he's supposed to be injured and stumbling through the dungeon, but if that's the case, you could push that a little more. Are those arrows in his back, or are they just a quiver of arrows he's carrying with him? If he's been shot, you can definitely play that up by making them a little more obvious. Bloody him up a little bit; have some armor torn, crude bandages applied, bleeding wounds, etc. Otherwise it looks like he just has tummy cramps (which, granted, can be pretty debilitating, too). ;) Man, that face is really really nice, though. Awesome job.

Here's a sloppy overpaint, showing a slight adjustment to the highlights and shadows, as well as a few more hints of blood. (if he's not supposed to be injured, then maybe rethink the pose). I realized as I was typing this up that you could also play with having him holding the lantern out to the right, just so that his arms aren't both contained within the silhouette of his body, but in this particular instance I think it works okay.

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Another beautifully rendered piece. You've composed the image nicely, with the great energy of the monster's post sweeping across the image. That ridged curve of the forearm in front is soooo nice. It really carries a nice sense of both form and movement. That face is great, too. He feels really solid and three-dimensional. My only critique is that you're getting a little carried away with the cloudy atmospheric perspective. It's making the creature look a little disjointed. Different parts of his body that are moving back and forth from the viewer in ways that don't always make sense. The back portion of his body fading off works just fine. But the forelimb on the upper left has faded back in the exact same way, even though it is much closer to us. His head is dark and crisp, but his chest and the spines behind his head fade rapidly away. Don't push and pull things through space haphazardly- control it, know when to use it. Try visualizing this guy as contained within a long box. His head and two front legs are in the part of the box closest to us, and hindlimbs are further away. Try to keep the contrast of the shading on the front part of the box more uniform, and let the atmospheric perspective envelop the box only as it moves further back into space.

Here is an entirely inadequate overpaint, trying to tie together the forms of the body a little. (I didn't do a very good job. :C )

Overall, your rendering is wonderful and tight, and in each piece it's clear that you have a love for your work and your subject matter. There is a lot of energy and dynamism in each piece. Just keep the compositions energetic and clear, and tighten up the narrative a little more. Direct the viewer's eye around the piece, and make the action as clear as possible. Your rendering is fantastic, just push your composition and storytelling to push your work up onto another level. :) Amazing work!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Portfolio Review: Scott Elyard

Scott Elyard is a freelance graphic artist, illustrator and animator. You can see more of his work at his website and his tumblr.


Hi Scott! Great work! I like the more graphic, design based approach that you take with your work. On the whole, in the pieces you sent and some of the pieces I saw on your blog, my main critique is that the colors seem too isolated from one another. The colors are just a little too high-contrast and loud and aren't jiving with each other as much as they could. I have two main recommendations for this:

1) You can keep the areas of color completely separate as you have, but tone them down and make them more harmonious. Keep your saturated colors at a minimum, and use them as an accent against more muted tones. Putting a small bit of saturated color on a muted color will make the saturated color shine all the more without being garish. I am all for using loads of bright color, but you have to keep it balanced.

2) Work the area color into each other. In the dinosaur skull example below, work warmer yellow tones into the skull, and purple tones into the background; don't keep them completely isolated. Tie the different areas together by distributing color throughout the piece rather than keeping it restricted to one area. Make them look like the background and foreground exist in the same space.

This is a great study of the form of the skull (you did a fantastic job capturing the complicated planes and shapes of the form), but as I mentioned above, the two areas of color are starting to feel isolated and discordant. I realize it's a more graphic approach, but it might be pushing it a little too far (for my personal preference, anyway). I realize that adjusting color in watercolors is easier said than done, but if you wanted to add more highlights or make color adjustments, try coloring on top of the dried watercolor with colored pencils. I've done this a few times in the past and it's great for layering color on top of watercolor or marker washes.

I love the texture of the brushstrokes in the background, but they're really dominating the piece. Either the color needs to be knocked down a tad, or the high-contrast brushstrokes need to be subtler, or a combination of both.

Here's an overpaint, toning down the brushstrokes in the background and adding some warmer yellow tones into the purple. (A lot of this is just my personal preference, so take it with a grain of salt).


This skull works much better, in my opinion. You have a nice relatively understated contrasting color scheme, with some of the cool greens of the background included in the skull to tie the two together; the colors all feel like they are working harmoniously together. The brushwork in the background provides visual interest without dominating or pulling too much attention away from the focal area. Great work! This is a very nice study. I have no overpaint for this one, everything looks great.

This is a great monochromatic study that shows a lot of care and attention to detail. I love the pose, too; clearly the guy is dedicated to getting just the right shot. :) It's a relatively simple setup, but you can really take the opportunity to showcase brushstrokes and hard vs soft edges. On the pants and face especially, the brushstrokes are getting streaky. Instead of scribbling in the shading to get your tone, think about the planes of the form, and brush along those planes. In my paintover below, I took a palette knife brush in Photoshop (which I uploaded here. It's one of my most used brushes. It's great because you get a hard crisp edge on one side, and soft edge on the other. Soooo nice.) and went over the main planes of the head with a few quick strokes. Texture and brushstrokes are great, but not when they start streaking and interfering with the sense of form and volume. Sometimes a simpler, tighter rendering is a more effective solution than too many sketchy marks. Also, a few soft edges and lost edges contrasting with all the hard edges can add more visual interest.

There's quite a lot going on here! It's a fun concept, and I like the robotic parts and detailing in the body. This is another case where the colors are just too saturated and too seperated out from each other, though. The blues are fully saturated, the purples are fully saturated, and the orange/yellow is fully saturated, and all in all it's a bit much. I recommend desaturing the head, making the background blue a little lighter and warmer (a little more towards purple), and have the colors bleed into each other a little more. You are doing this to an extent with the purple shadows/rimlighting on the mask, but even in an abstracted piece the light source needs to make sense. If his face is that strongly and evenly lit by a warm yellow light, the undercut areas aren't going to be that dark purple. Try a more desaturated, grayer warmer purple instead.

The purple rimlighting under the nose, cheeks and jawline wouldn't be that strong in such strong lighting. If you wanted to keep that strong purple light source, I would recommend putting the lower half of his face more in shadow so that the secondary light source of purple would show up more.

I feel the body could use a little more modeling so it isn't quite so flat, but that's just my preference and not necessarily the best or only solution.

Here's an overpaint, adjusting the colors, adding a little more shading and modeling on the body, and working on a more consistent light source (though it's still a little wonky here). In the process I accidently destroyed the neat palm textures you had in the background; sorry about that! :o

I love the idea of making a resume that stands out. :) Spiral shapes/nautilius shells are fantastic design motifs. Very nice. In this case, I think the design is starting to interfere with the function, though. I think you can keep the unique approach, but the important information needs to be more readily available for potential clients. Don't make them hunt for what they need, because you run the risk that they just won't bother.

Normally I'd be all for gradients, but it's not quite working for me here. I think you might be better off with solid colors. I don't know that the tentacle balls are entirely necessary, either.

I highly recommend 3 main changes:

1) Make the contact info text block be normal with no slant. Make it a little bigger and move it closer to the nautilus. The slant doesn't add anything to the overall design, and as this is the most important information, it might be best to just have it straightforward. I really like the gray-blue-orange color scheme of the text, though! :)

2) Consider reworking the shading to flat colors instead of gradients. It's just a little too much going on.

3) Consider taking the small text in the outer blue spiral and placing it somewhere else so it's easier to read. It requires a little too much head turning to read your skills, and that's not good ;)

I was going to leave it be, but I got to playing around with it in photoshop, and I think just using a simplified version of the spiraling nautilus shell motif by itself can add a lot of great visual interest.

Bear in mind this is strictly just one person's opinion. I am not by any means a graphic artist, so take this with a grain of salt. Also please pardon my crappy fonts and choppy lines. This was done quickly and I am not good at recognizing fonts so I just picked ones that were thin and blocky respectively. ;) I think this might be one way to keep a fun layout while still making the needed information more readily accessible.

Overall, I love your careful attention to detail and your obvious love of your subject matter. I think pieces like this and this are stronger on a whole. On these two pieces, your skills really shine. Simple monochromatic color schemes, nice linework, and a great graphic approach that's illustrative but not over-rendered. I'd recommend doing more along those lines. Your ink work in particular is very lovely; it'd be great to see more animal/skeleton/etc studies done in detailed ink renderings with subtle watercolor washes, because I think those are some of your real strongpoints.

Really nice work. :) I like seeing people interested in studying actual natural history rather than making *everything* up from imagination. Working from actual animals and skulls and skeletons lends a sense of solidity and authenticity that's hard to come by otherwise. Keep up the great work! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Portfolio Review: Xavier Garcia

Today's review is for Xavier Garcia. Xavier is a professional artist currently working at Gameloft who is working on getting more into freelance illustration in addition to game design work. His website is at and his blog is at

I am very impressed by your portfolio! Your work is vibrant, energetic and detailed. I can definitely see why you've already got steady work in the gaming industry. :) I'd say that overall, your strengths are your color sense and inventive details and compositions. An area to work on would be a more solid blocking in of shadow patterns, and tighter control of values throughout each piece.

Lets look at your first illustration! (Click to enlarge)
This is absolutely gorgeous. I really love the attention to detail and the care that has gone into putting this all together. The twining roots of the trees, and patches of light filtering through the canopy, the glowing runes are really wonderful. Really great stuff.

It was a difficult to tell the scale at first, though. I thought it was much smaller in scale until I noticed the figure standing under the archway. To help create the sense that this is a larger space, work on separating the light/dark values of background, middleground and foreground colors more. You've got this very well defined in your thumbnails (postead at the bottom). If you pushed it a little bit more here, it would help the space feel more expansive.

There are a lot of areas of high contrast throughout the image that makes the space a little smaller, as well; the doorway has the same high contrast as some of the foreground plant elements. If you lowered the contrast on the doorway a little, it would help push that further back in space. A little more atmospheric lighting/perspective to dampen some of the sharp details further back in the piece could also help.

This is an absolutely stunning piece. I had to dig pretty deep to find something to nitpick. ;)

Here's a quick overpaint that I'm not sure really helps much; hopefully it at least gives an idea of a few things to try. (Click to enlarge)


Great piece! I really like the bright colors and sense of strong daylight. The rich orange on their skin emphasizes to me that they're really working up a sweat. I think the sense of power and movement could be exaggerated a little more, though. I'm not sure what exactly is off; the tangent between their two arms and the weakens the flow of energy between the two of them, maybe? They feel more like they are posing before the fight begins, but they are standing close enough together that it's clear the fight's already started. Consider stronger gestures and poses to emphasize the action, especially on the arms. You don't necessarily have to change the poses, just look to where you can emphasize what's already there. The undulating lines on the bottom of Abel's arm, for example, deflates the energy of the arm's gesture; it looks like he's just holding his arm up instead of thrusting it forward in space. Same for the flow of the fabric around Abel's chest.

As much as I love the color and bright light, the values throughout this piece are a little spotty. I think stronger shadow definition would easily tighten that up. Not *darker* shadows, just a stronger and more clear delineation between light and dark areas. In strong daylight like this, there will be a few more drop shadows and more clearly defined areas of shadow; it won't be quite as evenly lit.

Here's another sloppy overpaint, showing a few ideas of shadow patterns (as well as a different pose idea for Guile so that there isn't that tangent between their arms, though I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not).


This is a damn fine Megaman tribute. Great action, great angle, great composition. This has what I felt was a little lacking in the Guild vs. Abel piece: powerful compositional lines of energy. You've really nailed it here. The sweep of the big bot's main body (as well as the curve formed by his huge knuckles) slices through the piece and points right at the focal point: Megaman. Very nicely done. I love your nice bright complementary color palette as well. It's bold, but tempered with areas of grey, red and orange in the shadowed big blue areas (like on the fingers and on that circular rim on the underside of the robot's chest).

The values are a little spotty here as well, though. You're really close, but I think defining and connecting the big blocks of shadow just a little bit more will help make the image read better and make the forms more solid and clear.

I considered leaving this overpaint out because I think I really overdid it with the shadow shapes and made it much too dark. Don't make it this dark. X)


I love the details on this piece! Really nice character study. This is another case where the values are a little spotty, though; equally dark shadows are scattered across the piece in patchy areas, and individual elements of her clothing/figure are rendered separately, instead of as a unified whole. All it needs is a quick pass uniting some of the shadow shapes and evening out some of the really dark areas. Nothing major, she's looking pretty great as-is.

Quick overpaint:


I really like your bold color choices and the fun character design, but again, watch your values. This is suffering a bit from the "rendering each part individually" syndrome, where each part of the outfit and body is nicely rendered and shaded but doesn't feel like part of a unified whole. You can cheat a lot when it comes to light sources, but it's getting a little too scattered here. The highlights across his body look like they are coming from different angles, and whatever is casting that strong red light on the side of his torso should be affecting all the areas around that light source (whatever it is). Also, this may be just a stylistic/personal preference thing, but his clothes feel a little billowy and disconnected from the figure. To anchor them in place, drop some sharp-edged cast shadows in areas (like where his belt overlaps his pants, or where his pants would cast shadows on his shoes, etc).


Lastly, I know you said to leave these out, but I wanted to comment on these thumbnails. I really love the variety of composition in these. They are all strong, with solid lines and shapes, and each would make a compelling illustration. You could play with mixing up the value pattern a little more just for the sake of variety, but really, these are all solid thumbnails. Love 'em.

Overall, your inventiveness and creativity definitely shows through in everything you do. I can see the thought and care that goes into each piece and I seriously am really impressed. You have a great sense of composition and color, it's just a matter of stepping back a bit and looking at the big picture. Don't get too caught up in rendering small details until you have the value pattern for the entire piece locked in place. I run into this same problem all the time, and often have to soften or knock back areas that were just too high in contrast or that had lighting that wasn't making sense in the overall composition. Keep up the great work! :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Portfolio Review: Amanda Kiefer

First up is Amanda Kiefer! Amanda is an aspiring concept artist who currently works in graphic design. You can see more of her lovely, colorful work at her blog at

(Since you're the first, Amanda, please bear with me if I get a little longwinded. I'm still working the kinks out.) X)

Overall, I really like where you're going. You've got a lot of great concepts and ideas. I really like your attention to small details in texture. However, one thing I've had to learn over the years is that it isn't so much the small details that make a piece, as it is the big shapes and overall composition. I feel like in some of these, you get very caught up in rendering details, when it isn't even really necessary. Focus on how the shapes of the figures, colors, negative space, etc all work together in the piece, and how lighting affects the entire space, not just individual objects.

Let's take a look at your first illustration:

I really like the color scheme and concept here. I like the combination of the watery, aquatic figure and the wing elements; that's a great way to personify Aquarius. :)

Compositionally, his face feels a little too close to the outer edge, which is making the composition feel cramped. I think applying the rule of thirds here might be useful (from - "The rule of thirds says that most designs can be made more interesting by visually dividing the page into thirds vertically and/or horizontally and placing our most important elements within those thirds.") This is a rule that you don't have to adhere to, of course, but in this case I think it would help the portrait sit better in the space if his face was lower in the piece.

You mentioned this was for a calendar project, so I don't know if these are the image dimensions that you need to stick with for printing purposes, but if there is some flexibility, I would consider widening the image a little. Maybe half an inch on the left, and an inch and a half on the right, to give it some breathing room and let you showcase the nice background elements.

I really like the shift from blue/purple to orange/pink across the piece. There feels like there is a little too much white throughout the image, though. Too much white tends to make a picture looked washed out instead of bright. Part of this is matter of personal preference, but I think you could stand to go darker on the sky and columns just a bit ( a darker blue, gray, or orange, perhaps), probably even more than I have here. It could make the doves stand out a little more. Also, with the warm light coming in from the right, the shadows in the figure could be a little warmer (more orange-red instead of the cool blues).

Here's a quick sloppy overpaint, mostly just to show one way to maybe adjust the figure's position within the space.


Next up:

This is a very nice concept, and I like the treatment and rendering of the individual faces, but it's starting to feel like two separate images put side by side rather than a single unified illustration. It's just a matter of letting the colors interact more. You are already doing this to an extent, but it could be pushed further, especially in the background. There could be a little more blue on the devil and red on the angel; the colored lights will bleed into the shadows and cast colored highlights a little more than they are now. And if the white light on the angel is that strong, it should be casting stronger highlights on the devil as well. I know that they are meant to be sitting in their respective pools of colors, but in order for them to look like they exist within the same space standing that close together, the lighting needs to affect them both. Also, it didn't quite look like there was enough eye contact between them; a quick head angle adjustment for the angel takes care of that.

Here's another quick overpaint to give some ideas of color blending. Nothing major, just a few small tweaks.



I really like this guy. :) You've got a great pose, good gesture, fun design. However, a lot of the energy of his gesture is being lost in all the nicely rendered details. Instead of many smaller brushstrokes, focus on the broader overall sweep and flow of shapes and line. Capture the great sweeping motion of those wings cutting through space, for example; it's such a great gesture, but the wobbly folds of the wings start to counteract it and take away the energy of that line.

This is another piece where there is too much straight-up white. Keep your brightest whites for the focal point only, and tone everything else down just a little (especially on the hindquarters). If the light is equally bright throughout the piece, it tends to flatten it out. Think back to those exercises from school where you had to shade a sphere with the highlight, shadow, core shadow and reflected light. The brightest highlight would only be on one part of the sphere. Keep that in mind when rendering even complex figures- the brightest light will be closest to the light source (and usually your focal point). The rest of the shading on figure/scene/illustration needs to be subordinate to that highlight in order to keep a sense of three-dimensionality.

The underlighting on the tail is a little strong. There will be underlighting there, but it's looking like it's lit by an actual radiant light source rather than by reflected light. Knock those light areas down just a tad.

Here's an overpaint to show both how to tone down the white areas, as well as recapture the energy of some of your great gesture lines (shown in red; those are just overlay lines to show energy). Details are important and a great accent, but don't let details dominate your piece.


This is a very worthy effort. There's lots of good rendering in each individual area. Lovely job with the rendering of the shiny floor, and good work with the creature design and expression on the girl's face. :) However, the storytelling is unclear. It's more descriptive than expressive; by that, I mean that there's so much focus on rendering and describing details throughout the scene, that it becomes less about what's going on in the picture and more about showcasing objects within the picture, if that makes any sense.

Are the aliens the aggressors, or is the girl the aggressor? Her face shows she's afraid of them, but they seem small (even taking perspective into account) and non-threatening. The aliens are brightly lit and well defined, and they're both looking down at the ground, as though they weren't concerned with finding intruders and are just grumpy about their morning jog around the station.

What is the main story or idea that you want to convey? Is it her emotional state? Her connection with her pet/companion? Is it about the aliens running down the hall? Or is it simply meant to showcase the interior of the setting? Each would have a different approach. This is where illustration gets tricky. There's clearly a lot of ideas and storytelling that you had in mind, it's just a matter of finding a way to compose the scene to best tell the story that you want to tell. You could have the camera looking up from below the girl at the girl and her pet, focusing on her face as the shadows of the aliens approach around the corner. Or you could put the aliens looming in the foreground, having them look around menacingly as the girl hides in the shadows down the hall. There are lots of ways to approach it.

The direction a character is looking can create an invisible energy line to which our own eyes are magnetically drawn. You can anchor the energy of the piece by having her gaze point directly at the aliens. Right now she's looking in their general direction, but there doesn't feel like there's a solid connection (not that there HAS to be, but in this case she looks like she's supposed to be looking at them.)

Here's just one possible idea (please excuse my horrible blocked-in figures). The aliens are rounding the corner, more immediate and present, and the girl waits tensed in shadow. You could also play with the angle more if you wanted.

Overall, you've got some really solid ideas and a great sense for detail and rendering. I enjoy your creature design a lot in particular. When it comes to composition, just think back to basics. Don't worry about the details right now, but instead think about the line and shapes formed by the elements in your piece; think about the sweep of energy that the gesture of their bodies make, and about how the gesture and weight of the surroundings can complement or offset that gesture. It's just like those early design exercises in college, where you compose with basic shapes and lines, except the lines and shapes are people and creatures and scenic elements now. I think if you worked on directing the energy and flow throughout an image (which the jabberwocky piece in particular tells me that you can do), things will really solidify. :) Great work, Amanda! Thank you so much for being the first to apply! :D

Also, check out Terryl Whitlach's Creature Design demonstrations for some really great information on animal/creature anatomy and design. I think you'll really like her videos if you haven't seen them yet. :)

All right, this has gotten way too long. I probably won't get to the next review until Monday, but I'll try to get it sooner.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Starting things off!

I'm starting up a new blog, since my journal over on Squarespace was clunky and difficult to work with. I really only have new content that I can post every other month or so, but I'd like to keep up a regular blog, so I thought that rather than talk about myself, I could write and post portfolio reviews for some of you guys. I'm not an expert on every aspect of art and painting by any means, but I think I've accumulated some information over the years that might be useful to people, and I'd like to share what I can.

If you are interested in participating and would like me to review your portfolio, please submit 3-5 images as links (keep the files under 1mb) to, with the subject line: ATTN: Portfolio Review. If you have a website, please include the link so that I can include it in your post. Also let me know if you have any specific questions about your work, and if there is a specific field you want to work in (ie, illustration, concept art, fine art, product design, etc).

I'll post at minimum once a week, but hopefully will be able to post at least 3 times (MWF) as my schedule permits.

I'll list the queue of artists on the sidebar so you'll know where you are in the list and how much longer it'll be until it's your turn.

I will post my new artwork here, as well, but those updates will be considerably less frequent, unfortunately. 

All right, lets see how this goes! :) I'm looking forward to getting started!