I have signed up today to MAX3D Polish 2d and 3d art forum in order to improve the quality of my art by submitting the pieces to some frank and “merciless” critique/feedback from people who are serious about this stuff.
If there is anything I could advise an aspiring artist this is it: Go and look for the forums that are not all about warm welcome and friendly mingling. Do not stick to ones that make you feel safe and comfortable, where, surrounded by your new “forum buddies” you’re starting to get the impression that your work is absolutely “tops”: nothing to change, everything is brilliant, your mates are giving you highest notes (in exchange for yours) always willing to bring up the good points of the image turning blind eye to errors and mistakes.
So why hasn’t SONY called yet?:) Can’t BLIZZARD guys see the email address on your profile?:)
While there’s plenty of reasonable explanations for that, one of them just might be this:
It is likely that your work needs just a little bit more push, your skills need to be “upgraded” and your hand-eye coordination sharpened.
When working/training on your own you sometimes lose distance to your art. You are looking at your piece and you see more than there is actually going on since the image’s background story is mostly still in your head. It’s alive in there, with vibrant colors, textures and convincing proportions and perspective. You need to make sure you get it out of there! If not – at least leave enough clues within the image so that the description you give it later remains secondary to the image, making it “sell” just as good without it.
By all means strive to create art that leaves room for imagination, keeps viewers entertained, anxious and excited (that, in the words of Borat is always a “Great Success!”) but do not make them guess everything! At the end of the day, you had pretty clear idea when you were going with your pic and you do not really want any misinterpretation going on here.
That’s why, to retain that healthy distance, you need to make sure you use other peoples eyes to view your painting throughout the process. Let them spot mistakes for you, suggest a more dramatic light source, color scheme, layout etc before you commit your time and effort to finishing the piece.
Log on to conceptart.org. Set up a new thread in WiP(Work in Progress) section and ask for feedback. You will be surprised how much clearer things can become with a little input from outside your “circle of trust”.
Two things worth remembering:
1) Keep your thick skin on, if you do not have it – grow it! I suggest a good few layers of it. Do not let comments discourage you. Bend but don’t break always aiming to become better when you bounce back with your artwork improved in later stages.
2. Stick to your guns, do not let suggestions turn you away from the initial direction. Consider them but don’t blindly follow if you are not convinced or, if you have a really solid gut feeling that what’s planted in your head is a good idea. Take what you feel “works” from this opportunity but be selective about the received advice.
Having said that, do not expect the “wolves” to jump at you the moment you put your pic on the forum, and start tearing you to pieces (or offering you work in games industry). Be patient. These people are busy (creating art, accidentally) and it might take some time before some worthy advice arrives. It is probably a good practice NOT to use thread titles like plain: “Advice needed” or “Please Advice”. Give away a little more detail, make your thread more appealing by writing something like: “Space Beast Savaging Little Marmaid – advice needed”. Wouldn’t you want to at least take a look at that piece?:)
Another thing – these forums are not THAT unfriendly! More often than not you will simply receive constructive critique that you are after. According to some of my friends, the MAX3D folk can get a little “intimidating” (read: bluntly honest) because political correctness isn’t that big in Poland (yet) which I find extremely convenient and very helpful in realizing the weaker points in my art.
It is also important to go through other peoples posts/threads. You will find that a lot of your problems and questions already solved and answered. And if you think of anything helpful – by all means leave your comment – if it’s interesting and/or to the point, someone will come back to you. That’s often how you get noticed.
So do not wait, help your skill – it’s free. Make low-res copies of your art as you proceed and post them it only takes a couple of minutes to set up the account and a new thread. Then, simply wait for the wolves to sniff out fresh prey…;)
Enough said, here is an example of my own, a matrix style, gun blazing sketch developed into a full illustration without referencing and taking care of the perspective and proportions at an early stage. Put it simply, I have kept everything to myself way too long. The issues remained unnoticed until the finished piece which now leaves me no other choice than put my love to it back to work and do some serious repainting…