Well I'm mainly focusing on, in this picture, working on the quality of the coloring, different ways to make it look a certain way, for example a way to make a picture look like watercolor, and I'm also working on making the hair appear curly, and pretty much anything you can help with.
I am tired of people telling me that my art is "wrong" because it's not. I know for my style I often fail at getting things proportionate, among other things, but my style is my style, that doesn't make my art "wrong" just because it's Anime/Manga style. Especially when I've read many stories that were practically abstract in the style of Manga.
Lets see... There's a few things to talk about that I think should start happening, but I'm going to try to address the important things cause to me, being presented with a list of things to work on is daunting. I'll try to abbreviate into the most important stuff etc...
The quality of the colouring- There's a few textures going on in the picture which is some nice experimenting. The texture on her outfit I particularly like cause it has a leathery look about it (I assume this was desired?). There's two issues however that majorly deter from cool little things like that that you have. They're not too hard to fix
- Shading. I can see that you're giving highlights a go with your art which is great. There is some light shadow, but your shadows must be as dark as the highlights are bright. Like, your leather has a real sheen to it but no shadow at all, where as the skin has no highlight, but a shadow. What I suggest you do, is do some studies on shading with colour. You don't have to go hard core on it- just google Shiny surfaces, matt surfaces, high light, low light... stuff like that. Draw it once, and that'll comit it to memory. Draw it exactly as the example has it. Colour to colour. Notice how the gradient progresses in tone, and in saturation from light to dark. It'd be nice to do this for spheres, and cubes so you can see how light reacts when it gets a sharp edge and a soft edge. You don't need to do drills. Just one of each once. I feel this will help your command on lighting ALOT.
-Linearts- I'm not going to question what the lines form, but I'm not sure why you chose to make your linearts a colour that was so hidden. On the lines that touch her body I get why you'd chose a light colour- to soften the picture? This colour is over the whole picture though, even in the darker areas of her body like the hair. I like the purple lines in her hair, but the grey draws your primary attention in this picture. I think that changing the colour of your linearts is a good idea to add a bit of dynamic, but when the lineart contrasts this heavily in an area like the hair where detail is unimportant, and not in areas which are important like the face, then it's a bit much. I'd say that if you lighten a contrasting lineart to a darker version of it's surounding colour and that looks cool then go for it :) Making the linearts contrast in the opposite to the normal (White lineart against black) is too striking. There will be times where striking is good, but for this picture? Black linearts here would be nicer :) Let the highlight create form.
Different ways to make it look a certain way, for example a way to make a picture look like watercolor- I'm not entirely sure how gimp works. Try googling for tutorials with the key work gimp. The easiest way of replicating water colour is by using the real thing, but you need a painting program like Sai, Corel, or Artrage to do that properly. They have tools pre set up that work exactly like the real medium would work, but digitally. I suppose you could give it a go with a transparent and unsaturated brush. Unfortunatly GIMP isn't a sophisticated program so the features it has are reasonably basic. Artrage is a good cheep painting program. Not sure how expensive Sai is, but Artrage works very similar to real media and better yet, I live 1/2 hour from the peopel that wrote the program!! *isn't pimping Kiwi made products.... no...* http://www.artrage.com/ Artrage studio is $30USD while the professional version is $60. It's a good deal IMHO :) If you're keen to stay digital. Trial it, and see if you like it first of course.
Making the hair appear curly- That comes with learning lighting I'm afraid I think if the linearts were black though, you'd find that she does come across as having a good wave to her hair :)
Pretty much anything you can help with- Two things I think:-
- K.I.S.S- Keep it simple silly ;) That background is a lovely pattern, but it screams attention cause of how contrasting it's colours are. Because of it, the character is lost in the chaos a little. Like her wings and antenna. I can barely see those :( Perhaps if you lowered the contrast, and perhaps gave it a light yellow tint to warm it up and make the purple pop it would sit back and let her take the limelight Atleast lower the contrast. A little bit of yellow like this http://www.blockmagazine.co.uk/ESW/Images/warm_grey.JPG Not a bright yellow- a complimentary colour to accent the other :)
- You have a christmas lights thing going on with your lineart I've noticed. Does GIMP have features in it like threshold? Or layer blend multiply? If you can, use those to change your linearts to not let white dots through. It'll polish up your final quality heaps :) If you ussed photoshop, I'd suggest using threshold, then selecting all the white and deleting it. I'm not familiar with Gimp though :(
I hope this was a help. To be honest, I wasn't going to comment about your form at all. Sure, its got flaws, but it's fine as it is. I don't feel that it's what you need to focus on. Your biggest goals to me would be learning shading (this includes what colours things turn when a highlight or lowlight), and focusing the viewer's attention to the subject of the picture.
I've attached a crit with some of my examples in it. I didn't do shading in it cause it was already very difficult to update the image without a high res with all the layers :< I've given her a golden glow on top of the mods cause I felt it could use some extra punch. As you can see though, it's alot easier to see her :) The background doesn't have to be this dark, but it was more to show that takign out the detail helps focus.
Urgh- sorry about the text wall T.T Again, I hope it helps! I have many more tips after this, btu these are the most important ones to me :)
GIMP has threshold but not Layer Blend Multiply. I never really thought to use threshold before... But yes that does help allot.
I knew the background was rather to busy, but I like the way it looked so much, and wasn't sure I could get it to look that way again, so I left it, until I figure out how I did it :scratchead:
I do have another question for you(though with GIMP the answer may not work... )
Whenever I scan any of my art, I'm always left with massively thick lines, even when I draw lightly and try to keep them thin on paper. Do you know of ANY possible way of thinning the lines without having to take all the, long time, it would take to just use the eraser and paint tools manually?????????
Awesome I had a feeling it would be a big help for you :)
So your lines are thick after scanning? Or during the lineart process? If it's thick when you draw them then the only way to fix that is by starting off with a larger scaled piece of art or a thinner pen (I use a 0.03mm pen at thinnest. IT's like drawing with a NEEDLE). If it's thick when you scan it in comparison to the original, then scan it at a higher resolution (300 or 600 is good) and use threshold to turn it pure black and white. It'll look like shit, but when it's shrunk it'll be pretty and tidy. If you start low res, then your lines will always be obvious. The shrinking process gives the art the pretty antialias look where the program puts a sharp gradient in to make up for lost information. Also, you'll have a nice big image that you can print for a physical record of your art. If you print a shrunken image then it'll either print small, or if you enlarge it, it'll be blurry.. or blotchy depending on if you saved it as a JPEG format. (PNG is lossless, but larger)
Basically, there's not alot you can do post scan to fix it short of redrawing your lines. Photoshop has some dilation tools that would thin them, but not evenly. you could slap it into illustrator and get it to redraw the lines with live trace, but the lines are never quite the same shape, but really, if the master has the flaw, then the master needs the change. There's no simple 5 click method of fixing a thick line save redrawing it.
Personally, I feel your line thickness isn't too bad of an issue. I feel that you could use some variation in line thickness, and if you scanned and worked at a high res, and made sure that your linearts didn't contrast too heavily that you'd be fine. [thumb31558] this picture was done mostly in a 0.3mm pen, with the details in a 0.03mm pen, and some of the heavier details in a 0.5mm pen. It all balances out though cause I scanned it at a high resolution, and I have line variation. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v734/arkillian/marauderfun.png This picture was drawn on A5 paper with only a 0.3mm pen and scanned at a low resolution (I only had a hand scanner in the days so 100dpi or suffer shake marks) where as http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v734/arkillian/Grace.png this is a few years more newer, and I know that I had a 0.3 and a 0.05mm pen at that point of time and I scanned it at 600dpi cause I had a flat bed scanner finally ( ). Sure, my linearts had improved in the few years between each picture, but the line variation and resolution still make a HUGE difference in the final output. If I re did the HP fanart picture with line variation and rescanned it, it's quality would boost 10 fold over what it is now. Quick fixes give cheap results I've found, and I doubt that Gimp would have a feature better for something that Photoshop can't already do. No offence, but Gimp is a free program while photoshop isn't
Tip for threshold-I believe you can adjust the threshold in gimp. If you can, slide the bar along till you get the cleanest result with the least amount of noise, and the least amount of lineart augmentation. The setting it defaults to is 50% being anything less that 50% grey becomes white, and the rest black. If you slide it for an over exposed picture, you can make 40% greys turn black and anything less be white, or visa versa. I think gimp gives you the option. If it doesn't then you'll need to live with getting what you've got.
It must be the pen then, because after the PD Coloringbook Contest where my entry was to low a res, I always scan all my art at 600dpi now.
I actually had this HUGE several paragraph long reply, then I accidentally hit the reply button again, instead of the submit button and lost it all. So long story short:
GIMPs Threshold is adjusted pretty much exactly as you described, a sliding bar and such.
So just the other day I went to the nearest art specialty shop(because Walmart, Walgreens, and Shopko don't sell pens any smaller than .5mm)and the smallest I could find was .05mm and since that was also cheaper than the .1(I think it was) one I got that. I'm hoping that'll make a HUGE difference in line thickness so I can focus better on other aspects that need work.
I swear, my fixation on line thickness is just the OCD coming through, but it's always bugged me, so if the smaller pen is all I need, HOORAY!! Lol
Lol- good luck, and have fun then ;) You'll crave thinner pens when you've had fun with the 0.05mm pens, I promise. I heard that there was 0.01mm pens. I'm still looking for them but you can bet I'll import them on mass when I find them XD Copic multiliner makes a 0.03mm pen in a few different colours when you're ready for some srs buisness ;)
Already done one drawing, but it doesn't look much different from my normal ones, mainly because I outlined it with a thicker line, just for the eff of it, to essentially learn the differences and get a hold of the new tiny size. Though I am going to HAVE to find an Itty bitty size, and if they have it the itsy bitsy size
I figure I'll post the picture, because it's a fanart, I like it, and since it's practice I gotta post it :P lol