This is my best attempt at painting so far. I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

I can pinpoint a line on the chin that doesn't look good or is a little unrealistic.

The thing is, I can see many things I'm not happy with and also I think it still looks unfinished.

Now, I could spend 4 hours wandering where the problems are but it'd be far more helpful to me if anyone could pinpoint the faults and provide some advice to improve them.

I meant for the light source to be a spotlight that is a little bit(?) far away. Any advice about how the lighting (shadows and highlights) could be improved would also help me a great deal.

My main question though, is how can I make this painting look more realistic?

The first image is how it looked when I posted the question, and the second is how it looks now.

1.first image2.second image

enter image description here

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    Your shadows aren't dark enough for the brightness of your light source. The image looks flat, so you might need to work on the tonal qualities to give it more of a 3D look. – OghmaOsiris Dec 1 '13 at 17:23
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    "How do I make it better" is not a objectionable question which will induce answers the community can vote on. – Scott Dec 1 '13 at 18:05
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    Keep in mind, this is not a discussion forum. You must ask questions which elicit answers that can be backed up by facts or reference. – Scott Dec 1 '13 at 18:12
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    I edited it to be a bit easier to understand I hope. If you have any problems with it feel free to re edit. – Dom Dec 1 '13 at 20:04
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    You realize you may get more responses if you did not end every interaction with an insulting remark, right? – Scott Dec 3 '13 at 7:30

Muhammad, to make this image more like a painting and more realistic you will need to consider several things. I am coming at this from a perspective of (semi)realism as I am considering the method that I would apply to 'paint' a landscape in photoshop. (my reasoning for this is simply that landscape paintings tend to be associated with realism, or at least historically they were)

So things to consider;

Brush Strokes The smudge tool can be used to emphasize your textured a little more.This will help to take the flat design feel away from your design. Now that the areas are more or less set out by the smudge tool, I suggest using either the rough round bristle brush or similar to create the brush strokes and really give that painted feeling. As is I think that your brush strokes are a little too subtle when what you should be doing is really overemphasizing these details.

Light/Shadow Again, I think this needs to be dramatized. There is not enough of the texture or paint/brush strokes in your light. This is giving too much smoothness to overall piece. Also in terms of light/shadow I would suggest a few more tones to communicate depth. This is a face like painting, which means lots of differing depths which means more shadow. You need to consider where each shadow should go, as of now I don't think that the shadows are all placed appropriately. This example came to mind in terms of the point that I am makingas it communicates light and shadow quite well.

Imperfect Outlines This painting style involves a lot of motion. I think it would be helpful for you to have a less consistent outline on your piece. Try to think more in terms of light, shadow and natural movement rather than bounding a solid structure.

Consider Form Ensure that your brush strokes complement the natural form of the figure. For example if you were to paint a field of grass in this style then brush strokes would be vertical conforming to the natural form of the grass, rather than horizontal. You have already started to this part well in particular under the eyes, it just needs tobe considered and maybe a little more pronounced.

My final thought would be to reconsider your lighting. Despite the light and shadow that you have represented with the figure itself (implying that there is a light source coming from above, on the frontish left. The character seems to be placed in the center of an omnidirectional light. I would suggest off centering this to suit the light source. (I wasn't sure if this was to be the environment that the figure was to be displayed in which is why I left this point as more of a thought).

Finally you could add the texture of paper/canvas/whatever you like if you are so inclined :)

I hope I have helped you and that this is constructive criticism for your project.

Good luck.

  • About light and shadow...could you help me out in part that how hues change in shadows? i know the color becomes saturated and shift little toward cool color (if warm main light), but how do these combine. I am not very good at quickly calculating the new color out of combinations of two. – user8795 Dec 3 '13 at 3:43
  • from what i remember in real life, metals usually have texture of lines , micro lines?, that show signs of polishing. – user8795 Dec 3 '13 at 3:49
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    The best thing to do after you have a well-developed drawing is to then go back to source materials and target items and materials to look for ways to incorporate what you see into the drawing. "From what I remember in real life..." got you this far. Now go look for real-life examples to work from. Try large museum websites which have parts of their collection on display. – horatio Dec 3 '13 at 21:32
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    I'll add that, in support of the other comments, in the context of your painting--which is decent BTW--"more realistic" is at odds with the stylized, cartoon qualities. – horatio Dec 3 '13 at 21:34

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