INTRO: For my entry in the contest, I'm going with a throne room combining natural and sci fi elements. I hope this thread will be a good learning experience not only for myself, but anyone else reading it. Feel free to add any constructive comments and ask any questions you may have.
With every piece, I attempt to make my best art possible. Here are some more specific points:
1. A strong concept. Admittedly this is my biggest weakness as an artist. Most of my best work involves heavy referencing and basing the idea on an existing game, comic book or anime. One thing I learned from Illustration classes at Kent State is the importance of reworking the concept until its ready, before diving into the actual production.
2. Effective use of shape, size, balance and contrast. The models need to be well designed or no amount of texturing will make the scene work well.
3. Solid Material definition. The use of contrasting elements (metal, water, grass, wood, lights, etc.) will not be effective unless they are well defined.
4. Appropriate mood/atmosphere. Lighting is so much more than illumination. The best thing I gained from learning comic book coloring some years back was the balancing act between separating elements in the scene, with painting a mood with lighting. I don't want everything to be "local color". The scene should have a color scheme that unifies it.
The concept is going to be the most important step, and biggest challenge. I'm sure many of us contestants will be looking at many of the same concepts online, but these three below particularly define the direction I'm going in:
Here are my first couple of sketches:
I want to get a composition going before any color ideas (which will possibly change throughout). So far I'm thinking of very large open spaces off to the side and back of the throne which sunlight will come through. The front area of the throne will likely be simple in contrast to the busyness of the steps and throne. I don't want to "lift" TOO much from Kekai Kotaki's concept (the one with the tree throne) so I will need to spend time on the throne, pillars, tree and steps to find the right combination of natural and sci fi parts.