I've been working on this for the past couple of hours and really liked it, but I want some outside input. I was thinking of putting this in my portfolio which will hopefully get me an internship this summer so I would really appreciate some solid critiques (i.e. anything you feel should be clarified, things that seem off, maybe color scheme suggestions, etc.)
I was thinking the story behind it is this thief snuck deep into a cavern to steel a crystal sword from troll like creatures however halfway through he is caught and now is trying to talk his way out of it by playing inocent and harmless while readying himself for a fight should it occur.
This is a good start, but to be honest the narrative really falls apart for me. The action that this guy is performing is not at all clear... we don't know who he's talking to, or what the strange hand gestures are (yes, you told us in words, but that's cheating for illustration). Heck at first I wasn't even sure the main figure is the thief! For a while I was looking for some small figure hidden in the shadows that this gianty looking guy might be addressing.
So the most important question you need to ask (before ANY of the technical stuff) is, how important is the story to the picture?
At the moment it's not quite working as either narrative illustration or character study. If it's important that we, the viewers, "get it" then you need to do some much better acting. Remember illustration IS acting! Figure out how to compose the illustration so that the interaction between thief and trolls is clear to the viewer.
If on the other hand, you decide the story is not so important, ask yourself what the the piece is for. Maybe it's a character study. In that case you'll still want to open his pose up so that the figure is not so concealed.
You have a good start but right now, in one illustrator's opinion anyway, you are having a bigger issue with planning than execution. Do some thinking about what you're really trying to accompish with this piece... your answer has to be something more than "have something that looks cool in my portfolio". Keep at it!
"Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
John Cale / Bob Neuwirth
Just to add in, it seems to me that this character is taking a bow due to the gesture and that he is standing in a spotlight. If that is not supposed to be a spotlight, you might want to make it less perfectly round.
Hmm...bummer. I took a one hour break and now that I look at it I can see what your talking about CCThrom. I think I got too caught up in wanting to do a twisting pose that I didnt see that is kind of Illegible. Saddly I dont think I can salvage this particular image but I'll keep a look out for too complex/Illegible gestures next time around. Thanks.
Also Bai Fan, yeah I get that a lot that its too light...I had to adjust my monitor for bad print jobs from the local print shop and I keep forgeting that it comes up to light on everyone elses screen. I'll have to work around that.