Playing and committing art sins

I've had some time lately without any freelance coming in so I worked on some pieces for fun. What's great about working on personal pieces is that I'm so free to change my mind and go in a direction that I think is better.
This dragon and samurai piece started off being inspired by this piece by Stepan Kolesnikoff. I created  my palette based off that piece. It started off with an empty background and then I tried a variety of really complicated backgrounds. Ultimately I simplified it again with the wall of fire in a courtyard type setting. I liked the finished image but I committed two art sins. An image should clearly feel light or dark and it should be cool or warm in palette. I think this one goes 50/50 on both and I think that hurt it's appeal some.

I thought the initial thumbnail was a bit too simple and kept trying to work the concept. Floating islands are super common in fantasy art so I tried to switch that up. Now that it's done, I think the thumbnail shows more promise than the final image. I think the darks on the island to the right are too dark but when the shadows lighten the super dark foreground feels like a cut-out. I'll be moving on though.

Joe SlucherComment