While this is certainly a great piece, and I don't mean to offend, nor am I making accusations, but some of these look like images that were just painted over and slightly manipulated. For example, a simple google search of Stephen King will give an almost exact match to this pieces portrait of him, lighting and all (only flipped on the horizontal axis). Which i could certainly be wrong and if so I apologize. However, if true, it is a bit lame, as this is for a creative contest.
Keep in mind, I did not submit to this contest, so I have no horse in this race or bias, I'm just voicing an observation. Anyways, good job on this, as it is well done and G'luck in the contest! :)
Thank you for an honest review! And you are absolutely right, it isn't creative at all, it looks very stiff and the characters don't "interact" with one another. I had a lot of help from refs from google(I should have linked to those too in the author comment but I forgot!).
I am trying to get away from using refs to the degree of just making it look as close to the original picture as possible, but I have such trouble of making it look good when I try to make it "my own". Like you said with the lightning, that it looks almost exactly like the reference picture; I first tried to make the light come from a different angle, but I really suck at light and shadows so the portrait of Stephen didn't even look like him, so I went back to the original light source.
I will try to create more creative pieces in the future, without so much help from refs!
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