hey there while i understand you were comin into this with good intent, in the future could you please not try to undermine others' feedback? you're more than welcome to post your own comment threads, cause i really would like to hear what you think and stuff! but couching it in a thread to someone else means i'm probably not gonna see it...and you might just make someone frustrated with you on top of that
also what kep says below is kind of relevent. markers aren't the same as digital. it looks to me like right now you're using a fill tool for your skies, and then going over it with the dodge-burn tool. this is a good start, but there's a lot more to it than that! markers are more comperable to the next step up in your digital skill level, where you'll use many shades of similar colours to paint subtle shapes and lines in the sky - and then have to figure out how the position of your sun affects the light and shadow!
I learned my lesson. Trust me. He already addressed this with a reply of his own.
It was not my intention to undermine him, just correct him. However... It was foolish to presume that just because it might be true with digital art, that it is also true with other art forms. It's not. I should know better.
Now here's where you're wrong: I don't use the Dodge-burn tool! Everything looks too metallic and high-contrast for it to work properly. It has it's place, but it is not as a basic shading instrument. The program I use doesn't even have such a thing, despite having a very wide variety of brush tools otherwise. I use the spray paint tool instead. Coloration is much more controlled and consistent this way. It can be layered on and trimmed, and mistakes are much easier to undo and hide.
Granted, I have a lot more to learn. That I will admit. There are quite a few more subtleties to creating sky and making shading than what I previously believed, and this picture shows it.
You use, what, six different colors in the sunset in this picture? More? I've only ever used 3 in any picture.
But your dodge-burn "accusation" says something else too: Being told I am using a beginner's technique when I am very carefully trying to pick up and use new ones feels like I am being told I am not improving. But that's not your fault. Clearly, the truth of the matter is that I am not improving (unless you want to take this image into account).
But you know what? Somebody had to get me off of my high horse sometime. Might as well be you, whether you meant to do so or not. And I suppose my current problem is that I don't know where to go from where I currently stand. There has got to be a way. A next big step to take.
You have gotten to a level of skill I'm striving to achieve eventually, but I feel like I'm stagnating. Stuck, if you will.
Maybe I'm over-thinking what you said. Maybe it doesn't matter, because the conclusion I reached is that I'm not done, and I still need to improve yet.
Regardless, something happened here, and I'm certain it's good.
additionally: one way to really focus on improvement is look at your art and find one thing you feel you're really BAD at. maybe you can't draw anyone from above, maybe you can't draw hands. just do tons of sketches of that thing you're bad at. do them over and over and over. read tutorials on how to do them, and look at photo references, and DRAW DRAW DRAW.
i never said you aren't improving! the fact of the matter is i only looked at your gallery yesterday, and only the first few pages. so really i have no basis to say if you're improving or not! i haven't seen your art from last year, or five years ago. for all i know last year you were doing stick figures
some of your picture backgrounds (like this one) really looked like they were dodge/burned, which is why i said that. it wasn't an attempt to undermine your techniques, it was just...what it looked like. since it's a common tool used by new digital artists, it wasn't exactly a huge leap to make that conclusion.
plus, the entire point of this conversation was on the skies. you felt skies were easy, someone said they really aren't. i pointed out the techniques you're using for skies may make it feel easy for now, but as you begin to improve, your outlook might change a little. that says nothing about your character shading, or your linework, both of which may very well be improving at a rapid pace. as someone who only became aware of your work yesterday, i can't really say for certain.
what you really need to do is just practice. like, all the time. ALL artists need to do this, of all skill levels. i know nobody likes this answer, but that's really what it comes down to. this is how i drew in 2003, and the only difference between then and now is that i KEPT drawing. CONSTANTLY. DAILY. make it an addiction, it pays off.
also i used six colours for the sky, not counting the sun or the purple clouds in front of it. ;>