hey katy!! I'm here at long last to give you some crit! Sorry about the wait! So after looking over your form - we're gonna go over contrast, composition and text. Now before I start I have to say you've got some gorgeous pieces in here! This++ sig is without a doubt my favourite piece. The composition is amazing, the colouring works so well and the way you've done the text is so clever! It's just an all round flawless piece! Anyway, let's crack on!
A common theme I see in a lot of your pieces is that they're all amazing, but left under-contrasted, and it doesn't give your graphics the nice finishing touch that they need. However, this isn't a big issue, and can be easily fixed, so don't worry! For example this sig++ has so much potential, but because the girl's face is undercontrasted she looks a little flat. The same applies to this banner++ which is a shame because the entire piece looks amazing! It's not a massive issue like I said, but contrast can go a long way to help a graphic pop. I'm not sure how photoshop works, but in gimp we have a brightness/contrast tool, and I use that all the time. You can also use a black and white layer and set it to overlay before playing with the opacity. Both of these things can go a long way.
It's also about finding the right brightness/contrast ratio, I always start with -5 on brightness and +5 on contrast and change it from there, because then you can see if that's the right setting or not.
Don't worry though, it's a just a very slight issue!
For the most part, I'm a big fan of your composition skills! You seem to know what works and how to make a graphic 'busy' but not cluttered, which is always good! My issue at the minute is that your composition sometimes makes the focal point get lost. It's something that goes hand in hand with text (which I'll talk about more in the next section.). In this piece++ for example, the girls are very similar in height and size, and because they're next to each other I don't know where to look. And, the text is so far away from them, so that doesn't help much. Similarly here++ the two girls are close together and the text is on top of them so nothing really 'stands out' because everything's going on in one place. What I would recommend is spacing out your people and composition a little more, and have your text closest to the main person, or what you want to be the focal point. With composition and focal point, the text acts like a label like 'LOOK AT ME FIRST!!!!' without blatantly screaming that. So when everything's either too spread out or all in one place, it can confuse people a little, and even though what you've made is extremely pretty the depth gets lost.
Another thing to watch for which I briefly touched upon, is that in some pieces all your people are the same height. Like here++ with this signature, it doesn't really work, because it makes it seem a little bit flat. It's like I said, it confuses the focal point, because I don't know where to look. In some pieces it can work well, but a lot of the time (well whenever I've done it, it doesn't work hahaha) it can be a bit unsuccessful. So I would make sure people vary in height, as well then you can fit a lot more people in your graphic, and if done properly, I find the more people in a piece the more depth it has.
I've mentioned text already in composition, but this is more about text itself rather than how it affects composition. This may be personal preference, but I remember when I was coming up the ranks - a lot of staffers told me off in crit for using white as a colour for main text. I know that it can make it easier to read, and it makes text as a whole a lot easier to do...but in some cases it doesn't work. It doesn't work in your 'ruby irving' sig, because I mentioned before it is right on top of the girls who are already quite light, which makes it a little unreadable. The way I do text is, I pick a colour from the graphic - and I go by a rule of opposites. If I'm placing it on a dark background then I'd use a light colour from the graphic, and vice versa. By doing that the text is a lot easier to read, and by picking a colour from the actual graphic the text doesn't look out of place.
The only other issue I noticed with text, is what I talked about earlier, how it seems to stand alone and not be linked with the rest of the graphic. In your first banner, the text (as gorgeous as it is) is very distant from the other people, and it goes to waste a little because people look at it last and then it's forgotten about. If it was closer to your focal point, I think it would be recognised a lot quicker - and the graphic would easily be your best piece in here
- remember brightness/contrast is important to help a graphic pop
- try not to put everything in one place, or spread the people out too much - find a happy medium
- text and comp go hand in hand
- vary people in height/size and placement
- pick other colours than white for your text
- work by opposites, dark background = light text & vice versa
- make sure text isn't its own thing, make it part of the graphic
one++ - the blending's a little too messy, the two guys are v similar in height so there's no focal point
two++ - it's quite cluttered, the comp and text are all kind of on top of each other & the text is a little unreadable
three++ - blending's a little sloppy, the girls are a v similar height so again there's no focal point and the text is too far away.
Bexcellent challenge: Now this is the part where I give you a challenge based on your crit - you don't have to do it but if you do I'd like to see what you create! I want a chapter image with four people in it, but try to make sure it isn't cluttered I also want some text on it - that isn't white Like I said - this challenge is completely optional, but if you do it - show me the results!!
That's it for the crit! I hope it was helpful, and not too harsh! If you have any questions or concerns - feel free to drop me a PM