Definitely facial structure. Most people make the mistake of relying on the eyes, nose and mouth, when really it's the overall structure of the face and supporting muscles that make a portrait. I always draw the facial structure first, and then drop in the eyes, nose and mouth later. Most people do the opposite, which will work against you.
I hadn't had any formal art training when I started making jewelry, but my last semester of college, I took a 2D design class that covered a lot of relevant things such as color theory and asymmetrical balance. My work has improved a lot since then. What would you suggest as a next step to improve my designs even more?
Do you make drawings before you make your jewelry pieces? I think making preparatory drawings would loosen you up to try things that you may not otherwise try. You could make the drawings in color too, which would let you figure out the color schemes as well.
I often sketch first, but I usually make them less detailed as the wirework gets more intricate and chaotic. It's much easier to make something chaotic when I'm actually letting the wire be chaotic instead of meticulously trying to make the wire go a certain chaotic-looking way.
I've always thought I was good enough at estimating the colors in my head as I jot down what color each part of the sketch will be, but now I'd like to give colored pencils a try!
Recently I've been trying to teach myself hatching, and applying it to cartooning and illustration. Using this [link] as an example of where I'm at basically at (Although there are some more examples of this sort of thing in my gallery, amidst some random junk, if you wish to give those a look), do you have any advice or tips on how to proceed?
I would recommend looking at the illustrator Edward Gorey, he was a master of hatching and pen and ink work. Analyze what he does with his work and see if you can learn from that. Looking at your work, I think you can push it much further, I think you can increase the quantity of hatched lines about 5x more, it will give the work more depth and feel richer and more finished. Right now that image feels underdeveloped to me. Hope this helps.
I have a general question. I'm an animation/illustration graduate and I feel I'm close to industry professional level but something is missing and I can't completely figure out what it is. I spoke with a Disney recruiter at CTNX this past November and he told me to try to tell a story with light and shadow, and more recently I've been presented with the idea of using action to create interest. If you wouldn't mind viewing my portfolio: [link] , maybe only the illustration and concept sections, and share with me any advice for improving my artwork overall I would greatly appreciate it!