Here's a progress update on our first digital assignment this year: the fish. I was pretty excited about this one because I find fish to be fascinating animals. It's very difficult to imagine a creature that's wierder than some of those which come from the sea. As an added bonus, I drew some very fun fish during a trip to the zoo recently, and had a nice starting point to work from.
I change the way the bottom lip connects with the belly (not for the first or last time), and try adding a divot to the bottom lip. It's something that the fish in my reference photos have, but it's too distracting. At this point, the Jumbo Gourami is more of a jumping-off point for my own fish design, and I worry less about losing it's "likeness".
A few texture layers and some scales, and I'm on the home stretch. The scales look flat and unconvincing, though, and distract from the real areas of attention.
I add a few layers of light and shadow to try giving the scales more depth, and also use the blur tool to tone them down. The fins are loosely painted and basically without texture so they don't compete for the attention.