ANIMATOR • ILLUSTRATOR • DESIGNER
So I have been asked this on my deviantart page. I think this should be rectified because I always bear this in mind when I do my work, and I always run into this problem, and this is what helped me developed my personal style of painting.
I have come from a traditional background before I picked up a wacom and started doing everything digitally. When I sketch, I always throw everything I have into the piece, whether it be with paints or a pencil, The difference between a sketch and a final piece is so drastic, simply because of this reason;
When you sketch, it will always show “energy” in the piece.
No matter what, A sketch will always look like has more life than a polished painting. This is because when you sketch something, you also leave blanks for your mind to fill in. This term is commonly known as "visual noise". This is apparent in a lot of concept art. It’s like a book that leaves you hanging. Humans would naturally piece everything together, and in your head, you would have a final outcome. Once you start polishing things from a sketch, you slowly take away its life or its energy.
This is what I find most ‘Hyper-rendered’ or ‘Realistic’ piece have. They could be too over-polished that even though it is rendered nicely, it looks completely dead. It’s like knowing how to paint to a high standard, but with out the fundamentals or having a limited visual library. This is also why I find concept art paintings more exciting, because it’s made with such energy and the piece just has so much life in it. They tend to come across more powerful for such a hap-hazardous approach.
In my personal work, I tend to meet it half way and try to show my brush strokes and key lighting, this is only because I come from a traditional background, and brush strokes are very important to me. For me, this is the perfect blend that suits what I do. Another way that a so-called ‘dead piece’ can be rectified, is if the piece tells a story, has mood, or has great lighting, or composition.
So key answer to this question is; sketches will always have more life than a final piece, so don’t over render everything.