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The Dark Arts

100th Chances Balancing on Broken Branches

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Beautiful Header by the Lovely Lola@TDA

Taylor || 28 Years || Photoshop CC



Newest are always on top































































































Stock || eleganceus @ FoE | redrum @ FoE |BYUN BAEKHYUN @ FoE |pavlikovsky @ Tumblr | Library of Congres @ flickr |Jasaminne@tumblr | appunti di viaggio | discoanimal @tumblr | frozenstocks @DA | Grace--Upon--Grace @ Tumblr | Wolftramp @ Tumblr | wilderspinning @ Tumblr | rainbowbuttcake @ tumblr | amycore@tumblr | magdeleine.co | Lillith-Trash@DA | Absolute-A@DA | ethernalsympathy@DA | gayaliberty @DA | Porcelaindoll@DA | CrazyChuChu @DA | Branwyn @ TDA | Betina Gueber | Sebastian Dooris | francescadelfino @DA | Emily Soto @ Behance | exlupas@tumblr | urbanspellcraft@tumblr | loveofpirate.net |Static@tumblr | Twins72stocks@Da | paperstar@flickr | animationscreencaps.com | Texturas and Fondos | insight_jd@tumblr | Crystal-Myths @Tumblr | Bonitarougue @ DA

Ess’s Brilliant Stock Pack || Thomas Bormans | Fabrizio Verrecchia | Murray Campbell | Ahmad Ossayli | Matteo Vistocco | Alexander Andrews | Nathan Anderson | Othmar Ortner | Adria Berrocal Forcada | Marcus Castro | Lizelle De Wit | Jez Timms | Malte Baumann | Clarisse Meyer | Mr Cup / Fabien Barral | Thomas Kelley | Sindre Aalberg | Luke Palmer | Samuel Zeller |Ariel Domenden | Josh Rose | Daniel Olah | David Werbrouck | Joe deSousa | Mike Wilson | Joanna Kosinska | Fred Pixlab | Liana Mikah | Mike Wilson | Annie Spratt | Igor Ovsyannykov | Lena Bell | João Silas | Ryan Searle | Jon Tyson | Eduard Militaru | Antti Pajari | Ramiro Mendes | Scott Webb | Robert Nelson | Vadim L | Andrea Pol

Textures || SataliteAlice @ DA | Evey @ DA | Kristina @TDA | tanja92 2 DA |behindmylove @ tumblr | It's morphine @ FoE | Travail-de-lame @ DA | sdwhaven @ DA | itsaustinjordan @DA | silver medusa @ DA | inconditionally @ DA | azuremoney @ DA | missusglass @ DA | ecstasyvi @ DA | Crazykira-Resources @ DA | mae appleseed @ DA | Missy-xox@DA | footlonisland@DA | Evenstarss@DA | NYVelvet @DA | Awkward @ DA | Blutmondlicht @ DA | Carltonn @DA | Crazy Lies @ DA | Vee @TDA | Payneterian@DA | Kltz-love@DA | Miss Atomic Bomb @ TDA | Rosesylla@DA | SorryDeary@DA I Dekstiles @ DA | 99mockingbirds @DA | beapanda@DA | JakePatt@DA | Obscene_Bunny@DA | Sweetexcerpts@DA | aakie@DA | Insterstellar@Da

Brushes || dieheart @DA | tutorialeslali @DA | JustLaugh143 @ DA | rabbidbribri @ DA | melmel @ DA | amelialune @ DA | dark-dragon-stock @ DA | Crazykira-Resources @ DA | sweetpoisionresources @DA | visionecreative@DA |

Gradients ||Evey @ DA | Crazykira-Resources @ DA | PrettyStuffy@DA | daeneryscrown@DA | Purple-feenix@DA |

Font Packs || Gina @ TDA |



Edited by Amortentia1992
I'm Back!
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hello and welcome back to TDA! :)


before your gallery can be approved please, as per our gallery rules++, do not include tutorial based graphics in your gallery (specifically talking about your banner which is based on this tutorial++, but also any other that may be based on tutorials)

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Hi Taylor! I love the vibes that your coloring is bringing to the table. The comp on your icons here is just fantastic, i really love this set and the way you used texture in them. And I adore the comp in this blend and your use of mirroring stock in this. You have some great foundations here. I think my biggest tip for you would be to look at some tutorials on composition and blank space to get used to creating a defined focal point in your graphics, a place that draws the eye where the whole graphic can be taken in. It sometimes gets distracting when your eye has to move to several different places across a canvas to take in the faces and text all at once. Keep going!! You're doing great! :creepy:

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Just thought I would stop by and check out your gallery since I haven't already. I am definitely glad that I did!


I love how well all of your graphics blend. You make some wise choices on stock use and how you compose everything together. Especially in your Dark Arts Header. The coloring is awesome and I like how you used negative space.


The "What the wind whispers" Chapter image is by far my favorite in your gallery. The text is so beautiful! That green.... :drop: WONDERFUL!


I am curious to see what else you come up with and if darker colors are more of your thing or if you'll try out some lighter colors. Either way, I know what you'll continue to create will be brilliant! :happy:

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I love your feirce blend and I really love your riverside banner! The colouring is absolutely amazing and the main text is amazing! You also use stock and texture on it really well! You're doing really well, and seriously, teach me your blend-ing ways because that feirce blend is absolutely incredible *-*



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hey, taylor! thought i'd drop in with some gallery love <3
you know i love that black and white banner, you did a great job with the comp and mono. i also think you have great texture use in those joseph morgan icons (plus i mean it's joseph morgan so they're hard not to love :P )
also, that fierce blend! :drop: i am drooling over that beautiful coloring.
it's good to see you experiment with both stock and textures, experimenting with different things is the key to moving up!
congrats on your mc promo also <3
hope to see more from you :loves:

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Soooo, I'm like notoriasly bad at replying to all of your comments.... better late than never :/


@kairos - Thanks for the suggestion. I did try some of those techniques and I will work on some more graphics with them as well, now that i've been updating and deleted some of those fore being older


@Just_Lives - Thanks so much for the kind words. It's always good to hear praise and have support.


@ Stille nacht - Thank you! See before you commented I wasn't so sure on that CI... but I'm glad you said you liked it.


@Abhainn - Awww, Thanks. I will see about making a tutorial on how to do it, but basically I used gradient blending in the background, hard cutting out of the model and PNG's before I did my coloring. It turned out way better than I expected it to.


@ Floralprint - Thank you! I am honestly surprised by how much praise I've been given on that banner. I wasn't originally planning it to be in B+W, but full color, and thought it was bland. I discovered a setting in Photoshop and it was a split decision to keep it mono. I also love Joseph Morgan lol... those textures in the icons I made myself so thank you for noticing because icons are not my strong suit and they took me forever...


And Thank you to all for your support and my MC promotion, it came totally unexpected and I hope to live up to the privilege and keep impressing you all with more graphics.

Edited by BrokenButterfly
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Hi Taylor! I'm here for your requested gallery critique!


First, let me just say that THIS++ tutorial by somuch is something that helped me, and I really recommend it, especially as you're talking about composition and focal points. My big tip would be that you have to think about where you want the eye to go first, and then shape your composition around that. IMO, your last 4 banners are your strongest pieces, especially regarding focal points. They've got a dominant figure that immediately attracts the eye, and that's exactly what you want. If you come from the perspective of the viewer, at least to some degree, you can start to solve those focal point problems. I'd look at Grad and Staff galleries to get some inspiration and to get some ideas going for yourself.


Other issues:


Blending can often be resolved through filtering, but also through adjustment layers. I tend to use the purple/orange gradient on 12%, Difference, and I also use the bright/contrast layer with contrast in the negatives. Those give me a nice, neutral canvas and then I can build coloring from there. But you also have to zoom in pretty tight to double check blending, because they can become apparent when you try to filter, and that's no fun. :( To me, your blending mostly looks clean, but you do need to work on those other elements so that the lines don't look so sharp. That's where using adjustment layers makes all the difference.


Your coloring is pretty heavy-handed, which makes things look muddy sometimes. In my experience, I use adjustment layers on low opacities so that I can build coloring slowly. That way you can get really rich coloring without overdoing it. You especially have to watch the dark tones, and know when to pull back.


As far as text is concerned, think about placement so that it doesn't interfere with the focal point. Your current sig is an example. You've got one girl and large text in between and the other, slightly smaller girl, which spreads out the focus too much. I'd make the dominant girl bigger and move her more central, make the text smaller and lighter and move it to the left side. That way we see the girl first, and then we can look at everything else.


Let me know if there's any other questions, and I hope this was helpful! :wub:


(and congrats on your promo!)

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@ Lady Plantagenet Thank you so much. i really appreciate your tips. I do already use adjustment layers for my coloring so i will be sure to play around with different layer modes and opacity on those, and move text around so it isn't between the main focus. I really appreciate you taking the time to critique me.

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hello, taylor! just thought i'd stop by after that helpful comment you left on my poll! <3


your gallery is so colourful and varied! i absolutely love it. you're experimenting so much with stuff like fonts (which is something i have issues with even now), and i'm very glad to see the contrast in your comp and colouring choices. i especially love your banners. they're all so fun and different~! your hard-cuts are sososo accurate, too!!! it's fantastic.


i admire that you have so many different types of graphics in here... it's obvious that you've experimented with different styles on differently sized canvases. it's quite impressive.


my two favourite piece of yours just HAVE to be +this chapter image and +this banner. they're simple but very beautiful!


keep up the great work, and drop me a pm or something when you update this with more lovelies !! i definitely want to come back as you progress.



niki <33

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Hi Taylor, Charlotte here to give you some critique! I’m truly sorry for the delay, but I hope this will be helpful to you. Your requested a general crit, so I’ll just be going over the weak points that you indicated plus some other weak areas. :)



Some issues I’m seeing with text are font choices, colors, and placements. The best way to choose a color is to use the eyedrop tool and to pick a coloring that is already on the canvas. In +this banner, the white text just looks out of place. Instead, you could choose a pink or yellow from one of the roses, or even the greenish-white from the flowers on the left. The same goes for +this banner, +this blend, and the icons on +this set. Some times, you have text that falls a bit flat, like +this for example. As you can see, the color looks out of place and it’s a pretty dull color too. What you could do is pick a yellow from the building or the pink from the flowers, and maybe even add a black-white, 90˚ gradient overlay (the fx button on the bottom right corner). As for font choices, there aren’t really any specific rules, but I find that script fonts (and I don’t mean just handwritten) work better on stock-based graphics. A good way to choose fonts is to pick something that fits the mood of your graphic. In +this CI and +this sig, the mood seems a bit sad and dark, but the font doesn’t reflect that. Now, for text placements, I always think that it correlates with the composition of your graphic. Try to make your text interact with the background of your graphic or the people. For me, I usually try to place the text at certain angles so it would flow with my graphic, like in +here and +here. As you can see, in my second banner, I cut part of the text so it looks like the girl is leaning on the text.


Focal Points (and Composition)

For focal point, the easiest thing to keep in mind is where you want people to look at first when they see your graphic. Usually, this is the text or the biggest person. However, if you have two big people on opposite sides or a graphic OR the main person and the text on opposite sides OR the main people on opposite sides with the text right in the middle, then your focal point is going to be split. Some graphics that have vague focal points or lack focus are +this, +this, +this. In some of the graphics that I’ve linked (like the floralprint and standing still banners), you’ll notice that even when people aren’t the same size, there is still no focal point. This is because another thing that hinders focal points is when you have people placed at the same height, so it’s hard for people to know where to look first. +Here and +here are examples of what I mean. As you can see, drastic differences (in size and height) would make for better focal points, flow, and also create more depth.


‘Simple’ Coloring

I don’t really see an issue with simple coloring because there aren’t many specific rules about that, so all I can give you are some points. What you could do if you’re looking for more complex coloring is play with the different adjustment layers. My go-to coloring layers are selective color, channel mixer, curves, color balance, and color lookup. I’ll just link you to some of my favorite tutorials here (1, 2, 3). The only issues with coloring I’m seeing in your graphic are some murky coloring, over-brightness, and different skin tones. Some pieces that you can improve with coloring are +this, +this, +this, +this, and +this. Of the graphics that I’ve linked, on some of the pieces, people look too washed out or too bright, while on other pieces, the graphics look dark and lack contrast, making them look murky. To avoid murky graphics, add contrast using curves, brightness/contrast, or levels. (With curves, just drag the line upwards. For levels, drag the middle or the farthest-right triangles towards the left) Use a black-white 90˚ gradient on soft light or overlay to make your graphic pop (play with the opacity). Selective color is useful when you want to target specific colors such as reds and yellows of people’s skins, while color balance is more for adjusting the colors on the whole graphic. You can always use gradient maps to color as well. There are many gradient maps to download on Deviantart (there are a bunch by Evey-V) and you can just mess around with the gradient maps on different layer modes such as screen, soft light, overlay, luminosity, etc. :)


When making graphics, make sure that the skin tones of the people on your graphic always match. The best way to match skin tones is to just look at your images to see what the differences are. Play around with curves (RGB, Red, Green, and Blue) to adjust the overall tone of the image or to add/decrease contrast. Use selective color to target specific colors, which is useful for skin tones because of the Red and Yellow channels. Color lookup makes the whites brighter, if that’s what your image needs.



You’ve definitely got the basics down, but I’m seeing some graphics with jagged hard-cuts or too-soft blending, so just watch out for that. If you want to clean out some graphics, here are my suggestions.


Banners: 1, 2, 3

Chapter Images: 1, 2, 3

Signatures: 1, 2


In my opinion, your other pieces are better than the ones I've linked. ^___^ I’d love to see more blends and icons from you though. I really like this +new banner! The composition works well and the coloring is pretty and simple. I like the composition on +this CI is too.



I hope this was helpful to you in any way! You can always PM me if you’d like me to go over coloring with your and explain more on the coloring methods. My last tip for you is to keep experimenting, try new things, really look at your graphic and see if there’s something off, and if there is, what is it? In my opinion, a big part of improving is to just put yourself out there! :) Don’t hesitate to PM me if you have any questions or if you'd like me to clarify anything.

Edited by a little life.
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Hi Taylor, Kalarni here with you requested Critique.

I'm going to go through some of the points you mentioned and some of my own as you don't have a great deal in your gallery.

I'll start with coloring:
I have to agree partially with what Charlotte said above me, some piece can be improved with coloring. +this banner for example, the girl on the left is so much darker than he is, a simple layer with a white/soft yellow soft brush spot over her on screen/lighten and dropping the opacity to around 40-50% would help bring her color to a similar shade as the mano n the right.

You have a nice 'simple coloring' technique and my only advice if you want to up it to more vibrant coloring and techniques is to seriously experiment with it.
Throw down 8 different gradients on different settings and opacities, throw in some curves and vibrant layers while you're going and see how it turns out. An experiment can't really go wrong because you can always ask for advice/help/tips in the piece if you're unsure of it yourself!

Is the Bain of my existence! No, Seriously people need to stop saying that Text is wrong/not placed right - the wrong font because we all have a different view on this. What I tell you will be different to what someone else tells you because we all see font different and see how it should be placed differently. So what I say to you, you can take or leave because text is so hard!
Example: +this, to me is placed slightly off. I would of put it near the smaller Clemence and tilted it up slightly. and then brought the smaller font down too so it all ties in and you have a Clear focal point. Same with +this, the focal point is off just because if the smaller text above her head, it should have been closer to the bottom to bring it all together.

Focal Points:
Your focal points aren't really that bad. As a helpful tip, I would suggest trying to start with where you want your font, and then add your people; you'll be surprised at how well everything else ties together.

Work on those few small issues/details, you're on the right track you just need some tweaking :)
If you need clarification on anything don't be afraid to ask!

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hey! i can't believe i've never posted in your gallery before o.o i love the way you've been experimenting with both stock and textures. that's a really great way to improve :happy: i think CI's might be your strongest graphic type, which is super impressive. i still have trouble with them!! keep working hard <3

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Hi Taylor! First all of, my sincerest apologies it took me so long to get here. Being back at school ate up my time way more than anticipated, but I'm finally here and hopefully I can make it worth the wait! xo

Focal Point
Your focal point is great in pieces like your first two banners, +this (this is actually my fave of all your graphics in general, it's so gorgeous!!!), and +this. The first two banners are great because the way the characters are positioned they lead your eye right to the text, and they seem pretty balanced in terms of stock & people. :-) In +this and +this banner, the focal point is harder to make out because of your dark coloring. It's hard to make out what's on the banner exactly, especially in the second. I didn't realize there was a person on it at first. You want to be careful with that. The text looks to be well positioned in both, it's just the rest of the banner gets lost in the darkness a bit. The text is placed off-focal point +here (I'd put it left more, towards where the right model is looking down at), but generally I think your text placement fits in well with the focal point. If you want some more composition tricks, and you haven't already seen this, check out Gina's tutorial +here. I pretty much live and die by this tutorial, it's amazing! But I seriously see so much improvement in your pieces and am really impressed with your progress! You're killing it! xo

The thing that sticks out to me the most in your pieces is that sometimes your coloring is just too dark. As I mentioned above, this makes it harder to make out the focal point. I noticed it with those banners, but also in pieces like +this, +this and +this. It's good to have shadows, definitely, just make sure that they don't get too dark or too contrasted. For example, in +this blend, I can make everything out, and the coloring is gorgeous, but the blacks are just a tad too black and the piece as a whole just looks a bit too contrasted in the corners. The middle girl looks fine in terms of brightness/contrast. It's the edges that get too dark and make it hard to make out the text, as well. Your bottom icons look a bit too contrasted as well, so over-contrasting is just something to look out for. I love the coloring you have in pieces like +this, +this, and +this. It's really soft and gorgeous :-) In general, I would recommend spending a bit longer matching your skin tones before you start your coloring. In general, you do a great job with this, but in some pieces like +this (the right Amanda is definitely less bright/contrasted, more greenish blue) and +this (the top girl is less bright whereas the bottom one is the brightest). And then it's just all about experimentation! Vanya's tutorial +here is my fave for coloring. You might have seen these already, but honestly I always go back to them so I figured it couldn't help to pimp them out again!



This might be more of a personal preference I think, but I think your text would benefit the most by increasing the spacing/tracking with your quote text so there's more space in between the letters. They seem a bit squished together, a little harder to read. You have great text +here, but it's hard to read in pieces like +this, +this, and +this. Brightening things up, adding more drop shadows, using slightly different colors, etc. might help with that. Downloading new fonts always helps. Don't be afraid to experiment. It looks like your text is usually around the same size and script-y. Try out some other types and sizes. If you haven't already, check out Gina's font packs here. She has great fonts sorted by type in this thread +here. I think you might also benefit by adding some gradient ovt erlays to your text & making sure the text goes underneath the coloring layers, as sometimes it sticks out a bit too much from the rest of your piece. You really want to make it feel like part of the graphic. I love the way your text looks with the stroke/drop shadows on certain pieces, so try that out some more and play around with text effects a bit! Gina's tutorial I linked above has some cool tips on that as well :-)



Looks good to me, just be careful things aren't too sharp with your haircutting, like +here and +here. In general, your blending is super well done! One tip is after hardcutting, I'll usually go underneath the layer and add a black circular gradient (or white depending on the background) and lower the opacity (or you can do this right on the layer mask to bring back some of the original background color) so things blend in a bit more naturally with the background. Dawne has a cool tutorial on that +here.


You're clearly improving so much, Taylor, so just keep doing what you're doing! Those vertical banners are especially gorgeous (the comp is insane idk how you do it with that weird shape!!) I really can't talk about them enough lol. But all of your pieces show great versatility and improvement, it's no surprise you were September's featured artist. You're killing it. Feel free to hit me up with any questions, but I hope this was mildly helpful (and once again, I am so so sorry it took so long!)




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Hi Taylor! I'm here with your requested critique!

Firstly, I would just like to say that I adore how you use stock! There is always an obvious hint of creativity in all of your pieces, which is honestly one of my favourite things to see when I look at people's work. (: I also love how you experiment with composition, almost everything in your gallery has a different comp which is honestly awesome :D My favourite pieces are this and this and this

In area's of improvement, I think I want to break down a few things I see into categorises: colouring and image quality.



You have a super good grasp of the basics but the issue I do see throughout your graphics is that the colouring within the graphic itself doesn't always match. Take this blend+ for instance, all three women are different colours? one is greenish, one is redish and one is almost white. You do need to try and ensure all skin tones in a graphic match and if you struggle doing that, you can always fix the colouring of each of them before you even put them onto you canvas? This goes for a few of your pieces, like with your stock banners, some of the background images don't always match (I do know how hard it is to find matching stock images though). My honest advice it to take each image separately and get the colouring to match before you even move them to your canvas to blend. As you use CC, might I suggest playing around with selective colouring? It's what I use for the majority of my colouring and it's also the best tool when you need to get colours to match what you want! I'd recommend getting rid of this, this and this due to the colouring mismatch!


Image quality!

Now this is another issue I do see throughout your gallery, it isn't that the entire graphic itself is LQ but in some pieces such as this+ some of the images used are higher quality than others. If this happens in any piece you're going to find that the graphic as a whole can be effected. The main girl is rather soft and unsharpened but then the background is heavily sharpened and so immediately she stands out from everything else. I recommend only using images that have a similar quality, or perhaps sharpen everything so that it matches evenly. I don't recommend too much sharpening with your pieces though, as over-sharpening does seem to be an issue. If for some reason this happens to your graphics, you can also always try a soft blur faded and erased to just fix the little bits that are too sharp. I suggest getting rid of this and this due to image quality issues


I really do think you're doing wonderfully, I think right now colouring and image quality are your big issues but they're super easy to work on, so i'm super sure you're going to do amazing! Seriously, just play around with colouring settings (selective colouring for the win!!), make sure things match within your graphics and just try to use higher quality images. I'm really looking forward to see what you do next and if you have any questions are comments, don't hesitate to PM me! <3333






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