I suggest clicking on the pretty picture. It's even prettier when it's all big.
This is an Experiment. It warrants a capital letter because of the number of new things I actually pulled off.
1: Machinery. I've been trying to gradually increase my tolerance for machinery. Generally, I have no intuitive feel for it. This has something to do with being unable to draw a straight line. In any case, I have stretched my boundaries to give you an Aliens 2 style boomstick.
2: Armor. Not only detailed, semi-realistic armor (god bless Google) but it's clearly, worn, scuffed, well-loved armor. Although I suppose well-hated might be more accurate.
3: Honest to God Texture: Not all photoshop pre-sets this time. The leather textures on the gloves, belt, and boots I put there myself. I learned to manipulate the texture so that the shading is entirely a separate function, and so that the texture bends with the form it's covering.
4: Facial Shading and Skin in General: Gotcha. Ha!
5: Reworking on the Fly: When I started shading, I realized the hand holding the helmet was wrong. I thought it was just a little wrong, so I kept going. By the time I was entirely done with the gloves, it was so wrong it hurt. At this point, I was stuck with re-drawing the glove in Photoshop, and then duplicating the textures and effects I had already used on the other hand. The surprise was that the result didn't suck. It was, in fact, an improvement.
6: Background. So I've been trying out the pastiche approach, and I think I've got it now. For your edification, about four (five? ah, who cares) reference photos were combined, altered, adjusted, re-worked and painted over to make that background. Looks reasonably contiguous, donnit?
7: Sepiatone. I'm still not entirely pleased with the brown that I chose, but all and all not a bad first stab at sepiatone. What I'm proud of in this case is that I didn't reinvent the wheel. Before I painted myself into a corner (somewhat literally) I asked the internet what it had to say about Photoshop and sepiatone. Low and behold, it can be accomplished by applying a few functions to a grayscale image.
8: Glow: I put a slight from-behind glow on the head and shoulders of the figure, fading out as it goes down. Bet you didn't even notice until now, huh? But it helps the figure stand out from the background quite a bit, and it is consistent with the lighting.
And now for the negatives:
I still hate boots. The little note on the bottom of the sketch? That says 'stoopid boots'. And the hand holding the gun isn't very natural. I still can't make 'holding' hands that actually look right. Finally, the helmet was supposed to have an antenna on it. See it there, in the sketch? Yeah, somehow that got lost in translation, and I've had too much booze to consider changing it now. Keep checking back, maybe I'll feel ambitious later this week and fix it.