I'm so glad you're vexelling again, it's great seeing an old skool vexel artist come back and shake her pentooled raster ass!
From the offset, my impression is that this was going to be a carbon copy of the original reference image. Hence asking to see the reference. Sadly your client didn't want anything added - a little disappointing.
I would have definately said that an artist with your experience and skill shouldn't be carbon copying - but ofc your digital sketches and paintings prove you know how to modify things and go reference free. Your skill is not questioned at all.
So let me get down with this vexel. The whole piece is a feast for the eyes... little details after little details and what I'm most impressed with are the earrings. Whilst a posterize tracer would have made these elements look absolutely unfocused and not sharp at all, you've definately shown you have an eye for details and managed to successfully illustrate each of the beads in the earrings. Great work there.
The eyes are very inviting, although I would have been tempted to make the green a little more bold.
The hair... oh my the fucking hair woman. It is very well done although a little flat... it is crying out for more contrast and some further tones in it to make it look more alive.
The colours used are fabulous and I feel with such a skilled piece, the hair would have been significantly improved if you adding more tones to the hair.
Other than that, I think the whole piece is absolutely amazing. Please get back into vexelling... you're one of my favourite vexel artists!
May I welcome you to the world of vector, we're here with our arms wide open Sven and hope your stay is a pleasant one!
I'm glad you are learning to walk before you can run with the vector genre, using the pentool can often be a little scary to start out with and already you are showing a lot of promise.
I think your choice in reference is very good and the simple style (with the white of the stockings morphing into the white background) works very well. A great exercise for a beginner.
What I would suggest is practicing your curves more with the pentool. Remember that fewer points make for a smoother curve. Also remember you don't need to follow a reference images shapes, so areas (such as in the foot area) where the curves aren't as clean and smooth, can be improved upon when you're rendering them.
I admire the challenge you've set yourself and I think that it's great you're trying vector art. I say keep on going and exploring the different tools in Illustrator.
You've definately hit the nail on the head with your concept of using a Frankie Miller style... and it works well for someone who is only just learning how to vector.
You've already shown you can use the pentool and you're continuing to learn how to produce smoother curves, which you can see on the leg area.
When you were making this and said you were going to add detail on the sword and a ribbon, I thought this was great. So many people starting out in vector go ahead and carbon copy the reference image, where as you've actually tried to do something straight away.
If there was any advice I could give you it would be to continue practicing using the pentool to produce even smoother lines. Try adding maybe a little more detailing and slowly work you way to a bigger piece, more details. Don't run before you can walk.
You're doing very well already for a beginner and I'm looking forward to what else you can do in vector, so please keep going <img src="e.deviantart.net/emoticons/s/s…" width="15" height="15" alt="" title=" (Smile)"/>