One of the biggest mistakes novice painters make (especially those who are professional photographers) is blending their paintings too smooth.
Bokeh is not really a thing in painting y'all 😜
Think about how paint overlaps when it's placed on one stroke at a time. When the background is too smooth, it feels overworked and unnatural. Brushstrokes should have texture.
When oil painters paint -- it's more about the PAINT than the subject, if that makes any sense at all. It's the gradual build-up of color, texture, and form that all comes together to create a masterwork. The slow, methodical process is both oddly satisfying and maddeningly frustrating all at once -- mostly due to the required drying time between stages.
One of the best things you can do to make your digital paintings look more authentic is to build up the layers of texture with brushwork.
Can you see how it makes a difference in the "depth" of the finished piece?
These are not literal TEXTURES that have been applied in the photography sense. It's layer upon layer of digital paint applied to give depth.
Oil artists do this all the time -- layer upon layer of paint.
Working digitally, the same "rules" apply -- and the best part? Without dry time! 🙌
Don't rush the process... build, build, BUILD those layers of paint!