The idea behind this isn't too bad. Put all he main characters together for a night they hang out together under the starlights.
A few things to consider about executing this idea though...
Though I'm not one to advocate show-accuracy all the time, I think the anatomy can be executed more skillfully. Though we could say that each character happen to be given different proportions (different noses and such) but I notice Twilight has differently sized hoofs and legs. If we're gonna be drawing a unique pony style, IMO, it's a tough route to go. It's very easy to draw them inconsistently when you don't have every single seemingly minute detail of your anatomy in memory... You also have almost no references to work with but the best you have are references of other artists who might trip over mistakes you're not aware of.
I also think the spacing between the eyes are too large, but that could be just me.
Also beware of symbolic shortcuts used in the eyes. It's hard to tell how much realism you want, but real eyes have no outlines - outlines do not exist in realism. You also placed highlights in your eyes but beware that if we're dealing with cartoons, their function is purely functional. Eye highlights keep eyes from being uncanny and can be used to accentuate emotions. For more realism, you're gonna need to have highlights be actual reflections of light.
Also beware of your light sources. In this night time setting, there's only one light source - the fireflies. In this setting, because stars are so miniscule as light sources, anything not lit up by fireflies should be very dark as there's nothing to light it up with. At the very least, the shadows could be much much darker if we don't want them completely dark. Also don't forget the [inverse square law] when dealing with light sources especially ones that are very close like a jar of flies. The farther a body part, the less it should be lit.
Also, the little glass thing next to Pinkie looks like it's gonna tip over.
Again, it's hard to tell what level of realism you're shooting for, but the 'realistic' elements you used can be executed more skillfully. Anatomy and especially lighting could be paid closer attention.
This critique, very fair to say the least, makes me want to run and fix every drawing I've ever done. You really know your stuff. Looking at this image in particular makes me realize that I'm looking at drawings of things I've never seen before. I had to look up the names in Google images... Anyways, nice advice!
I dunno about 'knowing my stuff', though I guess a lot of that has to do with presenting myself . I just go what I'm certain I know, but there are times (like mentioning the spacing in between the eyes) when something seems off, but it's not something I know I would be able to explain in-depth.
Yeah. I saw the spacing,too. Not on all of them, but on Rarity it was most evident to me...
Heh... may as wel mention that spacing between the eyes is quite a headscratcher. Some styles get away with varying spaced between the eyes. Western cartons often get away with placing eyes next to each other. Anime uses the eye width as the space between the eye, and so does realism. Sonic's art style gets away with having both eyes literally fused together (... think about that one for a sec). It's not something I fully understand yet.
Very useful critique! And I feel the need to add I quite surprised to see it was from an artist whose work I've been admiring for a long time, too!
I feel quite silly now for making the mistakes you pointed out. Especially Twilight's legs. It almost makes me cringe to look at it now >_< And the eyes do feel too far apart... Amazing what things you miss when you're drawing.
I'm also aware of the weakness of my lighting, though that's hardly an excuse. It's something I'm trying to work on.
As far as realism goes... I find myself in something of a predicament. So far all my ventures away from something more show-accurate have led me to the uncanny valley.
Something only more practice and experimentation can resolve.
Again, thanks for the critique! It was equally helpful as it was flattering to have my work looked at by someone I respect so much as an artist.
Yeah, realism with ponies is practically an impossible challenge, but some artists seem to pull it off more skillfully than others where others come too close to uncanny valley. I think it's mostly finding an anatomical style that has to do with this. Personally, I think there should also be a good amount of studying with how others approach this and less trial-and-error.
I dropped a critique mostly because I've gotten myself an admin position with #Best-of-MLP-FiM and I noticed this piece was pending approval in the group. I saw this happened to have a critique requested because so why not? Just in case you sent it to the group personally, I would hate the idea of not giving clear feedback when you're asking for one right there, putting yourself out there to the admins of the group. You definitely deserved a critique as this community is kinda bad at giving one, haha