Thanks for the comments you two. When I have time I will pop out some alt versions with your suggestions.
paigeg wrote:Roc weighed in. Anyone else? I agree, my heart says hand-shading. But in retrospect, I have no cohesive shading style here. I also agree the halftoning gives in (to me) a greeting-card look that's kindof attractive.
Any other thoughts? I'm thinking of subbing as a daily soon, to give time for Valentine's Day.
Personally, I avoid halftones if possible, but sometimes they are needed: transitioning one color to another (avoiding a hard edge), for environments to add atmospheric perspective, to get an "extra" color, et cetera...
I don't think your design needs halftones. That is just my opinion. However, since you want to learn how to use them, I think there are plenty of good areas to use them (aside from what you already have); The belly of the birds (put a little red on the yellow bird, and a little yellow on the red bird for some balance), The bird's tails (same deal as the bellies, or even try a subtle halftone of the blue from the background to show depth), and the edge of the heart to give it more of a soft, fluffy sky feel.
I like the design. My only criticism is the random blackness around the heart. It seems awkward and undesirable. I would delete it and let the shirt color fill in those areas (select that black rim>select the layer the blue color is on> hit delete or clear> erase the black) or replace it with the white, or halftone it and soften the edges as I stated above... hope that made sense.
Also, I would avoid pure black in general. Off black with a little color in it is the way to go imo. I would change it to a really dark, dark brown.