thanx, guys. mike, putting a less tight finish on the clothing than on the face was kind of intentional. that is to say, it wasn't my original intention, but once i got it to this level, i decided not to tighten it up any further, to keep the focus on the face. as for the background, as i said, i'm not a huge fan of it either. i never know what to do with backgrounds. are there any tips any professional graphic artists or anyone could offer that would give me an idea of what a background is supposed to accomplish? i mean, i know the colours shouldn't overwhelm those of the central figure, but other than that, i never know what to try to accomplish with it. i literally just airbrushed a bunch of different colours all over it until i got something i didn't think was too terribly distracting.