Hmm, for a horror book you're probably right about the green and pink flecks; but I think just from an image standpoint they probably need to be there (or something like them) to give the picture some feeling of action or movement, and to tie the angel figure to the open doorway below.

Much of the credit for how these things turn out comes down to the tools, which are quite easy to learn. Also, in most of these cases I am using either pre-built models with minor tweaks, or character texture sets that other artists have created for use on the models. For instance, the Asian woman is a texture set one can purchase to use on the base female model. In the close up shot, I basically added the hair model (made by an excellent Japanese modeler), applied the light set (made by the same fellow who created the Asian character), and then posed her head a bit. It's a matter of applying all of these components, and then customizing them where necessary. I suppose having the "eye" for putting it all together does help. Much like writing, I guess; most everybody can write in some manner or another, but we authors "put the words together" with a bit more dramatic flair...

As for your old man, well here's what you get on short notice. He's not the best, but it was a sunny day and the wife and I went out for a nice long bike ride for most of it. The screen resolution isn't showing up his age as much as I'd like - he mostly just looks ugly! And I can't age the hands in the program - I'd have to do that in a post-render. (Of course, one can also purchase "old man" textures for the base male model, which would make these things a tad easier...)