Open Critique Friday #1

While it was a lot of fun (thanks for the idea, Hammerknight!), I think "RPG Friday" has about run its course. Going forward, we're going to try "Open Critique Friday" instead, since there seems to be some demand for it. I used to do these on Help Thursdays, but it kind of runs over the recipes that often go in that day, which I hate to do.

So here's how it works.

If you have a HeroMachine illustration or another piece of artwork you've done that you'd like some help with, post a link to it in comments along with your thoughts on it -- what you think is working, what you're struggling with, etc. I will post my critique of the piece, hopefully giving some tips on how to improve it.

Of course everyone is welcome to post their critiques as well, keeping in mind the following rules:

  • Make sure your criticism is constructive. Just saying "This sucks" is both rude and unhelpful without giving specific reasons why you think it sucks and, ideally, some advice on how to make it better.
  • Each person should only post one illustration for critique to make sure everyone who wants feedback has a chance.
  • I will not critique characters entered in the currently running contest, as that doesn't seem fair to the other entrants. You can still post it if you like for the other visitors to critique, but I will not do so.

That's it! Hopefully we can get some good interaction going here and help everyone (me included!) learn a little bit today.

92 Responses to Open Critique Friday #1

  1. kingmonkey, this is wery fun!

  2. Yes you are! Congratulations for your courage and thanks for sharing your “Dark Elf” with us!

    I’m glad you’ve put together an entire scene, with a foreground, middle ground, and background, that helps sell the idea a lot better. The idea of framing the head with the volcano plume has potential, too, that’s a good technique.

    I’m not so sure the overall design of the character clicks as well as it could though, and I think it starts with the selection of items. He’s standing in a very rough terrain, yet he’s wearing moccasins, which I not only don’t usually associate with dark elves (not that that necessarily means anything), but combined with the volcanic rock he’s walking on seems off somehow. Add that to the tassels hanging off the loin cloth and you get kind of a “soft” vibe.

    Contrast that to the metal studs on the cloak and you get a bit of a disconnect as to what kind of a guy we’re dealing with. In fact, I think a lot of my reservations come from that cloak. It’s the same basic trapezoidal shape as the volcano immediately behind it, so you have a visual echo there that confuses the character with the background. I’d probably lose the cloak altogether just for that reason, or else change the background to something without the volcano or with the volcano moved down and rescaled. On that note I think you also need to move down the background element that spans the horizon, as that line runs right into the line of his pants and that’s visually confusing as well. Moving it down just twenty pixels or so ought to help so it hits about the middle of the hands.

    I like the idea of the facial tattoos, but personally I’d probably set the line color either to a slightly darker shade of the main interior color, or change it to 0% alpha so it disappears altogether and you just have the inside part as the tattoo. With black lines it takes over the face completely and it becomes hard to distinguish features.

    Finally, just a few thoughts on color. His gray skin is the same as the background, which again muddies the difference between them. If you’re going to go with a volcano theme in the background, I’d change the currently gray rocks to something warmer like a deep red or rusty brown. Then I’d make the colors in his costume more on the cooler end — blues and greens and such, to make him stand out from the warm background.

    Anyway, hope that helps. You’ve got the makings of a really nice illustration here, and I really appreciate your sharing it. Good luck with him!

  3. Sorry, comment #4 was for Malfar (#1).

    Kingmonkey (2), I’ve seen that one before, haven’t I? I love it! Nothing of substance to add, it’s just a very funny, very well-done image, I think it’s great as-is. It even looks like Rick! The pattern in the “sky” is great, too, a really nice touch that gives the whole thing some wonderful dimensionality.

  4. http://img441.imageshack.us/img441/6056/deatheadmoth.jpg

    Yes it’is limit of a bad super costume. (:-).

  5. Thanks for your help, Jeff. Well, this Dark Elf is not a guy like Robert Salvadore”s Drizzt Do-Urden and really not like a traditional Dark Elves. He is more like Ashland Dunmers from the Elder Scrolls game series. Dunmers are dark elves that are living in Morrowind and Ashland Dunmers (like this guy) live in ash deserts scarred by lava rivers. I made his skin the color of background for purpose. Background is ash, and in the Elder Scrolls series dark elves once were golden-skinned, but powerful goddess cursed them with ash storm. Ash covered their skin and they became grey.
    If you are curious about Dunmers, here are a few links, just for better understanding what they are
    http://www.gamer.ru/system/attached_images/images/000/025/886/normal/Dunmer_in_the_Ashlands_by_Demi_urgic.jpg?1245012149
    http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:xym58HXHCBUCCM:http://www.rpgamer.com/games/other/pc/elder3/art/morrow-chara01.jpg&t=1
    http://www.elderscrolls.net/img/art/mw_concept_16.gif

  6. sorry for multiposting, here is the link to in-game screenshot of an ashlander dark elf
    http://lovkullen.net/Emma/pics/kateri_hecankillratsaf0.jpg

  7. Fabien (6):

    Very nice! A clean design that’s also funny. He doesn’t look ridiculous, which I think is a mistake a lot of people make when trying to go for a parody or a funny take on an idea.

    About the only thing I can think to suggest would be to change the color of the boots — I like the wing color echoed on the helmet and chest piece, but on the boots it kind of makes the feet suck into the wings themselves. I’d probably go with black, to pick up the chest piece color.

    Finally, I think he needs some kind of belt or other visual element to break up the waist portion, it looks a little barren there.

    Great job overall though, I like it for the “bad super costume” it is!

  8. Malfa (7&8): I don’t mind his skin being gray, if that’s what they look like, great. But from a visual standpoint, just as an illustration, putting gray on the foreground figure and gray on the background he’s standing on just blends them together. If you want that camouflage effect, that’s fine, but it makes for a less interesting image since it comes off as sort of accidental, rather than a planned “Ooo, he’s coming in and out of camouflage!” kind of way.

    Since you are composing the image, you’re free to use whatever compositional elements you want. If I were doing it, I’d not put him standing on an ash flow the same color as his skin. He lives in a desert scarred by volcanoes, so put him on sand or on a fresher lava flow glowing an angry orange, or black obsidian, any of which would remain true to the setting while also making the character stand out.

    There are lots of choices that maintain the integrity of the character concept, while also resulting in a stronger visual composition.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  9. Krazy (10): As I said, only one critique request per person. Which one would you like commentary on?

  10. oops, sorry, forgot (need sleep). um the first one then. how do i remove the other two?

  11. Krazy (10): First one it is, no need to remove the others.

    Wow, great illustration! I love the diaphanous wrap whipping around her, with the matching line color, that looks fantastic. The setting is very well done as well, with the cool rock shelf she’s on, the sea lapping onto the beach, the mountains and then the castle peeking over the horizon. Her pose is well done as well. And the dress colors and shading are fantastic, those are just great.

    In terms of your question, how to make waves washing up on the shore, I don’t think I have a good answer. I’ll have to rely on the other folks here who have more experience than I do to come up with some suggestions. Maybe use several iterations of a wavy Insignia, rotated on its side and stretched along the y axis to make overlapping tides?

  12. http://s46.radikal.ru/i113/1010/b0/bba4acad510d.png
    It is the big panel on which 38 (!) supervillains of the Universe thought up by me are represented. Each figure became separately if someone wants to look at someone more close – I can give. Poses very different.

  13. Rozenstal (15): Obviously there’s no way I can do a critique of an enormous group shot like that, but it’s very well done. I can’t imagine how long that took. I assume you output the individual characters as PNGs and then assembled them all in Photoshop or something?

  14. P.S.: I`m sorry for bad quality of a picture – when I combined them, have a little confused with the sizes.

  15. thanks.
    i was looking at winners for effects on how they got different effects and tried playing with patterns and finally figured out how to make see thru material.
    the back ground wasnt quite what i wanted, but i’m still figuring out the program. and the sky was almost accident, almost looks like the sun coming up/going down.
    but, yeah the waves on shore i didnt have a clue, but i am discovering the insignias are rather useful too…lol

  16. Jeff: Yes, so it also was. Collected in Gimp Portible.
    Then give I will expose something another, more small)
    http://s13.radikal.ru/i186/1009/8c/018568b5c28b.png
    Steam-robot-villain.

  17. Me, Myself & I

    Krazy (10) I actually liked the waves; although granted there is always room for improvement, even when what you have is already a good thing. Have you tried looking up a few sample pictures of cresting waves? Its an interesting challenge so I might try make some waves and if they turn out I’ll let you know.

    As far as the objects on the ground in front of the woman, they seem a little haphazzard, almost like like litter. I think it would be better if they were either held or removed.

    Overall I really liked your background. There is a good sence of depth and you can actually ascertain what is far away and what isn’t really easily.

  18. Me, Myself & I

    Rozenstal (15)

    Sorry but I can’t see your picture. I’d like to though as 38 is far more than I’ve ever done.

  19. Me, Myself & I: There there is still the second, less. And this can admire simply.

  20. Rozenstal (19): The steampunk robot is very cool! I like the stance and the tuxedo look, it gives him a sense of personality and daring. Keeping the body to a couple of shades of bronze/copper also works to tie the character together. And the use of the rock pattern on the plain square as a sort of wall was very clever.

    It might be strengthened overall if you were to do a bit more with the smoke and fog effect, maybe making the existing smoke explosion somewhat transparent (set the alpha to 60% or so on all three colors) so you can see the wall through it, then adding a second one scaled sideways and in front of the character so it looks like he’s stepping through it. I think that extra layer in front might help it look a little less flat as a composition.

    The only other area that might need a bit of work is the opening in the wall. Was the idea that he’s blown a hole in the wall and has come through it? Or is it a door? Either way it doesn’t quite work; if it’s a hole it ought to be jagged and if it’s a door it shouldn’t have those triangle points at the top and bottom.

    Having said all that, I like the character and think you’ve done a great job with it overall!

    Edited to Add: I guess that’s more of a suit with brass buttons than a tux, but whatever, it looks good. I love the hat, too. And the teeth clenched through the mask is a wonderful touch.

  21. Jeff: About a smoke – can be. But I seldom apply this reception.
    And a hole in a wall – in the form of a star, simply it is badly visible.

  22. Jeff: It not absolutely a mask. It is a robot head, but similar to a mask.

  23. Here you go Jeff. I think this character turned out pretty well.

    http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f349/singalongsong/IslentheBarbarian.png

  24. Me, Myself & I

    Jake (26)

    This is a really good character, I like it a lot. I have no suggestion about the actual character.

    If I were to guess I imagine you removed the line color from the background because you wanted to keep the focus on the actual character rather than on the background. The background seems a little indistinct though and it actually draws my attention because it is missing the contrast. Can I suggest putting the line color back but rather than solid black lightening it up or replaing it with a darker earthy tone (brown or green)?

    Once again, the actual character is really great.

  25. Jake (26): I agree, it looks great! A very tight execution, everything is well thought-out and fits the concept perfectly. I particularly love the flame-eyed skull tattoo, that rocks. And are those elf ears on the necklace? Wow, nice touch! I even like the tight-to-the-skull hairdo. The blood on the axe is another small, but very effective, bit.

    About the only thing I can think of to suggest as a possible improvement is maybe putting the bottom-to-top shadow gradient from the Patterns tab onto the background. I like the idea of the very abstract and graphical treatment you’ve done here, but it needs a little something to nail it. Although, it’s pretty good as-is, so you might just ignore that.

    As you can tell I don’t have a lot to recommend because I think you pretty much nailed it. Nice job!

  26. Good idea, MMI, and interesting that we both targeted the background despite not having seen the other’s post.

    Jake, I’d say give MMI’s suggestion a try as well and see how it looks.

  27. Me, Myself & I

    By the way Jeff, in Rozenstal’s (19) image there is a background used that has, “Rose Nails” writen onto it. I keep thinking that the background would be more flexible if the words weren’t there. With the words there it kind of pigeon hole’s the background a bit limiting where it can be used.

    That being said, it can easily be covered up with some misc. object that has all 3 colors the same as the background section so its not a big deal really.

  28. Thanks MMI! Originally, the background was going to be this cool porch scene. But the character had already taken so much masking so I figured it was a matter of time before HM died on me (which happened three times anyway during the making of this character). I was also having trouble getting the right look of the background, so I just went with a more generic one that wouldn’t clash with the colors I chose for his clothing. I agree the background could use some work.

  29. @Jeff: I thought you’d be interested in knowing that that haircut that he has isn’t available in the hairstyles. I took one of the heads in the Winner section and put a flesh colored insignia over the face so I could put my own eyes, nose, etc. over it.

  30. I thought the same thing about that one MMI (30), so I just went in and changed it a few minutes ago. Great minds, etc 😀

  31. Jake (32): Very clever!

  32. Me, Myself & I

    Some of you may recall this as one of my entries to a contest.

    Crusader
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6781672/MMI-Crusader.bmp

    All in all I was rather happy with the image but couldn’t help but wonder if there wasn’t something missing.

  33. Spesial for Me, Myself & I: http://borlavlit.narod.ru/fonpanno.png

  34. Me, Myself & I

    So really, what you’re saying Jake (32), is that your character is wearing a face mask. That’s both a little creepy and cool at the same time. Very Hannibal Lector-ish.

  35. Me, Myself & I

    That’s pretty cool Rozenstal (36)! The most character’s I’ve put together was 6 and that was when I fist started playing with HM3. I think tou’ve just inspired me.

  36. MMI (37): Overall this is great. The colors, item selections, shield, everything, are all solid and work well together.

    Where I think you might have some reservations are maybe with the right arm (the one holding the sword) and maybe a bit in the face. I think having the point of the sword suspended off the ground creates a little unbalance in the image, like you keep expecting him to have to stumble forward or something. Otherwise you have to wonder why he’s holding it up like that, point-down, but suspended in air. You might try it with the forearm lower, holding the sword so it touches the ground. Or, make the sword bigger.

    The face looks a little too innocent or something to me. I mean, a Crusader yeah, you think “good guy”, but maybe it’s the lip color (looks a little like gloss or lipstick), or the eyes, but something about him looks a little TOO goody-goody. Like he just got out of training school or something. Now, maybe that’s exactly what you were going for, in which case never mind, but it is one of the only things that jumped out at me as not quite being right.

    Still, those are pretty minor nitpicks on a very good piece.

  37. http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/8286/tricksterl.jpg
    I was going for twisted clown magician with a parrot!

  38. And why nobody asks separate versions? I will lay out any, not for a response, and it is simple.

  39. Alex, this is Ledjer`s Joker.

  40. @Rozenstal: Now that you mention it ,he did turn out something like Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker.

  41. @Rozenstal: BTW (36) is AWESOME!

  42. Alex: thanks))

  43. Me, Myself & I

    Actually Jeff (39) the character concept was a young and very altruistic goody goody type of character so I’m glad that came through.

    Regarding the lip color and the sword hight, you might be right. I was trying to showcase the sword a little though and bring attention to it as it and the shield were the source of the characters powers. I will have to experiment with your suggestions.

  44. Alex (40): Yeah, it does come off as a little bit Ledger-ish, but not TOO much so. I like all the little details on it, from the symbols on the lapels to the use of the fencer shirt to the parrot to the card in the hat to the handkerchiefs hanging out of the belt and even the treatment of the font at the bottom. A great job all the way around, I like it a lot!

    The only bit that doesn’t QUITE work is the cards in the left hand, but I think that’s more a function of there not being a hand that would really work with them like you’re going for.

  45. My old entrant into the dino marines contest. Just looking for a bit of feedback.
    http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m189/acebase_2006/Hero%20Forum/DinoMarines-Trax-1.png

    @Alex That’s actually a very cool looking character. The shoes seem a bit off, although I do like how you tied the coloring in with his shirt and hat.
    Other than the shoes, he’s absolutely amazing. I really like all the fine details, it really puts him over the top.

  46. I was surprised (not upset or pissed) that Poison Ivy didn’t get a mention in the Nature contest. Is there anything I could have done to make the grade?

    ://s795.photobucket.com/albums/yy240/Cliff_HM3/cLIFF_PoisonIvy01b.jpg&newest=1

  47. Me, Myself & I

    Cliff (50)

    I liked your Poison Ivy a lot. In fact, if I recall correctly, I think I thought to myself, “Ohh, la la!”. Or something else equally hormone prompted.

    If I were to revamp this image I would start by comparing the color scheme of the background with the character. The colors are very similar and that causes the background and character to seem to merge a bit. In other words she doesn’t stand out from the background. Some extra contrast might help.

    Really its a consideration; it is a great image.

  48. Me, Myself & I

    kyle (48)

    The overall design is good and I like its simplicity.

    Two things strike me as having room for improvement;

    1. the left hand is not conected to the arm and if it was it would look painful. I would suggest rotating it couterclockwise and have the knuckles rest against her hip instead of the top of her hand.

    2. The proportion of her legs is off and looks like they are from a seperate body. I would make them a lot skinnier to match the reast of her body.

    The concept is clear and precise which is nice. I don’t have to stretch my imagination to figure out what the character is about.

  49. Cliff(50)- I agree with MM&I, the character is great. I would agree more contrast with the background would have made her really pop off the page. I thought when I first saw her that she could be in the finals. You did a great job with her!

  50. I did this one based on Sue Richards meeting up with a “special” friend. I call it “WAITING FOR NAMOR”

    http://i820.photobucket.com/albums/zz123/gargoyle323/Open%20Critique%20Day/Gargoyle323-WaitingForNamor.jpg

  51. Kyle (48): I like the full-figured barbarian look a lot, nice job! She looks solid without being a caricature. The item selections and color are all well done, too.

    I’d agree with MMI (53) that the big problem is the left hand. Just moving it down would help a lot so the black outline matches up more with the outline of the arm. And if the hand is in that position, the thumb would be on the top side, not the bottom. But that might not be possible given the hand selections, I’m not sure.

    The feet also looked too big to me, but I bet that’s due to the size of the legs the attached to the “full figured” torso.

    Over all though a great character and illustration.

  52. Martian Blue (49): Your work is always well thought out and put together, and this one is no exception. Good item and color choices, and a neat concept. I like the torn-off shirt and pants, they give him a real “big tough rampager” type of look.

    I think one of the main problem areas I personally have with it is the gray horn on the snout. After studying it, it looks like a horn that aligns with the bottom part of the snout, but they’re SO closely aligned I mistook it originally for the snout itself. Or a big huge gray tongue or something.

    I also was expecting or wanting a broader bottom on the guy. It seems like his legs ought to be super stout and beefy. That might not be possible with the current item set, but that’s what I was thinking.

    Again, though, a very good illustration and concept, done well. Those were just the things I thought about originally.

  53. Cliff (51): I think it’s pretty great the way it is. And I am not sure that separating her out from the background would be a good thing, part of the charm is that it’s like she’s part of the forest growth, becoming one with it while still having her human parts separate. That’s kind of a cool effect.

    I think the reason it didn’t make it as a Finalist despite being very good is most likely just that there were others I liked more that week. It’s not always that one wasn’t good enough, it’s just that there were others that for one reason or another needed to be highlighted. And I only have room for so many, you know?

    I do think the vest, while being a neat idea, doesn’t quite come off like a coherent garment. It looks more like what it is, a bunch of the same element duplicated and put all over in the shape of a dress. I think it might actually have been better if they were all put point-down, and rotated slightly left-to-right to follow the curves of the body. Pointing them in all directions made it look a little too messy or disjointed for me.

    The white leaves or feathers or whatever those are in her hair also throw me a bit. As the only white in the entire image they demand attention, but they’re fairly inconsequential in terms of importance to the character or design. I kept thinking they were a veil or something.

    Those are minor points, because overall it is a very strong illustration that I like quite a bit.

  54. Gargoyle323 (55): Love it! Very funny and clever. The sand effect is great too, that’s probably the best use for that item I’ve seen.

    Great job on that boom box, too, that must’ve taken some work. Love to see a “Recipe” on that one.

    The only minor quibble (beyond the obvious awkwardness of some of the limbs in that pose, which is obviously not something you can control) would be with the sea, I think maybe making the line color transparent or else a very slightly different shade of one of the other two would help, right now it looks a little … I don’t know, “oily” or something.

    Great job though, it made me laugh!

  55. Preciate it Jeff. I wasn’t satisfied with the snout horn/ beak either, but for some reason I just couldn’t seem to get it right. I hadn’t really thought about a wider lower body. Something to ponder. Again thanks for the feedback.

  56. This my Kirby-esque character Kronos, the god of time. Everybody (including Jeff) please feel free to critique.

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=580874&l=92ac4c3dd2&id=1815191475

  57. Danny (61): Is this one you’re entering into this week’s contest? If so I can’t comment.

  58. Me, Myself & I

    Danny Beaty (61)

    I think this is a good image. I think if you removed the name from the foreground it would actually imrpove the image.

  59. @Jeff: No, it is not one of the entries for the Kirby contest. It was going to be an entry; however, I realized it didn’t qualify for the contest because the name of the character did not include a color or a mode of transportation. Please feel free to critique.

    @Me, Myself,&I: Thanks for the kind words.

  60. Jeff, I’m glad you liked it. The overall picture wasn’t bad but something felt off. I agree about the water,I should have softened the line color. Thanks for the feedback.
    As for the boom box,that wasn’t really hard to make. I have included a recipe card(sorry there are no size dimensions,I usually just size things by trial and error). Hope this is helpful.

    http://i820.photobucket.com/albums/zz123/gargoyle323/Open%20Critique%20Day/Gargoyle323-BoomBoxRecipe.jpg

  61. Danny (61): I agree with MMI (63) that probably in this case, it would be better not to have the name over the character — it’s so big it basically becomes part of the scene.

    Overall the character is pretty solid, although I don’t think it quite captures that frenetic, crazy Kirby-ness. As a non-Kirby space knight, though, it’s good. I like the two cape choices, and appreciate the hourglass time logo on the belt buckle.

  62. Hey Jeff, I thought I’d post a drawing I did a couple years ago and see what you thought. You might recognize him as being the same guy as one of the earliest HM3 designs I did. 😀

    http://i280.photobucket.com/albums/kk178/Diamond197207/StuntmanSketch.png

  63. Rozenstal (36)- That’s very impressive! I really like the concept for a lot of your characters, too! In only counted 35, though. You said there’s 38? (And yes, I caught the little robot in the right-hand corner, too. That one took me a few minutes.)

  64. This was an entry in a contest a few weeks ago. It’s my imagining of Atlas. I’m open to comments from anyone.

    http://i1015.photobucket.com/albums/af278/mmasur719/August%2027/atlas.jpg

  65. Alphaalpharomeo (67): I’ll be honest with you, I’m not really a “mech” type of guy, because to me all these guys in powered suits start to look the same after a while. It’s my fault I’m sure for not putting enough options in, but it is what it is.

    Having said that, “Tank” is a fine example of the sub-genre; all the parts go well together and it’s an overall convincing image.

    It doesn’t really pop off the page to me, though, and I think part of the reason is that you use exactly the same greens throughout. I know a consistent and simple color theme can be a great thing, but in this case it really flattens the character out. I’d suggest making the wings, for instance, a deeper shade of the primary green you have, so it looks like it’s more behind the figure. I’d say the same thing for the cable-like bits of the legs and for the side-wall parts of the shoulder missiles. It just needs some dimensionality to make it look more better, in my opinion.

    Good job on it, though, and I’m sorry that I’m not a bigger fan in general of this type of character, which totally is not your fault at all.

  66. Imp (68): Hey man, that looks great! Thanks for sharing some personal artwork rather than an HM character, that’s a lot of fun.

    Overall I like this drawing quite a bit! The basic character design is very good, and the line work is solid, particularly in the face mask — I like your use of line there a lot, it adds dimension to the whole drawing.

    The areas that I think could probably use improvement start with the waist. On the one hand, I like how narrow it is compared to the shoulders, it gives him a sort of Bruce Timm like look, very linebackerish. On the other hand, it seems like his legs sort of balloon out, not quite fitting the waist, particularly the lower legs, and even more particularly the character’s right calf. I think that just got away from you a little bit — were that part narrower I think it would make the whole figure more convincing.

    The only other thing I can think of is to maybe do something with the chest insignia, make it more stylish rather than quite so simple.

    But it’s a very strong drawing, I am impressed!

  67. Galahad (72): You’ve got a very interesting concept here. I like it when people think big! I know Atlas Shrugged, but I didn’t know he Juggled (ha ha, I just kill myself!).

    There are two major things I’d suggest for improving it.

    First, I would add the top-down (black to transparent) gradient Pattern to the space background. Having that color be the same top to bottom doesn’t properly support the illusion that this is deep space going down to a planetary surface. Granted the moon might not have an atmosphere, but sometimes physics has to go out the window to make an illustration stronger.

    Second, I’d definitely play with the line colors on the planets. Right now the black is too stark, they look too cut-out like. Particularly the planetary surface he’s standing on, I’d go there with a deep dark orange or brown or something, the black is too close to all the other near-blacks in the rest of the drawing.

    The other big one I’d change line color on is the red-and-orange planet in his right lower hand.

    I do love the way you used the straps pattern on the upper-right planet, that’s a really nice effect.

  68. Oquies (74): Love the sword effect! Very cool glowing, ghosty sort of look you’ve got going there, it’s awesome.

    In terms of the meat of the portrait, I have a few reservations.

    The big one for me is the cutout for her belly. It took quite a bit of head-scratching to figure out that’s what it was supposed to be, I honestly thought it was some kind of beltless buckle or something. I get what you’re going for now, but it doesn’t work at all for me. I think it would need to be bigger to make sense in a fashion sense, otherwise the size of it just gets swamped by the rest of the fabric of the dress.

    I’m not a huge fan of the arm in that pose, either, largely because of the hand (my fault, there’s not a good “hand on hip” item) — it looks very uncomfortable there. I’d rather she had her hand out from the side a little, held straight maybe.

    That didn’t come out as positively as I’d hoped, I’m sorry about that. I think overall it’s a pretty decent character, but the places where it breaks down make it less successful than it ought to be given the good parts of it.

    Hope that helps …

  69. Here’s my character I’d wish you to review: Detective Mike Janus. Janus works for the Chicago PD’s mysterious Enigma division, the place where all the wierd and supernatural cases go. Janus packs a mean punch and an even sharper wit.

    http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/Vampyrist/DetectiveMikeJanus.png

  70. Me, Myself & I

    Hey Jeff.

    I’ve noticed twice in this thread alone and many occasion when making characters on my own that a hand positioned on the hips would be a nice addition. Something to think about when you are going over all the objects again in the future.

  71. @Fabien #6 I like that helm its silly.

    @Crazy #10 The movement on that one is really nice.

    @Cliff #51 I would try chaining the boots. There are not many boots that work with that pose but there are other that have the fee pointing forward a bit more that might help.

    @Gargoyle323 #65 Think if you changed the facial features to 90x/90y and moved the hair down it would look better.

    @Danny Beaty #61 I would suggest saving it as a png. They just look cleaner. The caps also don’t seem to match up in the way they are flapping in the wind. Might rotate the one in the back down a bit.

    @alphaalpharomeo #67 I spent the first few seconds trying to find the arms. Try reposition them so there is a noticeable gap between the arms and the body so they don’t blend together.

  72. http://gtamythmaster43.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=95244470
    This isen’t my best one. (Probobly my WORST…)
    But I’d like to redo him because he plays a deccent role in my story and I like a good reffrence/size reminder for him.
    Any ideas on where to improve the big lug?

  73. @Jeff #75 Ya, I had a great set up for the belly there that I did a few months ago but, it HM3 crashed on me so I don’t remember how I did it. That was probably the main thing I didn’t like about this one.

  74. Vampyrist (76): LOVE it! Love the tie, the glowing hand, the black demon silhouette in the foreground, everything. Great job on this one!

  75. Nicholas (79): I like the use of that right-glove element to match the Big Rock Hand of Doom, it works great! I might do something to aid the transition between the hand and the forearm, though, just ending it without a line of some sort is a bit off-putting.

    I like the general character conception as well, although like I said earlier in another comment, these kinds of mechanized dudes are not my favorite sub-genre.

    In terms of possible improvements, that spike thing on his head — it doesn’t look like it belongs there but rather is tacked on, “pin the tail on the donkey” style.

    Similarly, the mask doesn’t quite work, with the gray holes in it. It looks like a face full of teeth, which is fine if that’s what you’re going for. But if it’s supposed to be a mask with holes, they ought to match the cloth beneath it.

    The other main area of concern would be the color scheme. It might be as simple as changing that light blue color on the left hand — which currently exists nowhere else on the figure — to match the light purple of that sleeve. I think it’s just one “cool” color too many.

    It’s good in general, though, and I thank you for sharing it!

  76. OK, it’s about 4:30 here in Colorado, or 6:30 Eastern time, so I’m going to call it a day and start the weekend. Many thanks to everyone who shared a character and/or their insights, both are much, much appreciated.

    Have a good weekend everyone!

    I’ll leave the comments open here in case anyone else wants to offer feedback, or post a character for others to comment on, but I’ll not be providing my critiques again till next time.

  77. On that note, Jeff, what about a regular open forum for us to post on, even if you don’t offer critiques? I know there’s been times when I did a character that I’d love to have some peer feedback on, and had nowhere to get that.

  78. Me, Myself & I

    Galahad (84)

    If Jeff leaves this thread open you’ve got your forum right here. Perhaps it can be left open until this time next week when another is created? Just an idea.

  79. Thanks for the critique, Jeff. Those’re pretty much the ideas I wasn’t super happy with either. It’d probably help if I drew more; I think that’s one of only three or four drawings I’ve done in the last two years.

  80. Vampyrist(76) This is so weird. Your character, Janus, looks almost exactly like one of my co-workers (minus the weird “chi” energy on his fist.) Right down to the way he dresses. I wish I had a picture to show how eerie that is.

  81. Thanks Jeff! I wanted a way to implement a beetels “horn”. But yeah it kinda came out funky looking. Thanks for the adivce.
    🙂

  82. Ooh! Ooh!

    http://members.cox.net/freethespam/stalin.html

    I’m not looking for a critique per se. I didn’t post this entry in time for CC 36: Superman Villain. But, this is an opportunity to share.

    @Gargoyle323: Thanks for the boom box recipe!

    @Krazy: Air is really good. I do agree, the scroll and staff are distractions.

    @Rozenstal: Steam Robot is awesome!

    @Vampyrist: Mike Janus is good. You post any of his stories?

    @Alex: Trickster is obviously inspired by Heath Ledger. Still, I think he’s really good… I mean bad! 😉

    @Everyone else: I’m just running out of time to comment! Thanks for sharing.

  83. yeah, i put them b/c the character has a staff she carries, and had a book in her arms an original try.
    but they do look like they dont belong, which i could reload it into the program and remove them…

    but i played with trying to make the waves somewhat wavy twords shore. but it doenst show up all that well. but i used the sand floor after the insignias look too cheesy for waves. maybe i need to keep trying? or has someone found a better way to make them?

    http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o125/onmission4christ/Fantasy/Zar.png

    (i didnt give a breeze b/c i didnt like any of the flowing ones or the coloring with the fading to darker fabric of the wind blown cloaks. the shadow’s prolly off, but the longer one is one, the slower the program gets, and then u just cant do anything.

  84. (thats knives in her boots, not piercings in her knee caps, and the pants look too much like her skin color…

  85. Galahad (69): I have counted. It has appeared, two characters have almost covered others. It is my error, but I very long placed them on small space and was tired. These aren’t visible two:
    http://s04.radikal.ru/i177/1009/8f/813e0bb736d3.png
    For the knight in black, the tail is visible only.
    http://i045.radikal.ru/1009/e2/37389036c142.png
    It is hidden for burning guy, the one-eyed military man and the person with a make-up in the form of a skull.