Character Contest 73 Winners!

Many thanks to everyone who entered the difficult Character Design Contest 73: Virgo! We had some great submissions, and as usual I've picked out a few that I thought were exceptional for one reason or another to share with you. As usual, if you click on an image you can see it at the largest possible size (which in some cases is the same as what you see here, but most are bigger).

First up are two from Atomic Punk. I liked his Oktoberfest-inspired "Die Madchen" partly for the neat way he got three very different looking, yet still attractive, faces out of the program but also because Oktoberfest is awesome.

And his second is a more traditional "Virgo". I liked the shading on the columns and the solemn expression on her face.

Next is Cliff's ... um, "PG-13" rated, I guess -- "Erotica Anne". This is a little racier than our usual HeroMachine fare, but I thought the face was outstanding and that in general it was a unique and fun take on the contest concept.

dblade once again brings the awesome sauce with his "Angel of Justice 3000". The lighting and coloring are, of course, incredible, but I also liked the basic design of the character with the cool samurai-inspired tech helmet, integrated "circuitry" layout, and the cool background elements. Outstanding as always!

I don't think we've seen Dimmortald entries before, and if so "Anwen" is an impressive debut. I liked the simple, elegant design that lets you focus on the character herself. The transparent wings are a nice touch, and I love the coloring of the clothing. Nice job!

With entries like "Marty McGooch", you can see why we missed having Galactic Ketchup around for a while there!

I believe Gendonesia is another new participant 'round these parts, and again brings an impressive entry to the fray. I love the coloring on "Dewisri", along with the graceful pose and lovely setting.

On the other hand, Imp's been around almost as long as I have, and yet he still creates visually impressive, creatively-rich illustrations. His "V.I.R.G.O." (Vampiric Internal Regeneration and Genomic Ordnance") is both funny and awesome, which is hard to do. I should know, as I am both as well. Ahem.

Jessica's "Demi" has a fresh, very appropriately clean feel to it. I liked her face very much and the overall design of the character is spot-on. If this were an "Open Critique Day" I'd gently point out that there are a couple of visually arresting "tangential" spots where the lines of one object tangent onto the lines of another object like between the rock and the wing, and then for the sun and the tree, but since it's not an OCD I'll just focus on the parts that are great!

Kaylin88100 got a lot of deservedly great feedback on "Angel of Justice". I love the hazy face, the great use of transparency in the clothing, the jarring use of the raven's black against the blazing gold wings, and the very effective overall visual impression of the illustration. It's just enough to impress without having so much going on that you get confused. Nice job!

But that's not all from Kaylin88100 this go-around! If possible, I liked "Virgo" even more. The highlighting/gradient work is, again, just enough without being too much to make the image more multi-dimensional and impressive. What sealed the deal for me, though, is the great use of the various flowers and plants to create the foreground. I love that. The use of mostly pinks in that area contrasts nicely with the blues of the background as well, making it pop more.

Krashnaak juuuuuust slipped in under the gun with this entry, and I'm glad for it. You get a great sense of movement and joy out of this composition.

Our recent Power User Profilee, Kytana, has another excellent entry. What I like most about it is the setting, with the consistent use of similar tones to set a somber, effective environment. The soft light and the draperies add to that, making for a wonderful scene.

It wouldn't be a Zodiac contest without MLS' Zodiac Commandoes entry! We've got both Virgo and the updated group shot. I always look forward to these! You'll definitely want to click on the wide group shot to get a bigger view of it. They're definitely starting to give the G.I. Joes a run for their money!


PapaKrok never fails to impress, and this week is no exception. This "Virgo" is a masterpiece of composition and color. Love, love, love it.

Rapthama joins the multiple-Finalist club with two entries. The first is "Adria", which I liked for both the character design and the lovely environmental effects.

The second is titled "Valgus", and also features a great scene and character design. The ghostly flaring cloak is a wonderful touch as well.

Skybandit's "Bunny Maid" is fun and funny, but what made me choose it was the great use of the 3/4 view face. This is one of the nicest uses of that effect I've seen yet.

Tarkabarka had a fun and unique twist on the contest concept with this all-girl rock band.

Trekkie's "Nature" is another great example of an effective, lovely environment that doesn't require all kinds of craziness to carry off. I like her expression in the image a lot, too.

Finally, Zaheelee has a lovely entry that features some exceptional work in the clothing area. I love that lower body wrap -- the shading and layering are perfect. The overall character design is really good as well, combining to make a very effective illustration. Great job!

So, looking back over all of those Finalists, ultimately I narrowed it down to four -- Kaylin88100's flower-power Virgo, PapaKrok, Cliff, and Imp. I loved dblade's, but it looks a lot like an earlier winner of his, so even though it's gorgeous, I decided to go with something different. Sorry, man.

Cliff's looks so realistic it's uncanny. It's a unique pose, as well, which is hard to do. However, as I said earlier it's a bit on the risque side for our usual fare.

Imp's is both fun and cool. If I were taking points off, I'd probably have to slightly ding the bands on the upper arm -- they don't quite match up and it's a little distracting.

Kaylin88100's features an awesome foreground and lovely central character.

And PapaKrok's is simply outstanding in every way, from the face to the pose to the composition of the plants against the sun.

Since there can be only one, I'm going to have to go with ... PapaKrok! I couldn't find anything about it I didn't absolutely love, both in terms of individual parts and overall composition. An outstanding illustration.

So, congratulations to PapaKrok, as well as to all of our Finalists! I appreciate all the hard work and creativity you all put into these and feel privileged that you are willing to share them with us.

35 Responses to Character Contest 73 Winners!

  1. Great work, everybody. And a special congrats to PapaKrok for a well-deserved win. Your work creates a benchmark of excellence for other HeroMachinists to shoot for. Inspiring!

  2. Congrats PapaKrok, great entry! I loved how you used hair pieces as grass and bushes.
    Loads of other great entries, so well done everyone!

    Also, glad to see one of my ‘just in time’ entries got a mention.

  3. Ok i be the first.

    Yeah i know it, and what i know it that be my little secret.

    So first of all grat for the finalist.

    And few word for the choosen pictures.

    Atomic Punk
    “Die Madchen” – Hehehe i laugh a lot. When i see the picture it always remember me for a Koorpiklani song “BEER BEER”
    “Virgo” – simple but elegant.

    Cliff’s
    “PG-13″ – So if i “Jeff” i choose this picture for winner nr 1. Why because it’s an awesome idea and great making.
    And why nr 2. because there is an another picture what i choose for winner.

    Dblade
    “Angel of Justice 3000″ – As usually Dblade gives we a great picture. I can’t wrote more.

    Dimmortald
    “Anwen” – Like Atomic Punk picture simple and elegant.

    Galactic Ketchup
    “Marty McGooch” – One simple word. LOL. Good choose whe need fun not only artistic.

    MLS
    “Zodiac Commandoes – Virgo” – I love the unusally way for the zodiac contest chars. – One simple question, why she haven’t got shoe?

    Gendonesia
    “Dewisri” – Simple and elegant.

    Imp
    “V.I.R.G.O.” – Great work Imp, i like the pose, very dinamic, and great vampiric looking.

    Jessica’s
    “Demi” – Simple and elegant.

    Kaylin88100
    “Angel of Justice” – Simple and elegant, and great coloring.

    “Virgo” – So i can’t wrote more what i wrote in the contest. I think this is your best picture what i far seen you. Great coloring and shading. And also if i “Jeff” i choose this my another winner. Why, because i rewarded the progress what Kaylin88100 show.

    Krashnaak – Good picture. I like the movement of image.

    Kytana – In the Power User status i wrote it i love your works, because your pictures always tale stories for me. I like the profile pose and the whole picture have some unique charm.

    PapaKrok
    “Virgo” – Simple and elegant.

    Rapthama
    “Adria” – “Valgus” – In this two pictures i see the idea, all of them simple and elegant.

    Trekkie
    “Nature” – Great conception, i love the picture, very emoncional.

    Zaheelee – Simple and elegant, i think this picture is more perfect for the libra contest.

    And my picture
    V!rgo – A lot of work, maybe 10 hour, 450 layer, 200 gradient, but i enjoy every minute of the making.

    So it’s a little bit long analysis.
    I hope i don’t insult anyone with my opinions. That’s my opinion, nothing more.

  4. Thanks Jeff, and thanks everyone for your lovely comments 😀
    I can’t BELIEVE I got 2 Finalists, AND got to the final 4! It’s just too much to take in! I’m so happy you liked my entries 🙂

  5. @Tarkabarka #3 – Thanks! I usually start my pics by posing the “body” then adding clothes to fit the pose. In this case, after I added the pants, I decided I liked the visual contrast that the bare feet gave. I thought it also gave the character a kind of a graceful “River Tam” quality.

    Congratulations PapaKroc and all the finalists! With the quality of pictures being submitted these days, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll even be competetive.

  6. @MLS (5) – Okey Dokey. 😀

  7. Big gratulation to the winner(s)!(oh what? no i mean not me)
    Very good pistures here. I like PapaKrok, is a very beautiful design. Also i found Krashnaaks ride very cool. This remind me a little bit on survival of the dead… without a zomiewoman on it. 😉

    @Tarkabarka: Thanks, i always take care of this.

    BTW:
    @Atomic Punk: Correct you must say “Die Mädchen!” When you not have a umlaut of your keyboard you take “ae”= ä.
    When you be thirsty you cry in bavarian: “Zwa Bier, Herr Wirt! Oba fix!”
    Translate: “Two beer, waiter! And hurry!” 😉

  8. Oh, yes! Congrats to Kaylin88100 for your two great pieces making the finalists circle. I was really rooting for you. Your enthusiasm is very much welcome here.

  9. @dblade (8): Thanks 🙂

  10. Most humble tanks to Tarkabarka and Kytana (and Jeff, also :D). I am glad you liked that picture. It was a “happy birthday” present for a person I met online recently, although we never met in person. Since she is a Virgo herself, I tought I might as well submit it in this contest. I liked your entries much, too. Congratulations to Papa for winning the contest, that picture was my favorite. It just catched my eye, and I would’ve bet my money on it to win. Which doesn’t lower the greatness of all other submissions – they were all great. 🙂

    Cheers, everyone.

  11. Zikes! I didn’t see that coming… some serious heavy hitting going on. I’m just sayin. This old anarchist is starting to feel the pressure for sure. Great, and sometimes sexy, work all!!

    Jeff, can we just do the next prize on the list?

  12. We interrupt this blog for a special announcement…

    Speaking of contest prizes, I’m going to put in an order for my Bald, Goateed Head and my daughter’s pig-tailed noggin (for Cosmic Character win and Dinosaur With Gun Caption win). I will send some reference pictures when I get a chance.

    Thanks, Jeff.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.

  13. Congrats PapaKrok. Hopefully you winning this week isn’t an omen that you’re also kicking my butt in FNF this week as well.

  14. Oh oh, Myro. I have it on good authority that PapaKrok may already be a winner in the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes as well. Omen upon omen! 🙂

  15. Myro, Dblade!! I hope it is some kind of good omen! I march with OccupySLC on the 6th at 10AM. I stand to lose everything I have worked for my entire life with this decision. Hope I don’t. If you don’t hear from me again, you know where to look 🙂

    Til then HM family….be good or have fun. The choice is yours.

  16. dblade (12): Sounds good, I’ll look for those in the email.

    PapaKrok (11): “Next item up” it is 🙂

  17. @PapaKrok(15): Hey, my wife is in SLC for a conference this week. She comes back before the 6th so she’ll miss all the activities.

  18. And please be careful, PapaKrok…

  19. Will do Dblade. Yea, probably good she’s gonna be home by then.

  20. @PapaKrok(15): what is that?

  21. Galactic Ketchup

    Congratulations Krok 😀

    Did you really miss me? I feel all special and loved now 🙂

  22. Congrats, i couldnt seem to get into this one myself

  23. Congrats, Krok!

  24. spidercow2010

    Well dones all around, and give em hell PapaKrok

  25. All Hail PapaKrok! what an outstanding character O.o
    and congratz to everyone! i think i should have much hardwork to learn shading and effects from every finalists 🙂

  26. @Tarkabarka: Thanks. I was inspired by the Heino classic “Bier.” I love your Virgo goth band.

    @Kytana: Yes, umlaut. Meine Großmutter immer gesagt “umlaut!” The colors for Die Mädchen are the Bavarian, German, and American flags.

    @Cliff: Erotic Anne is my favorite from you. Very unique in pose and composition. She has a Blade Runner, 80s new wave combo going on.

    @Kaylin88100: I like your Virgo. Great light and shading. The flower’s shadow is a great touch.

    @Krashnaak: Very elegant and inspiring!

    @MLS: A ninja Virgo. Love it!

    @All: As always, fun stuff. I have to get ready for work, otherwise I’d be here all day giving hi-fives.

    @PapaKrok: Congrats! But now back to the silent treatment. ;9

    @Jeff: Thank you for the honorable mentions. I’ve been trying to do more light and shadow. I am nowhere near on par with other HMers. I appreciate that you notice the subtlety.

  27. @Atomic Punk (26) – Not Goth band. You insult me 😀
    Vemale Visual Kei Band.
    A lot of style mixed in the music, like metal, hard rock, alternative, indy. – And horibble Looks, the boys looks like girls and the girls looks like boys and girls. 😀

  28. Great job everyone!

  29. sean from edwards

    MLS should go to joecustoms after this series of character contests is over to get his Zodiac commandoes made into figures. be cool to see them alongside the heromachine concepts.

  30. @sean from edwards #29 – Hmmmmmm….

  31. Watson Bradshaw

    great job everybody and way to go PapaKrok

  32. Way to go, PapaKrok! Your characters are always awesome.

    Kaylin, great work! I took one look at your “Virgo” submission and my chin dropped to the floor! I really want to know where you got those flowers!

    As for me, woo-hoo! Been a while since I got an honorable mention here. Been trying hard to come up with good stuff lately. I was a bit concerned about the lines of the objects (thought that the rock and sun should have been a bit bigger) but I was really tired by the time I finished it, so I said what the heck! Anyway, thanks for the comments people and congratulations to all the finalists! Thanks, Jeff!

  33. #26 (TAC):

    Thank you, sir! xD Your’s are quite interesting and beautiful, too. 😉

  34. *TAP, pardon me. xD

  35. I over came many other art skills, I know for a fact that one day I will be this good, heck I already know how to do the shading, but jeez.

    Anyways good work on all of these I say, each one is amazing and well thought out. I say bravo to the winner. And I hope that they are happy for the work they put into these.