Open Critique Day #39

My full-time (non-HeroMachine) job might keep me from actually getting to these before this afternoon, but it’s time for another Open Critique Day!

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 guidelines:

  • 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 any 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.

104 Responses to Open Critique Day #39

  1. Okay, guess you’ve started up early enough (and I’m still awake late enough) for me to go first.

    Been having some problems with a character from my urban fantasy. Thirteen is a Grey Elf, the unwanted product of an unwanted union between a Dark Elf and Forest Elf. I did give him the spider-based tattoos relating to his Dark Elf background, and he has a tendency to dress like a human thug.
    Something about it just isn’t working, trying to balance the slenderness of being an elf with a certain buffness from a life of fighting. I’m not sure how to make it look right. Any advice would be helpful.
    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83021&d=1337338954

  2. Myro: Thirteen is a Grey Elf, the unwanted product of an unwanted union between a Dark Elf and Forest Elf. I did give him the spider-based tattoos relating to his Dark Elf background, and he has a tendency to dress like a human thug.
    Something about it just isn’t working, trying to balance the slenderness of being an elf with a certain buffness from a life of fighting. I’m not sure how to make it look right. Any advice would be helpful.

    My main reservation right off the bat is with the feet, as they seem to be the same foot. And the character’s right foot is too high for that pose, it ought to be closer to us and thus lower than the other one. Plus the pant legs would ride up over the top of the boot in a dome, not a scallop (arching up, not down).

    The shirt, too, is drawn straight-on while the torso is turned, which throws things off a fair bit.

    I’m having a really hard time getting past those things to even think about the character design itself. I think this is one where you’re definitely better off using the standard front-on pose to get the design right before going into moving it about.

  3. alphaalpharomeo:
    http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/dhabirunner/Thedevil.png

    The concept is good and strong. I like the octo body and demon top, it’s a fun combination.

    I’d definitely lose the background, though. The colors are so close to those in the body that it’s hard to differentiate them. If you really want to keep it, I’d go with cool colors like blues and purples and greens instead of warm colors like reds and oranges and yellows to help separate out the layers. I realize you’re going for fire back there, but since it’s not really fire but a design element (a pattern, not something “real”) I think you have some liberty.

  4. Working on some Hero Machine assets for Random Finalist Consolation Prize winners.

    First one up is a request from TOOL. A gauntlet with a view screen from the Fallout game. I don’t have the Color 2 made for this yet.

    Pip Boy 3000: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83003&d=1337263957

    Second one up is a request from Trekkie. A tunic/top from the Captain Scarlet franchise. I might add some line work to give some definition to the material. Or perhaps the tightly pressed, no wrinkle look works for this uniform. I’m not sure.

    Tunic: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83006&d=1337289438

  5. skullcraze:
    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h476/surs1/hm3-beta5-1.png

    I like the floating island in the sea of lava, very cool! It’s a neat idea for an illustration. I like the way the figure’s coloring changes from top to bottom, becoming sort of a negative of a negative.

    I’d like to see some of the same effect going on in the head as you have in the torso, though, with the gradation from gray to black. Currently having the fill all black against the black sky makes it almost look like the head’s interior is invisible or not present. Alternatively, you could do some glow or fire coming from the lava plume in the background, which would give something non-black for the head to be in front of.

    Speaking of which, I think you could probably do more with the lava and the sky, adding some glows or fire plumes or something to make them look more three dimensional instead of flat.

    Really good job so far, though, I like it!

  6. dblade:
    Working on some Hero Machine assets for Random Finalist Consolation Prize winners.

    First one up is a request from TOOL. A gauntlet with a view screen from the Fallout game. I don’t have the Color 2 made for this yet.

    Pip Boy 3000: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83003&d=1337263957

    Second one up is a request from Trekkie. A tunic/top from the Captain Scarlet franchise. I might add some line work to give some definition to the material. Or perhaps the tightly pressed, no wrinkle look works for this uniform. I’m not sure.

    Tunic: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83006&d=1337289438

    Looking good as always, dblade. My initial reaction with the PIP Boy was that it seems a little too wide, like it’s really enormous. But, I suppose the user can scale it down if they feel that way. In terms of the drawing itself, really nice.

    The tunic’s also good, though I’d probably go with your thoughts regarding adding some wrinkling or folding to make it seem less stiff. Right now the feeling I get from it is that it’s really hard like a metal or ceramic shell, or one of those SWAT vests that stop bullets. Love the design of it, though. It’s really nice of you to do these for people.

  7. I feel like I’m being super negative today, my apologies. I’ll try to amp up the supportiveness.

  8. Howzabout I critique YOU, Jeff? Your tentacles are tipped over and two of them don’t match up as they pass behind others and emerge offset. I took the liberty of correcting this. Hope this JPG will be useful to you.

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/Correctedtentacles.jpg

  9. Skybandit:
    Howzabout I critique YOU, Jeff?Your tentacles are tipped over and two of them don’t match up as they pass behind others and emerge offset.I took the liberty of correcting this.Hope this JPG will be useful to you.

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/Correctedtentacles.jpg

    No peeking behind the curtain! The Great and Powerful Oz shall not be questioned! I … oh feh.

    Seriously, totally fine to critique me, that’s great! But, I don’t understand the image, both sides look the same to me. Did you … Oh, wait, I get it now. Cool. Yes, you’re right, that’s sloppy line work, my apologies.

    On the plus side, while staring at this I realized that that item sort of looks like a face, with the negative space in the loops at the top right and left being eye slots and the rest sort of mind flayer tentacles hanging down from the mouth. So there’s that!

  10. Jeff Hebert: Looking good as always, dblade. My initial reaction with the PIP Boy was that it seems a little too wide, like it’s really enormous. But, I suppose the user can scale it down if they feel that way. In terms of the drawing itself, really nice.

    The tunic’s also good, though I’d probably go with your thoughts regarding adding some wrinkling or folding to make it seem less stiff. Right now the feeling I get from it is that it’s really hard like a metal or ceramic shell, or one of those SWAT vests that stop bullets. Love the design of it, though. It’s really nice of you to do these for people.

    Ugh! You are right about the Pip Boy. The reference image is tipped in such a way that is showing a lot of the bottom of the Pip Boy and I didn’t compensate for this. I will have to adjust.

    As for the tunic I will play around with some wrinkles/folding and see how it looks.

  11. @ dblade – Whatever happened to the ninja fairy?

  12. Kaylin88100

    dblade: Working on some Hero Machine assets for Random Finalist Consolation Prize winners.First one up is a request from TOOL. A gauntlet with a view screen from the Fallout game. I don’t have the Color 2 made for this yet.Pip Boy 3000: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83003&d=1337263957Second one up is a request from Trekkie. A tunic/top from the Captain Scarlet franchise. I might add some line work to give some definition to the material. Or perhaps the tightly pressed, no wrinkle look works for this uniform. I’m not sure.Tunic: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83006&d=1337289438

    Looking good! On a side note, have you finished my Seal Tail yet? I’m waiting to make a selkie for my fantasy world… :(

  13. ams:
    @ dblade – Whatever happened to the ninja fairy?

    He struck in the last caption contest but the victim did not respond. He may show when you least expect it.

  14. ams:
    Something I was workin’ on.No highlights yet.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/05/DBLADE-WIP.png

    Hah! That’s what I actually wear around the house. :) Nice work.

  15. Hi all! I’m back, (obviously) with more things that need assistance. First and foremost, I though I’d put the cover up from a few weeks ago, the one I changed. This is the new version, and even though it was a few small changes I made I really like it a lot better.

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4zh1f1

    The second two are in a set of four I’m doing of my main Oc’s for a story called Maintaining balance. I won’t really go into the charterers here, it would take to long, but if anybody’s interested it is up on the deviant art.
    The fist is the main main character Illane, with the goddess Dea’Aqua in the background.

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/37124127#/d4zme1v

    and the second is her best pal Tamara, with her goddess Dea’Terra

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/37124127#/d4zmeph

    My biggest issues with Illane are the fact I think I need to rotate her leg another increment to the right, and that I’m not completely happy with the wave thing going on in the background. My qualms with Tamar are I think I’d like to make the goddess a little bigger and I don’t quite like the magicy effect on the rocks. I want some kind of magicy effect because an element I’m sort of using to connect the images but I don’t think that’s the one.

  16. http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/5259/clion.png
    Its the thief with the fairy in a older contest. I have changed it. And you see right, no background!

  17. Obsidian Tiger – a mercenary hit man who prefers to use his hands.

    http://www.robertmckercher.com/Avatars/Obsidian_Tiger.jpg

    I’m not sure the background coloring works. I may be trying to do two inherently contradictory things – have the character stand out from the background and demonstrate that he’s hard to see coming at you.

  18. Kaylin88100

    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h464/Kaylin88100/Kaylin88100-Frozen_Talon.png
    An entry in last week’s contest. Any suggestions on how I could have improved her?

  19. MisterDinoMan

    ams:
    Something I was workin’ on.No highlights yet.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/05/DBLADE-WIP.png

    Let me start out by saying I love the concept of this one. However I’m not sold on the boots. Why is the linecolor on them different than in the rest of the image? There’s also a piece of leg popping out from underneath the left boot, which is a bit distracting. But otherwise it’s great and I’m looking forward to when you add highlights to it.

  20. so skyrim and fallout are NOT copy written?

  21. MisterDinoMan: Let me start out by saying I love the concept of this one. However I’m not sold on the boots. Why is the linecolor on them different than in the rest of the image? There’s also a piece of leg popping out from underneath the left boot, which is a bit distracting. But otherwise it’s great and I’m looking forward to when you add highlights to it.

    Thanks and yeah, more work is needed!

  22. barbario:
    so skyrim and fallout are NOT copy written?

    Being games without a main central character (like a Batman or Superman) I think doing fan interpretations of what your character in that world might look like are fair game.

    It’s not an exact science. Basically the thought process is “Is this image a fair use of the kinds of things one might find in that world?”

    The PIP Boy is probably right on the line. But come on, it’s a screen on a mechanical wrist band, how original is that, really? It’s like the difference between Superman’s logo and his cape. A logo, yes, that’s clearly an original design. But a cape’s a cape. And I’d argue a wrist screen is a wrist screen. I don’t see the guy who drew Dick Tracy going after the Fallout team.

    So for now, yes, I think those are allowable.

    As far as Skyrim goes, it’s a freaking medieval fantasy setting. Again, they’re warriors with swords and fur and horned helmets. Not much there that’s really original intellectual property.

  23. Cape-Jacker

    http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n533/hannah_gibbs5/MindBot1.png

    Maria Blanchard was an officer in the American army, when a roadside mine blew up the Jeep she and her team were riding. Of the seven men and women, only two survived: the driver, who remarkably emerged unscathed, and Maria, whose legs were blown off. She later lost both of her arms to metal poisoning from imbedded shrapnel. A fighter and an engineer, Maria didn’t let any of this stop her, dictating instructions to fellow soldiers as to how to build replacements.

    The story was a bit quick, although I do hope to eventually expand it. Any feedback, on both story and picture, is welcome!

  24. I’ve got some nice characters (a crowd, actually), but I don’t think I can post them here, because they are redesigns of existing ones. So instead every time I participate in an OCD I search through my PC for a character that can’t be a victim of copyright gods. Well, enough with bows and Hello’s, let’s get to the character. You see him on almost every cosplay convent – some random guy whose figure doesn’t suit his costume. Sometimes it’s a skeleton dressed as Superman, or fat lady dressed as Wonder Woman…or this guy.

    http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/129/6/e/batman_cosplay_by_malfar-d4z1ue5.png

  25. dblade:

    Second one up is a request from Trekkie. A tunic/top from the Captain Scarlet franchise. I might add some line work to give some definition to the material. Or perhaps the tightly pressed, no wrinkle look works for this uniform. I’m not sure.

    Tunic: http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83006&d=1337289438

    Looks great so far!
    I agree with Jeff in that it could do with a few wrinkles to give it more of a material-like feel. But, other than that I really like it.

  26. OK, here’s one for you all to critique. It’s for a commissioned piece for an author featuring her super-hero/supernatural character. This is just to get the costume designed.

    Here she is with a clear face, and here she is with her hair casting a mask-like shadow. We’ve been going back and forth over whether she should have a mask or not, and a belt/accessories/weapon or not.

    Thoughts?

  27. I agree with Jeff’s assessment on the copyright laws. If a gauntlet with a computer screen was copyrightable you wouldn’t even see the Pip Boy in Fallout 3 to begin with since it’s been done many times before on other properties. Now putting the Pip Boy logo on the gauntlet would be another story.

  28. MisterDinoMan

    Jeff Hebert:

    Here she is with a clear face, and here she is with her hair casting a mask-like shadow. We’ve been going back and forth over whether she should have a mask or not, and a belt/accessories/weapon or not.

    Thoughts?

    I think a belt would detract from the sleekness of the design. I’d also go with a mask. But I also would want to preserve that sassy look she’s giving. So if it were me I’d probably go with a domino mask.

    I hope that was helpful.

  29. MisterDinoMan

    Rozenstal:
    http://cs10821.userapi.com/v10821168/5a7/G0EsHpLcy80.jpg
    Indian priest in a mask.

    I think your design could use some more balance. As it is now, you have a lot going on on the upper level of the body while the lower part is a bit plain. Also that flashy cape is attracting a lot of attention. If it were my design I would emphasize the tattoos instead. But I like the overall look and feel of the character.

  30. Here’s the commission and HM concept art for my main villain, Overlord. He’s primarily based on the villainous version of Mr. Majestic from the World’s End storyline of WildCATs.
    Commission: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zwwu1

    Concept: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zfflh

  31. Kaylin88100:
    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h464/Kaylin88100/Kaylin88100-Frozen_Talon.png
    An entry in last week’s contest. Any suggestions on how I could have improved her?

    Very cool image, Kaylin. I like the design, though I think metal in sub-zero temperatures can be more hazardous to the wearer than helpful. I’d say just replace the “skirt” piece with something made of fabric and you’re good to go.
    Given that I’m currently reading several of the titles from the Night of Owls storyline in the Batman Family of comics, “frozen” and “Talon” don’t really go together.

  32. MisterDinoMan:
    I’m having some trouble with this one.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/05/Bloodraven-update.PNG

    Cool idea. I love the Hawkman mask and the use of the swords. Cool pose too. Just please, for the love of all that’s good and decent about comics, no more pouches. You’re about a pouch and a half away from being a Liefeld character. The saving grace right now is that I can understand why he actually has them right now.

  33. Jeff Hebert:
    OK, here’s one for you all to critique. It’s for a commissioned piece for an author featuring her super-hero/supernatural character. This is just to get the costume designed.

    Here she is with a clear face, and here she is with her hair casting a mask-like shadow. We’ve been going back and forth over whether she should have a mask or not, and a belt/accessories/weapon or not.

    Thoughts?

    I’ll throw in my 2 cents. The overall sketch at first galnce is great, but a little dark. Is there a reason for the lack of color? I like her pose, but the top half is much stronger than the bottom. I think her left leg is a tad to thin. Foot size doesn’t match either. Awesome face and hair. I’m guessing that they are colored to draw your attention there? Also, you mentioned she is a superhero/supernatural character? I see the superhero, not the supernatural. I think of her as super spy or something down those lines.

    And I like the clear face better. Makes her more likable, innocent.

    Thanks for letting us critique one of yours. Now back to work!!!

    Cheers!

  34. McKnight57:
    Here’s the commission and HM concept art for my main villain, Overlord. He’s primarily based on the villainous version of Mr. Majestic from the World’s End storyline of WildCATs.
    Commission: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zwwu1

    Concept: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zfflh

    Great pic! The only thing I’ll say is that your hero and villain have the same colors. When the are engaged in battle, that might confuse your reader.

  35. Uh oh, moderation land is here……What I do?

  36. Kaylin88100

    ams: Uh oh, moderation land is here……What I do?

    Just wait, Jeff will sort it out in a bit. It’s probably because you posted multiple links. It happens to me sometimes, it’s nothing to worry about.

  37. Wooohoohoooooo–got a different schedule today. At first this was just a junk pic, but it made my wife laugh (tough audience, too.) I know the museum ropes / poles could be improved, but I’m stumped as to how exactly.

    http://i1067.photobucket.com/albums/u438/jamais5/hm3/HerrD-tour.jpg

  38. Oh BTW DBlade I love the pip boy 3000!

  39. MisterDinoMan

    Mad Doctor:
    http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/4971/steampunkiberwarior.png

    steampunk ciberwarrior

    This is a very solid design. The only nitpick I have is that the gas mask and the domed helmet don’t particularily mesh well together. Otherwise it’s a great image and the new steampunk items are put to good use here.

  40. Jeff,
    During the most recent random name contest, you mentioned that you could picture my Phantom Howler illustration as a DC or Marvel cover, so I thought it would be fun to Photoshop one up.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/robm/2012/05/PhantomHowlerCover.jpg

  41. Jeff Hebert:
    I’m having a really hard time getting past those things to even think about the character design itself. I think this is one where you’re definitely better off using the standard front-on pose to get the design right before going into moving it about.

    You know, I so have that pose I used pictured in my head, but I think it’s time to throw in the towel and admit you’re right about this. Back to the drawing board on this one.

    Jeff Hebert:
    OK, here’s one for you all to critique. It’s for a commissioned piece for an author featuring her super-hero/supernatural character. This is just to get the costume designed.

    Here she is with a clear face, and here she is with her hair casting a mask-like shadow. We’ve been going back and forth over whether she should have a mask or not, and a belt/accessories/weapon or not.

    Thoughts?

    Not a whole lot to add that anyone else hasn’t said already. Like ams, I’m getting a Black Widow-esque super spy vibe from her more than a full-on superhero. If that’s the case, a weapon or even an grappling gun might make sense. I could go either way on a utility belt, if you did use one, I’d say make it sleek and kind of drape it over her hips rather than have it snug in order to accentuate her form; nothing bulky. Definitely digging the unshaded face, not sure if she needs a mask. If so, nothing too big, at least not bigger than Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman mask (reference – http://www.justjared.com/photo-gallery/2583711/anne-hathaway-catwoman-dark-knight-rises-set-03/) and maybe smaller than that.

    Hope that helps.

  42. Hmm, I wasn’t going to bother this week because I don’t have much in the works right now, but I guess I’ll go ahead and leave this here. I made it for the last character contest at 3 a.m., so no further explanation needed on the character concept. ;) I guess my main disappointment was with the background: I was going for this sort of hazy, swirly poison cloud thing, which is kind of what I ended up with, but not exactly.

  43. ams:
    Something I was workin’ on.No highlights yet.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/05/DBLADE-WIP.png

    Love it! That’s totally what dblade would look like as a super-hero, running around making awesome stuff with which to kick ass. I love the coloring on the legs especially, although the color throughout is great.

    Awesome job! Gave me a real chuckle.

  44. Myro:
    Been having some problems with a character from my urban fantasy[...] Something about it just isn’t working, trying to balance the slenderness of being an elf with a certain buffness from a life of fighting. I’m not sure how to make it look right. Any advice would be helpful.
    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83021&d=1337338954

    Jeff Hebert:
    The shirt, too, is drawn straight-on while the torso is turned, which throws things off a fair bit.

    I’m having a really hard time getting past those things to even think about the character design itself. I think this is one where you’re definitely better off using the standard front-on pose to get the design right before going into moving it about.

    Another way around that could be to use non-shirt items and mask them to the torso. I made this with the turned torso, one of the capes, and the circle insignia (mask the cape onto the torso, then a second torso onto the insignia). It’s got its own problems—obviously you’d have to put something else over the nipples (which you could just mask another cape onto another insignia for), and if you want wrinkles like in the shirt you used originally that could get tricky—but it’s an option, anyway.

    I do think you’re on the right track with the slender-but-buff thing. The proportions especially on the torso do convey that pretty well. His right arm may be more buff than slender, though.

  45. MisterDinoMan:
    I’m having some trouble with this one.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/05/Bloodraven-update.PNG

    First, I like the character design. And I think the idea for the cityscape is neat.

    The main problem for me is that the figure perspective doesn’t fit the foreground perspective which in turn doesn’t really fit the background perspective. That all makes it feel sort of dangerously lurchy, as if the whole world is subtly akimbo. There’s just no way to be seeing those buildings going to that vanishing point while still being able to see the top of the roof the character’s standing on.

    For the character, the way he’s holding the sword in his right hand is also a bit awkward. I think it might work better if you used the hand with the back of the hand up instead of the palm.

    Cool character though, and that’s the most important part.

  46. MonaLux: This is the new version, and even though it was a few small changes I made I really like it a lot better.

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4zh1f1

    Yes, much better! It always astounds me what a huge difference small changes can make.

    MonaLux: The fist is the main main character Illane, with the goddess Dea’Aqua in the background.

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/37124127#/d4zme1v

    I only do one per person so I’ll go with the first one you listed. Of course others are more than welcome to chime in on them both.

    I like the character design a lot, and the overall composition is good. Her stance is fine as far as I am concerned, I don’t think that needs to be changed at all. In fact the main character is great.

    My main reservations are with the background, particularly the goddess. With her going horizontal and her arm poking the edge of the canvas, your eye is drawn out of the image. I think I’d rather see her facing maybe 3/4 view towards us instead of face-down and body-flat. Something that still gets the idea of a goddess across, but which fits in with the composition better and keeps the attention/focus on the center.

    I’d also play around with the color of the background elements, maybe going with a deeper blue. Right now the blues there and in the character are so close they kind of flatten out a bit.

    Good job, I like it!

  47. Kytana:
    http://img135.imageshack.us/img135/5259/clion.png
    Its the thief with the fairy in a older contest. I have changed it. And you see right, no background!

    Nice! Very cool pose, he looks deadly. The items are all nifty and I like those forearm-mounted weapons. Very stabby.

    My only minor issue is with the cloth that covers his mouth. It comes across as a stiff shield/collar standing up in front of his face, rather than a mask or whatever that would be attached to his lower face and hanging down. If that’s what you were going for, of course, that’s fine. It just sort of jumped out at me.

  48. RobM:
    Obsidian Tiger – a mercenary hit man who prefers to use his hands.

    http://www.robertmckercher.com/Avatars/Obsidian_Tiger.jpg

    I’m not sure the background coloring works. I may be trying to do two inherently contradictory things – have the character stand out from the background and demonstrate that he’s hard to see coming at you.

    Yeah, that’s a tall order. I think to pull something like that off you’d almost have to have a black background, like the shadow of a wall or a black anti-spotlight circle or something, with only color1 or color2 of the body parts that overlap it showing, the rest in black. So like you’d use the tiger stripes, but only the stripes would be visible, with the rest black, so your eye sort of fills in the missing parts suggested by the contours of the stripes.

    Plus, with this pose it almost looks like he’s falling over instead of running at us. If you keep that pose, I’d definitely rotate the whole body clockwise 30 degrees more or so.

  49. Kaylin88100:
    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h464/Kaylin88100/Kaylin88100-Frozen_Talon.png
    An entry in last week’s contest. Any suggestions on how I could have improved her?

    I loved this one. I thought the fairy on the flower had more whimsy and fun, but this is a great illustration and, were it a regular week where I was choosing more than one per Finalist, would probably have gone in as well.

    I can’t think of anything to suggest for improvements, I think she’s great as-is.

  50. MisterDinoMan:
    I’m having some trouble with this one.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/05/Bloodraven-update.PNG

    Nice! Solid character design and well-executed portrayal! I especially like the highlights on the cape and belt, and how the background is simple while still giving a good sense of setting.

    The main problem I have is that the placement of his right sword looks weird to me, a little like he’s stabbing himself through the leg or something. Maybe it would help if you angled his arm up just a little more so that part of the blade would show above the leg.

    Now that I think of it, I also agree with Jeff’s assessment of the perspective of the foreground: the angle looks a little like he’s in some sort of rocking skyship.

  51. Cape-Jacker:
    http://i1138.photobucket.com/albums/n533/hannah_gibbs5/MindBot1.png

    Maria Blanchard was an officer in the American army, when a roadside mine blew up the Jeep she and her team were riding. Of the seven men and women, only two survived: the driver, who remarkably emerged unscathed, and Maria, whose legs were blown off. She later lost both of her arms to metal poisoning from imbedded shrapnel. A fighter and an engineer, Maria didn’t let any of this stop her, dictating instructions to fellow soldiers as to how to build replacements.

    The story was a bit quick, although I do hope to eventually expand it. Any feedback, on both story and picture, is welcome!

    The image is really nice, you did a great job with the composition. Really dynamic without being too crazy. I dig the circle elements behind her, that works well.

    My main concern is with the colors for those circles. I think you need something that separates it from the foreground elements, right now the greens and grays are too close to the greens and grays in the figure.

    Also, her arms seem a little listless. Partly that’s just how the items are, but I feel like if there was something on top of the upper arms to beef them up a little more it would work better.

    Great job though, I like it a lot!

  52. Malfar:
    I’ve got some nice characters (a crowd, actually), but I don’t think I can post them here, because they are redesigns of existing ones. So instead every time I participate in an OCD I search through my PC for a character that can’t be a victim of copyright gods. Well, enough with bows and Hello’s, let’s get to the character. You see him on almost every cosplay convent – some random guy whose figure doesn’t suit his costume. Sometimes it’s a skeleton dressed as Superman, or fat lady dressed as Wonder Woman…or this guy.

    http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/129/6/e/batman_cosplay_by_malfar-d4z1ue5.png

    Ha! That’s gonna be me in probably three more years if I keep gaining weight like I have been :-/

  53. Rozenstal: http://cs10821.userapi.com/v10821168/5a7/G0EsHpLcy80.jpg

    Very nice! Ferocious and vicious. I like the tattoos on the torso and the claw feet. The mask/face gets a little hard to see, I think because of the colors all being so close together there, but I don’t know how you’d fix that …

    Anyway, nice job!

  54. McKnight57:
    Here’s the commission and HM concept art for my main villain, Overlord. He’s primarily based on the villainous version of Mr. Majestic from the World’s End storyline of WildCATs.
    Commission: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zwwu1

    Concept: http://mcknighthc.deviantart.com/#/d4zfflh

    I like your character design a lot. And I like the hand-drawn bits of the commissioned sketch very much. I’m not as sold on the Photoshopping bits of it, though — the photo city lights in the background don’t seem to fit with the comic-book style of the character. And the energy effect says “Photoshop filter” too much for me. It’s too bad, I’d like to see what the original line art looked like, since from what I can see it’s pretty rocking.

    It’s still a nice piece, don’t get me wrong, but I like the other stuff you’ve had done more than this one.

  55. TOOL: http://i1224.photobucket.com/albums/ee363/cameron_stanley_84/My%20Characters/TOOL-Mimic.png

    Nice! Love the underside of the gun, that’s a great effect. The item choices and colors are all spot-on as well. A+!

  56. ams: I’ll throw in my 2 cents. The overall sketch at first galnce is great, but a little dark. Is there a reason for the lack of color? I like her pose, but the top half is much stronger than the bottom. I think her left leg is a tad to thin. Foot size doesn’t match either.

    All good points. This is how the author wanted her — solid black, not many details. Agreed on the legs. I did a later revision that has more musculature that looks better where I fixed up some of that.

    Thanks!

  57. Jeff Hebert: I like your character design a lot. And I like the hand-drawn bits of the commissioned sketch very much. I’m not as sold on the Photoshopping bits of it, though — the photo city lights in the background don’t seem to fit with the comic-book style of the character. And the energy effect says “Photoshop filter” too much for me. It’s too bad, I’d like to see what the original line art looked like, since from what I can see it’s pretty rocking.

    It’s still a nice piece, don’t get me wrong, but I like the other stuff you’ve had done more than this one.

    I’ll do my best to get in touch with the artist and post the line art when I can.

  58. Mad Doctor:
    http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/4971/steampunkiberwarior.png

    steampunk ciberwarrior

    Sorry, Grammer Police — it’s cyberwarrior, not ciberwarrior. Sorry, I can’t help it, it’s a sickness.

    The character is neat! I like the idea of a steampunk cyborg. I love all of it except for the human-sized head, which sort of gets lost in the vast expanse of the helmet.

    Great job!

  59. Herr D:
    Wooohoohoooooo–got a different schedule today. At first this was just a junk pic, but it made my wife laugh (tough audience, too.) I know the museum ropes / poles could be improved, but I’m stumped as to how exactly.

    http://i1067.photobucket.com/albums/u438/jamais5/hm3/HerrD-tour.jpg

    Nice!

  60. RobM:
    Jeff,
    During the most recent random name contest, you mentioned that you could picture my Phantom Howler illustration as a DC or Marvel cover, so I thought it would be fun to Photoshop one up.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/robm/2012/05/PhantomHowlerCover.jpg

    Dude, that is outSTANDing! I love love love it; if I saw this sitting on a newsstand I would totally buy it.

  61. logosgal:
    Hmm, I wasn’t going to bother this week because I don’t have much in the works right now, but I guess I’ll go ahead and leave this here. I made it for the last character contest at 3 a.m., so no further explanation needed on the character concept. ;)I guess my main disappointment was with the background: I was going for this sort of hazy, swirly poison cloud thing, which is kind of what I ended up with, but not exactly.

    I agree, the bones are there for a really nice illustration, but it needs a lot of refining. The background cloud is nice (except for the green flame part which seems too regular to be cloud-like). I like the idea and the stuff that’s there, it just needs more time.

  62. Captain_Kicktar:
    http://i891.photobucket.com/albums/ac111/Kicktar/HM/AthenaisZabat.png
    Athenais Zabat, Sun’s Breath Walker.

    Very nice. Clean lines, solid colors, neat tattoo like thingies going on with her limbs. Good job!

  63. Wahoo, I caught up!

  64. Myro: Urban, right? Give him a slender figure, no muscles bulging except with the arm lifting something heavy–and only a little. Dblade: tunic might look better with a stretched pattern as color2 or a pocket bulge. ams? Creepy plumber. Sewer color on purpose? Have him face down a giant rat? MrDino: Several of your overlaps seem slightly off-angle. You might try typing the coordinates in one digit different at a time. It’s more accurate than mousing. Kytana: I want to see him balancing on something! Mad Dr.: I want retractables evident in legs. Climbing spikes or something. Tool: I want puckers or scars around metal. Or stitching? Jeff? What’s sup’ntrl? Fly? Translucent? I just don’t have it demo’ed enuff. I want the mask.

  65. I revised the Tech Gauntlet as demand…er…suggested. :)

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83022&d=1337373556

  66. Incidentally, here’s the revised version of that illustration from earlier. The first one was done from a Greg Land Invisible Woman drawing, this one by my own little sketchy hands. On paper, with pencil, even! Before being digitized and inked in the computer, of course.

    She liked this one way better than the Land-based version which I suppose should teach me something.

  67. dblade:
    I revised the Tech Gauntlet as demand…er…suggested. :)

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83022&d=1337373556

    I think that’s much better, you?

  68. Jeff Hebert:
    OK, here’s one for you all to critique. It’s for a commissioned piece for an author featuring her super-hero/supernatural character. This is just to get the costume designed.

    Here she is with a clear face, and here she is with her hair casting a mask-like shadow. We’ve been going back and forth over whether she should have a mask or not, and a belt/accessories/weapon or not.

    Thoughts?

    I love the attitude in her pose. She looks like she just jumped out from mopping the floor with one thug around a corner or up on a fire escape, and is about to finish off the posse.

    Personally, I like the shadowy face better. It gives her a nice air of sass and mystery, and really makes her beautiful green eyes stand out. She looks too sweet in the other one, especially by comparison. I could see a domino mask being a good idea, as MisterDinoMan suggested; it would be a bit of a shame to miss the expression from those eyebrows, but again I kind of like the mystery that it would bring.

    I’m also getting the superspy vibe from this. If that is what you’re going for, I think at least a small, sleek utility belt would be a good idea, and possibly a weapon, like a small handgun. She could work as is if she has the right kind of innate superpowers, but I’m getting the feeling she’s more the type to fight with at least a few gadgets and/or weapons at her disposal.

    I love her hair. I wish I could get my hair to look that awesome…

  69. Jeff Hebert: I think that’s much better, you?

    I think it’s much better. Thanks! The old one looks like he is carrying a microwave on his arm. :)

  70. It looks like a black widow re design

  71. Jeff Hebert:
    Incidentally, here’s the revised version of that illustration from earlier. The first one was done from a Greg Land Invisible Woman drawing, this one by my own little sketchy hands. On paper, with pencil, even! Before being digitized and inked in the computer, of course.

    She liked this one way better than the Land-based version which I suppose should teach me something.

    I do like the new version better overall. The shading and proportions are more consistent, the hair and face are still excellent, and even though the pose is different, she’s still got that sassy, mysterious action girl look.

    The only beef I have here is her left hand. There’s a weird bulge by her thumb and her fingers look a little too wide for the length. I’m also wondering if her left knee is a little low.

  72. Jeff Hebert: Incidentally, here’s the revised version of that illustration from earlier. The first one was done from a Greg Land Invisible Woman drawing, this one by my own little sketchy hands. On paper, with pencil, even! Before being digitized and inked in the computer, of course.She liked this one way better than the Land-based version which I suppose should teach me something.

    With the previous drawing, I preferred the clear face. With this one, the hair-shadow as a mask totally works.

  73. CapeJacker: I’d love to see her either fighting or with a technician working on her. Kaylin? Does she use those katar on monsters, animals, or people? Some purple blood on the blade would be interesting.

    RobM: there’s really only one way I’ve seen work with the dilemma you have is to pick a plot point. Bright area like spotlights around main dark area where char is nursing a wound or reloading, etc. He can be more visible where no one will see him, right?

  74. Magnus Maximus

    Hey guys, here’s something I threw together last night.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-46naZyEwvlU/T7a6NbZyDbI/AAAAAAAAWx8/KNj8jCgpu_g/s640/MagnusMaximusSatyr%2520Warrior.jpg

    Any tips? I feel like there’s something that needs to be reworked. Maybe you guys could help me find it.

  75. Herr D:
    Wooohoohoooooo–got a different schedule today. At first this was just a junk pic, but it made my wife laugh (tough audience, too.) I know the museum ropes / poles could be improved, but I’m stumped as to how exactly.

    http://i1067.photobucket.com/albums/u438/jamais5/hm3/HerrD-tour.jpg

    Made me laugh, too. :)

    The ropes and poles look pretty good to me, though I guess the ropes could maybe use a stronger outline to be stylistically consistent with the rest of the picture. You may want to upload this as a widescreen image so that the words don’t get cut off. You also may want to layer your words to be underneath your person, because as it is it looks a little like her head is randomly a little see-through there.

  76. Magnus Maximus:
    Hey guys, here’s something I threw together last night.

    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-46naZyEwvlU/T7a6NbZyDbI/AAAAAAAAWx8/KNj8jCgpu_g/s640/MagnusMaximusSatyr%2520Warrior.jpg

    Any tips? I feel like there’s something that needs to be reworked. Maybe you guys could help me find it.

    I’d say it looks good overall. There are only a few bits that might need a little fiddling (and not much of that). The loin cloth seems a little stiff, and I think if you jiggled the quiver around a few pixels so its lines aren’t tangenting the shoulder and ear it would be a little strong. But it’s pretty darn good as-is.

  77. Cliff:
    Jeff or anyone
    amny comments on Vibrogal?

    http://s795.photobucket.com/albums/yy240/Cliff_HM3/Cliff_Vibrogal.png

    Stellar. Love the hair, the outfit, the colors, the special effects. Rockin’.

  78. Magnus Maximus

    Cool. Thanks Jeff. I’ll get on it.

  79. Magnus Maximus: Magnus Maximus says:
    May 18, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    Hey guys, here’s something I threw together last night.
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-46naZyEwvlU/T7a6NbZyDbI/AAAAAAAAWx8/KNj8jCgpu_g/s640/MagnusMaximusSatyr%2520Warrior.jpg
    Any tips? I feel like there’s something that needs to be reworked. Maybe you guys could help me find it.

    I agree with Jeff, the loincloth is a bit stiff.
    Also you might want to give him some eyes,
    and the front faceing thigh might could use a fur pattern, looks a bit bare next to the shaggy side thigh.

  80. McKnight57

    Cliff: I agree with Jeff, the loincloth is a bit stiff.
    Also you might want to give him some eyes,
    and the front faceing thigh might could use a fur pattern, looks a bit bare next to the shaggy side thigh.

    I would say the same thing, but also give him some hair on the chest and arms.

  81. Bit of a first-timer for these open critique days, but was looking for some opinions on this. It’s a mock cover for a novel I’ve been writing (rather, trying to write).

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83008&d=1337323842

  82. First of all, Luc that is awesome silhouette work.

    My character was an entrant into the sodwa contest, a brute

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/04/Vampyrist-Brute.png

  83. I’ve adjusted Thirteen to a more open, forward stance, and I have to tell you, I think it looks a lot better. Few other stylistic changes as well, widened his eyes to look more elvish, and moved his sunglasses up onto his forehead.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83023&d=1337388300

  84. LoneWolf6155

    I have been working on a semi post-apocalyptic mercenary team. I wanted to get your opinion on them so far. Influenced by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl series, Metro 2033, and Far Cry. To be honest, I am still not sure if they will be a group or an assortment of individuals when I am done.

    The first is Shadow. He is the stealthy marksman of the group and often operates alone. I plan to replace his gun with my contest prize.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Shadowpng.png

    The next is Songbird. She is the explorer of the group.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Songbirdpng.png

    Comedian is the group’s jack of all trades.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Comedianpng.png

    Exit is the group’s most experienced member.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Exitpng.png

    The team leader and CQB specialist is Bear.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Bearpng.png

    Finally, Crow is the team’s paramilitary paramedic.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Crowpng.png

    At this point the only two I am truly comfortable with are Shadow and Songbird.

  85. Myro:
    I’ve adjusted Thirteen to a more open, forward stance, and I have to tell you, I think it looks a lot better.Few other stylistic changes as well, widened his eyes to look more elvish, and moved his sunglasses up onto his forehead.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83023&d=1337388300

    My mom (who has all the fancy artist training and talent) happened to see this and had some points: Her biggest problem was with the right arm— the elbow is just a little too low and some of the muscle on his upper arm seems to have inexplicably disappeared. She says the torso and feet look much better, though. And she doesn’t like the saggy pants, but she never likes saggy pants. ;) (She says it makes the waistline ambiguous and that elves are too cool for saggy pants anyway.)

  86. Luclucluc:
    Bit of a first-timer for these open critique days, but was looking for some opinions on this. It’s a mock cover for a novel I’ve been writing (rather, trying to write).

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83008&d=1337323842

    As Vampyrist said, excellent silhouette work! I just have two small suggestions:

    One, the lettering at the top is great, but I feel like the E in “fear” doesn’t stand out as well as the other letters, so it’s a little hard to read. Even though the jagged skyline silhouette is really interesting, I’d say you probably want to get something black behind all the letters. It’s okay to have them stick out onto the white a little, but not too much of the important bits. Also, I personally might prefer using the brightest “RGB Red” in the top left corner of the color palette, to make the words pop that much more, but that’s just me.

    Two, I feel like the guy’s legs get a little confusing as to what is where. Not sure how best to fix that; maybe the straight leg needs to be bent a little so there’s a gap between it and the ground, or maybe the placement of the feet is what’s really bothering me.

    But yeah, great silhouettes! They really go along well with the words to evoke that creepy feel. I especially like his eye and beard.

  87. logosgal: My mom (who has all the fancy artist training and talent) happened to see this and had some points: Her biggest problem was with the right arm— the elbow is just a little too low and some of the muscle on his upper arm seems to have inexplicably disappeared. She says the torso and feet look much better, though. And she doesn’t like the saggy pants, but she never likes saggy pants. (She says it makes the waistline ambiguous and that elves are too cool for saggy pants anyway.)

    Tell your mom she’s right, at least about the right arm. I made a few minor tweaks to fix that problem. Here’s the result:
    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83026&d=1337413809

    The baggy pants are another thing entirely, and they stay because they’re entirely within character. Sure, Thirteen looks a little silly posturing around with his wife-beater shirt and baggy pants, trying to rock Timberland boots that are probably only a size 7. He’s rebelling against a society that has rejected him, man! (Actually, there’s something to this angst. In my world, Elves are exceptionally racist, especially to other Elves.)

  88. logosgal: As Vampyrist said, excellent silhouette work! I just have two small suggestions:

    One, the lettering at the top is great, but I feel like the E in “fear” doesn’t stand out as well as the other letters, so it’s a little hard to read. Even though the jagged skyline silhouette is really interesting, I’d say you probably want to get something black behind all the letters. It’s okay to have them stick out onto the white a little, but not too much of the important bits. Also, I personally might prefer using the brightest “RGB Red” in the top left corner of the color palette, to make the words pop that much more, but that’s just me.

    Two, I feel like the guy’s legs get a little confusing as to what is where. Not sure how best to fix that; maybe the straight leg needs to be bent a little so there’s a gap between it and the ground, or maybe the placement of the feet is what’s really bothering me.

    But yeah, great silhouettes! They really go along well with the words to evoke that creepy feel. I especially like his eye and beard.

    Yeah, I see what you mean. Decided to just switch up the font and colours for the text, and moved the lower leg up a bit to leave a gap as you suggested. I also lowered the city skyline slightly to not be overlapping with the title, as it looks a bit better without that overlap I think.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83027&stc=1&d=1337423379

  89. Luclucluc? That is good silhouette work . . . my primary purpose for picking up a novel with this cover is to understand the interaction btw the book’s hand and the homeless guy. Is that what you were going for?

    Logosgal–yikes. Those were supposed to be the shadows of the tour group & guide. Should words and shadows be separated more?

    LoneWolf: I like Crow best–medic might need more pouches? Vampyrist? Your brute looks great, but his coat needs a bullet hole or something–too intact. Magnus? Is he carrying arrows like a squire, or is his bow hidden? Cliff: Maybe some shaking objects at her feet? Dblade: Much hetter, but keep the old one–a villain’s lackey might NEED to nuke something . . . microwave–that’s funny.

  90. Luclucluc: Yeah, I see what you mean. Decided to just switch up the font and colours for the text, and moved the lower leg up a bit to leave a gap as you suggested. I also lowered the city skyline slightly to not be overlapping with the title, as it looks a bit better without that overlap I think.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83027&stc=1&d=1337423379

    I see the other excellent commenters already chimed in, so I’ll just say you did a great job with the revamp. Looks fantastic!

  91. Vampyrist:
    First of all, Luc that is awesome silhouette work.

    My character was an entrant into the sodwa contest, a brute

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/04/Vampyrist-Brute.png

    Love the face and the overall look of the guy. The orange metal pieces work great as well, giving it a lot of dimensionality and visual interest. The dirty, scarred skin also sells the character concept.

    My only recommendation might be for his left arm, which looks a little thin and withered compared to the beefiness of the rest of the body.

    Otherwise, great job!

  92. Myro:
    I’ve adjusted Thirteen to a more open, forward stance, and I have to tell you, I think it looks a lot better.Few other stylistic changes as well, widened his eyes to look more elvish, and moved his sunglasses up onto his forehead.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83023&d=1337388300

    Agreed, great improvements. Well done, sir!

  93. LoneWolf6155: Comedian is the group’s jack of all trades.

    http://i648.photobucket.com/albums/uu205/LoneWolf6155/LoneWolf6155-Comedianpng.png

    As usual, I only do one per person. So I went for the first one listed that you said you weren’t comfortable with.

    Before even looking at the image, I have some expectations going in because the character’s named “the Comedian”. Given the iconic status of “Watchmen”, that’s something you’ll have to consider — the name comes with some baggage.

    Having said that, the image is really nice. I like all of the upper body, from the hat, beard, cigarette, and gun on out. I don’t really see anything that would tell me why he’s called a comedian, but that’s taken care of through story, I imagine, so no big whoop.

    The only area that might need some adjusting is the lower body. So much of the legs is covered by the coat that they end up seeming a little spindly. Partly that’s because his midriff seems quite large, like he’s got a lot of belly fat. Which might be what you were going for, in which case that’s fine. Regardless, I think either widening the legs or just moving them closer together so you see more of them beneath the coat edges would help ground him better.

    Like I said, though, great job.

  94. OK folks, this brings another edition of OCD to a close. Many thanks to everyone who either shared their creations or their opinions (or both!).

  95. Herr D:
    Logosgal–yikes. Those were supposed to be the shadows of the tour group & guide. Should words and shadows be separated more?

    Oh! That makes more sense, sorry. In that case, you might adjust the alpha on the shadows so that you can see the texture of the wall through them a bit, and maybe layer the ropes above the shadows? That might make them read a little more like shadows to me.