Open Critique Day #45

My full-time (non-HeroMachine) job might keep me from actually getting to these before this evening, 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.

50 Responses to Open Critique Day #45

  1. Remember that time a little while back when I requested help in designing the clothing for one of my characters? Well, I decided on how to clothe her, and I’ve got a drawing of her all done and ready to critique! And before you ask, yes, her legs are proportionally accurate.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/jadebrain/2012/08/Kitsana-Finished.png

  2. Some lineart (hence the lack of shading apart from the scribbles neck which I did out of habit) that I’m planning to ink and colour as soon as I get some new pens. Before that though, I’m wondering if there’s anything that needs touching up or modifying:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/trekkie/2012/08/ArmourLineart.jpg
    The pose if based off one I found in ‘How to draw comics the Marvel way’, so the placement of the feet and her left (our right) arm is roughly how it was in the book, but I’m wondering if it looks a bit odd.
    The stripe on the side of her collar was originally meant just to be guide for when I’m shading, so I know not to colour that bit in black, but it ended up looking like a coloured stripe instead, and so do you think it would work if I turned it into that and made it extend down the sleeve?

  3. By the way Jeff, if there is anything you think needs altering or changing, feel free to download it onto a photo-editing program and show me.

  4. fudgee:
    what do you think?
    http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/5025/fudgeeqd1.png

    A good attempt at a back view, but the hairline looks slightly odd.

  5. MisterDinoMan:
    I could use a second opinion on this one.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/08/Red-Fist.PNG

    Nice posing, but the belt is too big and the shading on the red areas is very obvious and distracting. Try lowering the alpha value.

  6. alphaalpharomeo:
    http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/dhabirunner/KentuckyFriedChicken.jpg

    Nice concept, and I think it works well, but it’s kind of strange that his shirt is the same colour as his skin.

  7. Jadebrain:
    Remember that time a little while back when I requested help in designing the clothing for one of my characters? Well, I decided on how to clothe her, and I’ve got a drawing of her all done and ready to critique! And before you ask, yes, her legs are proportionally accurate.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/jadebrain/2012/08/Kitsana-Finished.png

    I like it, especially the face and whatever gadget she’s looking at, but I think her left arm (our right) could maybe do with some more shading, as it looks quite white compared to the other arm.

    I also think the lower half of the outfit is much better than the top half, but that’s just my personal opinion.

  8. fudgee:
    what do you think?
    http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/5025/fudgeeqd1.png

    It looks good, but like Kaylin88100, I think these over-the-shoulder profile shots are really hard to pull off due to the way the items are drawn. The only way for a head to be rotated that far over so that the ears and eyes are where they are and as little of the back of the neck is showing as we have here, the neck would have to be broken. Or he’s starring in “The Exorcist”.

    So, the colors are great and I like the guy’s design, but unfortunately you’re being undermined by the weaknesses of the base drawings.

  9. Bobby Scatigna

    MisterDinoMan: I could use a second opinion on this one.http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/08/Red-Fist.PNG

    I think you might wana give the crotch another look.I would say bring it up or pull the thighs down some other than that I like the character and the pose is cool too!

  10. MisterDinoMan:
    I could use a second opinion on this one.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/08/Red-Fist.PNG

    Nifty! I like the pose and the costume design. For me the two areas that aren’t as successful are the mask and the staff. The mask doesn’t quite match up to the head position and so looks almost like it’s slipping off. And the staff doesn’t seem to really be held in the hand since it’s essentially on top of the fingers.

  11. alphaalpharomeo:
    Kentucky Fried Chicken

    Cute! I would definitely buy whatever this guy told me too. Although wouldn’t that make him a cannibal?

    As far as an illustration, I agree with Kaylin88100 that the main problem is the same gray used for the head, shirt, and wings. I think you at least need different shades of gray if not three totally different colors.

  12. I posted this on the forums and had mixed feedback, so I’d like a few more people’s opinion. This was the original image I made, of a Fortune Teller:
    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h464/Kaylin88100/FortuneTeller.png

    This was a revised version after some feedback:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/kaylin88100/2012/08/Night-Circus-Fortune-Teller-1.3.png

    Which one is better? I just don’t know…

  13. Jadebrain:
    Remember that time a little while back when I requested help in designing the clothing for one of my characters? Well, I decided on how to clothe her, and I’ve got a drawing of her all done and ready to critique! And before you ask, yes, her legs are proportionally accurate.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/jadebrain/2012/08/Kitsana-Finished.png

    Are her legs proportionally accurate? Just kidding.

    I like the clothing! I think it all works well and it’s clear what’s what. The body design is good, too, she looks like a real creature. Overall it’s an excellent drawing.

    The only nit I’d pick would be with the vials, which I think should be moved over to our left a bit more so the tops jut out from the body instead of having the edges touch. And I don’t quite get the weapon she’s using, but I’m assuming it’s some sort of buzz saw type of thing?

    Anyway, good job!

  14. Bobby Scatigna

    Jadebrain: Remember that time a little while back when I requested help in designing the clothing for one of my characters? Well, I decided on how to clothe her, and I’ve got a drawing of her all done and ready to critique! And before you ask, yes, her legs are proportionally accurate.http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/jadebrain/2012/08/Kitsana-Finished.png

    I have seen her before on your thread and I really like the style and the cool tool belt(pouch)shin guards are cool too.really ya just need more definition and detail,but great idea behind her.Can’t wait till’ her completion.

  15. Trekkie:
    Some lineart (hence the lack of shading apart from the scribbles neck which I did out of habit) that I’m planning to ink and colour as soon as I get some new pens. Before that though, I’m wondering if there’s anything that needs touching up or modifying:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/trekkie/2012/08/ArmourLineart.jpg
    The pose if based off one I found in ‘How to draw comics the Marvel way’, so the placement of the feet and her left (our right) arm is roughly how it was in the book, but I’m wondering if it looks a bit odd.
    The stripe on the side of her collar was originally meant just to be guide for when I’m shading, so I know not to colour that bit in black, but it ended up looking like a coloured stripe instead, and so do you think it would work if I turned it into that and made it extend down the sleeve?

    Very cool! It looks excellent, you did a great job with it. The pose looks solid to me.

    On the collar, I think you could go either way with it and it would look good. That kind of black on black with a highlight is always tricky to ink. I would not extend it under the standing collar part and down her arm, though, I think that would make me wonder what that collar is. Currently it seems like she has an undershirt with the collar and armor all being of a piece, I don’t see how the undershirt would be showing on the arms. And if the sleeves are actually part of the undershirt, then they ought to be black. Which would be ok, I guess, meaning she’s got some sort of upper chest/shoulder pad/stiff collar armor on. That would work.

  16. Kaylin88100: Which one is better? I just don’t know…

    Personally, I think the new version is much stronger. The hair color stands out a lot more and gives the whole image more depth, as does the darker background. I like all of the changes except for the gray headband, largely because if it’s tied to her head over the veil/hood, the cloth of the hood would be pinched in where it’s bound by the headband. But the item’s not drawn that way. So I’d remove it. Then I think it’d be about perfect!

  17. Yeah, the shading on her left (our right) arm was done in the drawing itself, but the scan kinda left it lighter than it should have been. I tried correcting it in Paint.NET, but I’m not very good at that sort of thing. As for the weapon, it’s pretty much a 1-handed version of the Auto-Axe from Fallout 3.

  18. I was gonna go with this not-so-serious entry to the Spaceship contest, but made a new one from scratch instead.

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

  19. I made this picture ago when i out to inspiration to think out a new idea. I remade few interesting characters. I drop a D10 to choose wich character i ask qritique. So the d10 show 10 and 10th picture is Legatus remaded Whalesinger, the pregnant female villain in a ecoterroris group.

    http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/201/6/5/whalesinger_tribute__by_tarkarra-d57zas5.png

    (In the forum everyone find the original version of the character in Legatus thread, and thanks for the permission.)

  20. Jeff Hebert: Very cool! It looks excellent, you did a great job with it. The pose looks solid to me.

    On the collar, I think you could go either way with it and it would look good. That kind of black on black with a highlight is always tricky to ink. I would not extend it under the standing collar part and down her arm, though, I think that would make me wonder what that collar is. Currently it seems like she has an undershirt with the collar and armor all being of a piece, I don’t see how the undershirt would be showing on the arms. And if the sleeves are actually part of the undershirt, then they ought to be black. Which would be ok, I guess, meaning she’s got some sort of upper chest/shoulder pad/stiff collar armor on. That would work.

    Thanks Jeff! I guess it wasn’t entirely clear which bits were armour and which were undershirt. But yes, the sleeves are meant to be part of the undershirt.
    I think I’ll try experimenting a bit and seeing the best way of inking the undershirt collar and the inside of the neck armour without having them blend into each other before tackling the final piece.

  21. A being always divided, gets power from indecision of those it half-possesses.

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

  22. Diga, did you deliberately or accidentally make one disk higher than the other? Meniukas, I like the leaf groupings, but if you are not going to make all three colors the same, you might make #2 darker once or twice to randomize the foliage a bit. I was ready to hear abt how he shot a deer on the way home for his supper.

  23. Skybandit: you mean USS EGOCENTRIZE. And good camp. Trekkie? yours could be titled “how to pick up your missing contact in a neck brace!” great pose-turn those troublesome bits into uniform chevrons or something. Harlequin: I can see how she got pregnant . . . um–I mean she’s pretty. What is she sitting on?

  24. Mr. Dino: good pose–what about a dojo background? Kaylin: I really do think of these two as two radically different people inside. Jadebrain: your lissome Kanganoid turned out well–Jeff brings up an interesting point–is that supposed to be spinning or a rotation speedloader or a rotation muzzle alternator or an antenna? Each makes a certain amount of sense, but most of them could use surrounding lines to make force, direction, energy, or temperature clear.

  25. aar: The chicken lawyer does need some feather patterning or different grays–and it might be funny to give him Col. Sanders glasses.

    Fudgee! You wouldn’t have to move the head or neck if you lower the left arm and use ‘silhouette’ hair items (colors 1-3 same) to heavily wrinkle the left shoulder and neck area of garment.

  26. Herr D:
    Trekkie?… great pose-turn those troublesome bits into uniform chevrons or something.

    The lower bits of the shoulderpads? If so, my intention was that the shoulder armour be segmented -hence the line separating the two bits-, but maybe I should try and make the whole ‘segmented’ thing a bit clearer, otherwise they do look a little impractical. Making them uniform chevrons isn’t a bad idea either though. I still like the segmented shoulder armour though, since it would protect more of the upper arm, so I’ll probably go with using a different colour for the lower parts.

  27. Skybandit:
    I was gonna go with this not-so-serious entry to the Spaceship contest, but made a new one from scratch instead.

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

    Ha, very nice! I would say the nacelles and the saucer look to be at a different angle than the body of the ship, but it’s an impressive collection.

  28. Harlequin:
    I made this picture ago when i out to inspiration to think out a new idea. I remade few interesting characters. I drop a D10 to choose wich character i ask qritique. So the d10 show 10 and 10th picture is Legatus remaded Whalesinger, the pregnant female villain in a ecoterroris group.

    http://fc05.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/201/6/5/whalesinger_tribute__by_tarkarra-d57zas5.png

    (In the forum everyone find the original version of the character in Legatus thread, and thanks for the permission.)

    Good job on the face, the pose, and the overall layout. I like her expression and her outfit, and sitting in the pool is a cool touch.

    I feel like edge between where the water meets her legs could use some softening or ripples or something. With it being ruler-straight, it loses the effect of water, which should conform to the contour of the limb and also have some movement to it.

    The other bit I noticed is that I feel like the sun needs to be less of a diffuse glow and/or have more of a defined center. Maybe an actual yellow disk, possibly with the alpha set to 80% or something, about three or four times the size of the current core? Right now it reads less as “the sun” and more as sort of a spotlight.

    Good job on the image, though, it has a nice mood and effect.

  29. meniukas:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/08/Wich-hunter2.PNG
    What do you think.

    Very cool! I love the overall composition and the costume on the main figure a lot. The colors are pretty solid as well, the whole thing has a real emotional impact.

    The only part I might tweak just a little is in the blue you’re using for the sword and some similar bits of metal. It’s too aqua for me, I’d like to see something with a little more gray in it, like a #d4e0e9 or somewhere in that range.

    Great job on it, though, I really like it.

  30. Diga:
    Jericho

    http://fav.me/d41brm1

    I like both costume designs a lot. They have style and look pretty bad-ass.

    My main issue is with the coloring. The maroon and the purple are very close in value, and it makes it a little hard to see what’s going on. One of those needs to lighten up quite a bit to make the design pop more.

    Nicely done on the costume and character design!

  31. Herr D:
    A being always divided, gets power from indecision of those it half-possesses.

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

    Man, I wish *I* got power from being undecided. I’d be freaking Superman!

    I like each of the two halves separately — good colors, good character designs, good composition — but I don’t really buy them combined like this. They’re just SO disparate, with nothing really tying them together except that they’re both bisected, that I get more of a “chaos” sort of vibe than “ambivalence”.

  32. I wanted to make something looking like hologram. Like, a guy presses a button on his wrist-computer, and zzzap – this glowing fella appears in the air. But everything I tried seemd odd or awkward. So if all my previous OCD entries were just to show everyone just who I am and what can I do, now I really need an advice on how to make this thing look more…more something.
    http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/237/d/e/oracle_by_malfar-d5cdzwr.jpg

  33. Rozenstal: http://cs304403.userapi.com/v304403168/1f66/NzFrO0gqWHg.jpg

    I like it! The two-tone color scheme works really well, giving him definition without being too cluttered. I like his pose and the way the jacket hangs nonchalantly off of him.

    My only hesitation might be in his hat logo. “BM” in the US usually means “Bowel Movement”. So … yeah.

  34. Malfar:
    I wanted to make something looking like hologram. Like, a guy presses a button on his wrist-computer, and zzzap – this glowing fella appears in the air. But everything I tried seemd odd or awkward. So if all my previous OCD entries were just to show everyone just who I am and what can I do, now I really need an advice on how to make this thing look more…more something.
    http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/237/d/e/oracle_by_malfar-d5cdzwr.jpg

    Two things immediately spring to mind. One, the line color needs to be at least somewhat transparent, not just the inside parts. I like how you’ve doubled the head, but I think if the alphas on the inside head were half what the outside head is, that would help as well.

    Second, I think maybe you either need more of the body or at least some sort of projection cone to tie the head to the wrist unit. Otherwise it’s not clear the two are related.

  35. Here is a cavalryman I was working on after seeing Rio Grande. I would like to know if I can improve him in any way and I’m always open to criticism.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/08/Silas-Marshall.png

  36. Captain_Kicktar

    http://i891.photobucket.com/albums/ac111/Kicktar/HM/Renzate3.png
    Renzate is guardian of the dwarves, and master of illusionary magic, generally masquerading as a normal-ish looking dwarf.

  37. Kaylin88100:
    I posted this on the forums and had mixed feedback, so I’d like a few more people’s opinion. This was the original image I made, of a Fortune Teller:
    http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h464/Kaylin88100/FortuneTeller.png

    This was a revised version after some feedback:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/kaylin88100/2012/08/Night-Circus-Fortune-Teller-1.3.png

    Which one is better? I just don’t know…

    The only change I see between them is a head band, So I’d say, it’s a tie. I PERSONALLY think that the grey tones don’t capture the gypsy spirit, their– Joie de Vivre’s (I could be wrong!) If it were me I’d make the vale more transparent, the lips and maybe the sash red, and maybe a soft green or blue on the carpet and drape. Still great for greytone!

  38. A really cool jump suit I think would be well received on Star Trek:

    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/mine.jpg

  39. Vampyrist:
    Here is a cavalryman I was working on after seeing Rio Grande. I would like to know if I can improve him in any way and I’m always open to criticism.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/08/Silas-Marshall.png

    I think it looks pretty good overall. He comes off as a bit stiff or awkward with both arms held like that … maybe flip his right arm so both hands are palm-out with the guns pointing away from him?

    Also, the combination of the eye and the face almost makes him look like he’s embarrassed. I think a more downward pointing or serious eyebrow position would help with that.

    Finally, I’d go with a darker brown for the scabbard, and I’d move the background box down about 40% lower than it is.

    He looks good, though, it’s all just tweaking.

  40. Captain_Kicktar:
    http://i891.photobucket.com/albums/ac111/Kicktar/HM/Renzate3.png
    Renzate is guardian of the dwarves, and master of illusionary magic, generally masquerading as a normal-ish looking dwarf.

    Something about the proportions on this one seem off to me. Had I not know he was a dwarf going in, I’d have thought he was really big, like a troll. It might be the waist, and it seems like the head is a lot bigger, proportionally, on a dwarf than it is here.

    I’m also not digging on the colors. The grays all sort of wash him out. A two-tone color scheme can work, but here it almost makes him look more like he’s made out of stone like a statue.

  41. KEric:
    A really cool jump suit I think would be well received on Star Trek:

    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/mine.jpg

    Yes, I could definitely see that on Trek! I like the outfit quite a bit.

    In terms of an overall illustration, I’d probably want to see the colors of the environment differ more from the colors in the clothing. Everything just sort of flattens out as-is.

  42. OK folks, this edition of OCD is now closed! Thanks for playing along.

  43. MisterDinoMan:
    I could use a second opinion on this one.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/08/Red-Fist.PNG

    No offence, but his groin is HUGE !