Open Critique Day #46

Don’t worry, we’ll be gentle.

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.

58 Responses to Open Critique Day #46

  1. I have a few I would like to put out there and wonder what I did wrong and what I could do better….
    http://s1180.photobucket.com/albums/x406/blaq_aries/riseabove.png
    http://s1180.photobucket.com/albums/x406/blaq_aries/DeathMachine1.png
    (link removed by Jeff for copyright violations.)
    http://s1180.photobucket.com/albums/x406/blaq_aries/nemesis.png

  2. blaq_aries, I only do one per person, please let me know which (if any) you want my feedback on.

  3. rise above it was the only one I haven’t entered in a contest

  4. blaq_aries:
    I have a few I would like to put out there and wonder what I did wrong and what I could do better….
    http://s1180.photobucket.com/albums/x406/blaq_aries/riseabove.png

    1 The belt buckle is yellow, Yellow draws the eye so, what is important about the buckle?
    2 The background reminds me of an early M Jackson (video rock with you?) {and I hate mentioning this!}
    3 The chains on the wrist don’t match the chains in hand, It makes it look bad. I would have used the chain in hands and masked it to the glove.

  5. Jeff Hebert:
    blaq_aries, I only do one per person, please let me know which (if any) you want my feedback on.

    rise above it was the only one I haven’t entered in a contest

  6. I tried to think up some things that HM might be missing/ or should be added. Comments on any of them are welcome, and sorry for posting so many.

    1 brief bottoms to match this top
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/swim.jpg

    2 Range from full swim suit to brief to match top!
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/swim2.jpg

    3 All over floral in patterns?
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/Patern2.jpg

    4 The same All over floral pattern with vines!
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/Patern.jpg

  7. Blaq_aries: Ok only critique the Rise above. So basic stance some time is important than a heavy pose. The coloring work is solid and good. Very harmonate the color choose. I personally don’t like the full color (brighting) zypping, but if you want that to brighting up the character than i don’t tell everything. I don’t see any big problem, solid character work, with good execution.

    MisterDinoMan: I see this character in the forum, but i haven’t got time to reply for it. So the zypping looks good, i love to want to made the darker shaded parts. The pose is good, maybe i rotate the left hand a little closer for the body, to make the pose more dynamic. The headgear looks good, btw nice work. The insignia in the breath is good, and the color choose is also perfect. Nice picture, great work.

  8. I want to ask critique my Passion, Proof, Power Picture.
    I try out to make picture this type of perspective.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/tarkabarka/2012/08/Harlequin_Passion_Proof_Power.png

  9. KEric, I appreciate the effort, but a) I’m not adding major HM items at this point, and b) that’s not at all the intent of Open Critique Day, which is supposed to be a chance for people who want advice on an illustration they’re creating.

  10. Haven’t participated for awhile in a critique day. Let me have both barrels on this character creation, THE PATRIOT.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/09/THE-PATRIOT.png

    Just watched Captain America, so that is where alot of the inspiration comes from. Been in a creating funk for awhile to busy life, so I said to myself the first thing that comes to my head gets done. Cheers!

  11. KEric: 1 The belt buckle is yellow, Yellow draws the eye so, what is important about the buckle?
    2 The background reminds me of an early M Jackson (video rock with you?) {and I hate mentioning this!}
    3 The chains on the wrist don’t match the chains in hand, It makes it look bad.I would have used the chain in hands and masked it to the glove.

    well I wanted the back round to pop and with the color of the outfit I thought it was a good idea, the belt buckle is yellow because most buckles are either yellow or silver so I thought it was too much silver going on already, the chains are different colors because of lighting, granted I didn’t add any but I wanted to give the perception of lighting in from on the character

  12. Harlequin:
    Blaq_aries: Ok only critique the Rise above. So basic stance some time is important than a heavy pose. The coloring work is solid and good. Very harmonate the color choose. I personally don’t like the full color (brighting) zypping, but if you want that to brighting up the character than i don’t tell everything. I don’t see any big problem, solid character work, with good execution.

    MisterDinoMan: I see this character in the forum, but i haven’t got time to reply for it. So the zypping looks good, i love to want to made the darker shaded parts. The pose is good, maybe i rotate the left hand a little closer for the body, to make the pose more dynamic. The headgear looks good, btw nice work. The insignia in the breath is good, and the color choose is also perfect. Nice picture, great work.

    thanks I have been working on this for a while, I look at the winners and see what I can do better in my work, or even the hall of fame, you can only get better by trying, I like to draw also and I am okay at that but HM is awesome and I appreciate your input

  13. I will say if anyone else would like to critique the others feel free

  14. http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii579/barbario1/barbario-lucha-kaiju.png

    a sort of concept piece for an eventual short film im going to make. luchadore/kaiju.

  15. meniukas:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/08/first-contact.png
    Something feels not done in this, just don’t know what?

    maybe out his right arm in front of the thumb?

  16. Hello everyone…been a while.

    Here’s something I just fiddled with. Something doesn’t seem right but I just can’t put my finger on it.

    http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae274/capttravis/sunsetgirl.jpg

  17. MScat:
    Hello everyone…been a while.

    Here’s something I just fiddled with. Something doesn’t seem right but I just can’t put my finger on it.

    http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae274/capttravis/sunsetgirl.jpg

    lower left shoulder slightly?

  18. http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/258/2/2/ghost_maiden_by_malfar-d5ery4y.jpg

    Something is wrong with the belt area. Will appreciate the feedback

  19. Malfar:
    http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/258/2/2/ghost_maiden_by_malfar-d5ery4y.jpg

    Something is wrong with the belt area. Will appreciate the feedback

    It’s because you have 2 items (her top armor and bottom dress) transparent and overlapping. You need to try and either use some masking techniques to hide that or choose different ietms that fit better together that do not overlap. As soon as you make them transparent and overlap, you will get a more opaque section where they meet.

    Hope this helps. Cheers!

  20. barbario: lower left shoulder slightly?

    U mean the one facing the sun?

  21. MsCat: I like the colouring on that piece a great deal. If there is something that needs fixing I think it’s the pose – the angle of the profile head doesn’t quite go with the angle of her back.

    Moving the head up and back a bit might help (so that her chin is a little less tucked up) but you may have to either work on the back and shoulders a little bit more so that the stance is more open (her right shoulder more towards the viewer), or try and come up with a more angled profile.

    Might be a bit of work but it’s a nice image, so worth the effort.

  22. MScat: U mean the one facing the sun?

    i mean the left. her left shoulder. the shoulder that is her left.

  23. I submitted this for the last contest, and I am rather proud of it. The only bit that bugs me is the shading on the wings because no matter how much I futzed with it it doesn’t look right. Any thoughts?

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/37124436#/d5dtq28

  24. http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k312/theshookman/Tom.png

    I made this in honor of my friend Tom, who’s in the Navy and has been on a submarine for a very long time. Just trying to figure out if he needs anything, or if something isn’t working that I’m missing.

  25. I’m in the early stages of writing a book. It’s a fantasy novel that really plays up realism of the medieval period and down plays typical fantasy motifs. My main character is the captain of a fishing ship. I’ve been doing some research on what clothing he might be wearing, but it’s difficult to find information on fishermen of that era. As a result, I’ve kind of went with clothes that would be fairly warm (out on the ocean), but that hopefully wouldn’t won’t drown him immediately if he went overboard.

    I had tried making him a bit tan, but that didn’t mesh well with the brown colors of his clothes.

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

  26. Here’s my entry for OCD. I’m just about to start on the colouring/zypping but have been putting it off… it’s going to be a long job and I want to make sure I’ve got the basics right. I know the collar’s wrong and there’s some small positional tweaks on the safety harness.. all other suggestions mighty welcome.

    http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj596/largebluecat/Avia0113.png

  27. Jake:
    I’m in the early stages of writing a book.It’s a fantasy novel that really plays up realism of the medieval period and down plays typical fantasy motifs.My main character is the captain of a fishing ship.I’ve been doing some research on what clothing he might be wearing, but it’s difficult to find information on fishermen of that era.As a result, I’ve kind of went with clothes that would be fairly warm (out on the ocean), but that hopefully wouldn’t won’t drown him immediately if he went overboard.

    I had tried making him a bit tan, but that didn’t mesh well with the brown colors of his clothes.

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

    I would say give him sleeves, and I’m a little iffy on the skirt. That and the leggings…good strong concept though.

  28. ams: It’s because you have 2 items (her top armor and bottom dress) transparent and overlapping.You need to try and either use some masking techniques to hide that or choose different ietms that fit better together that do not overlap. As soon as you make them transparent and overlap, you will get a more opaque section where they meet.

    Hope this helps.Cheers!

    thanks! Yeah, I thought something like that, too, I just didn’t know exactly what to do. Anyway, I like this chick the way she is.

  29. i dont understand why people put forth images to be critqued and then argue and make excuses for why something is the way it is. if you dont want to hear the critiques then dont put forth your art. and someone wanna critique mine? i promise not to bitch.

  30. This is a member of a high-tech paintball team that I created. This is a member of the Kenya team.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img689/263/kenyasoldier.png

    Thanks!
    -NHA247

  31. barbario:
    http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii579/barbario1/barbario-lucha-kaiju.png

    a sort of concept piece for an eventual short film im going to make. luchadore/kaiju.

    Hey Barbario! This piece is really cool! I like the pose of both characters but if your trying to make it look like she is punching the robot I would suggest some kind of effect between the fist and the robots face. Maybe like a spark or something like that. Other then that i think its an awesome piece.

  32. MisterDinoMan:
    I could use a second opinion on this one.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/misterdinoman/2012/09/Ion.PNG

    I like the AMS-inspired pose and shading! The costume design is solid, but not exactly exciting. Something about the way the chest piece and leg stripes stop abruptly halfway down puts me off a little, I think. I’d probably also go lower on the alpha of the hand energy effect, as now it muddies up that part a bit.

    Overall a solid effort, though!

  33. blaq_aries:
    rise above it was the only one I haven’t entered in a contest

    I really like the glowing chest insignia, that’s a great effect. It gets the character name across really well and helps anchor the entire image.

    The overall costume design is good. I think the boots don’t quite fit somehow — everything else is tight and sleek, but then you have these big floppy tops that are a little off-putting.

    The belt is decent, but needs to be scaled horizontally a bit so it’s more snug to his waist.

    I like the idea of the wrist chains, but that particular item was drawn really flat and so they don’t look like they’re actually on his wrists — they’d be curved.

    Finally, I think I saw someone ask why the belt buckle was glowing and I’d agree, that really draws attention and makes you wonder why that’s such an important design element. There might be a perfectly valid reason, of course, but it doesn’t come across in this particular rendition.

  34. Harlequin:
    I want to ask critique my Passion, Proof, Power Picture.
    I try out to make picture this type of perspective.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/tarkabarka/2012/08/Harlequin_Passion_Proof_Power.png

    Wow, really nice! I love the character design and his look. The perspective works pretty well, too. And that grass, wow, I can’t imagine the time that must have taken. As an illustration I think you did a great job on it, I like it very much.

    The only tweak I would make is for the swing chains. I think we’re looking at him from above, given the perspective of the body. With that the chains would be angled outward at the tops, towards the vanishing point which would be a fair bit below where his feet are.

    Good job as always!

  35. ams:
    Haven’t participated for awhile in a critique day.Let me have both barrels on this character creation, THE PATRIOT.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/09/THE-PATRIOT.png

    Just watched Captain America, so that is where alot of the inspiration comes from.Been in a creating funk for awhile to busy life,so I said to myself the first thing that comes to my head gets done.Cheers!

    I hear you about busy real life getting in the way. Makes it tough to get any creative time going. Glad to see you back for a bit, though!

    I like this design a lot. The colors and the items are all really cool. The way the side armor is outside the body line a bit is very effective, making it seem like actual armor and not just a suit design. Same thing on that big chest shield.

    Speaking of shields, the energy one throws me a bit. It looks like it’s on the side of his forearm, but that seems like it would hardly ever be useful — it would need to be coming out of the top of his forearm like a physical shield would.

    Other than that minor beef, great job!

  36. barbario:
    http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii579/barbario1/barbario-lucha-kaiju.png

    a sort of concept piece for an eventual short film im going to make. luchadore/kaiju.

    Hah, neat! It’s a fun and eye-catching poster design. The characters are interesting and dynamic.

    As a poster, though, I think you need more clarity between the various levels. You’ve got four basic planes here: Title, Robot, Woman, and Background. The red in the robot eye, though, bleeds directly onto her red cape, confusing those two planes and flattening them out. You’ve again got red in the title, and the background is also full of warm colors.

    You’ve got a grayscale robot, mostly, so either the woman or the background need to be mostly in cool colors (purples, greens, blues, etc.) so they clearly separate visually. If you go warm for the woman, the background would be cool, and vice versa.

    That leaves the problem of the title, which is going to be tough as it overlaps all three other layers. You might have to go with white on that, or something else that’s clearly different than any other color area it touches.

    Hope that helps! Poster design is a whole ‘nother animal from a comics panel or character costume design.

  37. meniukas:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/08/first-contact.png
    Something feels not done in this, just don’t know what?

    I always enjoy your illustrations, you (like Harlequin) have a very distinctive visual “voice”. This is another lovely drawing, with an intriguing main character and interesting scene.

    I think for me what’s missing is a sense of what’s going on in the purple area to the right of the drawing. Is it a cloud, or a glow, or what? The figure is drawing its circle thereabouts, but I don’t know what is happening, really.

    That’s just my impression of it, though, take it for what it’s worth.

  38. MScat:
    Hello everyone…been a while.

    Here’s something I just fiddled with. Something doesn’t seem right but I just can’t put my finger on it.

    http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae274/capttravis/sunsetgirl.jpg

    It’s old home week here! Welcome back, MScat!

    I like this illustration a lot, it has a ton of promise. The colors are very vibrant and engaging, and I like the dynamic layout with her body leaning into the main scene. Her blowing scarf is great.

    It definitely feels unfinished to me, of course. The leaves seem like an afterthought, the sky and lake are empty, and I don’t have any sense of what’s “happening” here. There’s not really a focal point of action or visual interest, so it feels like something ought to be going on somewhere.

    Hope that helps, and welcome back again!

  39. Malfar:
    http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/258/2/2/ghost_maiden_by_malfar-d5ery4y.jpg

    Something is wrong with the belt area. Will appreciate the feedback

    I’ll defer to AMS on this, I think he nailed it.

    Other than that, very cool looking beginning to the illustration here.

  40. Monalux:
    I submitted this for the last contest, and I am rather proud of it. The only bit that bugs me is the shading on the wings because no matter how much I futzed with it it doesn’t look right. Any thoughts?

    http://monalux.deviantart.com/gallery/37124436#/d5dtq28

    Hi Monalux!

    I think overall it’s a very nice image, you’re right to be proud of it.

    On the wings, I get hung up on the fact that the wings don’t match. But I’m just going to assume that you have a reason for it, and move on.

    The shading problem on the bat-wing side for me is that usually the center part that you have highlighted would be in shadow, assuming the wing’s half-folded. You might try making that dark instead of a highlight. The gradient circle might need to be spread out a bit horizontally, too.

    The bird wing doesn’t seem as off to me, but if it bothers you, you might try moving the highlights to our right, so they’re on the outer edge of each feather instead of in the middle. Having them where they are now makes the viewer think the center of each feather is convex, while having it on the edge would seem more natural given how bird wings are usually layered.

  41. The Shookman:
    http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k312/theshookman/Tom.png

    I made this in honor of my friend Tom, who’s in the Navy and has been on a submarine for a very long time. Just trying to figure out if he needs anything, or if something isn’t working that I’m missing.

    Be sure to thank Tom for his service next time y’all chat! All of use civilians appreciate it very much.

    I really like the illustration. The character design is great, simple but very effective. I like the colors, the items, and the overall effect. Well done!

    The only bit that bothers me is his right hand, the one holding the spiked ball. It’s turned reeeaaally far outward, to the point that it seems uncomfortable. I probably don’t have a hand where you can see it from the pinky side, though, do I? That’s really what it needs.

    As far as anything missing? Maybe a cape or a weapon strapped to his back, or something along those lines? But it’s not something that I think HAS to be there, he looks pretty good as-is.

  42. Thanks everybody great tips. Gonna use them and try and tweak the image around. Thanks again

  43. Jake:
    I’m in the early stages of writing a book.It’s a fantasy novel that really plays up realism of the medieval period and down plays typical fantasy motifs.My main character is the captain of a fishing ship.I’ve been doing some research on what clothing he might be wearing, but it’s difficult to find information on fishermen of that era.As a result, I’ve kind of went with clothes that would be fairly warm (out on the ocean), but that hopefully wouldn’t won’t drown him immediately if he went overboard.

    I had tried making him a bit tan, but that didn’t mesh well with the brown colors of his clothes.

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

    I think he looks pretty good. He seems like he’d be on a very profitable fishing vessel, though — my impression is that most of your runaday fishermen are a somewhat ragged bunch.

    For me, he needs some other non-brown color on him somewhere. Even a white shirt, or a red kerchief, something to break up the palette a bit. He’s just awfully washed up.

    But I like what he has on, and he looks like a complete character, don’t get me wrong.

  44. fuzztone:
    Here’s my entry for OCD. I’m just about to start on the colouring/zypping but have been putting it off… it’s going to be a long job and I want to make sure I’ve got the basics right. I know the collar’s wrong and there’s some small positional tweaks on the safety harness.. all other suggestions mighty welcome.

    http://i1269.photobucket.com/albums/jj596/largebluecat/Avia0113.png

    Nice! Love the character design and pose, really well done. It has a very Buck Rogers by way of Japanimation cartoons from my childhood feel to it.

    I’d like to see a little color variation in the helmet, I feel like the stripe or the wing or something needs to be white. And similarly, I want her wings and her jumpsuit to be different shades of blue rather than identical — one is metal and the other is fabric, they ought to reflect light differently.

  45. Aaron: http://i1107.photobucket.com/albums/h385/R_A_F/HEROMACHINE/Science%20Fiction%20Characters/HUnter2.jpg

    I like the character design and clothing. The setting is appropriate, too, so overall I give it a thumbs-up.

    For me the issue is the coloring. It’s really hard to make out the character from the sky, especially, and the ground as well. Everything’s in the same general color range and as such, I struggle differentiating the figure/ground relationship.

  46. NHA247:
    This is a member of a high-tech paintball team that I created. This is a member of the Kenya team.

    http://imageshack.us/a/img689/263/kenyasoldier.png

    Thanks!
    -NHA247

    Fun! I like the pose and overall look of the guy. I feel like the fur or fuzz collar (assuming that’s what it is) around his neck should be a different color from the metal parts of the armor, though. And while I like the idea of the potion tubes being on his legs, the way they’re drawn doesn’t fit the direction of the thighs. The tubes are pointing towards the viewer, while the thighs are going back into the torso.

    Good job though!

  47. OK everyone, I’m caught up and worn out. This edition of OCD is now closed. Have fun tonight!

  48. I’d like a critique on a character named Raptor, an aerokinetic martial artist.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/09/Raptor-I.png

  49. thanks for the tips!

  50. Jeff Hebert: Be sure to thank Tom for his service next time y’all chat! All of use civilians appreciate it very much.

    I really like the illustration. The character design is great, simple but very effective. I like the colors, the items, and the overall effect. Well done!

    The only bit that bothers me is his right hand, the one holding the spiked ball. It’s turned reeeaaally far outward, to the point that it seems uncomfortable. I probably don’t have a hand where you can see it from the pinky side, though, do I? That’s really what it needs.

    As far as anything missing? Maybe a cape or a weapon strapped to his back, or something along those lines? But it’s not something that I think HAS to be there, he looks pretty good as-is.

    Yeah I was trying to get that to work and I just couldn’t. That was the best hand I could put there.

  51. critiques to follow.
    In addition to picture critique, how would you describe this woodcarver?

    http://i1067.photobucket.com/albums/u438/jamais5/hm3/TheCarving.jpg

    Thanx.

  52. Shookman: Actually, lower the rt arm for a heavier look to the spiked ball and experiment with the scale upwards. He doesn’t want it too close to his elbow anyway.
    Vampyrist: I think we should see him interact with a weapon or an opponent for clarity. A regular action pose might be too vague for this concept.
    Fuzztone: You know what people leave out of a flying character’s pic? A shadow of them way, way down on the ground and slightly distorted.

  53. barbario: luchadore/kaiju.

    Love it! Amazing perspective, great color selection, she have a sister? ;9

    meniukas: First Contact

    Awesome! One of the most original designs that I have ever seen not just in Hero Machine. I so want to see this made into a movie!

    fuzztone: Avia

    Sci-Fi goes Art Deco! Very reminiscent of 1930s Flash Gordon matinees. My only quibble is the boots don’t quite match. That really can’t be helped given her pose and there is no equivalent Item. The fact that her right boot has the dangling ties shows how much thought you put into her design. I like that her wings extend outside of the frame.