Open Critique Day #47

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 #47

  1. This one is hot off the press! This is an old character of mine that I revisited for an update.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/ams/2012/09/RED-FOX-Sept-2012.png

    I’m concerned with the right arm with my first attempt with the “in your face” pistol. Does it work? To short? Right perspective? Let me know, fellow machineheads!

    Cheers!

  2. My current project is taking Holyoke sidekicks and growing them up for a ’50’s Red Scare team-up. Cat-Man’s Kitten is now the Golden Cat, and I grafted bigger boobs onto the figure to emphasize that she’s fully grown now. My roommate thinks I went too far, but with DC’s Power Girl and Phantom Lady around, is it too much by comic book standards?

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/GoldenCat.png

  3. http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/272/5/1/the_horror_by_malfar-d5g8scu.jpg

    Actually I wanted to create a redesign of an existing character, but it ended up looking so alternate that great Copyright Gods may not notice.

  4. AMS – I think the perspective is good. I don’t see anything what not correct. Maybe made badass more the character if you made the coat collar bigger. – Nice illustration

    Skybandit – I don’t think so. In the comics more prefer the big boobs. So the design very clean and nice. I think a little detail in the cloth is missing. – For me a little bit plain. The cape is very good. Nice picture.

    Rozenstal – The desing is clean and nice. The pose is good. I think the black coat is not bad but i change the color for red (red jacket) :D – Nice work.

    Malfar – I don’t know wich character so i speak freely for this. I think the armor is good, the colors are harmonazing. For me the head is a little confused. The color scheme for the head is not perfect for me. – I think overally this is a good piece but me the helmet is not correct.

    (This my critique wait for Jeff and the other what they advice.)

  5. I want to ask critique for this picture.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/tarkabarka/2012/09/Harlequin_Luc_Jessica-Arctique_Request.png

    I made for Luc when he/she request.

    The character’s name is “Jessica Arctique”, a former super-criminal that achieved a sort of celebrity status with her reputation (Similar to the sort of reputation the characters of Saints Row 3 have, if you’re familiar with that game). Despite being a ruthless criminal with enough brute strength to throw trucks around, she’s a very friendly and occasionally flirtatious person. She’s currently retired from crime to run “The Greenhorn Pub”, a bar she bought using money from her days as a criminal

    (This is the description what Luc gives me.)

  6. http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii579/barbario1/Barbario-Zog-Ommoth.jpg

    so tonight is the last session of D&d before we take a hiatus so i wanted to do something special. so i created the above monster. it is a some kinda sea-monster. the outer shell is a hard stone-like substance the creature secretes. when the tentacles are mature enoough they break thru. the luminescence is to draw prey. they give off electric shock then draw the stunned prey to the creatures mouth. it has no head really just the mouth. the tentacles sense creatures in the water around it. it is worshiped as a god by some fish-men, who are gonna summon it to attack the heroes. it is 40 feet tall.
    Now when they have damaged the outer shell enough it will slough off and reveal what it really looks like underneath. (I KNOW THAT ITS ONLY ONE CRITIQUE PER PERSON BUT IT GOES WITH THE OTHER PICTURE)

    only the mature tentacles can glow and shock.

    http://i1260.photobucket.com/albums/ii579/barbario1/Zog-Ommoth2.jpg

  7. @ barbario – I like the design of the creature in both modes. What I advise is to “strengthen” would be it’s mouth. Placement and construction. You stated that it has no head, so I would center it more in the torso, like an octopus. See with mouth items, or even go in the alien head dept and see if you can “monster” up the mouth more. It looks like and eating machine, so make the focus more at the mouth. Great creature! Cheers!

    @Jeff- you can delete the post before this due to it being a repeat. I used the quote option and it put my comment into awaiting moderation.

  8. @ ams… you are totally right. i couldnt make the mouth any bigger or i would have put it in the middle. looked too small there. thanks for the critique

  9. @Harlequin: Your design for Luc’s character is really cool. I particularly like the background, and the way you make your character’s noses (the side view) is impressive. Noses are always difficult for me…

  10. Hi AMS

    I think you’re right to be pondering the right arm position. IMHO it’s too far out and needs to come back towards the body, almost to the shoulder. While the anatomy of the character is fine, at present it’s an odd way to be holding a gun; almost as if he’s got the wrist bent inwards. Moving the arm in would also make the pose stronger; with the line of the eyes it would look as if he was holding the gun at the viewer, whilst using the second to ward off some unseen attacker. Everything else about him is great, though.

  11. Let me know what you think of this one. it’s my latest, and as you can see I tried a little more with backgrounds. Sorry I made two comments in a row, by the way.

    http://i1153.photobucket.com/albums/p501/Asgardian22/Hudson-AGoodTimetoRUN.png

  12. Skybandit:
    My current project is taking Holyoke sidekicks and growing them up for a ’50′s Red Scare team-up.Cat-Man’s Kitten is now the Golden Cat, and I grafted bigger boobs onto the figure to emphasize that she’s fully grown now.My roommate thinks I went too far, but with DC’s Power Girl and Phantom Lady around, is it too much by comic book standards?

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/GoldenCat.png

    I don’t have any problems with the boobs, but I think somehow the hips don’t look mature enough. I’d try something like this:
    https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-prGGH6KmV6c/UGXv6BSkXWI/AAAAAAAAFIg/9yL33B4Yqvc/s800/hm3-beta.png

  13. The Atomic Punk

    barbario: Zog-Ommoth

    Disgusting (I like it!). I think everyone’s covered the mouth. Maybe put a ship in there or a bird. Something that won’t take away from the monster but still add a sense of scale.

    Hudson: Let me know what you think of this one. it’s my latest, and as you can see I tried a little more with backgrounds. Sorry I made two comments in a row, by the way.http://i1153.photobucket.com/albums/p501/Asgardian22/Hudson-AGoodTimetoRUN.png

    Hilarious! I would try having the dragon’s hands holding on to the rails. As if it were scaling the bridge. The way its arms are positioned now, he looks to massive to even fit on it.

  14. Here is a character I’d like to get critiqued. He is Excalibur, the most recent wielder of the blade and he is an English hero.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/09/Excalibur-I.png

  15. @Vampyrist: Nice! I really like the sword and the energy tendrils around it. The face is also really expressive. All I would say is, maybe the colors are a touch too bright? And I think outlining his outfit in black would give him a more “muscular” feel. But all in all, a really cool picture! :smile:

  16. Since Jeff, and the Heromachine community at large, are so adept at picking apart elements of superhero costumes, I have chosen to humbly submit my DC Universe Online toon to the chopping block.
    http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/m612/wierdrocks/Mialanous.png

    Name: Mialanous
    Name Origin: “Mia” is Latin for mind and “Nous” is Greek. And there’s “La”… for fun!
    Power set: Telepathy, with an emphasis on illusion
    Weapon: Bow and mental arrows she creates with her MIND (Aren’t I creative :D)
    Movement method (how she gets around Gotham City): Acrobatics, basically free running and grappling hooks. Very Bat-Family.

  17. Ok, last time I tried this photobucket was being stupid.

    Anyway, this: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/Mass%20Effect%20Fan%20Fiction/GalacticStrikeForce.png is a progression piece of the same character dangling from a bar a few OCDs ago. I’m still writing a Mass Effect Fan fiction, (don’t worry, this is an original character) and I’ve been doing these as a way to demonstrate how the character develops.

    What I wanted to do here was mainly the culmination of my experimentations in the glow effect (biotics on the right hand, omni-blade on the other). It’s gotten to the point that I’m afraid to touch anything anymore.

    Any ideas are welcome (including but not limited to color scheme; which I’ve learned I’m bad at.)

  18. With the help of Photoshop, a paperback novelization of my entry from the Character Design Contest 100.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/robm/2012/09/Phantom-in-the-Dark-Novelization-RobM.png

  19. Heyla!

    This is a character I entered in the SODWA contest…redone. She was too plain. So, this is my first attempt at things in the shadows. Is there more I can do to amp it up? The hands on the left is supposed to be lighted up…but if something else can be done?

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l274/Healingbear/HM/Thundersong-YeThouIWalk.png

    Thanks for the input!

  20. Thundersong:
    Heyla!

    This is a character I entered in the SODWA contest…redone. She was too plain.So, this is my first attempt at things in the shadows.Is there more I can do to amp it up?The hands on the left is supposed to be lighted up…but if something else can be done?

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l274/Healingbear/HM/Thundersong-YeThouIWalk.png

    Thanks for the input!

    This is a really great illustration, overall, I really like it.
    Though, the arms on the middle figure appear to be going through each other. It’s as if the hands aren’t actually connected to the wrists.
    I agree that the hands need a little somethin-somethin. Perhaps adding forearms? Suggestion.

  21. I was thinking of something like this as a cover to a time travel book
    http://ihttp://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/torn3.jpg

  22. OK folks, I’m going to jump in now. But it’s late, I’m tired, and I have to be up at like 4:30 tomorrow morning, so I’ll probably be very brief.

  23. ams: I’m concerned with the right arm with my first attempt with the “in your face” pistol. Does it work? To short? Right perspective? Let me know, fellow machineheads!

    I love it! The right arm looks great to me, and the whole thing is your usual quality product.

  24. Skybandit:
    My current project is taking Holyoke sidekicks and growing them up for a ’50′s Red Scare team-up.Cat-Man’s Kitten is now the Golden Cat, and I grafted bigger boobs onto the figure to emphasize that she’s fully grown now.My roommate thinks I went too far, but with DC’s Power Girl and Phantom Lady around, is it too much by comic book standards?

    http://i1018.photobucket.com/albums/af309/skybandit/GoldenCat.png

    Looks good! And I don’t think it’s too far, as you say, in a world where Power Girl is flying around. The place where the red cape intersects with the red nails on her right hand bothers me a bit as that creates a bit of a visual logjam, but I love the redesign.

  25. Rozenstal:
    http://cs309318.userapi.com/v309318168/3225/-KwpQBWMFaU.jpg
    Willain from England.

    I like the design of the character, but the way the flag lines are so straight even though they’re sitting on top of a curved torso is a little off-putting. It ends up looking like a poster board a bit, at least for me.

    But I like the pose and the clothing and the actual design, it’s just the flag bit that seems too stiff.

  26. Malfar: Actually I wanted to create a redesign of an existing character, but it ended up looking so alternate that great Copyright Gods may not notice.

    I can honestly say I have no clue who that was supposed to be originally, so you’re good to go on that front :-)

    I like it in general, but I think this is a case where not doing a background at all would help the overall illustration. It’s one of those where the existing one sort of muddles the composition up — it’s too varied to be just a design element but not detailed enough to be real, and he ends up looking like he’s floating.

    I’m also not sure that the black helmet with the bright yellow highlighting goes with the blue and bronze of the rest of his outfit. It jumps out at me as not belonging with the rest.

  27. alphaalpharomeo:
    http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/dhabirunner/Titan%20Rangers/GoldRanger.png

    I really like the upper body part of the costume, the angles and details all work well together to create visual interest. He looks cool.

    The bottom half is, for me, a little plain. I keep thinking a belt or a holster or something going on down there to balance things out a bit would help.

    Good job overall though!

  28. Harlequin: The character’s name is “Jessica Arctique”, a former super-criminal that achieved a sort of celebrity status with her reputation (Similar to the sort of reputation the characters of Saints Row 3 have, if you’re familiar with that game). Despite being a ruthless criminal with enough brute strength to throw trucks around, she’s a very friendly and occasionally flirtatious person. She’s currently retired from crime to run “The Greenhorn Pub”, a bar she bought using money from her days as a criminal

    (This is the description what Luc gives me.)

    Very nice! I think you have captured her personality very well from the description. I like the pose and the look on her face. The big bell bottom jeans work, too, hiding her feet/shoes without looking unfinished.

    Good job!

  29. barbario: Now when they have damaged the outer shell enough it will slough off and reveal what it really looks like underneath.

    First off, I am totally going to crash your D&D party when they reconvene and I am in Austin. Because if I saw that image of what we were supposed to be fighting, I’d crap my pants. LOVE it!

  30. Diga:
    this is Aquila

    http://fav.me/d417h83

    Of the two designs, I prefer the first one, though both are very nice. The bird on the torso is really good, that works great. I’m not as sold on the leggings, I keep thinking maybe if there was a way to mask an actual bird tail onto those it might work better instead of the biker shorts.

    Good job on them both though.

  31. Hudson:
    Let me know what you think of this one. it’s my latest, and as you can see I tried a little more with backgrounds. Sorry I made two comments in a row, by the way.

    http://i1153.photobucket.com/albums/p501/Asgardian22/Hudson-AGoodTimetoRUN.png

    Hiya Hudson!

    I think this is a good start on the background. I like the overall concept and I can clearly tell what’s going on, which is always the hardest part.

    In terms of improvements, you might maybe use a dark gray instead of black for the line color on the wall, as right now it’s a little hard to separate out the figures from it. You might also consider putting in a big cave mouth or something to sort of be a backdrop to the dragon and the fighter, to frame them a bit.

    Finally I’d probably move the dragon’s head over to our right a bit so we can get a little more of the menace of his mouth. He’s a bit too hidden by the figure at the moment for him to have as much impact as he could.

    Good job, keep it up!

  32. Vampyrist:
    Here is a character I’d like to get critiqued. He is Excalibur, the most recent wielder of the blade and he is an English hero.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/vampyrist/2012/09/Excalibur-I.png

    He looks good! The uniform design and face are both spot on. The sword rocks, too.

    The only suggestion I’d have is that the helmet gets totally lost against his stomach. I thought he was cradling a mug or just fondling his buckle before I figured out what it was, actually. I suspect you could move it to our right a bit so he’s carrying it more on his hip and it would help clarify what’s going on a lot.

    I wonder how it would look for the lion insignia to be larger, too. On second look it comes off as a bit small.

    Like I said, though, the design is good! It’s just tweaking around the edges of the pose a bit is all.

  33. Wierdrocks:
    Since Jeff, and the Heromachine community at large, are so adept at picking apart elements of superhero costumes, I have chosen to humbly submit my DC Universe Online toon to the chopping block.
    http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/m612/wierdrocks/Mialanous.png

    Name: Mialanous
    Name Origin: “Mia” is Latin for mind and “Nous” is Greek. And there’s “La”… for fun!
    Power set: Telepathy, with an emphasis on illusion
    Weapon: Bow and mental arrows she creates with her MIND (Aren’t I creative :D )
    Movement method (how she gets around Gotham City): Acrobatics, basically free running and grappling hooks. Very Bat-Family.

    She looks great! The images themselves are a bit dark so I might be missing some of the finer details, but the general concept is excellent and I definitely get a “fun” vibe from her.

  34. Meniukas:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/08/Troll.png

    I love it! You have such a flair for the unusual and distinctive, it’s always fun to see what you invent. This guy has a lot of flair and style. Well done!

  35. Tuldabar: What I wanted to do here was mainly the culmination of my experimentations in the glow effect (biotics on the right hand, omni-blade on the other). It’s gotten to the point that I’m afraid to touch anything anymore.

    Any ideas are welcome (including but not limited to color scheme; which I’ve learned I’m bad at.)

    LOVE the gauntlets. The one on his right hand in particular is awesome, that’s a fantastic effect.

    I like the costume design, too. My only suggestion would be (you guessed it!) in terms of color, specifically the darkness of the blue in his outfit against the very dark black of the coat. I think if you just step down a few shades of blue it would all be a lot clearer and you’d get some of the details that are lost at the moment.

    In other words, the colors are great, but I’d adjust the value or brightness of the blue a bit and you’re good to go. Nicely done!

  36. RobM:
    With the help of Photoshop, a paperback novelization of my entry from the Character Design Contest 100.

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/robm/2012/09/Phantom-in-the-Dark-Novelization-RobM.png

    That’s great! Man, so much better than 90% of the self-published crap I see online, you have a nice sense of design.

  37. Thundersong:
    Heyla!

    This is a character I entered in the SODWA contest…redone. She was too plain.So, this is my first attempt at things in the shadows.Is there more I can do to amp it up?The hands on the left is supposed to be lighted up…but if something else can be done?

    http://i98.photobucket.com/albums/l274/Healingbear/HM/Thundersong-YeThouIWalk.png

    Thanks for the input!

    I like the character design a lot, but I’m not so sold on the shadows. The hands read as disembodied, almost, more than being there but lit up in the reflections. I think part of it is the gradient glows, especially around those hands. They kind of mush together and take on the look of solid objects rather than light.

    I don’t have a good suggestion for how to improve it, unfortunately, and I apologize. Very shadowed, black and white style compositions are really hard.

  38. KEric:
    I was thinking of something like this as a cover to a time travel book
    http://ihttp://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/torn3.jpg

    Unfortunately I’m getting a file not found error on that :-(

  39. OK all, I’m going to close this one out. I’m wiped.

    Good job all, thanks once again for sharing your insight and your creativity.

  40. Heyla!

    Thanks Wierdrocks and Jeff! Wow, did not notice the hands on the main figure was off. LOL! I have a few ideas that I’ll use and then post it somewhere in the forums. Thanks for the critique!

  41. Jeff Hebert: I can honestly say I have no clue who that was supposed to be originally, so you’re good to go on that front

    I like it in general, but I think this is a case where not doing a background at all would help the overall illustration. It’s one of thosewhere the existing one sort of muddles the composition up — it’s too varied to be just a design element but not detailed enough to be real, and he ends up looking like he’s floating.

    I’m also not sure that the black helmet with the bright yellow highlighting goes with the blue and bronze of the rest of his outfit. It jumps out at me as not belonging with the rest.

    Thanks! Well, I won’t say, who this character is, I will only hint that he always had a weird helmet. Actually, in comics he looked like a giant traffic light.

  42. Jeff Hebert: Unfortunately I’m getting a file not found error on that

    Nothing to do but try again
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/torn3.jpg

  43. Jeff Hebert: I love it! The right arm looks great to me, and the whole thing is your usual quality product.

    Thanks Jeff for the critique!

  44. Jeff Hebert: First off, I am totally going to crash your D&D party when they reconvene and I am in Austin. Because if I saw that image of what we were supposed to be fighting, I’d crap my pants. LOVE it!

    That would be cool! We picking back up in November.

  45. barbario: That would be cool! We picking back up in November.

    Oh and FYI… they pwned it. (is “pwned” still a thing?) but it stepped on their boat so theyre stuck behind enemy lines with several days walk back to their city, with several non-combatants they must keep alive…