Open Critique Day #50


Wow, we’ve done fifty of these! Unreal.

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.

48 Responses to Open Critique Day #50

  1. I made him for Random Name contest, but did not submit because his feet were cropped badly and I was too lazy to do anything right, so…
    http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/321/2/2/axe_fortune_by_malfar-d5l9agi.jpg
    Axe Fortune!

  2. I meant to have this done weeks ago but life sort of got in the way…
    I’m concerned about the zyping, I was trying something new and am not completely confident with it. Also the glowy, energy, trendily wings. The glow on them is kinda…bright. But it was very empty without them so…
    http://monalux.deviantart.com/art/Winged-Demon-Hunter-338036499?ga_submit_new=10%253A1353083438

  3. Continuing my usual work on Sandokan images. I’m bit uncertain with the posing of all three characters, but my main issue is the brightness of colours on them, as it doesn’t look like it is night time. Also, I think there is something slightly unnerving in Sandokan’s face (the man with black hair).

    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/319/c/5/sandokan_carrying_marianna_by_dionnejinn-d5l3paz.png

  4. What do people think of this. I’m mostly asking about the girl on the left, but any feedback on the guy is appreciated.

    http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/321/1/1/the_outsiders__firebolt_and_snake_by_jr19759-d5l9gzg.png

  5. The red defiantly.

    Keric:
    Should I have taken the red and/or the dark grey through the legs?
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/KericsMechanostar.jpg

  6. I’ve had this for a while before I decided to sumbit for improvement: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/Mass%20Effect%20Fan%20Fiction/BlackOp.png
    Yes, it’s the same character I’ve been writing about. This is a mid-way progression. (He starts out like this: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/Mass%20Effect%20Fan%20Fiction/AllianceHardSuit.png, becomes the first, then finally this: http://i295.photobucket.com/albums/mm156/Tuldabar/Heros/Mass%20Effect%20Fan%20Fiction/GalacticStrikeForce.png)

    I just want the first image critiqued. I made the arms with silver outline to make sure the viewer could see what’s going on.

    (I think I know what my color problem is: My computer screen is too bright. I can see the details fine when the color is “too dark,” but when I check it out on my cell phone I can’t see clearly.)

    Thoughts?

  7. Nick Hentschel

    Okay, guys: I need a 2nd round of suggestions for the character that I (just barely) submitted last time, this time for the character’s POSE. And as before, it’s a tricky one.

    I’d like you all to meet “Edgar,” a character I’ve already developed a pretty fair backstory for (if you’re interested). He’s a D&D/Pathfinder-style sorcerer, with a twist: he’s blind. And I need some help in perfecting his pose, or gait, to make that fact clear.

    So far, I only have 2 cues: his eyes (which Jeff helped me fix), and his WHITE magic staff, like the canes that modern blind people use). But I have a hard time in positioning his cane, hands, and/or feet in a way that looks like he’s trying to feel his way along with the stick.

    If you can figure out a way to do that, OR if you have a better suggestion for making his disability visible, it’s time to speak up!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/huskybike/8191716766/

  8. Harlequin: http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/tarkabarka/2012/09/Harlequin_Before_Dawn.pngI made this maybe 2 months, ago i want to ask critique to the perspective works well.THX.

    Very sexy

  9. Curious to know responses to the ‘Kodiak moment.’ Does the rainbow look right? Can you make out the tooth decay? Anything else?

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

  10. Nick Hentschel

    Worf:
    I would very much like a critique on this:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2P2EHFp2QvA/UIOYvQ5K9iI/AAAAAAAAFJI/_pkSYnFTkiU/s1600/Worf-Golden%2520Lighning.png

    Okay: Good use of color in the costume, and of lighting effects all around, with an obvious influence from Iron Man being visible. Just a few things to think about……

    a) One doesn’t often see the use of fierce, glowing eyes with such a brightly-colored costume; it works, but requires some creativity. Also consider making the eyes “glow” a different color than the costume, however subtly, so that they stand out more.

    b) The luminescent, green lightning bolt is sure visible, but clashes with the red-and-yellow color scheme a bit. Keep working on it. (Maybe white?)

    c) The character and the background both look good, but also different, with very different colors and effects used. Such an intense, fiery character would probably throw more of his “light” or color onto the scene, if that helps blend them together.

    You’re off to a good start!

  11. I did a firebender type character that creates images in the fire. I don’t know if it fully works and was just wondering on ways to improve the design. Thanks!

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/seraph/2012/10/Mira-1.png

  12. Nick Hentschel

    Herr D:
    Curious to know responses to the ‘Kodiak moment.’ Does the rainbow look right? Can you make out the tooth decay? Anything else?

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

    “Tooth decay,” no; “teeth,” hell yes!

    The rainbow could be a little more prominent: maybe consider simplifying the rainbow and bumping the yellow & green color up more, like Red-Yellow-green-blue-purple. You might also make it bigger, because it’s tucked away in a corner.

  13. Worf: Love your sky and l-side reflections–not too sure I like the insignia that way or the transparent gloves. I WOULD recommend you match up some blue rectangles from insignia-tech to the windows and mask the moon’s reflection. . .
    Nick: Tough call, but traditionally feeling one’s way with a cane looks approximately like the same hand position of palm down, grip around a stick held straight forward from the shoulder–look at your own and see what I mean. Also, force lines for up-down movement, perspective on bottom end being bigger–lots of little things that are each a lot of work to get right.

  14. Harlequin: woman looks great–much of the background perspective looks inverted. Oh–you need your knots lumpy. Try the lumpy topknot in Hair? Or the tassel in Belts?

    Seraph: Concept is aching for more display–maybe if you have her mid-drawing something with an obvious conclusion?

  15. Nick Hentschel

    Herr D:
    Nick: Tough call, but traditionally feeling one’s way with a cane looks approximately like the same hand position of palm down, grip around a stick held straight forward from the shoulder–look at your own and see what I mean. Also, force lines for up-down movement, perspective on bottom end being bigger–lots of little things that are each a lot of work to get right.

    Had to read this a couple of times, but I think I see what you’re getting at. I’ve been hampered by the arm/sleeve design I’ve been using, which isn’t very flexible; I may have to make a drastic change there. I may, however, have an easier way around the “perspective” problem…….. ;-)

  16. Keric: I second that. The red–and I would think more of the dark gray.

    Tuldabar: Yah–black on black will always be tough for digital art. Two approaches come to mind: ‘Hollywood dark’ which is grays or light the whole pic green to look like night vision. The other is more odd–line the sleeves with black serrated mini blades. Tough work, but should look scary enough for a silent killer.

  17. One of the horror of my childhood:
    My grandpa use to tell me – if the child lost in the woods and starts crying the hags hear him. Then the hags catches him cut him apart eat all his guts and then stuff child’s insides with bugs, slimes and other ugly stuff.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/11/meniukas-bug-child.png

  18. Nick Hentschel

    meniukas:
    One of the horror of my childhood:
    My grandpa use to tell me – if the child lost in the woods and starts crying the hags hear him. Then the hags catches him cut him apart eat all his guts and then stuff child’s insides with bugs, slimes and other ugly stuff.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/11/meniukas-bug-child.png

    Pretty solid, and I commend you on being willing to share this. Just one thing: give the teddy bear and the girl’s dress different patterns, because right now, they blend into each other. Also consider a slightly more reddish-brown color for the teddy bear, since that’s what they usually look like (unless you had a green bear as a kid, or something).

  19. Nick Hentschel

    Okay, here’s my attempt at Worf’s changes:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/huskybike/8192065546/

    Others (including Jeff) are still welcome to speak up about these drawings, including ideas for arms, legs, poses, etc.

  20. Nick Hentschel:
    Okay, here’s my attempt at Worf’s changes:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/huskybike/8192065546/

    Others (including Jeff) are still welcome to speak up about these drawings, including ideas for arms, legs, poses, etc.

    As much as I enjoy credit, I think you mean Herr D’s changes ;)

  21. Alphaalpharomeo:
    http://i961.photobucket.com/albums/ae99/dhabirunner/alphaalpharomeo-Shift.png

    Nice! I like the goggles and the simple but effective costume design. I think maybe the streak/speed effects would be better if they were lighter in color — coloring them all black makes them look like bars instead of speed lines.

  22. Rozenstal:
    http://cs421130.userapi.com/v421130168/6a0/Q3FSBBSQhrk.jpg

    Ooo, creepy! I like it! Great job on the helmet, that looks awesome with the dark of the palm on the hand, it really looks like he’s holding it.

  23. Malfar:
    I made him for Random Name contest, but did not submit because his feet were cropped badly and I was too lazy to do anything right, so…
    http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/321/2/2/axe_fortune_by_malfar-d5l9agi.jpg
    Axe Fortune!

    I like his teeny tiny head and huuuuuge body. The helmet is neat, too. I know it’s an abbreviated attempt but it’s a good start.

  24. Monalux:
    I meant to have this done weeks ago but life sort of got in the way…
    I’m concerned about the zyping, I was trying something new and am not completely confident with it. Also the glowy, energy, trendily wings. The glow on them is kinda…bright. But it was very empty without them so…
    http://monalux.deviantart.com/art/Winged-Demon-Hunter-338036499?ga_submit_new=10%253A1353083438

    It’s a strong composition and character design. You’ve done a great job with the color palette and layering, the scene is set very well. The silhouetted background figures are perfect.

    I agree that the wings seem a little odd — I can’t tell if they’re wings or fabric or what, exactly. It’s more the shape than the color, for me at least, they could almost be limbs or spider legs. I’d try something different there.

    The other thing that sort of jumps out at me is the crossbow, which should be in front of the hand at the top instead of behind it. I’d use the trigger-finger hand and mask the weapon to it.

    But it’s a really strong composition and overall illustration, you’ve done well with it.

  25. Dionne Jinn:
    Continuing my usual work on Sandokan images. I’m bit uncertain with the posing of all three characters, but my main issue is the brightness of colours on them, as it doesn’t look like it is night time. Also, I think there is something slightly unnerving in Sandokan’s face (the man with black hair).

    http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/319/c/5/sandokan_carrying_marianna_by_dionnejinn-d5l3paz.png

    I would agree with you on all counts. It’s a very good illustration, but the colors are too bright for it to be nighttime. I think you can just tone down their brightness but keep the same color family, if that makes sense.

    I also agree that something is a little odd about his face. I think it’s the smile with the reddish lips, combined with something about his right eyebrow. Maybe set the lip colors to a slightly darker brown than his face instead of red, and use something a little more somber in expression?

    But it’s a good scene and a nicely executed illustration all the way around, nice job.

  26. Harlequin:
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/tarkabarka/2012/09/Harlequin_Before_Dawn.png

    I made this maybe 2 months, ago i want to ask critique to the perspective works well.

    THX.

    The woman is lovely, as always, you’ve done well making her beautiful but distinctive.

    Since you asked about the perspective I’ll focus on that. I think the figure and the green pattern work pretty well, I wouldn’t mess with those. But the beams of light would be angling outward from the floor, they wouldn’t go straight up — they’d basically be parallel with the vertical lines of her body.

    Similarly, the floor tile pattern behind the area where she’s standing is off. They’re angled so that it almost looks like she’s standing on the peak of a roof, with those tiles on the opposite side. They wouldn’t be angled inward so severely given the way the green pattern is laid out.

    Hope that helps a little.

  27. JR19759:
    What do people think of this. I’m mostly asking about the girl on the left, but any feedback on the guy is appreciated.

    http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/321/1/1/the_outsiders__firebolt_and_snake_by_jr19759-d5l9gzg.png

    They both look good, but I think the male figure is a stronger design. He looks more balanced top and bottom than she does, where her upper armor has a lot more black and heaviness to it than her lower body. I think I also would like to see more of her face, that jaw-hugger throws me a bit. I think maybe if you removed those and maybe increased the size of her boots a bit, she’d be there.

    I really like the male figure a lot, great job.

  28. Keric:
    Should I have taken the red and/or the dark grey through the legs?
    http://i1162.photobucket.com/albums/q539/kjell17/Hero%20Machine%20Creation/KericsMechanostar.jpg

    Yes, definitely. It needs something of the upper color in the lower, even if not a lot.

    Cool character, though.

  29. Tuldabar: I just want the first image critiqued. I made the arms with silver outline to make sure the viewer could see what’s going on.

    (I think I know what my color problem is: My computer screen is too bright. I can see the details fine when the color is “too dark,” but when I check it out on my cell phone I can’t see clearly.)

    Thoughts?

    Yeah, that can happen, definitely.

    The silver/gray on the arms works great. That’s an excellent way to make black on black areas pop, which is why I laid out the color areas on a lot of the items that way. I think you could do something similar in the lower body, as well.

    I like his face a lot, by the way — great expression and a sense of personality. That’s hard to do.

    I think you need a different color2 on the holster and belt. Making it all red seem odd, since you’re implying that the metal buckles and fabric remainder are the same material. Plus it flattens it out a bit.

  30. Diga:
    The Scorcher

    http://fav.me/d1hmawv

    Very nice flame effect! I like the treatment of the facial features, too, it looks just right for a guy surrounded in fire.

    I actually can’t think of anything to suggest for improvements, I think he looks good as-is. Nice job!

  31. Nick Hentschel

    Worf: As much as I enjoy credit, I think you mean Herr D’s changes

    Sorry for the misquote, but does anyone (including Jeff) have anything further to SAY about the changes? Or anything else?

    Herr D?

  32. Nick Hentschel: So far, I only have 2 cues: his eyes (which Jeff helped me fix), and his WHITE magic staff, like the canes that modern blind people use). But I have a hard time in positioning his cane, hands, and/or feet in a way that looks like he’s trying to feel his way along with the stick.

    If you can figure out a way to do that, OR if you have a better suggestion for making his disability visible, it’s time to speak up!

    I’d do a Google Image search for “blind man cane” to get an idea of how it should be held, but basically the palm would be held almost up with the thumb on the upper, outer edge of the hand, not pointing in towards the body like you have it. Almost like holding a gun but pointing more downward. I think it’s also held with the end much closer to the hand, so the majority of the cane is out in front, not held mid-way like in your pose.

    I hope that helps.

  33. Worf:
    I would very much like a critique on this:
    https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-2P2EHFp2QvA/UIOYvQ5K9iI/AAAAAAAAFJI/_pkSYnFTkiU/s1600/Worf-Golden%2520Lighning.png

    NEAT! I like it! The metallic Zypping on the character costume works great, and the whole thing has a neon-like feel that fits perfectly.

    The only bit I’m not as crazy about is the belt, which is a bit rough to work with the sleekness of the rest of the outfit.

    Great job, it’s really nicely done!

  34. Herr D:
    Curious to know responses to the ‘Kodiak moment.’ Does the rainbow look right? Can you make out the tooth decay? Anything else?

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

    The rainbow looks right. Overall, though, it takes a while to understand what it is I am looking at. The bear seems more like a mountain, and I am not getting why he’s inhaling leaves, or where his eyes are, etc. It’s a conceptual piece obviously and I think it’s just over my head.

  35. Seraph:
    I did a firebender type character that creates images in the fire. I don’t know if it fully works and was just wondering on ways to improve the design. Thanks!

    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/seraph/2012/10/Mira-1.png

    I think the concept is good and the character design is pretty good. But for me the flames don’t really read as flames, they are too opaque. Flames are translucent and intertwine, overlaid in lots of different combinations. These look too solid for that. I’d play around some with varying transparency levels in the line and color areas to see if you can get it livelier.

  36. meniukas:
    One of the horror of my childhood:
    My grandpa use to tell me – if the child lost in the woods and starts crying the hags hear him. Then the hags catches him cut him apart eat all his guts and then stuff child’s insides with bugs, slimes and other ugly stuff.
    http://www.heromachine.com/wp-content/legacy/forum-image-uploads/meniukas/2012/11/meniukas-bug-child.png

    Man, your grandfather was hard-core …

    This illustration is suitably horrifying and scary. I’m afraid of her. Good job!

  37. Nick Hentschel:
    Okay, here’s my attempt at Worf’s changes:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/huskybike/8192065546/

    Others (including Jeff) are still welcome to speak up about these drawings, including ideas for arms, legs, poses, etc.

    My comments still stand — for me it’s all about the position of the hand.

  38. All right, folks, I’m done. Thanks for playing along!

  39. @Nick Hentschel

    You might consider angling the staff and adding a closed grip. This way it looks like he is probing the space in front of him and implies that he might be swinging it back and forth. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blind person use it straight up unless they are standing still.

  40. Nick: yah–force lines helped. Besides the grip, a specific object to encounter, or perspective on the cane, there is also a category of expressions sometimes known as ‘blindisms.’ They consist of concentration lines, set mouth, etc. while looking just slightly at the wrong place. Again, difficult.

  41. Nick Hentschel

    To Jeff, Herr D and Seraph:

    Thanks for you suggestions, and my apologies for not saying so sooner: I’ve been away from Internet access for a couple of days.

    Herr D has a point about mis-directing the gaze of the eyes: I’ve been wondering about that for a while (having observed it in real life). And I’ve been tinkering with the angle quite a bit already; this is only one variant that you’re seeing.

    I’ll get to work on this. Thank you all.