Open Critique Day

It's Open Critique and/or General Help Day once again, so feel free to post your illustrations (HeroMachine or otherwise) you'd like to get a critique on, or any other general help topic you like, and we'll see what we can do to help.

53 Responses to Open Critique Day

  1. MScat says:

    Power Pack Guy lol
    I had an idea to do a guy with a power pack using heromachine kinda like Whiplash in Ironman 2. I dont know how it turned out. Any advise?

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    I like it, MScat! The ridges along the arm are great, they’re one of those little touches that really bring the whole design together. The chest harness is very well executed, and I love the repurposed shoulder harnesses hanging off the belt, that was clever.

    I don’t actually have a lot to add, I think you did a wonderful job on it.

  3. Danny Beaty says:

    This my redo of a public domain character called “Crime Crusader”.

  4. Hey dude can you add the starefire face and hair?
    (the tv show one not the ugly comic one)I have a character I’ve wanted to make for a loooong time with that face…but my drawing skill is that of a chimp…so yeah would you please? Also for face reference you could check out that creepy hentai parody zone-sama made…or the old T.V show.

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    Hiya Danny!

    I tried to do a search on Crime Crusader but couldn’t find any links for the original character, which would be interesting to see. No matter, though, I was just curious.

    I’ll be honest, this one is a bit of a muddle for me. I like the color scheme overall — gold and silver and white are classic — but I get much more of a D&D style vibe than anything super-heroic about him. I kind of lose some of the details too, like the mace and the belt — they kind of flatten out and I lose them in the background clutter. That’s most pronounced with the scales insignia, the bottoms of the measuring pans lines up directly with the curve of the pectorals, making them kind of blend right into each other.

    The other major issue I have is that he seems to be kind of pinched in on himself, I think as a result of the mace hitting the pelvis area and echoing that shape, then the scales and the helmet kind of pinching his face … all the gold elements are on the outside and kind of squeeze the white areas into the middle. I might go with a different color cape, at least a darker shade of gold, to differentiate it from the gold of the accessories and making them pop more. I’d also probably either make the mace longer so it doesn’t hit the figure right there, or flip it so it extends the outline more and doesn’t concentrate the eye towards the middle so much.

    Finally, you might try black instead of that medium gray for the underneath parts, I think that would set off the white nicely.

    Hope that helps, and sorry that was more negative than I usually try to be, I think it’s a fine design overall that’s compromised by a few color things and item placements, but it’s a good concept.

  6. If you feel like checking them out I have a hole collection of Hero-Machine drawings for my future CG internet show/books…(It’s pretty good set of storys…)

    And I need refrence drawings for when I get started and your hero-machine is so awesomely epicly helpful!
    3rd greatest invention ever.(The wheel and fire are 1 & 2)

  7. Also didn’t mean to sound pushy, but I’m a really bad drawer.

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    Lots of good stuff there, thanks Nicholas!

  9. Alex says:

    Hi Jeff I made a team of super soldiers and wanted an second opinion on them.I was wondering if theres a problem with posting them here.They are 10 inall but it would be a little selfish of me.

  10. Jake says:

    Here is one that I did yesterday that I would like some feedback on. There are some things I like about it, but I’m not too happy with things like the background colors. Desert landscapes have been really difficult for me so far.


  11. Dennis says:

    This is a character from a story I’m writing. His name is Nergal, and he is a warlord of the Shikari people. The Shikari are warriors from the Eastern Badlands, who use gigantic hyenas as warbeasts.

    I was trying to go for the desert nomad look, but with that scruffy, scanvenger look of a hyena.

    Be brutal πŸ˜›

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Alex (9): I try to limit these to one character per person per week, otherwise I can’t get to them all. But feel free to pick one of your team!

  13. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jake (10): I agree, I like the character herself, particularly the neat patterning on the skirt and her face. I would probably move her belt down a little as she comes off as a bit short-waisted, but that’s a minor detail. Overall she’s good.

    The background doesn’t quite work, as you say, and I think it’s mostly about color. One main thing is you have a deeper, warmer color in the sky, but since warmer colors project forward, it makes it look like the sky is closer and that’s a bit off-putting. Just flipping the sky color and the ground color would help a lot.

    In general, though, the background colors are too close in tone to the figure. You want your backgrounds to set the character off, to make him or her pop, but when the colors are all too close you instead flatten things out. The palette you have there has too much red in it, so instead of getting sand you get more of a fleshy kind of feel.

    I’d probably go with more of a beige and yellow-tan color for the ground, and a very pale blue for the sky. I’d probably also fiddle with the line color of the background to wash it out a bit.

    Finally, I think you might need to introduce some sort of other color not in the brown family for her skirt, maybe, to help set her off a bit.

    Hope that helps!

  14. Thank you.
    Also please please please, do the starfire face.
    I need to make this character so bad my head will implode.

  15. Alex says:

    Yeah I was thinking the same thing Jeff.
    When i made this team i was thinking, because they are from a military super soldier program i could Integrate different conspiracy theories,legends,cover up theories,government experimenting on soldiers stuff like that.For example one of the other soldiers has mind-control powers and another is an alien.

  16. Tim K. says:

    This was my attempt to improve Silverlion.

    General drawing–how go people get such smooth black lines?

  17. Tim K. says:

    Danny Beaty:
    I like Crime Crusader. I think I’d play with the mace. He needs a flanged mace, and or a larger mace head. It seems kind of anemic as it is–or put an energy field around it. (I’m not sure which Heromachine you were bear with me if this isn’t helpful specifically.

    I’d drop the scales, or simplify the chest, as the two elements conflict visually (armor “sculpting” vs scales.)


    I like her, but something is off with the belt/Skirt. It doesn’t flow down her hips right. I’d try a different skirt, or change the belt and try and get something more flowing along her leg line.

    Complicated character. I think I’d work on some simplification. It’s a good design but the eye bounces all over trying to follow the elements in the clothes. You can keep the menace but with a little bit of simplification of the design I think.


    I’d drop the jacket. It seems to be interrupting the flow of his fiery arms to his torso. I’m also wondering why his stubble isn’t on fire but his eyebrows are. A neat character visually but he needs a bit more work on becoming visually unique and tying the individual elements together. I might drop the eyebrows and or ignite his hair to give the theme some oomph.

    Anyway, I hope this helps guys.

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Dennis: Actually I like it a lot! It’s a little hard to see, it’s so dark, but the design and the basic colors are awesome. I don’t have anything to add other than GREAT!

  19. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Alex (15): Great job overall! It’s a tight concept and well executed. I love the flame arm colors and the effect of the faded-out fire over the top, that works fantastically well.

    The only bit I’d work on might be the chains across the chest. I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be an actual chain, in which case it’s a little straight (it’d curve over the rib cage) or if it’s an element of the T-shirt, in which case it should fade in more.

    But otherwise, a really cool character.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oh, and Alex I actually disagree with Tim K (17), I like the sleeveless jacket because sleeves would, you know, catch on fire and fall off anyway. I think it is a good element and I’d keep it, personally.

  21. Danny Beaty says:

    @Jeff: Here is the tweaked Crime Crusader. I used some of your suggestions as well as some new ideas.

  22. Connor S. says:

    I wish I could upload some of my original pencil and paper sketches onto here, but I’m not going to go do that today sir. 1) I’m very lazy at the moment 2) I don’t know how

  23. Jeff Hebert says:

    Tim K (16): I like the design of the character, particularly the lion on the chest flap. That’s cool.

    I think the belt needs some attention, as it doesn’t quite look like it’s really part of the costume, but rather layered on somehow as a result of being a bit too high, and the line on the left side of the drawing being uneven and a little too far out from the figure line.

    The other major issue I’d look at would be the hands, particularly his left. The thumb should be in front of the curled-in fingers. I recommend this tutorial with some good general tips that should help.

    In terms of line weight, I use a pressure sensitive tablet that helps smooth out the lines as I go in Flash. In general, you’re talking about inking versus penciling, and rendering good solid blacks is a whole subject unto itself. Basically you need a steady hand, the right tool, and lots of practice.

  24. Jeff Hebert says:

    Danny (21): I think that looks a lot better! What do you guys think? He looks more super-heroic. I think changing the eyewear to black helps a lot too. Overall it’s a lot more open, less pinched, and more imposing, nice job!

    In terms of other things to do, I actually agree with Tim in comment 17, a larger mace head might help. It does look a little too scepter-like, maybe. And finally, I think the chest insignia could probably be smaller, or maybe just scaled smaller vertically and out a bit horizontally. I like the tip of it hitting at the top where it does, but it goes down too far and not far enough out, it looks less like a built-in insignia and more like something set on top, for me.

    But yeah, I like this version much more!

  25. Jeff Hebert says:

    Connor, I can’t help with the laziness, but to get pencil sketches online you need either a scanner, or a digital camera that has the ability to post images online (like an iPhone for instance).

  26. luke says:

    hey i saved a hero a couple days back. ive been trying to load it but it wont load. if u can help please do so. thank ya.
    one more thing u should do fantasy leg-ware to match fantasy armor

  27. Alex says:

    How did you shortan the jacket?It looks great!

  28. Is there anyway you could take requests?
    because that would be really really awesome.
    (PLEASE, I need that face or I’ll cry)

  29. MartianBlue says:

    Thanks Alex.
    The sleeves are seperate.
    Two Jackets/each masked on a seperate background square. I smoothed together the light blue outline a bit with insignias. You can actually see where the two jackets go together if you look real close at the base of the button. And you’ll notice it a bit more clearly, if you look directly at the light blue to it’s left.

  30. vampyrist says:

    Here is my take on Dr. Abrahman Van Helsing. He has a crossbow with a stake arrow.

  31. MartianBlue says:

    Also, forgot to mention. [[Minor Detail]]
    I shortened the jackets a bit, and flipped the bottom one, opposite of the top.
    A bit more attention, and a couple more insignias, and you wouldn’t be able to tell it wasn’t one at all.

  32. GuyDiga says:

    A nameless Villain, put a lot of swet and tears on him, what do you think?

  33. Oquies says:

    Could you put these eyes in the eyes section? Currently they are only available as part of the face in female face.

    Or maybe you have plans for doing this already?

  34. MartianBlue says:

    1. quick fix would be to just use an insignia the same color as the head positioned over the mouth and nose, and wa-la just the eyes.
    2. position an insignia behind just the eyes, and mask the eyes onto said insignia. Wa-la just the eyes.
    hope that helps for now.

  35. Oquies says:

    @MartianBlue: Ya, I have done that a bit but still have eyebrows that are harder to deal with but, your completely right it does help to use masking or insignia layering.

  36. Brian says:

    i have a half man half robot. i like it but it’s not quite right. I was not sure if there was a better way to have the robot leg pants ripped but not have that show on the regular leg. any other suggestions or ideas would be appreciated.

  37. MartianBlue says:

    -Place a square background behind the robot leg.
    -Line background end with the center of the pants.
    -Choose the mask option
    -Mask ripped pants onto background.

    That should do the trick

  38. Brian says:

    Thanks MartianBlue that worked Great

  39. Jeff Hebert says:

    Vampyrist (31): Van Helsing looks great!

  40. Jeff Hebert says:

    @Oquies (37): I am not planning on working on eyes any time in the near future, but I am not opposed to adding them when I do.

  41. Bill-Cosbey-Fan43 says:

    i think you should do a starfire face to.
    : D

  42. King-of-Stick-Figures says:

    Yeah starefire (TV) face!

  43. Jeff Hebert says:

    GuyDiga (35): Overall it’s a solid concept and execution. I like his head and the belt particularly, and the idea of a big long wraparound chain with a scythe on the end of it is cool.

    In terms of what you might do to make it stronger, I’d start with the gloves — those don’t seem to fit the rest of the generally modern styling. Something like leather wrist bands or fingerless gloves or something seem like they’d fit with the pants and boots better. The scarring on the torso also seems a bit odd, I’m not sure how the scars would all be that same length and yet at right angles to each other … I imagine maybe he was tortured or something, but if they’re from different sessions, as it were, it seems like they’d be different lengths and maybe some would be faded out more than others, like they’d been there longer.

    The only other minor suggestion I’d have would be to move the blade out from under his foot so there’s at least a bit of space between them, as it kind of looks like he’s standing on it at the moment.

    Good job on him though, he look scary!

  44. Jeff Hebert says:

    Nicholas (4 & 29), King of STick Figures (44), and Bill-Cosbey-Fan43 (43) — you’re all the same guy. Spamming of requests is Sure Fire Way Number 1 to not get what you’re asking for, and if repeated, to become the first ever banned commenter on this blog. Cut it out.

  45. Arkth says:

    hi, well, its late but i write cause i want to know what do u think about acreation, its about 3 sisters, but the las one…mmm i think she can looks better, she is simply, but i dont know, she looks maybe very simply, this ar the links, first one, the old sis, second, the middle sist, and the last one, Karen, the one i want to know, is the las link, tnks!!

  46. Jeff Hebert says:

    Arkth (47): Nice job! I like the overall composition a lot, and the character has a very distinctive (and appealing) look to her. It’s hard to get a manga-style face out of HM on account of I suck at drawing manga, but you’ve pulled it off nicely here. I like the spell effects too. You did a nice job using the gray outline color on the hat to set it off from the black sky, too, that was well done. I like the background element of the weapon resting against the tree, that looks natural.

    Overall maybe the outfit is a little traditional, without adding a lot to the “witch” mythos, but it’s solid and certainly gets across what you’re going for.

    Nice job!

  47. MartianBlue says:

    Maybe it’s where I’m tired, but your last post Jeff blends elements of a bill cosby conspiracy theory, with child correction. I applaud you sir. Something none of us ever thought we’d see. Although a starfire face would be okay, “with skulls on it, and skulls on the skulls, and spikes on the skulls, and on fire”.

    jokes aside, nicholas, jeff runs two kinds of contests, that alternate weekly, if you were to win one, that gets you any item of your choosing, within reason, included in the final version of HM3.

  48. Jeff Hebert says:

    OK, closing this thread down with that last one. Thanks all, it was fun!

  49. kyle says:

    when’s the next Bach of fantasy armor coming out?


    my take on Marc Bourgne of Arnold wesker and Scarface:

  50. luke says:

    you should do some mass effect armor

  51. XavierKain says:

    Power Pack pretty great design(would like to see color but thats a personal preference more then a critique),
    I have an idea for the thingys on his arms maybe they are chainsaw like devices powered by the power pack
    (perhaps instead though of going all around his arm like a chainsaw motion the could move up and down super fast,
    or perhaps just vibrate at a high enough frequency to cut through almost anything).

    @Jake hmmm as jeff said solid design for the character and as for the background you could make it a night sky,
    heres how i usually do that first cloud sky layer make color 1 black and then you drop a star sky background
    on that then another cloud sky layer with color 1 0 transparency and color 2 cloud color that way the second cloud
    layer cover starts where there should be clouds.

    I think burn out is pretty slick looking, the flame effects on arms seem just right to me, I would swap out the fiery eyebrows for fiery eyes,
    i like the jacket on him as it seems like he is a tough guy type(you could also say its a special flame retardant material, so he doesn’t have to
    buy a new one every time he uses powers) the chain around his chest if used as a weapon should probably be over his jacket rather then under as
    taking off jacket to gain access to it during fight would be wasted motion and could leave him open to attack i have images of him using that thing
    ghost rider style while its ablaze. You could also add grey or metal looking spikes and maybe insignias as like silver buttons or something just to give the
    jacket a more custom look i often use resized bullet belts as Zipper details…

    Pretty baddass looking dude the skin is rather dark which makes any details which also have dark lines hard to see in that case a light skin tone or a
    light grey line color on eyebrows could help them pop more and allow them to be seen more clearly.

    I am diggin the design but would have chosen a more traditions grey/silvery color for blades the red is fine if meant to be blood but its so dark that
    it is difficult to see against black blades, diggin the chains effect and the weapon idea and the look off the character, for the glove you can replace the
    flared ones with the 9th belt on the second row of standard category resized to fit and colored to match hands this give them a brown leather studded look.

    Thats it from me for now great work guys i hope my comments made sense and where helpful.