Open Critique Day #24

Sorry for the late start -- one of our Border Collie dogs broke her leg and we had to run her to the vet. All's well now (well, except for the huge splint on her leg!), though, so on with 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 rules:

  • 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.

87 Responses to Open Critique Day #24

  1. Jeff Hebert says:

    Rozenstal (1): I like the overall body design and the colors. It’s a nice, clean, simple execution that works well to sell the idea of the character. The face in particular is cool.

    I’m not so much a fan of the way the hands are posed. On initial look, that comes across as some kind of bizarre belt buckle. I think it would probably look better if the hands were not clasped there, or at least if there was some way to separate out their color from the color of the body.

  2. ajw says: if this works, its my luchadore Cuervo Bronce. brass raven in english.

  3. ajw says:

    oops sorry if i submitted two just critique the luchadore.

  4. Jeff Hebert says:

    Malfar (3): I like his not-quite-human facial proportions, it definitely looks like a toad-man. The simple background works nicely to frame the character, just enough different of a green to set off his green skin color without overwhelming him.

    I like the look of the mace, but can’t get away from feeling like it’s way too massive to hold up like that. I feel like it ought to be either rested on the floor or supported by the off hand.

    Good job, though, on a nice-looking non-standard humanoid!

  5. Jeff Hebert says:

    ajw (4): Very nice wrestler! The stadium effect is surprisingly effective, it definitely read as a “crowd” to me. The face and head are great, very gritty and cool looking. I like the pose as well.

    I’m not as big a fan of the circular highlighting on the pants. The legs are cylindrical, basically, and wouldn’t throw light like that.

    But that minor thing aside, great job!

  6. Amy Elf says:
    So, this is my first time posting but I was wondering if anyone had some words of advice for me…. There is no background as I have been trying to focus more on character design before adding backgrounds…
    This is a picture of Amy Elf, self-proclaimed student of all things magic

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    Amy Elf (9): Welcome! I’m very glad you’ve decided to post your creations for critique, I know it can be a little intimidating to do so. But don’t worry, we don’t bite 🙂

    I definitely don’t think backgrounds are necessary, especially for character portraits. In fact, they can be really distracting, so I think you’re right to leave them out at least for now (and maybe always!).

    I like the creative use of various items as costume bits. The belts work great as a corset, and the shoulderless undershirt is very nice. I also like the concept behind the skirt. The staff on her back with the spell effects works great, too.

    I’m not as sold on her foot positions. In this case, the lack of background elements does hurt a bit, as we can’t tell if she’s supposed to be floating or if she’s poised like a ballerina. I think maybe even one foot flat would help “ground” her a bit, even if the other is pointed.

    I also think maybe you could play around with the line color on the skirt. The black seems harsh, while a very dark green I think might blend in a bit better.

    Hope that helps!

  8. MisterDinoMan says:
    It’s a very basic design, but somehow something just feels wrong.

  9. Jeff Hebert says:

    MisterDinoMan (11): I think the character design is good, very dynamic. The wings are well placed and look very cool.

    I think the main problem is just the coloring, particularly in the area where the sky meets the costume. You’ve got a blue-black running directly into a blue-black, and as a result the figure-to-ground relationship is muddled. In other words, you lose his upper chest and left arm in the sky. What if, instead of a night scene, this were at dawn or dusk? Then you could use warm reds, golds, and oranges that would make the blue of the costume pop.

  10. ajw says:

    thanks jeff, i do need help with pants highligting.

  11. Pesky says:

    Just finished this character, but any help how to improve it is welcome:

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Pesky (14): Gorgeous! Awesome effects, fantastic design, beautiful illustration. As always, you rock. The only bit I’m not 100% on board with is the dark circles under the eyes, but that’s probably just a personal preference thing.

    Great job!

  13. MisterDinoMan says:

    Thanks Jeff, I’ll give that a try.

  14. Panner says:

    Rozenstal (1): Cool design! I like how you’ve constructed the head, the facial expression comes across very well and has a great deal of character.

    One thing that I think looks a bit weird is the space between the thumbs and index fingers. The black loincloth ends up looking like a gaping hole or something. I’d suggest trying some other piece of clothing with more structuring.


    Malfar (3): Hehe, that’s a great face. The color of the clothes contrast the skin nicely, and the background gives a subtle hint of swamp and marshlands.

    I’m sort of missing that right hand though (his left). I keep expecting to see him holding up that huge club head with that hand.

    Also, I like the necklace, it brings a tribal touch. Any chance of seeing more or that – some feathers perhaps?


    ajw (4): Beautiful! The pose, the background, the outfit, it all works together to make a great piece of art, and the concept comes through very well.

    I have to say though, I’m not terribly fond of the gradients on his shoes. They’re pretty aggressive, and the edges clash a bit with the black shoes.

  15. Jadebrain says:

    Since I have no new drawings this week, I’ll post a picture of a character I entered in an old character contest (the one in which we had to remake an HM2.X picture in HM3). As copied and pasted from the thread I uploaded the picture to, with a couple of changes, here’s his description:

    “Here’s the main character of the video game I’m brainstorming. His name is Maduhn (pronounced “Ma-DOON), though that name is subject to possible changes (can anyone think of a fantasy-style name that says “I’m the main character?”)

    He’s obviously a rogue-type character. After being found as a baby in the woods by a mysterious wanderer (in actuality, the mysterious wanderer was the god Rusuficier, who formed Maduhn from a fragment of a fallen god, and brought him to Erresse in hopes of enacting an elaborate plan to revive said fallen god), he was given to a guard in the city of Erresse in the Kingdom of Milandria. As the guard was taking him to the orphanage, the guard was intercepted by the mayor of the city, who recognized the child as being a fragment of the fallen god (the mayor was actually a devil in disguise, and was in charge of reforming the fallen god as a devil), and ended up trying to kill the child. The guard narrowly escaped with Maduhn, having been aided by Ga’eid, the head of the local “Thieves’ Guild” (which was actually a group of people who were relocated to the slums and were placed under watch because they were deemed a threat to the mayor’s plan), and the guard, Ga’eid, and Maduhn made their way to the thieves’ guild, where the Maduhn would be safe. Afterward, Maduhn was adopted by Ga’eid, despite being of a different specie.

    Maduhn began training in many combat arts, such as fencing, boxing, wrestling, and various forms of knife-fighting, at the age of 4. He was also trained in the ways of the thief, such as pickpocketing, sneaking, climbing, lockpicking, palming, and other types of skills useful for a thief. Now at the age of 18, Maduhn is a skilled thief and combatant.

    Maduhn’s best friend, Ferasek, is ironically the son of the mayor who tried to kill Maduhn. Despite being of very different backgrounds, Maduhn and Ferasek could not be closer in friendship. The reason? Ferasek was also formed from a fragment of the same god that Maduhn was formed from, and even though the fragment was stolen by devils to be used to create an evil version of the fallen god, they were unable to corrupt its nature of good. Together, Maduhn and Ferasek are the two main characters of the video game I’m making.”

    I’d like only the picture on the right critiqued, just so you know. Any ideas on how to make the character design better?

  16. Zarae says:

    an old one i did while back. i know the wheels are off for sure…

  17. Jeff Hebert says:

    Tarkabarka (19): I am actually thinking about doing a deck of cards theme for the next contest, partly inspired by this illustration which I saw on Facebook!

    I think she looks great. This is definitely one of my favorites that you have done. The colors work well, the outfit is well conceived, and the overall design is spot-on. She looks sexy and deadly at the same time.

    The only bit I immediately focused on was the glove. There needs to be some kind of roll or ruff or cuff there. I can’t think of any Western gloves that would just end like that, as if it were a surgical glove.

    Otherwise, great job!

  18. headlessgeneral says:

    This was entered in the “Faceoff” character contest. It was my attempt to get a really turned view of a head/face and I would like to hear your thoughts on how it turned out.

  19. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (20): Overall I think this is a nice illustration. My main problem with it is mostly the head, to be honest — it seems much larger than it needs to be in proportion to the rest of the body.

    I’d also consider making that overcloak go only over one shoulder, not both (if that’s even possible, I don’t remember the item very well). Right now it sort of blocks off a major portion of the body and thus flattens it out. Plus it seems like there ought to be all sorts of pokey-outey bits under there, but the cloth lies flat.

    Finally, and this is just personal preference, the hair bugs me. I want to see his face!

    But fundamentally it was a nice upgrade and a solid illustration.

  20. Myro says:

    Been getting good feedback from this one. Epic Burn from my hero gallery.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    Zarae (21): Always nice to see you posting your hand-drawn creations here!

    I applaud your willingness to do a big scene, and I think overall this one works pretty well. I definitely get a sense of empathy from the scene, and have no problems working out what’s going on.

    I think one major change that would help a lot would be to have moved the figure over to our left more, so his head and shoulders were against the waterfall instead of the brush. Currently we sort of lose him in the clutter, but moving him would allow the dark hair and glasses to pop against the white of the water.

    Similarly, over on our left those pine trees get swallowed by the cliff. It would be nice if there were more variation in the shadows and light there so they separated out from each other, and if the one on our right jutted into the waterfall area a bit more to reinforce the proper figure-ground relationship.

    Nice job as always, though!

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    headlessgeneral (23): I think this turned out about as well as can be expected given the limitations of the program. The basic contours of the face are good, and the hair works well. I like the use of highlights on the chin and nose, along with the other shadow areas, to build up the anatomy of the face. Well done on that.

    The two big things that don’t quite work for me are, first, the ear, which seems to be too close to the eye given the angle. It seems like it ought to be at least half an ear further towards the back.

    The other is the cheek shadow. It ought to be curving away from the face and towards the back, but instead it’s flat. That makes it seem like her cheeks are planes.

    But I think it’s a pretty amazing job given, as I said, the limitations of the program.

  23. Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro (25): Very nice! It’s a good, convincing image of an energy projector mid-fight/flight. The colors are simple but effective.

    My only two suggestions for improvement would be to play around with the line colors in his outfit a bit, since the black seems to sort of nail him down while everything else is light and airy.

    The second would be to maybe up the saturation or density of the color in the flames. They are a bit hard to make out and I think could do with more “oomph”.

    It’s a keeper though, for sure!

  24. MartianBlue says:

    Though Jeff can’t comment (my current contest entry). I would like some reviews of Leo Lionheart if you all wouldn’t mind.

  25. Tarkabarka says:

    Thanks Jeff i repair the gloves and give the A for the picture.

  26. Panner says:

    ajw (5): Really cool character! I love how you work with colors here, with only a few colors plus black on the character and then the bright moon in the background. I just love the rooftop silhouette, that’s very subtle.

    The only thing I’m not sure of is the green rocks at the bottom of the picture. I’m not sure they really add anything, and they add a bit of clutter.

    One more thing, the picture is kind of small. Got a larger version, perhaps?


    Amy Elf (9): Nice one! That dress design is interesting and eye catching, and using slightly different shades like that seals the deal. I like the colors, green and brown is exactly what I expect an elf to wear, it’s appealing without being fancy. The druid staff on her back is very telling, and I like the energy effect you added to it.

    There are two thing I’d like to talk about here. The first one is her face, I think the eyes, eyebrows and ears are too high on the head. Sure, elves don’t necessarily have human proportions, but it just looks off when the nose starts a lot lower than the eyes.

    The second thing is the tattoo on her shoulder. I recommend you switch it to the other shoulder, right now it looks like something that hangs down from the staff. If you really want it on that shoulder, you could probably get away with changing its color.


    MisterDinoMan (11): Cool! The pose is very dynamic, and I think you’ve made great use of highlighting, using it sparingly. The proportions on the wings look good, and the mask is fitting. As you say, the costume is pretty basic, but it’s fine since the focus is on the pose, not the clothes.

    I think the feeling you’re getting that something’s wrong comes from the right hand (his left). Holding the hand at that angle is possible, but it’s neither comfortable nor natural. I’d try removing that arm and rebuilding it from parts, making the lower arm shortened to emphasize the angle.

  27. zarae says:

    thanks. when i started, i had messed up the waterfall and trees and had to make a quick fix up/cover up on that pen mistake or redo it. so theres part of the problems also.
    again thanks!

  28. Jeff Hebert says:

    I may regret saying it, but man is this a slow OCD!

  29. Jeff Hebert says:

    Very nice update, Tarkabarka!

  30. Tuldabar says:

    Okay, this is a concept I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks now: The suits are still a work in progress, but I wanted each one to feel unique enough to indicate different fighting styles, similar enough to be the same team. These took some VERY creative masking.


  31. Tarkabarka says:

    AJW (13) – I hope help you a bit, this is the mode how to i use the light effect in the clothes.

  32. Ghenmor says:

    Okay…first submission here.

    I realize the figure should really be shifted downward to be centered.

  33. ajw says:

    thanks tarkabarka, much better

  34. Jeff Hebert says:

    Tuldabar (35): I think this is a very hard thing to critique. Is it supposed to be a promotional poster for some creative endeavor or event?

    Regardless, I think some of the masks are very hard to make out (Wild Boar and Bear to name a couple). The background color is also odd, strong enough in value to compete with the helmets (which is not what you want from a background). The fonts are hard to read, especially the bottom one with the three colors and the “Dragon” text. I’d make the connecting lines thinner or a different color, as again they’re so strong they sort of take on their own presence and take away from the emphasis on the heads.

    Sorry I can’t be more positive on this one, but I find myself confused as to its purpose and thus how I am supposed to react to it.

  35. Myro says:

    MartianBlue (29): It’s pretty good. I like how you managed Zyp’s “The Hammer” pose, and the vein-popping on his muscles. Also, if I recall, you were going for something “Thundercats-esque,” which this does.

  36. Panner says:

    Pesky (14): Great picture, as always! The arctic setting comes across very strong, and that floating effect is cool. The reflections in the glasses is just gravy. I should also say, I prefer the version with black eyes, I like everything that brings focus to the eyes. As I always say, they are the windows to the soul.

    Take a look at her boots. They look great. Now check out her gloves, they look flat and almost unfinished by comparison. I strongly suggest you give them the shade treatment and add some grey to build depth.

    Also, this is really minor, but the scarf stands out quite a bit with its neutral line color. I would try a darker blue to make it merge more with the rest of the picture.


    Tarkabarka (19): I like the western style too! At least when it’s done this well. Your highlighting here is absolutely top notch, especially on the hat which looks just amazing.

    I think the problem with this picture is the corset. Using the 3/4 turned body and pose will do that, since the corset was made for head on view. This can be compensated for, but it’s a little finicky. What I’d do is this – use two half corsets (by masking), give the right one a large x-scale and the left one a small x-scale, then try positioning them and hope for the best. That might make the magic.


    Jadebrain (20): Hmm, it’s hard to come up with improvements, since you’ve done a great job on it. It’s a fairly straight forward remake, but all the little details you’ve added make it more interesting. Anyway, since you’re asking, here’s what I’d try:

    -Change the color of the boots to match the gloves. I strongly recommend this, I think it’d frame the character much better.

    -Remove the sword + scabbard. It’s hardly visible anyway, mostly just the big knob by his feet, which is more confusing than enlightening.

    -Add a tiny insignia or embroidery to the cloak. Just a tiny thing to break symmetry and add a bit more character. I’d probably be a guild emblem or something.

  37. Jeff Hebert says:

    Ghenmor (37): Welcome! Thanks so much for being willing to share your creations with it, I genuinely appreciate it.

    This is a great first entry, too! It’s an ambitious pose that you carry off well. I particularly liked the nice touch of having her rest the rifle on her wrist instead of holding it, that’s neat. The clothing options work well over all. The hair adds a nice sense of dynamism to the whole thing.

    My major reservation is in the composition. There’s so much ground below her, and due to the patterning it looks almost like a cliff. I realize the program itself can’t do this, but I think just as a standalone image it would be really well served by some cropping, so you only get an inch or so of ground below her. That would make the whole composition much, much stronger.

    So, great job, keep it up!

  38. Jeff Hebert says:

    alphaalpharomeo (43): I’d say this is way too close to the actual Spider-Man costume for me to comment on.

  39. Panner says:

    Zarae (21): Wow, that title fits so well with the picture. It always makes me smile to see the title enriching the work like that, it makes me remember the title and not just the art. Regarding the picture itself, the motif is very well chosen and I relly like your linework, it fits this picture amazingly.

    There are two things I want to point out here, of very different natures. First is the post and railing. I think the perspective is a bit off here, it looks like the railing meets the post on its corner, and not a side. That wouldn’t be very practical.

    Second is the pine trees. I see these every day, and the ones in your picture come across a bit unnatural. Normally the branches are quite heavy and hang down accordingly. In your picture they appear light and lofty, making them look more spikey. I like the leftmost tree, it has some nice curving of the branches.


    headlessgeneral (23): I think this is a really nice attempt of the, in my opinion, very hard task of making a sideways face. I fully support using hair to cover up the parts that you don’t want to draw, and I love the highlights you’ve added in key places.

    I think the problem lies in the area around the mouth. There should probably be more cheek visible, and I’m not really liking her chin either. The bad news is, That’s going to take some serious reconstruction to change. I guess the best approach would be to find a good reference picture and try to replicate it as closely as possible before changing features to fit your character.


    Myro (25): It’s not strange that you’ve been getting good feedback, this is a solid piece. Concept is good, and the colors are flawless with great contrast between character and background. Speaking of background, I love that you’ve given the background elements a washed out line color, that’s always very effective. The costume is fitting and has a good amount of details.

    I do think the fires could stand to be a little more aggressive. Raising those alphas a few points won’t hurt, and I think it would make the entire piece more eye catching.

    I’d also try making the left arm (his right) even more straight. Turning the lower arm just a degree or two might make the gesture more forceful.

  40. Pesky says:

    Implementing some of Panner’s advise:

    Tasha (without shadowed eyes):

    Tasha (with shadowed eyes):

  41. Tarkabarka says:

    Panner (41)

    I hope i understand what you think what i change – Sorry my english not enough good. I hope i do what you think

  42. Sutter_Kaine says:

    LORD SORROW – Lord Sorrow looks like a fantasy villian but is actually a member of an ultra-powerful, ultra-violent super-villian group.

  43. Jeff Hebert says:

    Asder (48): Awesome! I think this is my favorite thing you have done so far. There’s a definite feeling of emotion coming from the illustration, the color and highlight work are perfectly in balance, and the weapon isn’t ginormous like in some of your others. I love the color in the gray underskirts, that’s just gorgeous. The bare feet, loose hair, and tattered cloak are perfect touches to convey a vagabondish air. The blue background is a perfect complement to the warmer colors of the figure, and set it off nicely while not being intrusive.

    I have nothing to recommend for changes, I think this is simply stellar.

  44. Tuldabar says:

    @Jeff: This is just something private I’m working on, just me nothing official. A personal fantasy if you will. I was trying to get a sense of how they all fit together with labels to make sure we know “what’s what.” The lines can go, obviously and the backround is pure placeholder. I couldn’t find any text that was clearer or fit better.

  45. Jeff Hebert says:

    Sutter_Kaine (49): Very nice! Excellent imposing evil overlord kind of image. The colors are simple but quite effective. The cloak is great, the red eyes are sinister, and the use of the gray line color in spots gives everything a nifty air.

    I’m not a huge fan of his right (our left) sleeve being totally black with no interior lines, like in the other one. It looks a bit off compared to the great coloring everywhere else. And similarly, the sword is somehow a letdown. I feel like it needs to be a bit larger or at least so that it touches the ground, since now he feels like he’s holding it just a few inches off. Which is a bit off-putting. It just doesn’t have the heft or majesty or menace the oozes from the figure so well.

    Great job though, I think he’s awesome.

  46. ams says:

    Hot off the press! Here is BATTALION from Canada, part of my international heroes concept I’ve got work in my forum archive.

    ps. Thanks for the tech help, Jeff and hope your dog is doing well!

  47. Jake says:

    Jeff, I’ve been working on the proportions of my dwarves and I think I’ve got it to where I like it.

    Glenord Lager is a worshiper of the gods of Drink and Jewel. His group of dwarves have lived underground for most of their lives and so have evolved to have sort of shrunken eyes and pale skin.

  48. ams says:

    Hey, my post just disappeared? What gives? test test test

  49. ams says:

    Sorry move on.

  50. Panner says:

    MartianBlue (29): Sure, let’s see what you got here!

    The good – pretty much all his armor is excellent. The shoes are nothing short of fantastic, I really like his belt(s), and the strap with the insignia is cool. The color scheme is good, the amount of details is spot on.

    The bad – The orange part of his torso looks sort of like it’s spilling out, and that the strap is there to hold it in. The muscle below the left arm (his right) looks a bit large, out of proportion with the rest of the body.

    The ugly – The pouches on his legs probably want to be the same colors. That would make it a little easier to make connections.


    Tuldabar (35): I’m not the most familiar with the source material here, but I think you’ve truly captured the Power Ranger spirit. The different colors, connections to animals, fully covering helmets, it’s all there.

    I like most of the helmets, but I’m not sure about the Falcon one. It really stretches the imagination to associate it with a falcon, even with answer in hand. Maybe you could add in some feathers, just to hammer the point home.


    Ghenmor (37): I like what you’ve done here. The color scheme is nice and simple, the details work, and the outfit is what I’d expect from a wasteland hunter. Keeping some pieces mismatched works in favor for characters like this.

    What I don’t like here is the background. It and the character just don’t connect. She looks very stapled on top of it, unnaturally. I’d try adding some foreground elements, likely rocks. I’d also test moving the horizon up a bit, to make more room for her legs.

    One more thing, I’d mirror the left leg guard (her right). Right now the largest part is at the back of the leg, not the front.

  51. Jeff Hebert says:

    ams (53): Very cool! One of the best faces I’ve seen yet. Very hard-bitten and realistic, a convincing and fantastic sense of personality. The highlighting throughout is really good as well. Love the costume and design.

    The lower legs don’t quite work for me, though. They look kind of bolted on, not part of the overall outfit.

    Otherwise, GREAT!

  52. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jake (54): Yeah, that looks pretty solid. I’m not super happy with the thinness of the calves and size of the feet, but otherwise I think it’s pretty cool. I love the face, and the background is very cool. The weapon being held on by those jewels doesn’t look quite right to me, for some reason — it seems like maybe that middle portion between the joins where the blade joins the haft would be metal. But maybe not … regardless, the jewels don’t quite look like they really would serve their function there for my money.

    Nice job, though, this is definitely one of the best dwarves yet.

  53. Worf says:

    @Ghenmor (37): First, let me say that I like your idea. The one thing that bugged me was her leg position. The angles should be more toward 90 degrees. It looks weird and uncomfortable. If you try to kneel that way you’ll “see” that the front leg can’t have those angles while the back knee is touching the ground, plus her right leg looks (to me) a little too long. I could try writing more to explain what I mean, but I decided on a quick HM “sketch”. Here it is:

    Hope that helps.

  54. Panner says:

    alphaalpharomeo (43): I feel this is a nice start for a costume. Black and red are my favorite colors, and a large insignia like this really speaks volumes about the character.

    However, I’d really like to see more details here. From this picture alone, I can’t tell anything about the character other than that he likes spiders. Is he a fighter or a spy? Does he work with the law, is he a vigilante or a criminal? Does he have supernatural powers or only human ability? These are questions that a picture can answer, if you want it to.


    Pesky (46): Yup, I like that! Still favoring the version with dark eyes.


    Tarkabarka (47): Well, it’s not perfect, but I think it follows the intended body shape more closely. You could play around with it a little and see if the magic happens.

  55. Psyckosama says:

    Revisited my old alien lizard idea after I had to reinstall my OS and wasn’t able to use the text save function.

  56. Panner says:

    Asder (48): Beautiful! Wow, the shading you’re using here is so subtle, the pose looks so natural, and you’re even using my favorite colors!

    I really have no improvement to suggest, but I have a question – why does he have no shoes? It looks kind of cold.


    Sutter_Kaine (49): Oh man, that’s so dark. You’re making the black work here, the items don’t blend into each other but support each other. And that makes those small touches of red so much more effective.

    One item that needs attention is the left sleeve (his right). I’m expecting it to have the same line color as the right sleeve, not solid black. Also, the layering of sleeve and glove requires some help to look natural. Paint over or mask if necessary.

    One more tiny thing, I suggest mirroring the lower part of his robe. Its built-in shading appears to be a continuation of the cape, which looks a bit jarring.


    ams (53): So, time to go patriotic, eh? Superb work as usual, this guy gives a very powerful impression and I especially like his game face.

    Speaking of the face, I think I’d like to see the beard moved just a sub-pixel to the right to align with the center line.

    Other than that, the piece is pretty much flawless. I’m not a big fan of the white gradients on his chest, but I’m not sure how to improve it. They just don’t give the same impression as the other gradients.

  57. Jeff Hebert says:

    Psyckosama (62): Love ’em! Very cool alien race. Their faces in particular are darn good, with lots of interest and personality.

    My only quibble was with the chest hair on the standard male figure. Lizards aren’t really hairy, are they? But, I guess if they’re really aliens, anything’s possible. It just seemed a little odd to me.

    Otherwise, great!

  58. Panner says:

    Jake (54): It’s hard to nail the proportions of dwarves, logically since they don’t actually exist (talking fantasy dwarves here, of course).

    Shrinking the legs was definitely the right choice, but it leaves the leg armor looking compacted. I suggest adding new, full size, kneecaps over the current ones.

    Speaking of legs and things, I personally like enlarging the feet of dwarves. Not a lot, just a couple of percent larger. It makes them look a little more bottom-heavy and sturdy.

    Last up, if you want him to look a little more gruffy, consider adding the body hair to his arms, I often find that to work wonders.


    Psyckosama (62): I hadn’t seen the ‘Beast’ one before, I like it a lot! He looks so brutal and angry, it’s all very fitting.

    I don’t like his legs though. There’s so much overlap there, and he comes across as extremely top-heavy and having bad balance. My suggestion is to rotate the legs outward quite a bit, and then add new unrotated feet to the legs. You’ll need a total of four legs masked to four fitting items, so it’s not that much work.

  59. Psyckosama says:

    The chest hair is mostly there because I wanted to add texture and it was the closest thing to wrinkles that I could use that would look good. I tried other options but it came out best. Don’t think of it as chest hair, just think of it as scale texture! 😀

  60. Asder says:

    @Jeff(50) and Panner(63). Thanks guys for the nice words.

    Note: (@Panner). I tried to do some jap style sandals with insignias and other items, and i got some good results but theydidn´t look good for this image i and choose to not ruin the look.

  61. Jake says:

    Thanks Jeff. Here’s is my updated version. I enlarged the calf armor quite a bit and changed up the weapon a little bit. I decided against adding arm hair. Hope these proportions look better.

  62. MartianBlue says:

    @Myro and Panner. Thanks for the critiques guys.

    @Myro yes I was trying for something similar to Thundercats. The piece is unfamiliar territory for me actually, I’m not really knowledgeable with sci-fi designs, but something I’ll be trying to delve into a bit more.

    @Panner thanks for taking the time to examine it and critique it thoroughly I appreciate it. The diagonal belt strap was actually put in place because he looked to large with the raised arm, so I see where your coming from. I was having a small problem with the width of the upper body I choose as his base, but I can’t really knock it being that it gave me both belt ideas as a result to fit him together proportionally. The diagonal belt was the base of the armor creation actually. The reason The pouches are different colors is because there is only one pouch actually, the other is suppose to be a gun holister(black). Any suggestions as to how to differentiate it better, for future use of course?

  63. Jeff Hebert says:

    Blue Blazer (68): Very cool! I love the head and chest and arms, those are tight. The Army fatigues and undress shirt fit really well too. It’s definitely another classic BB image, that’s for sure.

    I do find myself bugged by the positioning of the feet. Since they rise up at the toes he looks like he’s rocked back on his heels, while I tend to think he’d be super solidly planted. I also found myself wanting something to happen at the waist. I understand the shirt’s loose over any belt that might be there so I don’t have a very good solution, but that whole region looks a little undeveloped.

    Otherwise, love it. You’re da bomb.

  64. MartianBlue says:

    @Blue Blazer / Jeff I would suggest “trying” a small tear/hole in the shirt if you think it needs a little something more?

  65. Jeff Hebert says:

    OK folks, with that we’re done for this edition of OCD. It’s beer thirty and I’ve got a mountain sized thirst.

    Thanks for participating and we’ll see you next time!

  66. MartianBlue says:

    previous comment continued, sorry forget to add or make his abs shape hinted at through his shirt?

  67. Psyckosama says:


    Hows this? I managed to do it with two legs masked as I am not using a transparent background I only had to mask two legs and plop down two objects to block off the old feet.

  68. ams says:

    Thanks for the critiques and advice guys. Go drink yer face off! Cheers!

  69. Nick Hentschel says:

    @ Jeff: I hope your dog’s OK.

  70. McKnight57 says:

    I know, it’s late. I just got off work and live on the far west coast, like 3 miles from the beach “far west”. Anyway, here’s one of my characters.

    Ronin, a Yakuza assassin who killed the younger brother of one of my heroes about 20 years ago.

  71. TOOL says:

    I know were closed so im not adding but I quickly glanced through the pics and right clicked and tabbed the art and these popped out at me, good work!

  72. MartianBlue says:

    @McKnight, I think he looks pretty good actually. The few things I question are 1.) where’s his sword? If no sword why the sheath? 2.) When not in use where do his current weapons go? behind his back possibly? 3.) Purely a preference thing, the visible hair seems kinda strange, what’s it’s purpose?

  73. McKnight57 says:

    MartianBlue (79): The scythes fold out, sort of like folding pocket knives and each scythe fits into one end of the sheathe. As for the hair, you’re probably right. Kinda serves no purpose to have his hair out like that if the rest of him is covered up.

    here’s an edited version.

  74. Doornik1142 says:

    Crapsalad. Too late.

    Well, if anyone else besides Jeff wants to help me, I could use some advice with this guy:

    Sort of a Kingpin/Max Lord/Lex Luthor expy. The main area of concern I’m having is the right hand. I tried to get it so it was just resting on the top of the pimp cane, but I just don’t think it came out as well as it could have.

  75. Panner says:

    MartianBlue (70): Hmm, that’s a good question with the holster. The best way would of course be to keep the gun in it, but I suspect you want him holding it. Then again, if you can bear losing the pouch then you could add another holster + gun on that leg, that’d make it quite obvious.


    Psyckosama (75): I like it! He’s a big warrior, it’s just reasonable that he stands with his legs apart for balance.


    Doornik1142 (82): Yeah, the hand doesn’t really cooperate here. Have you tried the hand directly to the left of it? Sure it’s angled differently, but it might be good enough.

  76. MartianBlue says:

    @McKnight 57 (#81) I think that looks better, an alt suggestion if you wanted to keep the hair, would be short or no sleeves.

    @Panner (#83) I was playing with it a bit yesterday, I think a bit of armor plating on it would do the trick. Thanks for the help.

  77. Arioch says:


    I’m not very satisfied, especially by the knees, so if you guys have any idea…

  78. MartianBlue says:

    @Arioch (#85) I think the problem with the knees is the armor is just floating there. I would try to attach them each to something. Examples being…
    1) extend them up from the boots
    2) extend them down from the thigh guard
    3) attach a backing that wraps around the leg
    or (I don’t know how this would actually look, maybe not so good)
    4) wrap a cloth around the top of the boot and lower half of guard

  79. MartianBlue says:

    *4) wrap a cloth around the top of the boot and lower half of knee guard