Open Critique Day #25

That's right, kids, 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 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.

(Image ©

85 Responses to Open Critique Day #25

  1. Pesky says:

    Any advise how to improve this illustration is welcome.

  2. McKnight57 says:

    My version of the devil, or as he is called in my comic, Morningstar.

  3. ams says:

    G’day all!

    I am looking for critique and suggestions for this pic;
    I posted it on the forums and Myro thinks the left kicking foot is off. I played around with this pic alot and am at a point where I can’t see it and figure it out. I used a alien head item for the foot and morphed it. there is some masking for the sole.
    Here is the pose by itself if it makes it easier to see.


  4. ams says:

    @ Pesky – Great pic! The only thing the bothered me were her hands. They are not proportionate to each other and you might want to play with the rotation on them to make them less stiff.

  5. Wierdrocks says:

    Sand (Super creative title, yea?) She’s suposed to be a desert traveler of some sort. First try at a really complicated background and foreground. Be nice.

  6. ams says:

    @ McKnight57 – I like the character and the items you selected, but I think you should revisit your coloring. Either go with a dark figure against a light background or vice versa. Your colors to your background washout your character. When I opened your attachment, the first thing my eye went to was his bright yellow hair. Change the focus to his eyes and fire bursts on his hands by brightning those items.

  7. McKnight57 says:

    ams (5): Thanks, i’ll do that when I get back from work later.

  8. ams says:

    @ Wierdrocks – the subject is good, but as with Mcknight57, I think you should change some coloring. Maybe darken your mountain range to show some depth to the overall pic? Don’t be afraid to play with the colors. I try, when I have finished assembling a pic, to save the image and color multible times. You would be surprised on your choices when you color at night or in the morning. For myself, color is very moody.

  9. Panner says:

    Happy friday everyone! Now, for those of you living on the east coast, just hang in there. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as the weather channel wants you to believe.


    Pesky (1): I think you’ve done a very good job of attaching that companion head to a normal body. The body is overall well done, making it a nice picture.

    One thing I’d tweak a bit is the scales on her neck. They fit very well with the head, but not so much with the torso. the torso should be more or less symmetrical, but those scales break the symmetry. I’d try making them smaller and containing them to the actual neck, that might look a little more natural.

    Other than that, a basic problem with companions are that they are full figures, but often only have three colors. As such, things like her tooth and horns get the same color as the skin. I definitely recommend covering them with some actual items with more appropriate colors.


    McKnight57 (2): Well now, it’s certainly unusual to see a blonde devil. Overall, it’s a fairly unconventional color scheme you’re using here, I like it.

    At first glance, I didn’t really catch his horns. They have a dull and dark color compared to the very bright and vibrant yellow of his hair, making them blend in with the background. I’d try using the same color as the belt, that might bring them out a little more.

    Another color thing, I think the color on arms and wings might be dangerously close. Under the wrong lighting conditions, those could very well be percieved as the same color, which would be bad for the first impression. Maybe you can make the wings just a little darker, that is, if you’re worried about how your picture will look on an old CRT monitor, in sunlight, on a phone etc.

    Last thing, I think you’re missing out on beastly features as you have him wearing shoes. I think some big, clawed monster feet would round it out a little better.


    Wierdrocks (4): Nice, I think you really hit it on the head with the background. Well, with one exception, but I’ll get to that! I like the colors on the character, and I especially like the fact that you’ve kept black linecolor on the character, but changed it for the background, that’s always very effective.

    I’m conflicted about her outfit here. I like the colors, but they are not fit for desert travel. That is, you typically want to wear bright colors in hot weather. If you intended a colder desert, that’s no problem of course, but most people associate ‘desert’ with ‘hot’.

    So, I said there was one thing I didn’t like about the setting. Well, the lower part of the picture suggests there’s a sandstorm going on, but up top, the sky is blue and the clouds are calm. It just looks a little disjointed.

  10. Anarchangel says:

    This is a character I posted a while back named Scorpion. I mostly wanted to get opinions on costume and colour scheme but if anyone has anything else they want to point out then go ahead 🙂

    p.s. Excuse the bad pun.

  11. Panner says:

    Here’s my character for today. He’s an RPG character, an old dwarf warrior. The shield is not his, and is supposed to stand out from the rest, so don’t worry too much about that.

    Any ideas on how to make the character cooler? I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel here, or make a museum art piece, I just want a cool picture to show the group!

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Rozenstal (1): You’re number one, you’re number one! Ahem.

    Love the expression, the pose, the green glow on the ring, the subtle glow on the sword, and the expression (I know I said that already but it deserves to be mentioned twice). The overall illustration has a nice manic feel to it. Looking at the other samples you provided, I think you nailed the essence of the character, so great job on that.

    In terms of what could be improved, I think the main area to focus on would be the explosion/flames. I can’t tell if there’s something blowing up behind him, or if he’s got a fire aura, or exactly what’s supposed to be going on there.

    The transition between the floor and the background buildings is also jarring. I’d like to see maybe a dark to light linear gradient going from dark at the back to light at the front laid over the floor, I think that would help. And whatever you do with the explosion will probably also help separate them.

    Good job!

  13. Jeff Hebert says:

    Pesky (2): Overall this is a winner, with a nice color palette, cool pose, and great concept, all well-executed.

    For me, I feel like there’s too much of the highlighting going on, especially in the shins and the tail and the arms. And the head. Basically, I think there’s too much highlighting period; it tends to distract me from the excellent figure and concept.

  14. Panner says:

    Rozenstal (1): I like what you’ve done here, it looks a llot like the original and captures not just the look, but the spirit.

    Two things appear to me. First, you’re using spandex arms, and it shows. Especially at the elbow it’s not very convincing as the sleeves of a suit.

    Secondly, one of the original images shows him drawing his sword with his right hand, implying he’s right handed, but in your picture he’s wielding it with his left. Far from the end of the world, I just thought I should point it out in case you think it’s important!


    ams (4): I must agree with Myro here, that foot doesn’t work. It’s a pretty weird angle to draw it, and feet are already notoriously hard to draw. Anyway, I think you need more shortening. I measured my foot/leg right now, and the foot was about half the length of the leg. That’s pretty much exactly the same proportion that you have in the picture now, and that’s supposed to include perspective.

    If it were me, I’d just scour the web for a good reference picture and trace the foot. Ninjas are popular enough that it should be easy to find a good picture.

    Another thing that struck me was his arms. I think you can get more force in the pose if you let at least one arm be outstretched in the same direction as the leg.


    Anarchangel (11): Costume and colors, you say? Let me start with colors.

    Well, I think the colors are great. Solid black with a few green details, you can’t really go wrong. If you want more green details, I believe there’s a great custom made scorpion insignia out on the forums somewhere. I don’t have a link, so you’ll have to find it on your own.

    As for the costume, well, you got the tail covered. Now, scorpions also have huge pincers, which are missing. They’re not critical, but the costume doesn’t exactly scream ‘scorpion’ without them.

    I think the tail could be positioned a little better. You have a tiny strip of background showing between the tail and torso (left side of the picture), and it’s a little distracting. It almost looks like a red wound. If you rotate the entire tail a few degrees counter-clockwise and reposition it, that might come across better, maybe.

  15. Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57 (3): I like the figure and the background a lot. He looks very menacing and diabolical, appropriately enough. The background is very cool.

    The area that needs work, in my opinion, is purely in the color palette. I have a hard time separating out his skin from the wings from the background, as they’re all in the same basic tonal range. I’d go with something that has more red (even a darker red) for the skin, that doesn’t come off so much on the brown side. Then I’d do a darker version of that same color for the wings, to represent that they are behind the figure. For the costume, I’d go with a green that has more blue in it rather than the yellow-heavy version currently in there.

    Hope that helps — the black and white line parts are great, but the color’s keeping them from really shining.

  16. Jeff Hebert says:

    ams (4): First, love the overall image. Dynamic, convincing, cool, and fun to look at. Great job. The bend in the torso is particularly effective.

    In terms of the foot, I have to agree with Myro. The main problem is it doesn’t get fatter/wider where it joins the lower leg so it looks like it’s the bottom of a flip-flop without an actual foot in it.

    On the other foot, the side of the foot with the big toe on it should be the longest, but here it’s reversed, with the little-toe side being longer. Basically it ought to be long-part on the inside of the figure, short part outside.

  17. Jeff Hebert says:

    Wierdrocks (6): Nice?! NEVER!

    I kid, because I think this looks great! Love the basic figure, and the environment is spot-on. The layering and alpha variations work perfectly, giving a true desert-wind feeling. The color variations in the mountains and in the two levels of sand beneath her work well to give a sense of distance and variation. There’s a great balance between sky and land as well.

    A really nice character, in a great environment, with a perfect color palette. I don’t have any thing to suggest in terms of improvements because I think you pretty much nailed it.

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    So, yeah, totally disagree with AMS on the coloring in your Sand image, Wierdrocks. Which is fine, that’s the nature of critiques, everyone will see things differently.

    Which is another way of saying YOU ARE WRONG, AMS, IN YOUR FACE!!! Ahem.

  19. Jeff Hebert says:

    Anarchangel (11): I like the basic concept here, but I am having a hard time getting past the pose. It looks really twisted and unnatural to me, to the point that it almost pains me to look at it. The rearward arm is way too small, the front leg looks torqued to the point that the knee would break, and something is going on in the crotch there that I frankly don’t want to examine too closely.

    This isn’t a comment on your design ability or the concept or anything, for me it’s purely about the pose itself. It so doesn’t work for me I can’t really get past it to comment on too much else.

    I love your stuff very much over all, but this one is unfortunately a clear miss for me. 🙁

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    Panner (12): I love his face! He’s got an awesome look and personality to him. The coloring on the beard in particular is neat, I haven’t seen that combination before and it really works.

    The costuming is all good too. I like the sort of grizzled veteran look his accoutrements give him. The proportions are also great for a dwarf.

    For me, the colors are the main areas that could use some tweaking. The shield definitely stands out, but as you say that’s on purpose so I’ll leave that be.

    The two colors I’d like to see played with a bit are the pants and shirt sleeves, along with the grip on the mace. There’s way too much orange in the cloth for me, I’d like to see something more on the brown end of things. Not as dark as the boots, but maybe halfway to that shade.

    Ditto for the wrap on the mace, it doesn’t read as anything particular, but I keep expecting it to be leather. Which wouldn’t be that yellow.

  21. Malfar says:

    Yeah, I know it was a joke…anyways, here is my ultimate weapon against good old Supes, GL and Jonn Jonnz

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    Malfar (22): Ha, very nice! All I can say is, MORE FIRE!

  23. Anarchangel says:

    I actually didn’t create the pose Jeff. I swiped that part from SDR on the forums I see what you mean about the leg etc. Anatomy was never my strong suit.

    And Panner, I agree completely about the tail position. I was never really satisfied with that but tried several different positions and that one looked better than the others so I just settled.

    Thanks guys.

  24. Anarchangel says:

    Actually the more I look at that crotch area the more it frightens me. Maybe that deformity has something to do with the tail. Either way…ouch!

  25. Jeff Hebert says:

    I thought that might be an SDR pose.

  26. Panner says:

    Jeff (21): I hear ya bro. I tried the more orange color because the ‘Cool brown’ tones are super overused in most of my characters, and I just wanted to go with something different this time.

    As for the grip on the mace, yeah, you got me there. The straps are the same color as other details, and therefore yellow, but that’s just laziness talking. I’ll definitely be changing them to something more leather-y.


    Malfar (22): Well, let me tell you straight up, those pants combined with that background makes for Extreme Crotch Attention! I’m not even kidding, everything in the picture serves to draw the viewer’s eye right to the business area. This can be easily defused by adding a loincloth or something to mitigate the effect of the pants, and by moving the center of the background up. I suggest you move the background so that it points to the middle of the chest and that big chunk of kryptonite.

    Other than that, well, the color is little monotone, as you have two shades of yellow all over. Remember that you can always add black ‘for free’ as it goes with everything, and yellow/black is a combination that at least I like a lot.

  27. ams says:

    Thanks guys for the honest critique. I’m going to try and get that leg right.
    Apologies if my critique sent Wierdrocks in the wrong direction.

  28. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s the thing, ams, there’ s no saying you’re right and I’m wrong or vice versa (that comment was just a joke, honest!), because they’re just opinions. It’s good to get a variety of viewpoints.

  29. Danny Beaty says:

    @Anarchangel (#11): I like your Scorpion! Have you considered puting a Vulcan mini-gun on the tip of her tail? Also, instead of giving her pincers (as someone suggested in an earlier posting) I think you should give her wrist-mounted blasters, whenever (if ever) the blasters are added to HM3. The arachnid style wrist-mounted blasters would look great on this character!

  30. Panner says:

    ams (28): I looked around a bit for jump kicks, and I like this one:

    I’m just leaving it here, do what you want with it!

  31. ams says:

    No harm, no foul Jeff! Just happy to be playing in the sandbox with fellow HeroMachiners.

    Thanks for the reference pic, Panner! I might just start that one from scratch.

  32. Anarchangel says:

    @ Danny Beaty (#30) – Good ideas but I think I’ll just call this character a complete loss since I can’t even make it clear that Scorpion’s supposed to be a male lol

  33. ams says:

    @ Anarchangel- Try a beard or goatee.

  34. RazorEagle says:

    Hopefully, the chances of someone here knowing who Zauriel is are higher than other places (which basically means there might be a couple people who’ve heard of him versus the confused looks I get from everyone else). This is a chalk and pencil drawing of him (not HM), and I would really appreciate thoughts on the wings the most! 🙂

  35. Anarchangel says:

    @ams – I should. If I’ve learned anything from the power users its that bald and goatee is the way to go.

  36. Panner says:

    RazorEagle (35): Hmm, sorry, no idea who that is! Not that I’m letting that stop me, though. So you want to talk about the wings? Let’s talk then.

    I think the impression I’m getting from the wings is that they look heavy. This is naturally not the most desired look for wings, but I’m not sure what to do about it. I’m guessing it’s the shading you have around the edges of the wings, with the bright center. This gives the impression that the wings are thicker in the middle. Other than that, I like the overall design of the wings. Leaving them unstructured probably means they don’t steal as much attention, and the pointy feathers give a supernatural and arcane look.

    Now, apart from the wings… I’m sorry to say, but there are some thumb problems going on here.

  37. Jeff Hebert says:

    RazorEagle (35): Thanks for posting a hand-drawn image, very nice! I hope you keep it up, you obviously have some talent and desire, which is awesome.

    Since you asked specifically for feedback about the wings, I’ll just address those. I think you’ve got a nice shape overall for them, but that they need some depth and some refinement. As Panner said, the huge expanse from the top to the start of the feathers comes off as a large, heavy mass. It also ends up looking flattened. I’ve made some visual notes here that I hope make clear the kind of thing I’m talking about.

    Obviously the exact layering of the feather rows depends on what kind of wing you’re going for, since they vary from species to species. But in general you would see some sort of top overlap from where the wing bones support the mass of the wing, then continuing rows of feathers from there overlapping each other. The shape of the feather is key, as well — for me, you’ve gone a bit too sharply tapered, so they read more as cones rather than feathers. Again, exactly how they’re shaped will depend on the kind of bird we’re talking about, but there usually is a short end and a long end. Some indication of the separation within the feather would help too, as would a hint of the spine in each one.

    But, good job on this, keep it up! I love to see people using physical tools to create their own illustrations from scratch.

  38. Tarkabarka says:

    Hello all.

    I usually don’t make heroes or superheroes, but i had an idea and i try to made it.

    My evil villain Firebat



  39. Jeff Hebert says:

    Tarkabarka (39): I like the pose, he looks like he’s flying out of the sky into combat. The flame effects are nice, and I love the way you’ve masked whatever item that is into the sleeves and leggings to add some dimensionality.

    My main stumbling block on this one is his face. It seems a bit … puffy, or overlarge, almost like a child’s head on an adult body.

    Otherwise, nice job!

  40. demonhunter says:

    this is where i am right now with my own version of frankenstein. i took some of the suggestions i was given last time and made some changes. i made his arms and legs different sizes, as well as giving him a child body part. his left hand is smaller, so i decided it was from a kid. kind of makes the teddy bear that hand is holding twistedly ironic huh? speaking of the bear, my intention with that was to give it some stitching as well to make it be the monster’s friend because, like the monster, the teddy bear is also a combination of different parts

    speaking of the parts he is made of, if you cannot tell, i believe his left foot and extra fingers on his right hand are from the female section. i wanted to give this frankenstein’s monster a bit of a twisted story as far as the experiments and surgery that created him, without getting into too much fantasy or sci fi stuff.

    i also redid some of the stitching, so please let me know what you think of how it is. as you can see, i also colored a lot of the hair and made his skin different colors to really get across the idea that he is made from diferent people. i hope the different skin colors does that well.

    any and all suggestions/comments/tips are appreciated! but specifically, im wondering about how to design his face as well as maybe to put some more nuts and bolts on him. if anyone has any images that would be helpful, that would be great as well!

    everyone else has some cool stuff this time around for open critique day

  41. Jeff Hebert says:

    demonhunger (41): I think it’s coming along nicely! If anything, I’d go even further — get really outsided and mismatched body parts, where one arm is massively larger than the other, etc. I think this is a good direction, I’d just encourage you to really go for it.

  42. demonhunter says:

    thanks jeff! my only struggle with the mismatched body parts is making it look good visually. sometimes its hard to connect body parts that are different sizes easily, but ill see what i can do

  43. MScat says:

    Hello everybody! Been a long time since i was able to do a critique day.

    Tell me what y’all think 😉

  44. Vorpal Laugh says:

    Jeff. Sorry to post off topic, but I am having a problem with the forums. I forgot my password, so I filled out the reset password form. It said it sent me an e-mail but no such luck.
    I checked my spam folder too. Any help you can give me would be much appreciated, I finally made a couple characters I am willing to post.

    Again thank you and sorry.

  45. Jeff Hebert says:

    MScat (44): I like the concept and the moodiness of the color palette. She has a cool face and a funky attitude that I think really comes through.

    The areas that could use some attention, for me, begin with the right arm, which seems awfully muscular. I don’t usually think of Goths as workout fiends. I know, I’m the one who drew it, but still, it seems off somehow.

    I also get fooled by the midsection being so close in color to the background. It ends up looking like she’s got a HUUUUGE middle, all the way from arm to arm. Something needs to happen there to differentiate her from the background.

    Finally, the lower legs look really, really flat. Like, they are two dimensional while everything else is in three dimensions. I think it’s due to the combination of the gradient, the pattern, and both main color areas being the same (while the line color blends totally into the background).

    If I could make just one change, it would definitely be to set the background to something not-black.

    Hope that helps — she’s a neat looking character, I’d just like to be able to see her more clearly.

  46. Tarkabarka says:

    Jeff (40) – Thank you. I see after when i finish, the head is a little bit oversized.

  47. Panner says:

    Tarkabarka (39): I like your work on Firebat! It’s neat how you’ve constructed his outfit, and his facial expression does a good job of showing that he’s a villain, especially with those eyes.

    I’m wondering a bit about one part of his clothes. At his waist, he has this white patch or something, I can’t make out what that is. If it’s not important for anything, I’d suggest removing it.

    Yeah, other than that, I’d only like to mention that there is this weird color shift in the background, at the height of his lower foot. Looks like som background doesn’t cover the entire scene.


    demonhunger (41): Ah, I remember this picture. I think it’s really cool, especially the extra sewn-on fingers, that’s a great detail.

    I think the stitching looks good, with the possible exception of the skin patch on his stomach. It looks a bit silly, and also brings the thoughts to a skin graft more than a recontructed human.

    Anyway, about the face, you could check out the built-in zombie faces and see if there’s one you like. They are pretty extreme though, so don’t expect to get it cheap. One idea I had was to make it look like his lower jaw had been severed and replaced with one from another person. And maybe you couls give the ears the same treatment. Another thing, you should probably give the skin a lot of wrinkles to make sure the face doesn’t look youthful and healthy.

  48. Jeff Hebert says:

    Vorpal Laugh, look for an email from me ( with the reset password.

  49. Jadebrain says:

    Here’s a redo of Akhemeph, a character I posted before on my forum thread. He’s a historical character in the game I’m making, a bodyguard to emperor Iokhesseph of the nation of Uphed’r. When Iokhesseph went missing (actually, he managed to ascend to a higher state of existence, but Akhemeph doesn’t know that), Akhemeph, perhaps the one man most loyal to Iokhesseph, went on an epic quest to find his missing lord. Since Iokhesseph was not actually missing, but rather, had unlocked the secrets of the universe and became a transcendant being, Akhemeph never found Iokhesseph. But Akhemeph never stopped looking, either, and with the help of Iokhesseph’s assistant mages, traveled to a pocket dimension from where he would better be able to find Iokhesseph. Akhemeph has never returned, however, but though thousands of years have passed since he left, the passage of time in the pocket dimension is radically different, and so Akhemeph may still, to this day, be searching for his lord.

  50. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (50 & 51): I like the basic design and look of the guy. That tattoo on his noggin is particularly neat.

    I’m a little put off by the giant sword. If it’s just a design element (“this is the sword he uses”) then it shouldn’t be overlapping the body. It makes it look like the two are physically right touching, which makes for a very odd dynamic.

    I also don’t quite understand what’s going on with his right (our left) shoulder. Is that a giant piece of armor sticking up, or something behind him? Assuming it’s the former, wouldn’t he be effectively blind to anything coming from his right? That doesn’t seem very practical for a warrior type.

    My only other suggestion would be to make the rearward gray baldric loop a darker gray, to reinforce the idea that it’s behind him.

    Nice job overall!

  51. Wierdrocks says:

    @ Ams, Panner, & Jeff Yay! Jeff liked my illustration! *fangirls*

    Ahem… Thank you everybody for the advice, and thanks Jeff so much! yay!

  52. Myro says:

    This is Amazon, a female brick I made for one of my hero teams. With quite a bit of help from SDR and ams, I managed to get the pose in and came up with this:

    And then TheNate suggested trying to fill in the background with people from the companions section, and I came up with this:

    General critique welcome, plus whether the addition of other people helps the picture or no.

  53. MScat says:

    Thanks Jeff ill hop on those fixes as soon as im done with work…us working stiffs gotta earn our pay 😉

  54. Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro (54): Love the pose, the car overhead, the costume, and the design. Really fun image.

    In terms of background people or no, I think what TheNate was probably feeling matches mine, which is that the transition from the foreground beneath her to the background of the buildings is kind of plain. I think the people help with that, breaking up that transition point. I’d probably go with even more — maybe an animal or two, maybe a bush or tree or something, I dunno, but more softening of that area would be a good thing.

    Having said that, again, great job on the illustration, it’s really nice.

  55. Jadebrain says:

    @ Jeff (52)

    The giant sword is in the way, yes, but I didn’t have enough room to include it completely without it overlapping his arm, and if I were to try to move everything and then make the sword, everything would move back to its original position during export.

    That is armor on his right shoulder. Granted, in the final picture, which will be hand-drawn, it will be shorter, but I actually read on that having that giant shoulder armor that you usually see on heavy armor in science fiction games (Starcraft, etc.) is actually a tradeoff; sure, you can’t see things as easily, but it also allows a greater range of arm movement, as having the armor closer to the shoulder would put it in the way of your arm when you’re trying to do certain movements.

    As far as the back of the baldric loop, I was going to do that, but I forgot. Damn you, Short Term Memory Loss!

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  56. Tarkabarka says:

    Panner (48) Thank you.

    For the effect of his right waist. – I think that color more perfectly for the lighting effect. But now when i see really don’t fit well.

    And my usually problem. I don’t make good backgrounds. I want to make first time night time, after i think why i can’t make sunny background, with lighting effects. I know don’t look so good, but i can’t make good backgrounds. 🙁

  57. Panner says:

    MScat (44): Neat! The little heart on the collar is cute, and you have good highlighting going on.

    Overall, I think the entire upper body works well, it’s a cool effect how the dress fades in from the darkness. I don’t like the legs though, for a couple of reasons.

    First off, I don’t think the color works. It wants to say she’s wearing stockings, but all I’m seeing is that she borrowed legs from a black girl. I suggest tweaking the color a bit so that it connects better with her skin color. Second, she only has one kneecap. That can’t be healthy.


    Jadebrain (50): That’s a sweet tattoo he’s sporting. And he looks pretty cheerful for a bodyguard, with yellow and purple. I really like his bracers, those are well done.

    I have to say, the shoulderpad looks very weird. It looks like he doen’t know how to put the shoulderpad on, so he just stuck it on the shoulder and then used a big strap to hold it in place. The rest of his armor looks fairly flexible and streamlined, so the strap + shoulderpad look a bit out of place.

    Also, about that weapon, it’s upscaled a whole lot, which gives it a really thick and dominant line color. However, there’s a trick to making it thinner. Just add another weapon just like it, and mask one to the other. Then, make the masked-upon weapon invisible and the lines on the masked weapon should get thinner. You might need to move it around a few pixels to get it to look right.


    Myro (54): Ehh… I like the version with people! Or, well, I suppose it depends on what you want to say. Without people, this is a piece centered on the character. With people, it’s more focused on a scene or a story. But since the background is of a city street, I’m slightly partial to the version with people.

    As for the character, I think you’ve done a good job, but there are two things I would like to point out. One, her belt has a crack. This is very easy to fix, there’s no excuse!

    Second, could you double check the rotation of her helmet? It looks like it’s missing a few degrees, when compared to her jawline.

  58. Panner says:

    Tarkabarka (58): Aw, don’t sell yourself short! Here’s a list of things that are good with your background:

    – Not overly cluttered
    – Simple colors
    – Good contrast against the character
    – Cool light effects
    – Non-black line color

    So you see, it’s not bad!

  59. Vorpal Laugh says:

    Jeff, I got the e-mail, thanks. Unfortunately it didn’t work.
    I”m worried that I used an older user name when I registered. I tried “VorpalLaugh”, “Vorpallaugh”, and “Splyce”. Is it case sensitive?.
    If you could e-mail me the correct name or reset it to “VorpalLaugh” that would be great. No rush, I can work on my characters.

    PS, Since I don’t think I have done it yet. Thank you for a such an awesome program and site.

  60. alphaalpharomeo says:

    TenX is a mutant who specializes in opening gateways to other places including planets or other dimensions. He is also capable of some telepathy, sonic screams, and hard light holographs

  61. Myro says:

    Jeff (56): I see your point. I’ll work on it a bit.

    Panner (59): I think the “crack” in the belt is an artifact of my masking. Thanks for spotting it, I’m sure I can get that fixed. As for the helmet, now that you point it out, I think it does need to be rotated a couple degrees clockwise to match up.

  62. Panner says:

    alphaalpharomeo (62): Heh, from your description I anticipated a small and lithe mutant, maybe with a big head. It’s funny how expectations work sometimes.

    Anyway, I feel the design here is a little conflicted. He’s wearing a hoodie – which looks casual and undisciplined – but at the same time he’s wearing an assault helmet that covers his entire face, which looks grim and dehumanized. And speaking of clothing, I’d also like to comment on his boots. I usually try to avoid using pitch black as a color, since that causes a lot of lines to be lost.

    Other than clothing, I’d like to see a little of your description in the picture. Opening portals, holographs, sonci screams… you can make those in HeroMachine. It doesn’t need to be a whole scene, but showing some of his powers in the picture makes it resonate a lot more with the description.

  63. Vampyrist says:

    Here is a character named Lyacon. I think he turned out all right, but something and I don’t know what still doesn’t sit right with me.

  64. Sean From Edwards says:

    Just looking for some ways to really make this guy pop and be more realistic and believable as a character/alien.

    and a closeup of his head:

  65. McKnight57 says:

    Here is a second draft of Morningstar.

    For those wondering, the design is due to the fact that he was originally the most beautiful of the angels and I didn’t want to give him an entirely corrupted look, so I sort of kept aspects of the more traditional forms of male beauty. With a name like “Morningstar” he’s gonna have to out-shine everyone else, which is why he has the golden color scheme.

  66. Panner says:

    Vampyrist (65): Ah, you keep pushing the fur designs! I love the colors on all the fur here, all the gradients are really subtle which makes the items come across as smooth and flowing. The eyes are also cool, actually, the entire face is well done, not least of which the beard.

    I find myself wondering about the pose though. His arms and legs suggest that he’s in the middle of a leap, but the torso doesn’t support that. Also, his feet are a little awkward with how they point inward. Heh, it almost looks like he’s holding a basketball between his feet or something.

    I’d also like to ask if that skull belt is really what you want. I understand that you need something there on top of the fur thingies, but I’m not sure this one is the best choice. I mean, it depends on his character, right? But in regards to the rest of his clothes, those skulls look a bit out of place.

  67. Panner says:

    McKnight57 (66): Yeah, I like that! There’s more energy in the colors here, and I think it serves the character well.

    Noticed one thing though, it seems like the fires on his hands are layered behind his pants and hip guards. Might want to bring those bad boys to the top layer!

  68. Jeff Hebert says:

    Vorpal Laugh, you might have just caused me to reset some random person’s password. Awesome.

    Please email me privately about this ( or just reply to the message I sent you. This is not the place to work this out.

  69. Jeff Hebert says:

    alphaalpharomeo (62): Looks nifty! I like the illustration, my only comment would be that if you’re going to have a blue-skinned super-hero with a devil tail and an “X” brand prominently displayed on his uniform who deals in travel in some way, you’re going to invite comparisons to Nightcrawler. Not necessarily bad, just saying.

    Good job on the illo, though!

  70. Jeff Hebert says:

    Vampyrist (65): I love the basic design of the character! The fur, the colors, the skin, it all works great together.

    For me the problem is the pose. I’ve been saying that a lot today, haven’t I?! But his upper body is so rigid, while his lower body looks like he’s trying to stay on an invisible barrel ride. I actually think the whole thing would be a lot better with just a standard pose.

    Great job on the actual character, though, he looks good.

  71. Basic says:

    I’d like some advice with the coloring on this – I’m colorblind, so it’s difficult to get a good color scheme.
    Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Likewise with this. It’s designed to be vaguely disturbing.

  72. Jeff Hebert says:

    Sean From Edwards (66): I like the head a lot, and everything you currently have is good. I think probably this is one of those rare cases where I’ll say “add more”. Specifically, he needs some sort of a back for that cloak. I think maybe one of the ones that are really flapping in the wind would be cool. Maybe a high-tech arm/wrist band of some sort, and a weapon in a thigh holster might be good.

    You might also consider going with some other sort of color and effect on the eyes. Having them match the cloak in what is already a somewhat limited color palette does dull the impact down some. Maybe a nice eerie green with a glow of some sort?

    Anyway, the basics are there, I think maybe you’re just feeling the need to trick him out a bit.

  73. Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57: Much better! The figure pops a lot more now. Nice job!

  74. Panner says:

    Sean From Edwards (66): Cool! I really love his eyes, they are very convincing. The colors are nice and smooth, and the mouth is neatly eye catching. You say you want to sell that this is an alien? Let’s see what we can do about that.

    First off, I think everyone’s first guess when looking at this guy is ‘alien’, so you’re pretty much there already, but if you really want to hammer it home, I think there are ways to emphasize it ever more. For instance, the items he’s wearing look very terrestial, even if it’s conceivable that aliens can create them as well. If you can find a bunch of alien-looking technology in the dark corners of HM, those might work better.

    Hands. His hands look human. Especially compared to the rest of the body, and his feet in particular. You might want to look into some alternate hands, or even building new from scratch.

    Lastly, there’s no background here, so if you create a clearly alien environment around him, that should work out nicely. Making full backgrounds can be pretty hard work though, so I’d wait with that til last.

  75. Jeff Hebert says:

    Basic (73): Actually, the coloring looks pretty darn good to me. About the only area I might change is to make a darker tone of yellow on the mech wings behind her (my standard comment). I see you have a gradient there, but it goes from right-to-left, so by the time you get to the wing on her right side (our left), the gradient’s done and it’s just a yellow block of color. I’d use the top-down gradient instead.

    Otherwise, she looks great, I think it’s a stellar illustration.

  76. Panner says:

    Basic (73): Don’t you fret, I think the colors look good. There’s really no need to include all the colors of the rainbow, less is often more when it comes to number of colors.

    Now, I said I like the colors, but there’s one thing that I’d probably change, and that’s either the wings or the chestpiece. See, in the space between her arms and torso, it becomes a little confusing when the wings and chestpiece are basically the same color. Therefore I recommend a unique color for the wings, something that is different enough to recognize. A darker yellow or orange would work just fine.

    What more is, see that grey line at the right of her feet? That comes from her boots. I’m guessing you have a gradient pattern on them, but unfortunately those particular boots aren’t very cooperative when it comes to masking or patterns. Not much to do about it.

  77. Jeff Hebert says:

    All right folks, closing time. Thanks for playing along, and have a good weekend!

  78. Danny Beaty says:

    @Anarchangel: For goodness sakes, do not give up on the Scorpion! You really have something in that character!

  79. Captain Kicktar says:

    Oops, forgot to come here today, hopefully someone will critique this.

  80. Panner says:

    Captain Kicktar (81): Well, I’m still up, so sure! And this certainly is an interesting piece you’ve come up with. I’m not going to bother saying anything about the color scheme, because there’s really no point.

    But you know what? I like it. It’s so extreme and unusual that you can’t help but notice it. And all attention is good attention. This is a picture that doesn’t even care. It doesn’t care that it’s unconventional or unexpected. It just presents itself and dares the viewer to study it.

    There’s one little thing that doesn’t make sense here – her cloak. See, on the shoulders the outside of her cloak is dark grey, but down by her legs the outside of that same cloak is red! Not impossible, to be sure, but a bit inconsistent. I see three solutions here. Recolor the cloak at the shoulders, recolor the cloak at the legs or pick a cloak without visible outside. You’ll need to decide for yourself which way to go. Just try different alternatives and see when the magic happens.

    And while on the topic of recoloring things, have you tried switching her hair color to that same dark grey? If not, I strongly suggest you try it. I mean, it takes like ten seconds and I think it might make great framing for the face. Just an idea off the top of my head.

  81. Captain Kicktar says:

    Wow, don’t know how I didn’t notice the cloak.
    The hair works pretty well as dark grey, thanks.