Open Critique Day #26

Folks, 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 ©

125 Responses to Open Critique Day #26

  1. Tarkabarka says:

    I enter with this picture in the card competition. But now i think it not a good idea. I especially like this picture.

    Karin my queen of heart

  2. Jeff Hebert says:

    Tarkabarka (1): Overall, a lovely image. It’s clear you took a lot of time and care in the coloring. It’s a pleasure to look at. I like her head a lot and the general feeling of her standing there dreamily playing the violin definitely comes across well.

    A few problem areas did jump out, though. The biggest is her left hand, the one holding the violin neck. It’s backwards — the thumb would be on the opposite side in that position.

    The legs are troublesome as well. She doesn’t appear to have any knees. The way the peach skirt lines up with the outer edge of her thighs makes it look like her legs are very narrow and go into a suddenly wide hip, like an action figure or something.

    Finally, the position of the buckle makes it look like she’s got a very large belly or that she’s pregnant, neither of which is a BAD thing in and of itself, but I’m not sure given the rest of the figure that’s what you meant to convey.

    Really nice image, though, one of the best you’ve done. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Tarkabarka says:

    Thanks Jeff.

    Why i don’t see the hand ๐Ÿ˜› – Now i’m a little bit angry myself.

  4. Jadebrain says:

    Here’s a hand-drawn picture of Akhemeph. You’ll notice that I abandoned the idea of using an asymmetrical shoulder-guard in favor of armor that looks more like the tattoo on his head. Also, another detail I’d like to point out are the spiked platforms under his shoes. Those were inspired by the types of footwear that you sometimes see on samurai and certain ninjas, designed to protect the wearer’s foot from caltrops and other similar hindrances. The spikes are not for striking, but are an additional measure to protect from the wearer from slipping on things such as marbles, as the marbles would slide in between the spikes, in addition to increasing the friction between the wearer and the ground, while being dull and closely-spaced enough to not leave much damage on a floor.

  5. McKnight57 says:

    Here is my OC, Heishi. He is a Yakuza assassin and arch-nemesis of one of my main characters.

    Here, is a commissioned work of him. Sort of how I hope to see him in the comic.

  6. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (4): Very nice! He looks cool. I dig the ankh-inspired armor/chest piece a lot, and you’re right, echoing the tatt on his head is a great touch. I like the distinctiveness of the face/head, he looks like an actual individual rather than a generic “comic book” type of guy. You also did a great job on the far arm (his left, our right) in terms of rendering and anatomy.

    Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the near arm (his right, our left). The triceps/biceps area looks very off, and the forearm muscle is bunched up to the point that it looks like it no longer connects to the elbow region at all.

    Otherwise, though, I think it’s a really good drawing and a strong design, well done!

  7. Panner says:

    Happy friday everyone! I’m having guests over, so I won’t be able to post for a couple of hours. I’ll be with you later!

    In the meantime, I’ll submit this:

    I’m mostly wondering about gradients. Should I use more of them? Should they be more aggressive? Scrap everything and start over?

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    McKnight57 (5): I like the basic design of the character — good item choices and a solid color palette. The way the curved chest pieces match the curves of the sickles (or whatever you call those weapons) is a neat design touch.

    The two main problems I have with it overall are that a) it comes off very dark on my monitor, to the point where I can’t really see much of what’s going on in the costume (the dark red background doesn’t help in that regard), and 2) the curves of the sickles touch, making for a bit of a disconcerting visual effect. It would be great to introduce at least 4-5 pixels between them so you don’t set up that visual tension.

    Good job, though; as you can see from the very nice commissioned piece, it’s a great design!

  9. Doornik1142 says:


    If you read the description you’ll see he’s sort of a Superman parody. He’s beloved by the public but in reality is a colossal douche-bag.

    My main issue is I’m trying to think of ways to make him more visibly douchey.

    I’d also like a second opinion on the costume.

  10. Jadebrain says:

    @ Jeff (6)
    I actually used a reference picture for the musculature and pose, and I drew his right arm, along with the rest of him, according to the reference picture. If you’re curious, here is the picture I used as a reference.

  11. Jeff Hebert says:

    Panner (7): What, your guests can’t get online and help comment? That’s pretty rude of them. (Kidding, obviously!)

    First of all, LOVE the pose. Very well done. The shoes in particular work great — those items’ perspective always bugged me when seen in their default position because they’re so pigeon-toed, but the way you use them here is perfect. The skirt too is great, I love the use of color there to make it really seem dynamic and flowing.

    In terms of gradients, I actually think it’s perfect as-is. They enhance the dimensionality without detracting from the illustration itself, as they should. I think more would be too much, definitely keep it as-is.

    In fact, I can’t really think of anything to suggest for changes, it’s a great illustration and I love it.

  12. MisterDinoMan says:

    Hey guys, could use some help with this one. I was aiming for a patriotic look. But it could be more iconic/american. Thoughts?

  13. Doornik1142 says:

    McKnight57 (5)

    I concur with Jeff. You need to go back and lighten up the colors a bit. I think if you went in and made all the blacks and grays about 1-3 shades lighter it would be a lot better.

    Also, that scabbard on his back doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Was he supposed to have a sword at one point but you changed your mind?

  14. Doornik1142 says:

    MisterDinoMan (12)

    The first thing I would do is complexify (if that’s a word) the costume. The red white and blue colors are appropriate, but they’re too simple. If you look at an American flag you’ll notice it’s very complex with lots of different shapes and patterns. As it is now, the costume reminds me more of the French flag (insert your own French joke here).

    Also, it needs some iconic shapes that echo the American flag. Eagles, stars, things like that.

  15. Jeff Hebert says:

    Jadebrain (10): I understand now — that’s a terrible reference photo. The arm looks even worse there.

    Whenever using reference, it’s important to remember that you’re making a drawing. You’re in control. If something doesn’t LOOK right when you’re done drawing it, it doesn’t matter if it’s EXACTLY the same as your reference. It only matters that it doesn’t look right. You’re in complete control, so you can make whatever changes you want to make it look like you want. Reference can be a great tool, but if it’s not held in check and made to serve you, it will end up ruling you.

    I threw together a quick sketch to show what I mean about the anatomy, here.

  16. Jadebrain says:

    @ Jeff: Thanks for the help. I’ll try to remember that next time I draw. And, if I hadn’t said it on all the help you’ve given me before, thank you for that as well.

  17. Jeff Hebert says:

    Doornik1142 (9): First, thanks for the comments on the other submissions, good stuff!

    Nice job on Helios. I like the interlocking color areas on the costume, it helps create some visual interest.

    My main area of distraction is where the grays of the pants and boots overlap the gray of the back of his cape. The color values there are so close they all kind of meld and at a quick glance it appears the red parts of the legs are the entire leg. The easy fix is to make the back of the cape a darker gray, but then I started thinking about how it would look to have the gray leg parts blue instead, getting rid of the dividing line at the upper thigh. So basically the interior of the leg would be red with a sort of solid blue stripe coming down from the “biker shorts” portion. I dunno, something to think about. Regardless, some differentiation down there in the colors would help.

    Finally, while I like the basic logo, I kept feeling like it could be something a bit more dynamic, maybe integrated into the design of the upper tunic instead of the classic “stitched on patch” look. Not that it’s bad this way, I was just thinking it could be even more dynamic.

    Anyway, that’s all fairly little stuff, I think it’s a nice design and solid illustration, good job!

  18. Jeff Hebert says:

    Doornik1142 (9): On the douchiness factor, I can’t think of anything to do in the actual costume. You’d have to go to some sort of indolent pose or a fairly involved background of some sort, I think, to get that across.

  19. NGpm says:

    Jeff, your seventh sanctum generated image a while back got me hooked on the idea of competing. I had two wildly different entries. Curious as to what you thought would improve either (or both) of these.

  20. Jeff Hebert says:

    MisterDinoMan (12): Nice! Dig the pose a lot, very cool. The background works great here as well.

    I’ll agree with Doornik1142 that if you’re going for a patriotic look, you’re going to need some more visibly iconic American symbols. Stars, eagles, stripes, something — right now I would think it’s just a nice primary color costume, not in any way “American”. Maybe something as simple as a belt with a flag buckle? Or (and I admit this is more than a bit cheesy), you could put the big American flag on the pole in her right hand.

    Anyway, I think the current character design, while a little on the plain side, looks really good, if not particularly American.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    NGpm (19): Nice to “see” you again, welcome back!

    My general rule is to only critique one item per person, otherwise I wouldn’t ever be able to finish, so I’m just going to take on your first link.

    It’s so nice to see custom drawn stuff like this and Jadebrain’s, I really like seeing what people do on their own. I dig his pose a lot! Very dynamic and fun. I admit I haven’t ever thought of a Ninja wearing suspenders, but it kind of works with the fences and all in the background.

    I’m not too sure what’s going on with the cloud of (I assume from the description) panther eyes next to him, though. Is it a whole group of them wrapped in clouds or shadows? Or coming through a gate? I’d definitely want to clarify what’s happening there so it’s immediately obvious what’s going on to the viewer.

    Good job, thanks for submitting it!

  22. Jeff Hebert says:

    Rozenstal (21): Wow, LOVE it! Possibly my favorite thing you’ve done so far. The wrapping ribbons of flame are awesome, and the colors you chose definitely give the feeling that there’s a reflected glow going on. I like her pose a lot, too, with the only exception being the two lines where I think her armpit would be on the raised arm.

    You did a great job making it look like the flames are wrapping around her, both in front of and behind.

    Great job, love it!

  23. Doornik1142 says:

    Jeff (18)

    Oof. That’s a problem because I generally suck at backgrounds and poses. Also I don’t think I’d be able to keep the interlocking color pattern consistent if I tried to change his pose (someone else might be able to but I can’t because, as previously mentioned, I suck at poses).

    I’ll try the things you mentioned about the color scheme but I don’t know how to use photobucket or the other image sites that other people use.

  24. Jeff Hebert says:

    I don’t think you have to resort to a third party image editor, Doornik, you should be able to get the color effect on the leg in HM3 with some combination of items in the Spandex set, I’d think.

  25. Kaldath says:

    Here is one of mine for your consideration, Comment and criticism.

  26. Rozenstal says:

    Jeff (23): There is more to come, there are 4 more pictures with it.

  27. Doornik1142 says:

    Rozenthal (21)

    It looks awesome. The only issue I have is that unsightly bump on the left hip where the torso piece doesn’t quite line up with the leg piece. It happens sometimes with poses like this.

    One trick I know to fix those problems is to take a basic insignia shape, shrink it down so it covers up just the piece you want to hide, and then color it the same as the background behind the character (in this case the red flames). You’ll have to use several shapes if you want to keep the flame pattern consistent, but it can be done.

  28. Jeff Hebert says:

    Kaldath (26): Neat! Love the gold and black color scheme, you’ve got it arranged in a way that really enhances the design of the character. The Fate helmet in particular is a perfect addition, I love that. The head-on pairing and mirroring of the shoulder launchers, arms, and legs look great too, it’s a very imposing and effective arrangement.

    I like the Celtic knot background, but I’d use different colors — the gold is so close to the body gold that they end up looking intertwined. I actually think maybe a silverish kind of color instead would help the figure itself pop while still retaining the integrity of the background as a design element.

    The only other bit that doesn’t work as well as the rest for me is the scale loincloth thingie. I like it, but it feels too squashed horizontally. I’d like it to be a bit wider or shorter so it doesn’t seem so distorted.

    Great job though, definitely one of my favorite “mech” style characters to date.

  29. Jeff Hebert says:

    Malfar (27): Nifty! I dig the glowing sword hilt a lot, that looks hot (pun intended). The use of yellow as the line color is very effective there.

    The design of the character is really strong as well. I like his head a lot, and the armor is spot-on.

    I did think there were two areas that might use some tweaking. First, the shield seems REALLY flat, I think either a circular shadow gradient in there to give it some roundness, or a horizontal light gradient to make it look like the glow of the sword is reflecting off of it, would help give it some pop.

    And second, I think you need to make the cape darker; the lighter color is the same as the boots, creating a bit of visual confusion where they overlap. A darker orange would, I think, help that quite a bit.

    Good job, I like it!

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Asder (31): Very nice, as always! Neat pose and excellent color choices (the gray cape really sets off the blue and white clothing). I like the tattoo on his arm as well.

    I can’t think of too much to recommend in terms of changes, I think you get the concept across very well.

  31. Malfar says:

    Thanks for the tips, Jeff!

  32. Jeff Hebert says:

    Worf (35): I like the concept very much, and what I can see of the basic layout/design is good. The reflected orangish glow from the flame is nice on the figure, that’s a good touch.

    However, it’s so dark I can’t quite make out very much. I mean, I know it’s a night scene, but I just can’t see very much. Sorry ๐Ÿ™

  33. zarae says:

    hey yall
    ink doodle.

  34. Doornik1142 says:

    Worf (35)

    *sigh* Another person infinitely better at poses and backgrounds than me. I hate all of you.

    Okay, my personal enmity for everyone who is better than me aside, I like this picture a lot. Only two areas of criticism. First, I think the shovel would work a little better if you could figure out a way to have it actually jammed into the soil. It would help to better establish that he’s in mid-dig. My first thought would be to use one of the scar pieces from (I think) one of the Zombie galleries. If you took one of those, colored it dirt-brown, and used some clever masking to cover up the front end of the shovel, it would look great.

    Second, the graveyard background. The lower graves seem to appear right next to his left foot. Either that’s a really small grave or he’s 100 feet tall. Maybe if you put a floor piece in the foreground to make it look like he’s standing atop a hill overlooking the graveyard.

    Third, because of the position of the eyes it looks like he’s staring right at me. Like I stumbled across him as he was disposing of a dead body and now he’s considering whether to kill me too. If that was your intent then it worked great. If not, then you need to fix it because it’s very distracting.

    zarae (37)

    That’s a nice drawing, but this thread is supposed to be for critiquing HeroMachine creations.

  35. Doornik1142 says:

    Er, that is to say, three areas of criticism.

  36. zarae says:

    did they change it, the rules? i’ve always done hand doodles…my heromachine stuff stinks

  37. Worf says:

    @Doornik1142(38): First, the eyes were meant to be like that, like he just looked up at something/someone.

    Second, I did notice the background problem, but couldn’t come up with a good way to fix it….

    Third, the shovel… I’m going to have to look into something else… as we don’t have a ready-made shovel in HM having to make one from scratch AND making it do what you want is a hassle (hint hint, Jeff).

    And finally, about the poses, you might want to take a look at this thread in the HM forums:

    Some very good stuff there that you can either use as-is, or use to study how to make them on your own.

  38. Jeff Hebert says:

    zarae (37): Looks good! I love the color border with the tail breaking it, that adds a very “finished”, cool kind of look to the whole composition.

    For me the lizard and the cacti are the strongest elements. They have a real feeling of texture and weight to them that’s very satisfying. I also like the overall composition, I think the various planes all relate well to each other.

    The area that I think needs work is in the general rendering of textures. The stone doesn’t really read as stone, and the water doesn’t read as water.

    But, a really nice job, I’m glad you continue to post your hand doodles!

  39. Jeff Hebert says:

    And no, the rules didn’t change — you can absolutely post hand drawings just like always. That’s what Jadebrain did earlier in the thread. That’s always been the case and always will be as far as I am concerned. I love seeing the hand-done drawings!

  40. Jeff Hebert says:

    Worf (42): Yes, that’s a bit better, thank you.

    I’ll agree that the shovel doesn’t quite work. I’d be happy to do one for a contest prize some time! For now, I think you have a good start. The two things I’d add would be to put a vertical gradient in the middle, so the dark part is right in the center fading out to the lighter parts at left and right. That would help it appear concave. Then I’d add some rubble or dirt over the very bottom of it so it looks like it’s dug into the ground.

    In terms of the background, for me the moon is too bright, it totally dominates the whole image with everything else being so dark. I also can only barely make out that there’s a cemetery, though that should be something you absolutely want to nail down as an important part of the story you’re telling.

    Like I said earlier, I like the basics, for me it’s really about the tonal value of the colors chosen — you can do a dark night scene and still have everything show up clearly, though I admit it’s hard to do.

  41. zarae says:

    thanks jeff. tho it was desert i think, but it does look kinda like water now i think about it.
    but yes the stone wasnt quite right.

  42. Captain Kicktar says:
    Shadow: Created by the Bloodmaster in his early years, a true spot of luck, and fortunately not duplicable, can basically do whatever he wants. Although very powerful, he’s more of a trickster than anything else, pushing you to your limit, and never any further

  43. Kytana says:
    Title: Revenge
    I want it look like a comic site.

  44. Jeff Hebert says:

    Captain Kicktar (47): Looks good. I assume the lack of a lower body is intentional, though if he’s a wraith or something I would think some kind of something there would help finish it off. Currently I’m left wondering “what happened to the rest of him” without some kind of visual clue as to your intent.

  45. Jeff Hebert says:

    Kytana (48): Neat! It definitely comes across like a set of comics panels. I’m not sure I get exactly what’s happening, though — I assume the wolves killed the woman, but then why does the male have blood on his hands?

    Neat idea, though.

    Also, I sent you a “Power User Profile” request but didn’t know if it ever got to you. It’s cool if you don’t want to participate, but I wanted to be sure you knew you were invited.

  46. headlessgeneral says:

    I thought about putting more in the background, but I’m wondering if it is really needed. All other critiques and comments also welcome.

  47. Myro says:

    Fake baseball card I did for the Cards Character Contest thing. I think it might be that the pose needed work.

  48. Jeff Hebert says:

    headlessgeneral (51): Cool! Love the subtly twisted torso pose, you nailed that. So to speak. Ahem. The highlighting and shading on the torso are awesome as well, that really helps seal the deal.

    In terms of the background … I don’t know, I’m conflicted. I think what you have is effective, but on the other hand it does feel like something’s maybe missing. Maybe just some very light, almost-not-there stuff like a doorway, or another pillar, or an opening of some sort, colored on the light side just a shade darker than the current color (very low alpha setting) and on the dark side just a very very dark gray …

    But then, maybe not. It’s pretty darn good as it is.

  49. Jeff Hebert says:

    Myro (52): Yeah, for me the pose was just a little too off, particularly the arms. I think maybe it’s that when swinging a bat, the off arm would be bent. The only time they’re both straight like shown is right in front of the player as they make contact with the ball, but here he’s at the end of his swing since his arms are off to the side and not in front of his torso. It’s a little thing, sort of, but it makes a big difference, at least for me.

    I mean, overall it’s a nice image, but if the whole theme is “baseball” then the baseball parts have to be spot-on or they really jump out at you.

  50. Doornik1142 says:

    zarae (40)

    Oh, sorry. I was under the impression that Open Critique days were only for HeroMachine creations. Nevermind then.

    Worf (42)

    – I thought that might have been what you were going for, but I wasn’t sure. In that case I’d say it would help drive the point home if you changed his expression to something other than dull surprise. Maybe make him look angry or sneering in a sinister fashion.

    – Other than the suggestion I made I’m not sure how to fix the background. You may want to just get rid of the graveyard and make it a plain old horizon. Like I said I’m very inexperienced with backgrounds and such so the advice I can give here is limited.

    – If there isn’t a shovel in HeroMachine (I could have sworn there was one) then what did you use to make that shovel head?

  51. Doornik1142 says:

    headlessgeneral (51)

    Out of curiosity, why a flaming mask-thing rather than a flaming skull or something?

    Kytana (53)

    Neat work with the comic book-ish panels. It didn’t even occur to me we could do that in HeroMachine. One problem I see is the lips on the (dead?) girl. They don’t look like lips, just a black smudge on her face. Also, you might want to try masking the blood stains onto the guy’s hands. There are a few places where the pieces you used (energy effects I’m guessing?) jut out off the edge of his hands.

  52. Fuzztone says:


    Bit of a work in progress, this, for a heroine called Darkstar. Quite like it… but think there’s something missing. A sense of movement, maybe? All comments and suggestions very welcome.

  53. Jeff Hebert says:

    Fuzztone (58): I like it as well. The design is solid and the environment interesting. I do get a sense of movement from her, particularly in the pose, but maybe a more fly-away kind of hair style would help reinforce that, something with more action in it. She looks like she’s running but the hair is lying straight down.

    But great job in general, I like it.

  54. headlessgeneral says:


    Yeah, I’ve been really conflicted about the background too. I was thinking that maybe the brick wall background done really light with a weapon or something hanging might work too. I don’t know. I’ll try a few things and see if anything works. Anyway, thanks for the critique and compliments.


    The mask is the characters mask. She is a sorceress character of mine named Wicked and she is usually wearing it. This imaged is an “umasked” image of her named “Wicked Revealed”. Here’s a few of her wearing the mask.

  55. Asder says:

    @Jeff(33)Thanks, iยดll try to keep nice things coming

  56. Doornik1142 says:

    headlessgeneral (60)

    Oh, okay, cool.

  57. Doornik1142 says:

    Fuzztone (58)

    I disagree, I think you captured the feeling of movement quite well. Especially with the outward-facing right hand. It looks like she’s winding up a knockout punch. Though as Jeff suggested, choosing a hairstyle that appears to stream backward as she runs would help reinforce the idea.

    Though I will say the thing on her left hand kinda bugs me because I’m not sure what it is. I can’t decide if it looks like a raygun she’s holding in her hand or if it’s a cyborg gun that’s actually part of her hand. Either way, it could be made a little clearer.

  58. Kaylin88100 says:

    Umm…OK…here’s something I made fairly recently (like, a month ago…everything more recent was a contest entry). I thought I’d experiment with reflections.

  59. Worf says:

    Remake #2… I toned down the moon, added a gradient to the shovel handle, put some “gravel” in front of the head, lightened the background somewhat and changed his expression. Is this better now? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @Doornik1142(56): That shovel head is a shield. And if there is a shovel in HM, I sure can’t find it.

  60. Jeff Hebert says:

    Kaylin (64): Very nice! I think it looks great. My only suggestion would be that the wall behind the mirror should be darker than the reflection of that wall IN the mirror, to go along with the generally lighter scheme you have for the rest of the reflection.

    Good job!

  61. Doornik1142 says:

    Kaylin88100 (64)

    I think you did a fine job. The hands don’t quite match up with the reflected ones but I suppose that can’t be helped. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  62. Jeff Hebert says:

    Worf (65): MUCH better!

  63. Jeff Hebert says:

    Oh, the only thing I’d suggest at this point Worf is to make sure the background tree branch goes over the moon instead of behind it. That’ll help push the moon further back where it belongs.

  64. Kaylin88100 says:

    Kytana (53): Love it! The concept of a comic-book style layout is one that’s really hard to do on the program, but you’ve made a great job of it. The setting is really convincing, with the snow effect, and you can really tell what’s going on, which to me is the criteria I use for judging whether an image is good or not…you can tell what’s going on. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also love the girl’s hair. How did you do that? Just one small thing – I have to agree with Doornik about the girl’s mouth. It just doesn’t fit very well. If I was making that, [A] it wouldn’t look nearly as good, but [B] I’d have done her with a closed mouth, really pale lips. That’s just my thoughts. Hope I could be helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

  65. Panner says:

    Tarkabarka (1): Wow, I love it! Really colorful and greatly composed. The background is magnificent and even the little details like the microphone stand are very effective.

    The problems here are hands. Now I don’t know much about playing a violin, but the left hand (her right) is holding the bow all wrong. There is a hand in HandRight-Standard (second page, bottom left corner) that might work better. Might require some arm repositioning to look perfect though.

    The other hand is, to be honest, even worse. It’s a right hand instead of a left, and it’s also holding the violin wrong. When you play a violin, the audience will see the back of your left hand, not the palm.


    Jadebrain (4): Nice job on the new armor, it’s very effective. Overall, I think the head and torso are very impressive and the best parts of the picture, they look both natural and interesting. In particular, the armor on his chest that rises up on his neck, I love that, it comes across as just exotic enough.

    I don’t really like the arms here though. The amount of muscle is just absurd, and even though it looks cool, it also looks unnatural. The right arm (his left) works pretty well because of the perspective, but the left one is not so lucky. I always skimmed the anatomy section of any art books I’ve read, so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help!

    Oh, and the shoes kind of stand out. Your explanation makes a lot of sense, just be aware that they still look a bit out of place.


    McKnight57 (5): I think this is black done right. Outfits don’t need to be pitch black to get the point across, it generally becomes more powerful if one allows a variety of shades.

    I think the commission is very well done too. I especially like the cut on his chest that crosses over onto the armor, that’s cool. The background is fitting too. I have to say though, the markings on his helmet, in the commission, almost comes across as stubble. Which is a bit weird.

    You’ll notice that in the commission, the artist picked another color for the belt and pouches, to separate them from the rest of his outfit. This is not a bad idea, and something you could try in the HM version.

    One more thing about the HM version, I really, really suggest another background color. The current one blends with the colors on weapons and, more importantly, the helmet. I suggest something more brown, or blue, or really anything that’s far away from the palette on the character.

  66. Kaylin88100 says:

    @Jeff (66): It is a bit darker…I suppose it isn’t really obvious. What I did was just made the reflection and the “real” part the same colours, then put a background rectangle over the reflection with white at a fairly low alpha, to make it look lighter and kind of “washed-out”. I suppose I could up the alpha a bit if you think it’s necessary. Or I could add in another rectangle just in front of the reflected wall to make just that bit lighter. What do you think?

  67. Vampyrist says:

    This is Ankou, a character I’d love to hear feedback on.

  68. Captain Kicktar says:

    Good luck catching up, Panner!

  69. Kaylin88100 says:

    Vampyrist (73): I love the dark gradients you’ve put over the hands and weapon, as well as the way you’ve done the eyes – or *not* done. ๐Ÿ™‚ It makes him look very spooky and mysterious. I also like the skull on his chest, it adds a lot to the whole feel of him. I’d really like to know more about this character – what’s he like? Why is he dressed like that? What does he fight with that uber-cool weapon? I know, I ask too many questions…I can’t help it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  70. Panner says:

    Doornik1142 (9): I really love the description you give of him. It clashes so hilariously with his boyish good looks and “good guy” costume. It’s really good stuff, makes for a rich character!

    When it comes to the character design, I like the overall color theme (it’s a classic), but you’re overusing the grey quite a bit, and it has consequences. For starters, the cloak blends in really, really badly with the grey on his legs and also the boots. I’d really like a different color for the cloak. I’d try pale yellow or a darker grey for starters, just try a bunch of different stuff and see what makes the magic.

    There’s also some similar problems with the bracers and belt. They don’t come across enough as metallic when the boots have the exact same colors. you could try adding reflections and stuff if you’re feeling ambitious, but the best way is probably to just play around with colors.


    Jeff (11): Thanks for the praise, I quite like it myself as well. I can’t take much credit for the pose though, the lower body is pretty much traced straight off (although it’s not really the same with HM). Well, good artists copy, right?

    And I don’t have a huge deal of experience in the gradient department, but it’s great to know I’m heading in the right direction!


    MisterDinoMan (12): Oh, that’s easy. You know the stars and the stripes? Well, I see neither here, so those are the first things I’d add. Other than that, hmm, maybe an eagle insignia or decoration somewhere on the outfit?

    Just try to avoid really corny things, like Statue of Liberty accessories, and you’ll be fine!

  71. Vampyrist says:

    @Kaylin, he was a psychopomp who got corrupted by darkness. He now wishes to corrupt the world in a similar way. His scythe is a corrupted scythe that used to belong to a reaper. His name comes from a Breton personification of death.

  72. Kaylin88100 says:

    Malfar (27): I agree with Jeff about the cape and the shield, and I would like to add that it looks a little odd to me how you have black lines on all the clothing, armour, shield etc, but you have the skin with coloured lines. Is there a reason for that? Cause it just looks a bit off to me, especially around his right (our left) arm, where the skin is exposed.
    Other than that, a great character design and I LOVE the glow effect on the sword. Good work, just needs a few teeny tweaks to make it GREAT work.

  73. Doornik1142 says:

    Worf (65)

    Definitely better. You wouldn’t think moving the background up just a smidgen would fix the scale/perspective issue, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t work perfectly. The rocks around the shovel helps emphasize the act of digging. And the change in expression makes it clear that he’s angrily surprised and not just going “Guuuhhhh” as he waits for the next synapse to fire.

    Also, that’s a shield? Huh. It seems so obvious now…

  74. Lime says:

    So the idea here is that the human has heard something and is looking around to find out what it was, and hasn’t quite spotted the merperson yet. (“Merperson” because I haven’t decided whether it’s male or female.)

    I’m fairly satisfied with the way the profile head worked out. Overall, I think the merperson is okay. One thing I’m not happy with is the fact it looks like the tail is shoved right up against its back. I tried using darker shades of blue and reducing the size a little to give the impression of distance, and I just don’t think it helped much.

  75. Jeff Hebert says:

    Vampyrist (73): Very nice! I don’t think I’ve seen a drop shadow done quite that way, it works well.

    It’s a good character design, well done overall, with a few minor things to tweak. First, if the staff is meant to be completely black that’s cool, but if not, it comes off that way. Might as well be a slab of formed darkness.

    Second, I say it a lot but I’d make the backing of the coat (behind his legs) darker than the front is so you get some dimensionality.

    Finally, I like that his eyes are shadowed, but they’re SO deep in shadow I don’t understand how they can be that way while the hair underneath the hat is not shadowed at all.

    Minor stuff, though, it’s a good illo ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. Kytana says:

    About the picture. No the wolf killed not the woman. It is from my story i write and this was only a short inspiration in there. The wolf killed not, its only the idea about revenge.
    And yes i become the post but sry i have it overlooked. When i post tommorow is it ok?!
    And i hope my bad english is ok too. :/

  77. Doornik1142 says:

    Vampyrist (73)

    I like how you repurposed the skull helmet as a clasp for his cloak. I always like to see creative use of pieces like that.

    However, I think you may have overdone it a bit with the black gradients. I see what you were going for and it makes for a sinister image, but too much and it becomes distracting because I’m straining my eyes to see through the gradients. I think a little less of those would be better in this case.

    On the other hand, I would actually add a little more black gradients just under the hat. The reason is because while the eyes are shadowed the hair is not. It makes it look like he’s got boot polish on his face. If you threw in a little more shadow on the hair it would work better IMO.

  78. Jeff Hebert says:

    Lime (80): It’s a nice piece! The profile head does indeed look pretty darn good.

    I see what you mean about the tail, and I think the problem is that its outer line tangents directly onto the outer line of the rock, blurring their relationship to each other. In other words, because their outlines are contiguous, one leading directly into the other, they appear to be one object to our lizard brains.

    The solution is to make those lines not overlap. Either move the tail left or right, but there should be a clear break between their edges. Personally I’d move it pretty far to our right, so it’s behind the mer creature’s arm. That’ll help place the items as rock-creature-tail definitively. It sounds like a little thing but it can be very important to fooling the eye.

    Hope that helps!

  79. Doornik1142 says:

    Lime (80)

    *shudder* That there is one creepy looking mer-person you’ve created. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)

    I think the human’s head might work better if you used a 45 degree profile and had her eyes aiming off to her left. With the angle it’s at right now it seems like she ought to be able to see the creepy mer-person already.

    I see what you mean about the tail. If reducing the size even more doesn’t help, I suggest moving it down and to the right. Enough so the tail flukes can still be seen but the center of the tail is closer to the mer-person’s shoulder. It should force the eye to see it as if the tail is coming up from behind rather than the side.

  80. Panner says:

    NGpm (19): For Kurohyou, I think the area that needs work is definitely his mouth, it looks unnatural and flat. My suggestion is, as always, find a good reference guide and trace the heck out of it! If that doesn’t make the magic, he looks like the kind of guy that might use a mask over his mouth anyway!

    Coolest part about the picture is his weapon. It’s weird and awesome.

    About WereWyvern, I’d say the picture could maybe show a little more? Big parts of him are shadowed or obscured by the purple, which kind of belittles the character. Also, personally I’d give the moon much, much less picture space.

    Best part of the picture is the jester cap. It’s extremely well drawn, the curvature is just beautiful.


    Rozenstal (21): Hehe, such convenient censoring, total classic!

    Anyway, I’m not sure I like that the effect and the hair are the exact same color. Sure, you save up on the palette budget (by the way, that’s totally a concept now), but maybe it all blends together just a little too much. Try subtle changes in line color? I don’t know, it’s just an idea.

    Also, there are some problems with the right hip (her left). Your salvage attempts are surprisingly effective, but I think you overlooked the most obvious solution – cover it up with hair!


    Kaldath (26): First thought – background too obtrusive. Especially between the legs where the non-black line color of the scale armor has problems standing out. Also by the head. See, the big shoulder pads cut off this section of the background, and it kind of gets associated with the character.

    My original idea was to just give the background more washed out colors, but that’s no fun. So I got another idea, what if you just rotate the background 45 degrees? The lack of vertical lines might differentiate the background enough. Only way to know is to try,

    Other than that, I like it a lot. Really solid design and the color scheme is one of my favorites. If I wanted to suggest anything, it would maybe be a black gradient somewhere on the missile launchers. You really make the gradients work on the rest of the body, and the launchers might want a few as well!


    Captain Kicktar (74): Oh, I’ll be here for as long as I have to!

  81. Nick Hentschel says:

    Just gonna get ONE comment in (I’ve nothing in shape to submit right now), before OCD ends:

    Lime (80): a very solid composition, using a lot of the stuff we’ve all learned, . For the most part, the turned-head girl IS very well done, but you can see a “line break” on the side of her neck; it keeps distracting me. Otherwise, very good design.
    I also wonder: is she IN the water? If so, she might want to look a little more wet.

    That mer-creature gives me an idea that I should have tried for one of my contest drawings, the way you’ve use the tail. Thanks for the inspiration, and in return, I offer this: consider a little splash aura or some ripples around him, if indeed he’s thrashing his tail around. You could also consider some kind of “music” sound from the Auras pile, if you want to hint that the creature is singing (or just a likely, that SHE is).

  82. Panner says:

    Malfar (27): Ok, first things first. For an image with as much red as this one, please please save it as a png instead of jpg.

    Technicalities aside, looks solid. Using a moustache instead of a mouth is one of the good old tricks, and the entire armor assemble goes very well together.

    I know you want to limit the amount of colors here, and that’s admirable, but I’m afraid that cloak needs a change. Having the same color as the rest of the armor, especially the boots, just makes it confusing. I suggest creating a custom color that’s slightly darker, say halfway between the current bright cloak color and dark cloak color.

    I also never really liked how that chestpiece becomes a big chunk of color1 with only a few tiny details of color2. I suggest replacing the center decoration with an insignia of choice, which you then color as you like.


    Asder (31): I’ve seen this picture before, and I gotta say, it’s pretty much perfect, I love everything about it. I’m not sure I can suggest anything for it.

    Well… maybe one thing. See that bit of grey cloak sticking out by the right foot (his left)? I’d mask that away. I think it’d give the foot a little more space without it. And to be honest I’d probably take the opportunity to mask away the bit of cloak under the right arm (his left) as well.


    Worf (35): Oh man, that’s some fantastic lighting going on here. And that cover up of the problematic elbow is pretty sweet as well.

    First thing I noticed was some weird blocky thing right on his crotch. Probably a runaway gradient. I suggest adding another waist-crotch pants part masked to an appropriate triangle to cover it up.

    Other than that, I’m thinging maybe you could try a symmetrical gradient on the shovel blade, one that’s dark in the middle. You know, to show the curvature.

  83. Aaron says:

    srry for the double comment

  84. Lime says:

    @Jeff: Well, yeah, the head *itself* is fine. Almost as if it were all drawn as one item… ๐Ÿ˜‰ I forgot to elaborate more. I was thinking in terms of 1) how it worked with the hair (though I think I’ll go back and play with bangs) and 2) what Doornik said about her being able to see the creature already was something I was afraid of.

    Initially, I was going to have it be the moment of spotting, but 1) I couldn’t get the “surprised” mouth that I wanted to look right when I tried to mask it to the face and 2) it would have meant doing the rest of her body turned more to the side, and the clothes to match, and it was already waaay past my bedtime.

    But I’ll be doggone; I didn’t even notice the lines of the tail and the rock lining up. It didn’t look right in other places I tried it, though, so I know that’s not the only problem. I’ll see what I can do about getting the tail behind the body. I also thought about maybe trying to coil the tail around the *front* of the rock, instead. It was going to be that the merperson was about to slap its tail against the water to get the girl to turn around, but it’s not vital.

    @Doornik: (As above) I thought the direction of her gaze might be a problem. The sound that the girl has heard is a voice speaking directly into her head. Since the only being she’s known who can do that is an enchanted bull, she’s looking to the shore. I’ll try moving that iris down or forward some and see if that changes things.

    @Nick: Yeah, see what you mean about the neck. Maybe that handy braid can cover it up. She’s meant to be standing at the edge of the water, as she’s taking advantage of low tide to hunt for shellfish. I probably should have moved the merperson farther back in the water because of this, but I was afraid if I made it any smaller, the facial details wouldn’t show up very well. Maybe I’ll make the girl bigger.

    Thanks guys!

  85. Jeff Hebert says:

    Aaron (89 .. and 90): Looks good! It has a sort of Batman Beyond meets the new Spider Man vibe to it.

    I dig the costume and character design, and I like the background, but I’d like to see the wall behind him be a darker gray. Matching the ceiling and the floor flattens it all out too much.

    Otherwise, thumbs up from me!

  86. Doornik1142 says:

    Okay, here’s my re-jiggered version of Helios:

    I swapped the red and the grey on the legs to imply a continuous line of grey going “underneath” the blue on the midsection. I also darkened the inside of the cape and swapped the gauntlets for something that seemed more metallic.

    Oh and also, I managed to make my caveman brain figure out how photobucket works.

  87. Jeff Hebert says:

    Looks good, Doornik!

  88. Jeff Hebert says:

    OK, I’ve been extremely timely today, so I’m going to give myself a reward and declare this edition of OCD over! Many thanks to everyone who contributed either as a commenter or submitter (or both).

    Have a good weekend!

  89. Panner says:

    Zarae (37): Love it. Those cacti are enormously effective in conveying the setting, and having the tail stick out like that is always a good way to make the character pop out from the background.

    And it’s funny I say that, because that’s also what I think might be a problem area – making the lizard stick out. I’m talking about the head area, where the lizard almost blends in with the stone background. My suggestions, either give the stone a bunch of homogenous lines that don’t match any lines on the head OR just double the thickness of the contours on the lizard.


    Captain Kicktar (47): Yeah… yeah, that’s a neat concept. It’s almost like a twist on the ‘animated armor’ classic, I like it.

    I think you’ve definitely picked the right colors here, but unfortunately the effect is diminished by the fact that the viewer might think this is simply a greyscale picture! It’s easy to fix though, just add a colored background. I think I’d recommend a gloomy blue. Or something.

    I also think his eyes should probably not be white. Black fits his name and concept better. If you really want them white, I suggest adding a little glow to make them stand out more. Just a tiny bit though, don’t want to overdo it.


    Kytana (48): That’s very nice use of that pose you created a while ago, as well as profile face! It’s cool beans, I like it a lot!

    I want to point something out about the comic format. In a comic, the panels are often framed in black with white between, to make them as disconnected as possible and ensure that the reader isn’t confused. Example: (not this one Jeff)

    Other than that, I can’t help but wonder if your picture wouldn’t have been stronger without the snow in the foreground. It’s hardly seen at all on the brighter areas (skin, ground) and is only visible on the darker areas (wolves, clothes, hair). It certainly gives the scene more depth, but it’s just not that visible.

  90. TOOL says:

    I haven’t made too much extra lately that wasnt for some type of contest but I do have this that I can add for your critiquing pleasure.

    Me as a Final Fantasy game character. The Gunblade item was courtesy of Jeff as my award from a contest a while back.

  91. Doornik1142 says:

    TOOL (98)

    *sigh* I’ll try to keep my rabid hatred of Final Fantasy in check for this.

    I like the overall concept, even if it was inspired by (ugh) Final Fantasy. I especially like the kludged-together handgun, the insignia repurposed as a pendant, and the fur neck-warmer you flipped over to make a furry…uh…Dracula collar (yeah, I don’t know what those things are actually called).

    However, I see two areas of concern.

    First the right arm. The forearm is too far down and makes his upper arm look longer than it should be. You should be able to fix it if you bumped the right forearm up so both elbows are close to the same height.

    Second, the tattoo on the left arm doesn’t quite work right. With his arm bent like that the tattoo should be distorted as his skin shifts and stretches. I would suggest either a smaller tattoo that fits entirely on his bicep, or using a straight arm instead of a bent one.

  92. Panner says:

    headlessgeneral (51): Hum, hum, I don’t think you need more background. You’re selling a character here, not a scene. However, if you want to add more, I suggest something that shows off more cool lighting effects. Not sure what though, maybe some kind of orb.

    About the character, I can’t help but feel that the eyes are a bit asymmetrical. I’d probably move the right eye (her left) down and to the left about one pixel. Maybe half a pixel, I’m not sure of the scale.

    Other than that, I think it’s great. Very nice use of color, adding little details of red and blue like that. The torso is quite impressive, it looks very convincing.


    Myro (52): Hmm, it’s hard to put a finger on why, but I don’t really like the hands. We can see his entire right arm outstretched, without forshortening, and then just the front of his right hand. That’s just not a natural way to bend the wrist. I’d try switching up the hands a bit. Since most of the bat isn’t shown anyway the changes to it should go over pretty easily.

    I’m not overly fond of the shadow on his right arm either. It works on the clothes, but that solid grey on his arm doesn’t look right. I think it needs a bit of skin tone in there.

    I’m impressed with the outfit though. You’ve made some really subtle moves here, it looks natural and convincing.


    Fuzztone (58): Well, if there’s anything missing here I sure can’t find it. When I see pictures like this I wish I created more heroes with spandex/bodysuits, because then I’d get to use the nonblack color1 + black color2 combo you use on her entire body here, I think it looks great. The background is cool, and you’ve enhanced that spell effect in a really subtle way. Sneaky.

    One thing that is a bit surprising is her facial expression (what can be seen of it). It’s kind of blank and neutral right now, while I was expecting more of a determined scowl or maybe a playful taunting grin. you could play around with the rotation and placement of eyes and eyebrows and see if the magic happens.

  93. Captain Kicktar says:

    @Jeff: Well, technically he could have legs, but since floating is so much more efficient, he doesn’t bother with legs.
    @Panner: Wow, it’s amazing how much the eyes make a difference. The background also definitely helps.

  94. headlessgeneral says:


    Ah, yes, the eyes. They do look a bit off don’t they. I think I might have a slight tilt in the head, and whenever I do that I have a hard time getting the eyes, nose and mouth positions right. I’ll go back and see if I can get those to look right. Thanks for the comments Panner.

  95. TOOL says:

    @99Doornik1142, I can see what your talking about but come on FF is pretty cool or at least it use to be back before it went to like almost all girl characters and stupid stories.

  96. Doornik1142 says:

    TOOL (103)

    I was mostly joking. FF is okay if you like JRPGs, but I’ve never liked JRPGs. When they’re not overly simplistic they’re loaded down with Japanese cultural references that don’t translate well to Western audiences.

    FF8 and FF10 can go suck a dirty tampon, though. I hate those games.

  97. Panner says:

    Kaylin88100 (64): Looks good! I mean, the hands are of course not perfect, but I think you made the right choice. Going with closed fists means you could’ve gotten a more accurate reflection, but I don’t think it looks natural that someone stands around with clenched fists while looking in a mirror (if they’re flexing, that’s another matter).

    Her back work fine, but I was thinking you could add some lines for the spine and shoulderblades. It’s not necessary, but it generally makes the back a little more convincing.

    I’m also a little torn on the positioning of the reflection here. You’ve placed the reflection higher than the ‘original’, which suggests that the eye of the observer is located higher than her head. That becomes a little odd since the picture ends pretty much right above her head. It’s not an impossible perspective, but it’s certainly not what I expect from the picture.

    Last thing, on the front of her dress, at her cleavage and under the breasts there is this brighter blue band. You’ve added the belt at her neck to show how that band connects, very nice, but it would be super awesome if you also continued that band over her back!


    Vampyrist (73): I think the concept and basic design here are very promising, but I think you’re relying a little too heavily on the gradients to do the job for you! Don’t get me wrong, I love what you’ve done on for instance the shoulders and the sleeves, but there are other areas that don’t work quite as well.

    The gradients in his face are super aggressive. The black one is actually pretty cool, but unfortunately it blends in a bit with the black hat. The one on his chin is a little worse off, as it makes his mouth stand out just a bit too much.

    You’re also counting on gradients to separate the three layers at his legs – coat back, pants and coat front. It works, but just barely. I’d suggest changing the colors around just a little to get better differentiation. Just a tiny bit darker or brighter goes a long way.


    Lime (80): You really nailed the girl in the foreground, very good color choice on her. I love the face on the merperson, that nose and those eyes sell ‘aquatic’ very well.

    I see what you mean about the tail though. I think the biggest problem is its extremely thick lines. Playing with line color is a good way to bring things to the background, but I don’t think it would help here. I don’t have any good suggestions, so I’ll just throw out a hail mary and say shrink it and move it further behind the merperson. Try to hide the problem, so to speak!

  98. TOOL says:

    @Doornik1142, I loved FF7, it was the first one I played, 8 was ok and I think it was 10 I played as well but I never got into the water soccer? RPG’s are fun to me but there are some games I admit with oriental background that just don’t jump the gap to american minds. Im nuts over monster hunter tri right now, I would argue the best game for the Wii so far. Jeff, sorry I know we are a little off subject but I was just going with the conversation.

  99. Aaron says:

    thanks jeff just one more question do you think the biker boots r needed?

  100. Panner says:

    Aaron (89): I’m always happy to see characters in black and red, my favorite color scheme! But there’s more to it here. See, all the red basically forms long vertical lines, which makes the character appear tall and slender. Choosing a slightly different color for the belt is pretty much by the book, gets the job done very well.

    Now, the first thing I’d like to see here is more! I mean, there is apparently a lot of cool equipment around him, but I can only see hints of them. Getting to behold the entire armory would be sweet.

    But about the character, to begin with there are these weird white things by his knees. I’m not sure what they are, but I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t be there. Second, I’m not very fond of the eyes. They look extremely inhuman and are not at all what I would expect for someone called Night Avenger.

    I’m also not sure about the mask. A solid red mask clashes a bit with the rest of the outfit, maybe it would be better to have it partially red, or with a pattern or something. Not sure.

    Now this is just personal preference, but I’d like you to consider shoulderpads. Because shoulderpads are awesome.


    Doornik1142 (94): Yeah, I like that! Having bright grey color on the shoulder parts of the cape and dark grey on the back part cashes in pretty well in the depth department.

    And regarding photobucket, post tutorial please. I’m kidding of course, but oh man.


    TOOL (98): So, new SeeD reporting? You’ve done a very nice job putting together the coat here, it looks convincing and is quite creative. I think the best part is the face though. So cocky and confident!

    Now, I know this sounds like a broken record, but cloak wants to be darker color. Bonus points if you only make the part between the legs darker, the parts on the sides are separated from the pants by a large furry white margin, so they’re fine. And speaking of cloak, it looks very possible to trip on it since it’s so long. Making it a little shorter wouldn’t hurt, I think.

    what else is, I think the tattoo is way too imposing. It’s positively enormous and has really eye-catching colors which soaks attention like a sponge. Less can be more, a smaller tattoo confined to the upper arm is worth trying. But I’d really like to see it in different colors. Having the exact same colors as the pendant is just confusing.

  101. Panner says:

    Captain Kicktar (101): Hehe, they’re the windows of the soul, bro! Or, well, lack thereof if that’s the case!


    headlessgeneral (102): Yeah, the eyes suggest a slight head tilt, but the nose and mouth are pretty much straight as an arrow, and since you have a lot of gradients in place for them, I figured it’d just be easier to move the eye.

    That’s seriously a crazy amount of work you’ve put into the nose, but it pays off.

  102. Doornik1142 says:

    TOOL (106)

    I found FF10 actually had really solid gameplay (the battle system was so good I can’t believe someone hasn’t ripped it off yet). What I couldn’t stand was the Gawd-awful plot, setting, and voice acting. I could fill up an entire thread with my complaints about FF10, but it’s easier to just show you this video review:

  103. Doornik1142 says:

    Aaron (107)

    Definitely keep them. You can’t have a Badass Normal superhero without a badass pair of boots.

  104. Jeff Hebert says:

    Captain Kicktar: One day, I am going to make a suggestion or comment that you do not casually discard and ignore. I’m not holding my breath, though. I’m slowly working my way down to one-sentence critiques for you, but I think I am going to accelerate the timetable and just go to one word, which even still will be utterly wasted.

  105. Lime says:


    I moved the girl down some, to create more distance between the two. Moved her braid over to hide the weirdness with the neck, and adjusted her iris so it doesn’t look like she’s already seen the merperson.

    I solved the tail issue by moving it out from behind the rock and adding another layer of water on top of it to force it deeper into the scene.

    Thanks for the input, I think it’s much improved!

  106. Doornik1142 says:

    Lime (113)

    Definitely better. I would still shrink the tail down some, but it’s a lot clearer now that the tail is dragging behind the merperson instead of being beside him/her/it.

  107. Vampyrist says:

    Here is an updated version of Ankou, with hair darkened and his jacket/pants/back’s gradients adjusted hopefully to show some layering. I also adjusted the beard gradients to just add depth instead of drawing to the mouth.

  108. McKnight57 says:

    Ok guys, here is the updated version sans background.

    Also, here is the commissioned piece I showed before, as a mock cover.

  109. TOOL says:

    Thanks for all the great input and fun conversations. I like having people I can react with and help make me a better artist.

  110. Captain Kicktar says:

    @Jeff: Yeah, sorry, Jeff, I tend to post more for Panner’s critiques than your’s. He just seems to have a better idea of what I’m going for. Feel free to not critique mine if you want.

  111. Captain Kicktar says:

    It’s mainly just the type of world my characters are in isn’t very normal.

  112. Jeff Hebert says:

    Roger that, Kicktar, and absolutely wilco. That makes me very happy.

  113. Jeff Hebert says:

    The point is … ah, never mind. Pointless. Enjoy yourself.

  114. skullcraze says:

    Hey I can’t make a good blood effect. any suggestions?

  115. Darth_Neko says:

    Hey, Jeff? What do you think of this character I created? I would love to hear some feedback on it, do I need to work on anything to improve the general design?

  116. Kaylin88100 says:

    Darth_Neko (123): I like it! One thing though. His right (our left) sleeve sort of blends into the cloak because it’s the same colour. Maybe you could make the cloak a bit darker or something, so it stands out and it’s more obvious that they’re separate?
    If you want that effect then you need to make that clear as well, because at the moment it’s a tiny bit confusing.
    BTW I think Jeff’s finished with this OCD.

  117. NGpm says:

    Thanks of the input. I’ll look at implementing the suggestions. Sorry about the too late reply (friend in the hospital …), the bar is high and everyone really puts a lot of effort into their pieces. I’m really impressed with what people are doing out there!