Join Date: Apr 2011
Thanked 194 Times in 103 Posts
03-22-2012, 03:56 PM
Keep checking here for your critiques. It takes a little while because I like to go through the participant's gallery to get a feel for their stuff in general.
Amaakir- I love this submission for its playfulness and personality. This challenge was purposefully constructed to have facets that would bring everyone out of their comfort zone- and considering the brief, it's awesome to see = you take this challenge and stay true to the unique, stylized style featured in your gallery.
The figure is fun and has a great silouhette. You made a lot of bold decisions with proportions, and I think it works well with the whimsical weapon and uniform design (the boob cups are reminiscent of WWI helmets, and the steamwhistle on the bracer is a funny touch). The curve of the tubes and swoop of her arms is helpful in guiding our eyes to the face, where the most detail has been put in. The little touches of the puffs of steam really add a sense of action.
Your use of edge-lights is particularly effective in places (I love edgelights. I put them in every picture, they're just too much fun to use.) As you move forward, emphasize the clarity of your tones, forms, and lines. The quality of rendering on her shoulder and arm is great, but isn't quite matched by the treatment of her legs. The perspective of the front cannon flatten her out a bit. All in all this is a solid offering with a really cool stylistic interpretation, a great range of values, with a really charming character design.
Lowestofthekeys - Thank you for entering this challenge!
First off, props on choosing a very difficult posing and perspective for your figure. It shows a lot of ambition and everything considered, you do have a very good start in conveying that top-down view of the figure. In regards to the brief you did an excellent job hitting on her personality- The broad stance, the sly expression on her face, and the almost pin-up style of her arm positioning goes a long way to convey the spirit of the character.
I think you have a good grasp on creating a figure with volume that occupies the picture plane, so moving forward focus on that. Study comic art if your interest lies in dynamic perspective.
For shading, look up the ImagineFX tutorial by Jason Chan (Google Jason Chan ImagineFX tutorial). He has a step-by-step process that details his work with layers, light, and shadow which gives a clear process of how to render a figure. Following his example will both enrich the coloring of your characters and make the lighting more naturalistic.
notpill - First off, props on making it into a propaganda poster-type illustration. Those are always great fun, but a lot of time people have an issue with the relationship of the image and text.
This is my choice for the winner of this challenge, for many different reasons. In terms of character design she hits all the notes in the brief. Everything about her frame and stance suggests the strong, confident personality we wanted conveyed. All the subtle details- the metals, the outline of grime around her eyes, the bottle of booze- it shows you put a lot of thought into making the character truly come to life. The costuming is a perfect mix of military function and steam-punky details.
This is a good addition to your gallery, and exhibits the same level of technical chops as the rest of your pieces. The figure, compared to the background, is missing some of that free and expressive brushwork that comes into play in most of your pieces, but it works well to convey the ''set piece'' vibe.
MrBrown - As always, it's awesome to see you participate.
This entry is one of the strongest in terms of the costume design and execution. The WWI vibe is incredibly strong, and the steampunk anachronisms are subtle enough to be clever and believable. The wide-brim hat with the steam spigot is a fun touch and is utilized very nicely as a design element. The silhouette is strong- As in your Freya picture, the use of constructed clothing (the flared skirt) gives the character visual interest and a strong presence. The little details on the boots, belt, cauldron, and cannon keep the eye moving all throughout.
The use of the irish flag is also a nice touch, but its rendering (especially taking into account the grenade sling) flattens it out slightly. Rendering a few slight cupping folds where the cloak/flag joins beneath her color would be a quick fix. Though its sort've outside the perview of the challenge, I would caution you as you move forward to make sure any framing elements you use (boundary boxes, etc.) are symmetrical and tidy. It is definitely not a deal-breaker with this piece, but when your style of rendering is as clean and precise as yours, any little off-kilter element becomes noticeable.
ApocalypseNOW - This piece very interesting in terms of the extreme vertical composition you chose. You obviously have a gift for painting faces, and the included close-up is a welcome chance to look at your subtle rendering of the face. The eyes are especially beautiful.
Here's the rub, though. In comparison to your delicate and extremely detail-oriented rendering of the face, the rest of the figure lacks a certain level of polish and believability. The sinuous curves of her elongated limbs is pretty and extremely elegant, but in certain places (the rendering of the thigh belts, the cuff of the shorts) the rendering suggests a style completely different from that utilized on the head and gun. Your use of etched layering on the gun is very well-executed as well, but again when compared to certain areas of the piece there's a break in continuity and style.
Now, don't take this as a discouragement. You can quite obviously paint. As you move forward, consider the totality of your image. Any element you linger on to a extreme degree of polish is going to immediately bring out certain areas which have not received the same treatment. As an inveterate ''noodler'' myself, I have to force myself to stop messing around with the parts of the image that interest me most and focus on bringing the whole thing up to the same level of execution. It's kind of a pain in the butt, but your work will definitely not suffer for it.
PatVanDeKunsten - Of all the entries, this one is the most bold and courageous in terms of the use of texture and painterly strokes. Good job on choosing some very difficult aspects to paint- the posing, facial expression, and perspective on the cannon are all things that took a lot of panache to pull off.
It looks like from this that you have a pretty good foundation for studying and improving dynamic lighting in your pictures. That radiant sunburst of light from the cannon is so vigorously painted it's hard not to love it- It really ties in to the intensity of her facial expression and the blurred wisp of discarded shells, implying a good sense of movement and sound.
Your treatment of the pose is also interesting. The line of her blouse really draws attention to the forward jut of the abdomen, a good start at conveying the amount of weight that would be put into the lower back by carrying such a weapon. If you decide to go further, you may choose to edge the hips forward to the left a bit to continue that line. As you move forward from this picture, I'd charge you to put a lot of thought in how your images are constructed in terms of composition. You've got a really good sense of movement, color and anatomy- a well-constructed composition will go a long way in highlighting your character concepts and all of the work you put into your free, painterly style.
MaximVerehin - This goes without saying, but your entry is definitely the most fantastical in terms of costume design.
Upon first look the level of technical polish put into this is extremely impressive. You have a great ability to convey a huge range of textures- the rough, stiff drape of her skirt, the mottling of the cannon, and the many layers of her costume are a lot of fun to look at. It is also interesting to see the alterations of the final image versus the submitted one, as you took the time to fix some of the things that would've otherwise drawn comment (ie. the alteration of the cannon and the relationship it had with the arm, etc. etc. etc.) The relationship of the figure to the background is -very- well done- dropping back those elements with the use of noise, blur and (what I'm assuming to be an unsharp mask) is helpful in making sure that no secondary element distracts from the minute detailing of the figure. I get the feeling that she would've faded back a bit if you kept the background crisp.
From a design perspective, Cora certain hits all the right notes in terms of what is currently popular in character design. The inclusion of certain elements (burlap, belts, pouches, helmet) gives a soft echo of the historical basis of the brief. And (at risk of being a bit crass), your interpretation of 'large and in-charge' is certainly…eye-catching. )
Congratulations of being the winner of this challenge. I hope to see more work from you in the future.
Ewaldus - First off, it's excellent to see this as a new addition to your gallery. I'm a big fan of your style and bold posing, anatomy, and dynamic figures. In comparison to your earlier submissions this is a great jump in terms of execution, so keep working hard!
This is one of my favorite entries for many different reasons. In terms of design I really think you hit a perfect combination of historical details with fantastical steampunk style, and the little details of the costume show you put a lot of thought in adapting your source material (the use of the epaulets as bits of armor, the skirt layered over trousers, etc.) Her expression is spot on- she conveys all the boldness and spunk detailed in the brief. The touch of the shamrock tattoo is a fun touch.
You're obviously not afraid of playing with proportion and movement- your work is very reminiscent of the early work of JayAxer and those who work similarly in his style, though with more of a comics vibe.
Moving forward, strive to bring your concepts to the same level of polish as this one. You obviously have a gift for putting thought into incorporating conceptual ideas into an interesting concept idea, so work towards a portfolio of concepts of the same quality as this one!
Sorknes- Of all the offerings, this is the entry that has the greatest sense of realism and functionality.
The setting and framing of this image is extremely effective in making the mood. Drop a sepia filter on this and it would be an exact match for a photograph from WWI area. The costume design is the most realistic and true to our original source material- The simple boots, belted waist-coat, helmet and satchels show you took careful consideration of reference materials.
As in notpill's work, it is nice to see you drop back from the exact rendering of the figure and get a bit looser with the treatment of the background. The crumbly, diffused texture of the trees is very well done and a point of 'rest' for the eyes- they can be taken as a whole, while the exact rendering of the clothes requires a bit more time to process.
There are a few issues with the anatomy, and though they are not deal-breakers they immediately draw attention due to the fact that this is such a straightforward piece compositionally. The foreshortening on the left boot does not quite read, and the position of the right boot should be dropped back to the left a bit so that the straight angle of her leg reads a bit better. All of these things can be easily fixed by a continued study of reference materials, because you have a good foundation in realistic proportion and gesture.
Last edited by choo; 03-29-2012 at 08:01 PM.