11-26-2011, 11:05 PM
Gentlemans and ladiesmans, the poll is now up. Thank you for all who participated and posted, even those who didn't post a final.
Reserving this post for exit critiques.
Anja : Thank you very much for entering this challenge! This is a lovely offering, and my favorite in terms of what you accomplished with atmosphere and mood.
Your Red Queen is particularly successful due to nuance. The image in and of itself is deceptively simple in terms of composition, but the use of a strong pyramid-type composition emphasizes the epicness and solidarity of the character. It is in the detail, however, where your unique style truly shines- in that you were successful in creating an image that reveals greater hints of depth with repeated viewings (instead of being straightforward, in terms of what you see being what you get.) It is interesting how you chose to make the figure nebulous, while her draping and the creatures have an almost sculptural solidarity and mass (the play of color and light on the cloth at her lap is especially beautiful.) To me, the style and spookiness was immediately reminiscent of the great illustrator Stephen Gammell (of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark fame...google him, it's worth it!)
Your subtle use of muted blues and greens really helps this piece in terms of color- those simple passes keeps the image from appearing monochromatic. I would cautious you on your use of different colors, however, when trying to preserve the mass of your characters- It works well on the hands and skeletal arm, but the tangent of green and brown that edged into her right sleeve causes the eye to read her shoulder and upper arm as part of the pillar behind her somewhat.
Keep up the fantastic work.
WildBrew: A great offering! I love this piece for its clarity and design- It is a working weapon of course, but the crispness of your rendering and the use of curling lines makes this as much of a exercise in shape and design as a weapon concept.
You've obviously got some design chops, in terms of how well the weapon is balanced and proportioned. Oftentimes people fall into the trap of making, say, the hilt/grip of a weapon much too large or small to properly support the ''business end'' with the pointy parts, but all in all the proportions match well and are believable (there is a -slight- issue of believability where the gemmed fleur shape tapers to a tiny point below the uppermost piece, but that could be easily remedies just by thickening it by a few millimeters.)
It was interesting to see how you worked through this image to the final- you preserved the architecture nature of the flat planes and were able to use minimal gradients and shading on your flats while still keeping a good sense of dimension. The use of the repeating image as a low-opacity drop in the background is also a nice compositional touch- you might even kick up that background outline by a few percentage points and still keep that nice, flat design element.
Thank you for participating! A strong entry all around.
JoseVega - This is my favorite out all of the entries for a lot of different reasons, but it's most because it showed the most creativity and a sense of humor with an undoubtedly ''heavy-sounding'' brief.
Of course, the best place to start would be a comment on your use of texture. The body of the spider/building is rendered quite nicely, with just enough unique brushwork to give its surface a visual interest without getting too busy. Generally speaking that sort've ''granulated'' texture tends to cause an undesireable scattering effect in landscape pieces (especially in pieces that utilize large portions of flats), but it actually works pretty well in this case.
There are some -really- nice passes of atmospheric light in here. The subtle warm yellow glow in the background is perfect for picking out those atmospherically faded details in the landscape of the far distance.
There are some notes of confusion for me- In the lower clouds the use of dark black seems to indicate a thick dimensionality, but as you get closer to the top of the frame the use of those light specks seems to indicate a dark sky. This may have been intentional, but the use of that thick dark paired with that subtle play of yellows, greens, and reds slightly flattens the sky and makes it a little hard to read.
Amaakir: I haven't forgotten about you! Please check back later for your crit :3
It was a lot of fun watching you work your way towards the final for this challenge. You and I have a pretty similar way of working, so it's always great to see others' WIPs to see their own unique take on working up an image.
Truth be told, the visceral impact of this character design was not entirely clear until you added the color- and, of course, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. What seemed to be a mere bodysuit in black & white has been turned into a visceral and creepily flayed woman- the passes of subtle yellow in her torso is extremely reminiscent of anatomical diagrams of muscle layer and gristle.
The fanciful addition of those swooping horns is a great touch. You managed to make a very strong character design with a relatively simple idea behind it, but it works!
As you move forward, I would suggest you keep in mind the final image during all stages of development to make sure that the quality of your rendering remains the same throughout. In an image with such a strong composition, the details and actual construction of the character has to be the most important part. Vagueness is fine, but it can be a bit jarring when you decide to work up certain elements to a high degree of polish (the skull) and let other bits remain vague. For instance, I always catch myself trying to avoid rendering feet..whether it be by the use of the time-honored ''fog coming from the bottom of the frame!'' or putting objects in the way. The way you rendered the hands, for instance, is just detailed enough to work well alongside the fine polish of the skull- If you just did a bit more work on the feet to bring it up to the same level of polish, you would find it adds a greater dimensionality to the figure as a whole.
Last edited by choo; 12-05-2011 at 08:31 PM.