Crit Corner Birthday Celebration Part 2
Sep 20 2015

Part two of the birthday celebration is up! For those just joining us, a couple of weeks ago I posted a call for entries for a free critique session as a way to give back to those who have followed my journey as an artist. Below is round two of the images that were posted (for round one, go here). It’s my hope to continue to offer these critique sessions so be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter for the head’s up.

Lilian and Gabriel

Our next image comes from HotSpirit. The first thing that catches my attention is the ambiguous nature of the piece. Is this a storybook illustration or an environmental concept piece? I assume it’s meant to be a story illustration but it feels a tad staged and stiff, as if looking at a conversation from afar. A storybook illustration is meant to draw you in, make you feel the emotion of the piece at a glance. I would zoom in on the characters at the least and focus on their interaction and facial expressions. Also, it looks as if the characters are too big for the room compared to the furniture around them. Take for example the desk in the background. If the figures were to try and sit down they wouldn’t fit. Also, be careful of your eye level. Notice how the feet are drawn straight across while the floor is angled toward us. The feet should be in perspective with the floor. The rest of the image makes it look as if the eye level is the ceiling but most people are not 10 feet high. The eye level ought to be about the eyeline of the figures. I have mocked up a room using Sketchup and thrown in some DAZ figures for comparison. Note how the eye level is just below theirs (which would be about right for a 5’7″ figure looking up at the two 6′ figures).


I do like the design of the rooms and the character’s outfits. It’s very sci-fi. If I were you however, I’d push the lighting and colors to differentiate them from the background. Right now it’s grey on grey. Illustration should “read” from afar. To see if your image has enough contrast, shrink down the image to a thumbnail size, squint until the image becomes blurry, and see if you can still make out what’s going on. If you can’t, you need to define the characters better. One easy way to do this would be to create more dramatic lighting. I see also that you don’t have a defined light source. I’ve roughly painted over what you have for comparison (notice that I did not alter the perspective for time’s sake, but you’d want to something similar to what I have above).


Abyssal Mermaid


Our next image comes from Tymora11. Please note that I have drawn a make-shift bra on the figure for the purpose of this critique. For the original version, please click above (mature viewers only). First off, I really like the background. Very cool. Also your proportions and your lighting are decent. The face however, needs more definition. The face is both the hardest and most important area to master when it comes to drawing the figure. If you can render the face believably, the rest of the image comes together to make the piece successful. As humans we are innately conditioned to pickup minute distortions in the face so be sure to spend your time on the small details that count like the eyes and nose. Don’t be afraid to add more shadows and highlights where needed. Also, I am confused as to how the light behind her is illuminating her face. I assume you have two light sources so I added some rim lighting to emphasize the difference, as if the light behind her is in addition to the light coming from the top right. One last thing, hair underwater tends to gather in chunks rather than splay out strand by strand. Even when dry, it’s best not to think of hair as strands but rather sections that catch the light collectively. See the before and after below.



And that’s it! Be sure to stay tuned for an article on character design with input from industry experts in the field. Thanks for reading.

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One thought on “Crit Corner Birthday Celebration Part 2

  1. Thank you so much for that critique. I disliked many parts of my picture without finding exactly what was wrong (though I had noticed the furnitures being too small haha) so this is very helpful. I’m keeping all your advises for the next time I try to draw something like that, and will also train my perspective using Sketch up and DAZ. Thank you thank you thank you!

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