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    Critique Me?

    Hi all,

    This piece has been finished for a while, but I'm looking for critique on it. I haven't had much experience with critiques (mainly because most of the people I've asked know me, and therefore are biased, haha.) So, I'm coming to ConceptArt.org to hopefully get some helpful critiques to help me improve! :)

    If at all possible, I wouldn't mind a little redlining, or possibly some feedback on how I can improve concept sheets. I have a small batch of these that I'm hoping to work on sometime soon, so any and all help would be much appreciated!

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    JeffX99 is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Nice quality to the image, detail and presentation. I have a few problems with the character/design and then a comment or two on the portrait.

    She seems far too slender, especially in the legs, to support that much armor. So it looks prety but has no weight or sense of reality, just kind of pretty shapes with nice detail but no functionality.

    With the portrait...her ears feel too far forward, like they're coming off the zygomatic arch. Her neck is much too high value and basically competes with her face (looks like it is on the same plane as her face). Could also use some attention to neck anatomy, particularly the sternomastoid muscles.

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    Her limbs are too thin.

    Plate armor has substance and weight. Hers looks like it's either painted on or wrapped skin tight. It has no depth and doesn't look like it gives any protection. It might as well be cloth. Lift it off her, make it as bulky as plate should be, or give her something that hangs like cloth instead, like chainmail.

    Other armor things - heels on plate greaves are flat out laughable. That, the almost skin-tight armor, and the Brittney Spears pose suggests more 'exotic stripper' than 'battle-hardened warrior'. Also she has no protection around her neck - very bad design flaw, she should have a gorget or something - or around her abdomen. And separate moulded boob shapes in a breastplate compromise the structural integrity of the armor.

    The thinness of the battleaxe handle makes it look toy-like. It would also make it impossible to handle because there's nothing that looks like a grip there. With her cutoff gloves, it'd just slide all over the place in battle. There's a reason that swords have leather or whatever wrapped around their hilts.

    I'd like to see some indication that she's not quite an elf. If it weren't for you mentioning it in the description there, we wouldn't know she's a werewolf. If this is a defining character trait, even though she doesn't embrace it, shouldn't we see something? Some small bestial feature? It doesn't have to be huge - the tiniest hint, like maybe the color of her eyes, could be enough.

    Her cloak is good. Fur is hard to do and I think you do the texture well. But it looks like a single long piece attached to the back of her armor. No edge of it is pulled over her shoulderpads, and there's no rumpled up bits to suggest that it can be pulled over them at all. In short, it looks decorative, not practical.

    In summary - your description is one of a serious, tough bodyguard type character, but the picture is nothing like that. I don't know if you're going for eye candy, but fantasy art is already swamped with female characters in impractical armor. So yeah, dunno if you can really distinguish yourself with more of the same.

    Gonna recommend the Woman Fighters in Reasonable Armor blog. They sometimes have moulded boobs but most of their pictures are flat out awesome.

    (Got no critique on colors or anatomy; I think the execution is good. It's only the concept that's lacking.)

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    Smile

    Thank you so much for both of your critiques! I apologize for taking so long to reply though--I've been extremely busy with the end of the quarter in college. I have a lot of work that still needs to be done college-wise, so I'll address each of your critiques more in depth once I have the time.

    I really appreciate both of you taking the time out to critique this. I'll begin re-working the character sheet to improve it as soon as I've got the time, with the critiques in mind.

    Again, thank you so much!

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    Well, finals are over for college, so I have quite a bit of free time before the next quarter begins. Right now I'm re-working the design for Chelle, and will be presenting it in a different fashion than what I have posted. My main focus at the moment is the armor design and the neck. I feel that I need to spend more time on those than I did initially. So far I'm pretty happy with what I've got, but I feel like there's something off still. Keep in mind that I'm not completely done (I'm actually working on it right now), so it definitely looks unfinished, haha.

    I have both critiques printed out and in front of me, so they're definitely proving to be useful. Obviously I don't agree on some things (as in the pose - she may be a warrior, but she's still somewhat of a "girly-girl", so she'll pose a little differently. ) Still, I'm very grateful for the critiques I received!

    If there's anything that I can do to help characterize her further, and improve the armor, I'd definitely appreciate hearing about it! I plan on doing more with this, too - it'll be a completely different concept image by the time I'm finished.

    EDIT: I actually was looking through my notes for this character, and I had one piece of her personality wrong - she isn't a "girly-girl". That was another character of mine, haha. Sorry for the confusion!

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    You need to focus more on the figure existing in three dimensional space. If her upper body is about eye level, we should be looking down more at her lower body. As is, she seems pasted on to a 2 dimensional plane. There's some indication of a ground plane, but it looks like an afterthought. She's essentially weightless. I'm not convinced there's a human body under that armor, particularly in regards to the limbs. From the knees down I see no structural drawing. Did you draw the underlying figure before you drew the armor?

    The main issue I have with her pose is that it doesn't say anything about her character. If you want to show that she's somewhat of a "girly-girl", why the stoic expression? Why pose her like she's on the cover of a magazine? Think about how, in-universe, she would look if standing around casually, while alone, in the company of friends, or in the company of strangers. I'm not suggesting you do something elaborate, just something natural. Here she seems more like a model for a costume design than an actual person.

    I think you'd be better served starting from the ground up. Not because I find the original to be so bad, but rather because I find it to be long since finished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunler View Post
    You need to focus more on the figure existing in three dimensional space. If her upper body is about eye level, we should be looking down more at her lower body. As is, she seems pasted on to a 2 dimensional plane. There's some indication of a ground plane, but it looks like an afterthought. She's essentially weightless. I'm not convinced there's a human body under that armor, particularly in regards to the limbs. From the knees down I see no structural drawing. Did you draw the underlying figure before you drew the armor?

    The main issue I have with her pose is that it doesn't say anything about her character. If you want to show that she's somewhat of a "girly-girl", why the stoic expression? Why pose her like she's on the cover of a magazine? Think about how, in-universe, she would look if standing around casually, while alone, in the company of friends, or in the company of strangers. I'm not suggesting you do something elaborate, just something natural. Here she seems more like a model for a costume design than an actual person.

    I think you'd be better served starting from the ground up. Not because I find the original to be so bad, but rather because I find it to be long since finished.
    Thanks for the critique! I did draw her body underneath the armor, but I understand she looks weightless. I actually have to re-paint a lot of this since I'm not exactly happy with it. I'm also planning on re-working her pose...I definitely agree that she looks like she's posing for a magazine cover, haha.

    As for the stoic expression, I wasn't necessarily thinking about her personality as I painted it. I'll have to tweak her face a bit to give her more personality.

    I do have to wonder though, how could I make her look like she's carrying weighted armor?

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    I agree with Grunler about the pose. If this is supposed to be a somewhat serious fighter style character, you gotta have her doing something else.

    I'm not sure if she's supposed to be somewhat girly, but honestly? Even if she is, if that's just a minor trait then the pose still makes no sense. The initial character design should communicate the important stuff, and if her being a warrior is the main trait of the character, then that needs to be front and center.

    Anyway, assuming you're just looking at armour design here: changing the breastplate is good. That solves the boobplate problem. But her limbs are still far too thin and likewise the plate design elsewhere is too thin. Again, no protection on the abdomen, crotch and neck.

    I figure you want to give her sexy armour, but seriously, we know enough about historical plate armour to know how it fits on the body, and this just ain't it. Even half plate would protect her abdomen. And it's not necessarily heavy but it does have to take a certain shape, and it needs to have space for the padding that goes under it. Medieval knights used a 3/4 length arming jacket that covered as far as their hips and wrists - at the end of the period where plate was used, they were very close fitting, but they did exist and they did bulk up the wearer.

    So here's my recommendation: if you want to make her eye candy, just draw her out of her armour. If you want to give her proper armour, then research the hell out of historical gothic and maximillian plate. If you want to keep her looking somewhat the same but have it make sense, change her as follows -

    Ditch the plate and give her chainmail. I mean a proper hauberk, something that goes to her mid-thigh.

    Keep the metal greaves, bracers and shoulders, but bulk them up a bit so they look properly weighty.

    Give her a tabard, like a knight would wear. Also see the Crusades. Lots of good ideas there.

    Give her a chainmail hood, something that covers her neck and head. You can draw it pulled down but at least it's clear she's got something to protect her neck if she's going to wade into battle.

    On that note: think about giving her a helmet.

    Give her some actual protection on her knees. There is zero point in having plate on her thighs if her knees can just be cut out from under her. Traditional plate is segmented there specifically to provide protection as well as mobility - so join up the leg armor.

    Please, please get rid of the heels on the greaves. Seriously. If you do nothing else, just lose the heels.

    I can't figure out what the skirt thing is that she's wearing. If that's chainmail or something similar, awesome, but again - why open in front and exposing her organs? If it's just cloth, then... well, why is she exposing her organs and her limbs?

    In summary: I guess this is all about presentation. You can't describe her as a serious warrior and then draw her as if she knows bugger all about how to protect herself in battle. You'd get some leeway if you're drawing in a particular style - see Final Fantasy, for example, and their totally nonsensical costumes - but those styles usually make it clear that the armour is very much just there for decoration. Absent anything else here, we're lead to believe that this is more or less a fantasy elf archetype, and that suggests that the armour is supposed to be somewhat functional. When you draw her with largely non-functional armour, it's somewhat jarring.

    I just want to add these here - say what you like about D&D, but they're a good reference for different styles of fantasy armour that at least have an outside chance of being functional. Just ignore that boobplate one in the second picture - dunno what they were thinking there.

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    I don't think that the pose is the major problem. There's no perspective involved in this design and you haven't calculated gravity too. Because of that your character does not have weight so the pose looks inappropriate too, looks unrealistic. Most people think that perspective is actually something to use when drawing structures and stuff like that but in reality perspective is the way we perceive things so if you want your design to be realistic at least you have to use perspective into it.

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    "The brilliant tumbler feed Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor has inspired me to add my two cents to the discussion.

    Why does my opinion matter? I’m an armorer. I make actual armor that people wear when they hit each other with swords. When making armor I have to strike a balance between comfort, protection, range of motion, and appearance. My experience has made me more than a little opinionated on the subject of fantasy armor.

    I intend to set the internet straight. See below for how to do it wrong, how to do it right, and why you might care."

    http://madartlab.com/2011/12/14/fant...and-lady-bits/

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    I have read that article so many times it's just silly. Should be required for anyone looking to draw women in armour.

    Here's another D&D example of elven chainmail. This is pretty interesting because it's still heavily form fitting - this doesn't exactly jive with real chainmail. We know it shouldn't hang like that and on first glance it doesn't have a reason to, other than showing off the character's figure. It's not clear whether those plated bits are cloth or metal, but in either case, there should be something more on the character's torso.

    That said, it's got a good aesthetic and it's pretty well established in D&D that elven chainmail is magical, the main advantage of which is that it's light, allows perfect mobility, and still provides the same protection as regular chain or even plate. So in the context of the setting, we can give it some leeway on things like how closely it fits and where it seems to be missing some protective elements.

    Another thing to note is that despite it being very form fitting, it covers the whole character, top to bottom. It's very clearly providing its protection, magical or not, everywhere on the figure. You could argue that your armour is magical in the same sense, but again, you're going to hit the same problem of important chunks of her anatomy being open to attack.

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    Part of the problem is your trying to do to many things with this image.
    Is it a turn around, giving full costume? or is it a descriptive character illustration?
    It's hovering in between at the moment.

    The rim lighting is flattening the figure and you're not really showing the forms very well.
    Try and describe the textures/materials a little better - it took me a while to figure out which was cloth and which was metal (I'm guessing).
    This comes down to lighting, go have a read here (it's good stuff):
    http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/art_tut.htm#light_stuff
    http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/art_tut.htm#materials
    If you're going to pose her then give her a ground plane and set yourself a stronger light source (more so the your original image) - don't be afraid to lose some of the detail in shadow (all of that would be in a turn around shot)
    Quick scribble, pose isn't 100% right but hope it helps:
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    Wow, thank you so much for the response, everyone! I seriously appreciate it!

    I've decided to just scrap what I have right now and start over. I'm not happy with the direction I'm going, and the crits that I received have given me a new outlook on what I've been doing. Though I think I did a few things well (such as the painting), I still have a lot to learn. However, I'm not learning anything by rehashing what I currently have.

    So, I'm going to study real armor, and try to work with the mindset that the concept artists for D&D had for designing armor. Though Chelle's armor is enchanted, I still want it to look as if she doesn't need those enchantments; I want it to seem as if the armor can protect her just as well without them.

    I will be adding a few items to her armor, such as a helmet and some chainmail around where her armor is not providing protection. I may just redo the armor completely, sans the breastplate since it provides enough protection (I used examples of actual armor to design it).

    I can't thank you all enough for the information you've given me. It's extremely helpful, and it provided me a starting point to actually create worthy concept art for my characters. I'm going to start out with some anatomy and pose practice right now, and then I'll move into the armor design. Once I have something to show, I'll respond, albeit briefly, to everyone who has commented thus far.

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    I think the overall painting as a character sheet is terrific. If you did want to make a painting of the character, then you would want to light it the way Venger showed us.

    Man, the armor is fine. Remember, these are peoples' opinions in here. You're not making armor to be worn in combat, you're making a character. She can wear whatever you(or the person paying) wants. And even so, your armor is very functional compared to the chain thongs that are out there anyway!

    Good work.

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    ...Did I just fall into DeviantArt or something?

    This is the place were people come to find out how to be the best, not how to be good enough. I've said all along that this character is presented as being serious while being drawn in a way that doesn't fit the description. And yes, the client can tell you what to draw, but this is a straight up character study where the artist has full control so that doesn't apply at all.

    This character is supposed to be going into combat. Ergo, her armour has to at least reflect that she knows how to protect herself in combat, unless she's presented in a style for which armour is clearly decorative like I said above. There's already a pretty strong, pretty terrible trend in fantasy art to draw female fighters in unbelievable armour when it makes no sense for the character - should we be satisfied, then, with anything as long as it isn't a chainmail bikini? I say not. I say female characters should be held to the same standards as male characters. If armour or weapons make no sense in context, based on the given description, then I will say so and explain my reasoning in detail.

    If you disagree, then put up or shut up, as they say.

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    Calireayn: I definitely agree. I came here to become the best, though I didn't draw the character the way I portrayed her in writing her bio. The armor wasn't very well thought out (I spent more time on her anatomy than I did the armor, and even then her pose was screwed up, haha), and therefore it needs a lot of work because it isn't functional. If she were to go to war, her abdomen would be hit with arrows or cut in half, and her legs would be chopped off at the knees.

    When I created her initial character sheet, she wore decorative armor. There was no way in hell that she could protect herself. So like I said, I'm definitely in agreement with you. I hope the comment about you falling into dA wasn't directed at me though. If I made it seem like dA, then I apologize. This is my first time at ConceptArt.org, so I'm still learning about the community and whatnot.

    Also, I re-read your initial post on my thread and took notes. Granted, I'm not finished (far from it!) but I did incorporate some of your ideas to keep her looking somewhat the same. She now has some credibility in terms of her armor. I also used the references you gave me to figure out what I can do with her armor. Hopefully I'm showing some improvement!

    Artfix: Thank you for the compliments, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. She may be a character, but her armor needs to be believable, and the examples that were given to me reinforce the fact that it isn't. The armor was a split-second decision, and wasn't very thought out when I created it. It may be a little more functional than the chainmail bikinis, but it's not completely functional and is definitely unbelievable. I really appreciate your input though!

    Venger: I really appreciate the grayscale illustrative example for Chelle - it inspired me to re-create Chelle's image in the same way (though I found my own refs and painted everything myself, rather than paint on top of the example). I took a look at the links you sent, and I found it to be extremely helpful I've actually had that entire tutorial printed out at one point (I just need to find my tutorial binder. ), and I definitely agree. The rim lighting made her look flat. So, I decided to abandon the rim light completely with the third round.

    Velocity Kendall: Thank you so much for that link! I've seen that before on Tumblr, though I know I made some stupid mistakes and didn't read it again before starting the initial character sheet. Like I told Calireayn, I wasn't paying much mind to the armor and just kinda slapped it on there without thinking.

    Hitsu//San: I'll keep that in mind! I never knew that for illustrations, at least concept art and character sheets, requires perspective...I'll do some Google searching later tonight to find some tutorials on it.

    Grunler: I understand where you're getting at. She does look pasted on a 2-dimensional plane, though the indication of a ground plane was an afterthought. I'm not sure how to make her look weighted down, though, and to make the armor look weighted. Would I use shading to show weight? I did in fact draw an underlying figure before tacking the armor on. However, I made a huge mistake - I used pose maniacs to figure out a pose for this character sheet; I read somewhere online that frowned upon using pose maniacs for anatomical artworks, since they aren't 100% true to human anatomy.

    However, I fixed that and went on to dA to look at stock images of women who wield swords and whatnot to figure out an anatomically correct pose. It helped a lot. I took your advice though and started from scratch. I hope that there's a significantly better difference in what I have now, compared to what I initial started with.

    --

    Alright, so I took the majority of last night and today working from the ground up on this character sheet. I did some research, and I'm hoping to go up to the local library tomorrow to pick up some books on medieval armor. I need as much reference and research material as I can get, since I'm wanting this to be as accurate as possible.

    Even though I began to detail the breastplate, please keep in mind that I'm far from finished. I have most of the shapes blocked in, but I have yet to flesh them out enough. I also haven't finished the right arm, or added in a chainmail skirt (it'll be short) that will go under the groin plating. She will also have chainmail covering the back of her knees. I just haven't gotten to paint it in yet.

    I'm also planning on painting in a helmet (it'll either sit on the ground at her feet, or she will be holding it - I haven't quite figured it out yet). Also, the sword she has in hand is a placeholder; she'll be wielding two short swords that will either be sheathed on her hips, or on her back. I'm just not sure which would be suitable, haha. Anywho, like I said, I hope that I showed some improvement. I'll most likely work on this further tomorrow, whenever I get the time. So, here's what I have so far:

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    That's much improved. The breastplate looks a lot better - great work on the reflections.

    Watch out for her arm and wrist width; again, you're leaning towards making the arms far too thin. I don't think there's any hard and fast rules on limb width proportions, but right now her right arm looks emaciated.

    The joint itself is also sitting an inch or two lower than where it should be.

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    And why is it soooo unbelievable?? I even got the original poster denying my compliments! Looks like a freaking brainwashing session in here. Don't let them turn you, man! Freaking stumbled into the twilight zone in here.

    I will leave you guys be with your armor-making clique lol.

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    Full disclosure: I'm not sure if what I'm going to talk about really matters in terms of what's required for what you're doing, (I'm coming from a different field) but I have some anatomy/overall design notes that might help to make the pose more visually interesting (even if she's not doing anything.) Venger, I swiped your paint over to compare

    I also apologize for the misspelled words.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    And why is it soooo unbelievable?? I even got the original poster denying my compliments! Looks like a freaking brainwashing session in here. Don't let them turn you, man! Freaking stumbled into the twilight zone in here.

    I will leave you guys be with your armor-making clique lol.
    Oh yeah. Totally feeling the DeviantArt vibes here, man.

    Why are you asking? I explained already. In depth and at length, with examples, no less. So calling this 'brainwashing' kinda just makes you look like you haven't read this thread at all.

    And seriously, 'armor-making clique'? You talk like a highschool student.

    Gonna say it again - put up or shut up. If you disagree with my critique, then you put on your big boy pants and say why.

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  35. #21
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    I kinda agree with Artfix.

    The two pieces the OP has done are good but they are so different that I'm wondering which one is really 'true' to the OP? If that makes sense? I mean, the new one(I know it's not finished) is more believable and realistic but it has lost character, and I figured that is what you were doing, trying to create a character. A well thought out functional armour doesn't make for a good interesting character that can be easily recognised. Even if that means the armour or other features not being completely believable, I think most people are capable of suspending their disbelief a little to allow you to add unique aspects to the character. You need a balance.

    Yeah, just some stuff for you to contemplate and to decide on yourself (You might have already considered all this but since your piece isn't finished I don't know.).

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    Cali I realize u have a hard on for functional armor but not everyone does. I call u a clique because ur geeking out about armor and no one else gets it. Its not ur job to turn the poster into ur clone. Ur telling him that ur opinions represent the industry and they don't. Do u want to help make aa successful artist or whine about unrealistic armor together?

    And giving a crit is sometimes recognizing success when u see it. This guyy has done A professionL quality char sheet and u risk setting him back IMO. Remember to cultivate his interests and style, not urs. That's why I said brainwashing.

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  38. #23
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    "ur geeking out about armor and no one else gets it"

    i get it. the OP clearly gets it. your comments border on silly.

    "This guyy has done A professionL quality char sheet and u risk setting him back IMO. Remember to cultivate his interests and style, not urs. That's why I said brainwashing."

    Seriously?
    its a given the OP (who's a girl by the way) can paint, the rendering is top notch.
    it depends what the breif said. if the art director needs fancy non-functional armour fine, if they want proper stuff that would work, you need to put in the hours. simples.
    venger and alices advice on poses is universal.

    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; March 21st, 2012 at 04:12 PM.
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  40. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artfix View Post
    Cali I realize u have a hard on for functional armor but not everyone does. I call u a clique because ur geeking out about armor and no one else gets it. Its not ur job to turn the poster into ur clone. Ur telling him that ur opinions represent the industry and they don't. Do u want to help make aa successful artist or whine about unrealistic armor together?

    And giving a crit is sometimes recognizing success when u see it. This guyy has done A professionL quality char sheet and u risk setting him back IMO. Remember to cultivate his interests and style, not urs. That's why I said brainwashing.
    I'm a woman, as can be clearly seen in my icon. Calireayn's critiques do represent the industry, hence the reason why they commented and gave me very thorough examples to help me understand the functionality of armor. However, my initial character sheet was not a quality character sheet. I might have painted it well, but there was no credibility in the armor. Everyone, except for you, have commented to give me advice and to ensure my success. There were a lot of issues with my initial character sheet, and the mistakes were pointed out, and eventually corrected with the help of the critiques and examples.

    The initial character sheet was drawn around July of last year and I worked with it off and on until a few months ago, when I "completed" it. I really did appreciate your input before. The compliments were flattering, but I didn't come here strictly for compliments; I came here to become a better artist. I didn't appreciate you blowing up over the fact that I disagreed with you - I'm entitled to my opinions, just as you are. That also means that I'm entitled to disagree with anything you say.

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    I think you need a strong understanding of how armour works (based in fact)
    From there it will aid you in creating non functioning and functioning armour designs.
    You have to be able to do both or you'll just be a one trick pony.

    This applies to all things - human & animal anatomy, weapons, tech, environments. This is why we practice (the basics) so our more fanciful creations will be more believable.
    Start with fact and extrapolate from there.

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  43. #26
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    So what are you doing, designing armour to be crafted and worn in reality or designing a character to live in a fantasy world?



    Aw noes, what stupid armour!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    So what are you doing, designing armour to be crafted and worn in reality or designing a character to live in a fantasy world?



    Aw noes, what stupid armour!!!
    I'm designing armor for a character that lives in a fantasy world. I would also like to be able to create the armor and wear it IRL, in case I decide to go to the local Renaissance Festival, or to a fantasy convention.

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    as usual Vengers comments are exactly on the money here

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  47. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    I think you need a strong understanding of how armour works (based in fact)
    From there it will aid you in creating non functioning and functioning armour designs.
    You have to be able to do both or you'll just be a one trick pony.

    This applies to all things - human & animal anatomy, weapons, tech, environments. This is why we practice (the basics) so our more fanciful creations will be more believable.
    Start with fact and extrapolate from there.
    I definitely agree! That's why I'm taking the time to do some research as I'm working on this. I've got a few books on hold at the library that are all about medieval armor, so it should give me some educational insight on how armor truly works.

    Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it!

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    I see, cool, I'm sure your character will be very well remembered for her functional armour.

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