Needing a critique before moving on.
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  1. #1
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    Needing a critique before moving on.

    I need a critique on this guy before I erase the name and little squiggles around him and add a background.

    And I know it's anime-esque, I'm gradually working on that and getting things more realistic, so yeah.

    Name:  Alum Isa Greystone.JPG
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    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Heya. I have a couple suggestions.

    This thing could do without the crosshatching. Actually, I think you should try out a more 'cell-shaded' approach. Good linework, as I may or may not have stated somewhere before, is awful tricky in Photoshop even with a tablet so what I'm going to do here is explain a technique that works with any kind of lines. Usually, if your lines are clean and crisp enough and all area's to be filled with color are closed, you can just use the wand tool to make a color layer but to me that's kind of stressy to keep in mind while drawing and kills my creativity dead.
    So.
    Keep your lines on a separate layer in Photoshop. Preferably, set the layer blending mode to 'multiply' and put a new layer underneath where you first paint some sort of 'mask' in a single solid color at max opacity and with a hard brush set to max flow. Click the little grid-like icon in the layers palette to set the layer to lock the transparent pixels of that layer. This way, you can henceforward paint anywhere you like but it won't stick to the area outside of your 'mask'.
    Now add all the colors you want. Make the individual colored areas as clean and solid as you can; use the lasso tool if you have to, or the wand. Don't yet add shadows.
    Shadowing can be done in a couple of ways. Try out this one:
    On a separate layer, above the color layer but under the lineart, create area's where there will be shadow suing the lasso tool, preferably. If you 'Group with Previous' (CTRL+g), none of the shadows will extend beyond the colored pixels in the layer below. Play with layer opacity and blending modes to get a kind of shadow you like. You can do this kind of thing with highlights, too, by making a separate layer and using a light color and for example the 'screen' mode.
    If you like, you can add a bit of blur to soften the edges of the shadows.

    Piece of cake. Now you try.

    EDIT: the other thing would be the sword looking off-balance and a pain to wield. Place the center of gravity more towards the hands by either shortening the blade, making it more slender, or otherwise lighter, or making the grip longer or by adding a pummel or other decoration to balance out the weight.
    'Anime-swords-can-be-huge-without-looking-heavy' be damned. If it looks awkward, it's awkward. You're not scaring me with a sword that looks like it's made of foam.

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    Line width on the sword's blade don't match the rest of the image, either.

    There, NOW I'll stop.

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    As I said before

    Spend more time drawing real objects and studying how their shapes
    and perceived colours are defined by light and shadow and spend less
    time messing about in digital programs.

    I'm just seeing you repeating the same mistakes over and over.

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    I understand the sword and the shadows are a little off, I've been trying to get the idea for the sword right for a year now, just can't seem to get it right. I'll go off and make it slimmer and a bit lighter, but all the other stuff you said seemed a bit complicated and I don't think my program can do it all too well, but I'll have to keep your directions open so I can figure it a bit and try making it better.

    And yes, I have been drawing a lot more real items, though it's all in my actual sketchbook, this was just sorta a quickly thrown together image of one of my characters. I felt the urge to do it just before bed time, so it's a bit thrown together. Sorry if I still make mistakes, I'm trying to gradually get better.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by 13thprotector View Post
    I have been drawing a lot more real items, though it's all in my actual sketchbook,
    I don't think "possibly five or less" counts as "a lot more", especially when it's unlikely you drew all of those from real life. And they're all done digitally to boot.
    Pen, paper, and a borrowed digital camera if you don't own a scanner or your own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 13thprotector View Post
    Sorry if I still make mistakes, I'm trying to gradually get better.
    You seem like such a genuinely nice person. I'm not trying to be harsh
    to make you feel bad, I only help people that I think need a kick
    in the ass to unlock their true potential, which I can see you have.

    Don't be sorry, just work on improving. I know you -love- anime
    and fantasy characters and working digitally, but whenever you
    submit a piece to this section, I just feel like a broken record.

    Just do me one favour, lay off the soft brushes for lighting/glowy
    effects. To me its the worst aspect of this whole image. A strong
    magically independent source of light like that is bound to have an
    effect on the surfaces around it.

    But, as said, pencil and paper and the real objects and people around
    you. Tried and tested its the only way to improve. Having a love for digital
    programs is just not enough.

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    Well, I could use my digital camera, I guess I should, haven't been to the store to get a scanner as of yet, so I'll be back with some photos of my 'items'.

    Yes, I am nice, and I can take a kicking a round a lot better than most people. Don't worry, I'll fix this and get some just non-objective stuff with my camera. I do need to find the right size for the glow affect, it's a key thing for this guy's race and everything, it makes them stick out and has a long drawn out story behind it.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    I think you misunderstand Star Eater. He wants you to paint on the surfaces in the appropriate colors (and values) where the light of the glow would logically touch; not place a half-opaque blotch on top. It does not look like light, but like coloured mist.

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    I'm using a digital air brush tool, and when I use it too small then it's more like a dot than it is the misty light, I need to make it bigger and have it more spread out than what I had originally done on this one. That's what I meant, and it's the only tool on my program that even comes close to a lighted color rather than some big blotch of ink.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by 13thprotector View Post
    I'm using a digital air brush tool, and when I use it too small then it's more like a dot than it is the misty light, I need to make it bigger and have it more spread out than what I had originally done on this one. That's what I meant, and it's the only tool on my program that even comes close to a lighted color rather than some big blotch of ink.
    That's only because you do not have enough practical
    experience with colour and painting. Avoid the digital airbrush
    tool. It is a terrible liability for new users. Rather use a
    hard brush and play with the opacity settings.

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    Never thought about the opacity, I know I used it on the marker tool to make it a lighter marker, but that's about it. I guess I could use the fine camel tool that I usually use for shadows as the light....

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

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    Why are all your inks all so uneven?

    When you start a new drawing, make sure you make it at least twice as large as the final version is going to be.

    Make an underdrawing first. Turn the underdrawing layer to 25% opacity. Put a new inking layer on top. Use the pencil tool. Zoom in to ink and only use one line to define an edge. If the line sucks erase and try again, that's how you learn. If you get really tired of screwing up, draw the sucky line and then clean it up at extreme zoom using the pencil and eraser tools. Spend a little extra time making it look good, every time you slack off everybody sees it in your art. If the inks look good zoomed out to 50% or 25%, then they'll be good in the final.

    When you're done erase or hide the underdrawing layer, make a new layer, set it to multiply and colour underneath the lines. You won't be able to use fill, but you won't get those little white dots at the edges.

    When you're done everything, save the file as is, with all the layers and stuff in case you need to make changes later. Then flatten the picture, reduce the size to a web-viewing size, save a small version of the picture (don't overwrite your big file) and post to the web.

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    The ink unevenness might be because I used the smudge blender, I knew I should've gone with the grainy blender.... or it might be the different tools, I used paint bucked then went over with fine camel to do the shadows, and I just took the colors from where they were and darkened them, I should've added some highlights too now that I'm looking at it.

    Well, this pic was rather large before, I had to shrink it down twice before I could put it onto this site.

    Also I usually go back and fix the dots on the edges with either an eraser or the scratch pen tool, it apparently has no color and just pulls the color to where you want. But I often miss spots, that's my bad.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Avoid using any kind of smudge tool for now. My advice would
    be again to play with opacity settings on hard brushes and use
    this in conjunction with the dropper/colour sampler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 13thprotector View Post
    The ink unevenness might be because I used the smudge blender, I knew I should've gone with the grainy blender....
    Why would you even use a blender with your inks?!
    Seriously, get a brush and real ink and practice inking with that.

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    It is a digital piece, I wanted it to look a bit more defined, I'm not even sure to call it ink or pixels.

    I'll go play with the opacity when I get back home and try fixing, or even redoing the image. Looks like a lot to fix.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

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    Is this better? Even a little bit?

    Name:  Alum Isa Greystone2.JPG
Views: 232
Size:  186.4 KB

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Needs more brick.

    I don't think I can give efficient, effective advice without parroting the other folks around here, but since you once said you wanted to 'gradually' improve, let's try babysteps.

    First of all though I'd like to know how you start a drawing. Tell me how come that your character is posed the way it is, looking the way it does, etc.
    Let's leave out tools and programs for now. Do you have a place to go for reference and inspiration, do you do quick preliminary sketches, thumbnails, do you jot down action lines and a simplified skeleton or do you start with a floating face?

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    Well, I start off with the head, I do a skeleton after yes, but that's all erased as I move through the body, and I use the clothes as the body. The pose is completely ripped from another picture and I do not have the picture, it was in a book.

    I've been drawing this character for years, he is my favorite base character to work with. I just move along with how I feel the character should be, like to weave with his attitude, I made the personality first and built off that for the character and he has an intricate backstory.
    I try to do everything to base off the story and make the most of what I can do with him in such a way, I am making a book and am trying to make a comic of it as well. My friends are getting the website set up so I need to master my skills upon this guy and all the others.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    You would probably benefit from watching how a comic-book-style artist works.
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...g&feature=plcp
    Watch the whole "Evolution of a Digital Image" series.

    (Don't get distracted by the whole "but I'm doing _manga style_ thing", this method can be applied to any cartooning style that requires clean inks. In fact if you're trying to do manga your inks need to be even thinner and cleaner.)

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    you mentioned this is your favourite character and youve been working on him for years; now its time to try something completely new. kicking yuorself out of your comfort zone is hard but it really results in rapid growth.

    try drawing from life at speed, say on a bus. or enter the weekly comunity activities here, they give you briefs youd never otherwise have picked to try your problem solving and drawing skills on. thats a great way to try new things, test yourself and create cool new work for your portfolio. and youll feel great for trying something new and succeeding at it.
    and the cool stuff you learn can be put to work making your old characters more awesome too.

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    It's a bit manga style, I know, but I've tried changing it up by a lot, and it is different compared to many. I've been moving more into the dark horse stuff and trying to get a bit like them.

    I draw several other characters, mind you, but I come back to him in order to test new styles and skills I learn. He's sort of like my practice dummy in sorts.

    I'll have to start doing the more in life thing more often, haven't been doing it since standardized testing reared it's ugly face at me, and I don't get out much so that's another problem with me. I'll try to get all my stuff put up, I'm in the process of taking photos of most of them as of lately.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Quote Originally Posted by 13thprotector View Post
    Is this better? Even a little bit?

    Name:  Alum Isa Greystone2.JPG
Views: 232
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    Honest and brutal answer..NO.

    It feels like your showing us the same image again.

    Last edited by Artimatum; May 7th, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
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    I've only shown it twice.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    Whoops..

    Formerly Ultimatum.

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    Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
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    And I've changed a lot to it, going to go tonight and try to fix some more up as well, just trying to see how much more I need to do, and doing it one point at a time.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


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    It is very, very manga. If Manga was the Borg you'd be totally assimilated.

    I get the feeling you memorised the shapes you need for faces, hair, etc, instead of thinking three-dimensionally and drawing volumes. This is why your shadows aren't convincing, for example.
    If you are always going to use this approach, mimicking poses, anatomy, expressions from another manga-artist (manga is already an extremely stylised version of reality, this is like studying anatomy by looking at stickfigures, so to speak) you'e placing severe restrictions on yourself: whatever you'll draw will keep looking arbitrary, done-before, cooky-cutter, the same. Without learning to handle volumes, there'll be no adequately placing your subjects in a scene or environment, no adequate lighting or believable shadows, no perspective and forshortening, no convincable new designs such as that sword that keeps clashing with the rest of the picture, no unique expressions or body-language, and therefore, nothing to make it interesting. The way I see it, this could as well be clip-art.

    If this is a bitter pil to swallow, then let this be a waking up call for you. Try seeing the big picture here - don't worry about lines (they're really insecure and you know how I feel about digital lines anyway), don't worry about style. Aim or an absence of style - style is what comes by itself eventually. Try not to draw a drawing, draw the thing.

    Leave this drawing alone for now. Why don't you build up this character from box- and barrel-shapes, in another pose? I'd like to see how well you handle that.
    Don't worry about outlines; just try to convey a three-dimensional figure showing expression via its pose.

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    Just want to mention some things I notice in this picture, although I agree you should make multiple other sketches to train yourself. (sometimes you gotta let go and mix things up. The main focus has to be getting better, Not making the individual picture better.)

    1) His left leg is kind of thin/short above the knee.

    2) Choose a light source/direction. You need to know where the light and shadow/shade wil be.

    3) At your level, there is a difference between shade and shadow. The cast shadow of this character is Way big. Way big. Kill it with fire.

    4) Starting anew does not equal giving up.

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    Actually I am using a pose from the dark horse comic "Knights of the Old Republic" I did have to change up the pose a bit and give him a more powerful stance compared to the easy stance that Zayne had to hold his lightsaber.

    Yes, I've almost memorized the shapes and faces that get easy and stuck like that. And this guy's anatomy is much slimmer than my original model. I tried to make him younger looking.

    I guess I might have to restart it though, and try better next time I get to it. Or try another pose.

    "If you see a person jumping down the street, you can tell his preferences by shooting at the guy. If he starts whining, he plays Counter-Strike. If he charges you wielding an axe, you just interrupted a Morrowind player buffing his Acrobatics."

    "Mournhold city of Light, city of Magic!"


    Apathy is Death
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