Bird Archer
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    Bird Archer

    Hey everybody,
    it has been a long time since i posted something. I finally sat down to do a humanoid character, which is something i am not really familiar with. so here is the backstory i have invented for the char:
    Azura Swift is the best bow-fighter in the kingdom of corvus.
    Her agility and preciseness seem unparalleled and no one knows of anyone,
    who saw an arrow of hers miss a target.

    She is smart, silent, beautiful and calm. Nevertheless, she can be cold as ice
    and her cold gaze can make a grown man look away in shyness.

    Everywhere she goes, she carries with her “Smity”, a shy mouse, which she
    sometimes talks to and feeds.

    Her weapon of choice is the bow and arrow, but she also weares a short curved
    sword and some throwing blades.

    Her past is not to be spoken of, as she lost a very close person, which is partly
    responsible for her quiteness.

    agile, quiet, precise, deadly, beautiful, smart, cold, sad past

    I did some sketching and got me some ref, but i am afraid i rushed it again. so here are the sketches, studies and the WIP. it is still very unfinished, since i didn't want to present something hours have went in for no good reason.

    would love some feedback,

    cheers,
    flo

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    Wouldn't those shoulderpads kinda make it harder to lift/aim the bow? Also I kinda find it... well, not odd or weird but more like... bit uninterestingly planned that for a bird human she's just an average human that has a bird head and that none of the elements (human or bird) go outside those parts.

    EDIT: Also considering your description...
    agile, quiet, precise, deadly, beautiful, smart, cold, sad past
    I honestly don't see any of that coming through from the design. Like sure she can act like that, but when I look at the character, nothing in the design gives me those feelings. It's fairly "open" and somewhat colourful with warm, earthy tones that pretty naturally go against stuff like "cold and deadly".
    Like as a comparison, Vampire Hunter D has almost the exact same personality (as in basically none)/story qualities, and when you look at his design, it seems distant as his figure is covered with a large cape and hat, but then his armor is smooth, shiny and cold black that give you that emotional feeling of coldness ad so on (even more so in the newer anime adaptions), if you get what I mean?
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    And I'm not saying that you should add a big hat and a blue cape to your character or copy D's design, but just give a bit more thought on how you present your character and what different things, like shapes/colours/cuts/sizes of things (for example, many things are very rounded in the design, for the thighs to the cape holders and the shape of the front cape itself, bow decorations etc, and again round is generally a thing that's more familiar and comforting, if you compare it to things that are sharp or pointy that you necessarily wouldn't want to touch since you might get hurt, creating more of a feeling of distance), showing them or not showing mean to the viewer in the emotional level. Like in the same way the design elements in D wouldn't work with the jolly feeling of Robin Hood because they just don't fit the personality or what the audience is supposed to see.

    Last edited by TinyBird; December 4th, 2012 at 03:53 AM.
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    hi tinybird,
    thanks a lot for the critique.
    i rushed it again, which is my main concern. i don't take enough time for my designs, because i fear to be too slow.
    your examples are really cool, he seems very distant and cold.

    my next step would be to imagesearch for the keywords and try to find shapes, that represent the adjectives.
    i will go back to the drawing board and do more research and update soon.

    cheers,
    flo

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    hey everybody,
    i did some sketches for the character. i tried to enforce the hunter-feeling by using nature-found materials and make her more distant by covering her up more. also some feathery shapes are supposed to sell the bird-part of the design. it is still just a person with a bird head, but it seems not very easy to make a beautiful bird-human-mutant that looks like it has a personality. but i will try
    cheers,
    flo

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    hey guys,

    finally i took some time to work more on the concept. this time i tried to work on the anatomy first. so i did studies of women's bodies, faces and birds and tried to put it together. i work with 100% opacity on my brush to change things faster. in the next step i slapped on some shapes for the armor, but it is not really cool because i didn't do a lot of studies before that. also i think i will stay more on the leather and natural material side of things and don't go into that golden metal look. i picked a camera that looks up to inhance the feeling of being overpowered by the character. what do you guys think so far?

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    Well, now is more interesting than before. Now is a character that tells more.
    The final armour color is going to be gold? Because if you are looking for a cold character, then gold is the opposite. Gold is hot, it could burn. Silver is more for cold, distant, but elegant.
    People see gold as sun, silver as moon. Day and night, it depends in what you want for your character.

    I suggest a cape, instead of shoulder pads. As a reference, Legolas from Lord of the Ring. He, first of all, is an archer, and he doesn't have anything on his shoulders that could difficult him to lift his arms and shot an arrow (and when he has them, they are very articulate). You have to give her something that goes with her arms, they are the most important thing for her if she's an archer, and nothing else.

    Even for the throwing blades and short sword, she needs to move properly her arm in order to attack or throw them, because as I can see without reading the text again and only looking at the picture, she IS fast.

    Also, in the last drawing, I can see sadness in her eyes. maybe is only me, but I see it, so you got the right expression.

    Sketchbook

    I don't have time to read "How beautiful are your drawings!" garbage.
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    thanks for the response.

    i will look into more designs when i arrive at the armor-stage. the gold-silver-comparison was really helpful, i never thought of it this way.
    and thanks for the kind words in between.

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    It feels a bit as if she would probably fall forward if you'd take out the bow.
    Also: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...areYourMidriff

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    Agreed that her stomach - on of the areas in need of most protection - should be covered. Also, the armor shouldn't have a boob shape - it's actually dangerous to her health as it directs blows towards her chest instead of away. There was a whole article about that, but basically if she fell or got hit, the force would make the deepest part between her breasts suddenly thrust against her sternum, breaking it and killing her pretty fast. Since your designs seem rather practical, I think you'd find that interesting.
    ....Actually, it's weird that her breasts are the most human part of her.

    Actually, considered the fact that she's supposed to be an extremely agile archer, I'd stay away from plate armor completely - it's terribly heavy for that kind of fighting style.
    Have you looked at Toothiana from Rise of the Guardians? I find what they did with her design very interesting - she's kind of half-birdish too, but still has a human face. I think you should find a way to meld the bird and human parts more, the bird head on top of her shoulders just seems kind of distant.

    Also is she capable of flight? With wing-feathers that small she's not likely to be... It might be very convenient for her to be able to attack from above though, so think about it.

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    @quike: i think the problem is the position of her feet. maybe the balance line is not in the middle due to the feet bending to the rear. thanks for the tv-tropes site. it is really interesting.
    @ever: that's really interesting. i never thought about the boob-shaped armor, despite the it looks sexy and not very useful. the tooth-fairy character is really cool, i think you are right about mending the anatomies more. but at the moment i don't quite know how to do it. no she is not capable of flight. in her world there are lesser birds and higher birds (called "aves") which are the next evolutionary step of birds. the are capable of technology and science but lost the gift of flight. a bit like the skettis from wow, although i am not sure if that is their lore, but they are humaoid flightless birdpeople^^

    cheers for the comments, i will work some more on it.

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    If you want nice reference for armour design check Women Fighters In Reasonable Armor.

    They have also reasonings on how boobplate is dangerous and good armour design principles.

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    Good work so far, here are some suggestions.
    First off, don't give up. You picked a pretty tough design there, so it's only natural that you might get discouraged along the way. Basically you are trying to design a creature that doesn't really exist in our world, and that is always hard, at least if you want it to be believable.
    From your sketches so far it looks like you are trying to tackle the entire illustration in one single swipe, which takes a lot of courage. While that sure is admirable it also makes your task at hand even harder than it already is. So you got your feet wet, or as you put it "rushed into " the drawing and there is nothing wrong with that. I believe that in the beginning stages all sketches are valid and important, no matter if they look crude or not.
    The question now is, where do you want to go next?
    I would suggest that you would try to make your life a bit easier and focus on the more basic issues at hand. Don't worry about color for now and leave the armor and weapon design for later. Instead try to figure out your creature's basic shapes and it's anatomy. Focus on the silhouette and try to find some valid questions that could help you for your research and reference studies later on. Write down your questions and then draw your answers.
    Here are some questions that I would try to answer:
    Is this creature more humanoid or more birdlike?
    Can it fly? If No, why Not? If it can fly you'll have to ask some question about that armor later on.
    Does it have wings or arms? Maybe both ? Maybe arms with wings attached?
    If it has wings does it actually have hands and fingers? This is tough question. Disney has some wonderful answers to that question. Robin Hood springs to mind.
    Does it have feet or talons?
    If it has talons when you should ask yourself how it is going to fight. Birds of prey in our world use their talons as weapons (beaks are for eating, talons for killing), so does your character actually need a sword? Maybe he uses some kind of martial art that involves ferious feet... uhm I mean talon attacks?
    Why doesn't it eat the mouse?
    Where is the mouse anyway? (You haven't drawn it yet have you?)

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    @Quike: thanks for the tumbler. I am slowly getting in touch with tumblr (I know I am late ^^). that one seems quite interesting.
    @robert: thanks a ton for the great advice. I actually feel like it is a tough design. when i looked the web for something similar, I found some designs in guild wars and wow. i like both of them and i want to do something new, and for now, i don't feel like i have something. especially hard for me is to design a face that is bird and human at the same time. maybe i go the direction "black swan" did on Rothbart. also my anatomy and overall character design skills are not up to par with my vision, but i enjoy to study and improve so i think it is a good idea to keep working on this.
    thanks for the questions you wrote, i will add some more and then try to answer them. no i haven't drawn the mouse yet and I thought about giving her a "real" blue jay as a pet.

    edit: quick character sketch. i'll try to keep to lineart for now.

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    I'd recommend not giving her additional wings unless she's capable of flight(they'd need to be way bigger for that anyway) as they're practically useless. Plus, you'd have to spend more time thinking up clothing options for her due to the six limbs. I much prefer your previous approach, where her arms had longer feathers on them - it looked like wings that had devolved.

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    i really appreciate the feedback, makes me think harder about the design.
    hm i am not 100% off those small wings. i think they could at least be used to move differently than humans. for example to change direction mid-running by flapping one of them or to jump higher / longer or the stay in the air for a short period of time. also i would be interested to attach them in a plausible way to the body. i haven't explored the idea enough to say yes or no yet.
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    just a small update, still not done figuring out the anatomy

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    after doing some research and talking to people of crimson daggers and watching at pieces of different artist i finally found an approach that seems promising to me.
    next step is to refine the drawing and the add rendering


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    Last edited by Enimael; March 9th, 2013 at 05:24 AM.
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    The new armour looks great and seems a really nice iteration. Are the wings fully functional or just with gliding/slow falling properties? For full flight they would need to be bigger, as the chest too.

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    http://i.imgur.com/YUCUwjC.jpg

    I don't know why, but Conceptart.org doesn't let me update properly so an outgoing link has to do.
    this is going slow, because I work full time and have 2 private projects at the same time BUT it goes on. I just wanted to show you the latest status. I found that doing the design without perspective and then applying it to the illustration makes it a lot easier for me. the bow will come soon (I hope).

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    While I am at getting critic. This was done for my employer Sofatutor and it shows the town's musicians of Bremen. It is an old folks-tale about the 4 animals that gang up to form a music-band. I would love some crits and comments on this one.

    http://i.imgur.com/RsZtI2c.jpg

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    I really like the latest design, but wanted to ask: why did you change her bird feet into monster-ish?

    It all began with a crocodile sketch...

    mimepinky.deviantart.com

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    Oh man the progress looks great. I'm glad you gave an update on this one. That said, I have to agree with Helila. It could look cooler with bird talon like feet like you had before.

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    thanks for the crits, I actually don't know any more why I changed it. I guess it is because I couldn't make the bird feet look cool from that angle, which is just a lame excuse. I will give it some time before work now.

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    http://i.imgur.com/y8tqclj.jpg
    i did quick studies of human and bird legs and tried to tie it together to something. still perspective and foreshortening are acting like jerks.i like the new legs too. I will decided later which way to go.

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    I think you are going the good way. Can't wait to see how this turns out.

    It all began with a crocodile sketch...

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    Agreed, looks much better.

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    hey guys,
    i blocked in the base value (50% gray), the direct light's shadow and the illumination.
    the line work is switched of. next step is to add reflected light and occlussion shadows.
    after that detail rendering and then color.

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    You probably don't want to hear this at this stage but those wings are... wrong. I would explain it with words but I'm terrible at that so I hope this helps:

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    Interesting way of approaching the lighting, I'm curious to see where you'll take this .

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    That last pose is really cool. It would suit well for a presentation paiting. I know you probably want the head to be the selling point but I would have liked to some touches of blue elsewhere lower in the character, in the initial painting that is.

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    hey guys,
    sorry again for the long pause.
    @Lhune: I love to hear about my mistakes. and Thanks for bringing up the problem with the wings. I did some research and studies and redid them.
    @Iaesir: thanks a lot. That is nice to hear. I finally found an "ok" workflow for greyscale to color. I will try out different color combinations, but I never figured out a color palette before so I think it will be a lot doodling.
    here is the update with new wings:
    http://i.imgur.com/2sz2G0O.jpg

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