Oh my gosh!! Your part of the Archie Team? Its been years since I followed you, but oh man! I remember when I first saw your Tails away comic and followed it religiously after. Now your making covers for the comics- oh man its just amazing! It makes me feel so happy to know this and kinda like Archie comics again (for a while I didn't cause they did Amy strangely? idk) Either way, this looks amazing! I'm so excited for this series to come out! I hope to see more from you!
I know nothing about that skies game(got that DC real late, my first and only game being Sonic Adventure 2), but with most Sonic fans I see on the net being Nintendo fans who have to justify all reasoning behind Sega deliberately turning Sonic into something completely different just to appease Nintendo/Mario fans, seeing this and knowing Skies is a Sega title, just feels good, and actually looks cool, as if this is what Sonic Lost World should be, of course, your artwork also helps with that.
I think SEGA variant means they slap a SEGA render on the cover instead of an illustration. Also the lighting looks kind of awful. First of all it's waaaaay too white on the right and the top, and the lack of lines makes it hard to tell where the hammer ends and the sky begins. It's so bad I thought the sail was some kind of "action arc" and Amy was swinging the hammer or calling it into her hand like Thor or something. There's just not enough contrast - the brighter the light, the darker the shadows, but here it's just all pastels and then suddenly a big blotch of ugly blue on the left. Without contrast, there's nothing to show Amy's wearing a pink sleeve, so it looks like a coloring error. See, this picture really suffers from the lack of lineart. The line-less style could work if you had a better grasp of shading but for this picture I think you should avoid it. That's not to say that venturing out of your comfort zone is bad - it's good to try new things - but if you're going to submit this to the company in a fanzine you should play to your strengths. With practice, in a few years you could come back to this picture and rock it like ~raseinn, but if you plan to show this off in the next month or so, focus on what you're good at now so it'll look as awesome as possible. Anyway. Sonic's eye patch is bugging me - if you've ever worn a pair of extremely tight swim goggles, where they slowly crush your eyes shut until you can't stand it anymore, you know what I mean. It's silly to have him hold the strap up with his eyebrow alone. I think it would look more comfortable if it went back over his ear. He's also holding his sword with the tips of his fingers only, with no thumb... it seems like it would fall right out of his grip. I have no idea how Amy is holding that hammer with her hand like that, either - she's got it pinched between the backs of her fingers and her thumb? Her bang thingies should be stacked in a vertical line, too, not a horizontal one like you have here. Blaze looks the weirdest, though. Without any contrast between her irises and sclera her eyes look jaundiced and kind of soulless. The same thing happened on that Silver picture. On top of this her head looks like a squashed football - and her ponytail just looks lazy. You drew the right ear tiny compared to the left ear, and her eyes aren't square as you've drawn them. She's supposed to be flat-chested, too, and her body is shaped sort of like a teardrop or doughy triangle... yet you've given her these huge, walleyed boobs and a waspish waist. Save that for Rouge, man! As for coloring, the boat deck looks awful and muddy and not like wood at all. More like clay with a bunch of thumbprints on it. Everything else looks mediocre because you just shaded with darker tones of the same color with no radiosity.. you might as well have just used dodge and burn. Sonic's iris seems to be laying on top of his mask, like a leaf. The blue of his coat is too close to his fur color, and the gold(?) bands on his coat are too similar to the color of his skin, and there's no difference in texture to indicate what is fur and what isn't, so I thought he was wearing the sloughed-off skin of another Sonic for a second. :/ Taking perspective into account, in this picture Sonic looks shorter than Amy and Blaze, who looks a lot older than either of them since she'd be so tall. But that's hard to fix and not as glaring as the other problems, so just keep that in mind for the future. I think instead of that poster edges filter (which looks mighty unprofessional), it would look MUCH better if you put the lineart back on top. So much of the detail is lost without the lines. Seriously, take that filter off, it's just an eyesore.
To save me time I think the best thing I've learnt from your nitpicking is this: 'the brighter the light, the darker the shadows'
Next time piece of advice - cut to the chase and give me the points in concise manner - your feedback seems at times look more like a rant than constructive feedback. I'm trying to listen in but it cuts off me off from all of that waffling. Just saying.
Regarding character features, that's really a matter of personal preference. Whether Blaze's boobs look too big or her waist seem irregular then so be it, I'm just following my intuition.
For further justification on the poster edges filter check out my feedback to HappyAggro.
See, there are so many problems there isn't really a way to make my points more concise without flat-out sounding like a troll. Basically: it looks amateurish. But just saying that doesn't help you, right?
I'm sorry if my "waffling" and "nitpicking" is an inconvenience to you at the moment, but I really don't see why you have to "save time" and skim the critique. Can't you just read it when you're less busy? There's literally no rush - in this situation, your deadline is entirely self-imposed! If you present this artbook at one con or another it doesn't matter. Your job and paycheck don't hinge on this fanzine, man - it's entirely within your power to take a few more weeks and polish your art up extra nicely. If you want Archie to pick this up as a serial thing, you'd want to knock their socks off right out of the gate, right?
There are many other, more professional methods to provide grungy and burnt effects to a picture that don't involve resorting to a cheapo photo filter. Just search for "grunge textures" on this very site, you'll get dozens of results that are at once more authentic and more impressive. It takes fifteen minutes. Using a photo filter says "I'm too lazy to do even that much."
Also, there's no need to follow "intuition" on drawing a character when you could just Google search pictures for reference. You had one right there when you were coloring. I don't care if you prefer to draw Blaze as a dancing hippie or a polka-dotted polar bear, that's not the point. All I mean is that, when you're making a gift for someone, you should draw their character correctly. What if, for your birthday present, I drew your Ashworth guy purple, just because I like purple better than yellow? Pretty rude, right?
Well of course I don't know the whole story! But my critique applies to this picture only, so I don't see how that matters, either. You said you planned to submit it in the artbook, and that's the only reason I brought that up.
Cool recreation of the Skies of Arcadia promo art! I would have liked to see T-Pup as Cupil, but you only have so much room on a cover, ahahah Good job on greyscale tonal painting! Mapping the values out before did seem like a big benefit to the overall piece. Placement of the font looks professional in the final cover version.
The white highlight is way washed out and I would recommend tweaking it before its inclusion in the final artbook. While Sonic is the main focus, compare the level of shading/highlights on Amy and Blaze compared to Aika and Fina on your reference picture. Vyse remains the main focus with Aika and Fina getting a bit less in terms of contrast due to being closer to the light source. HOWEVER, there's still enough contrast in their shading to avoid them being completely washed out. The way you applied the white highlight de-emphasizes Blaze and Amy completely instead of them merely not being the central focus. Consider going back to the greyscale and strengthening the shading and seeing how it looks from there. If it doesn't end up looking right to you, de-emphasize the white highlights a little bit. What layer setting/filter did you use for the final cover? I admit to not being entirely sold on the effect used (seems a bit cheap), but I do think that leaving it on for the clothing, ship, ahmmer, and sword would work. That's more of a personal preference, so you're free to ignore that. I don't know if its an a layer effect, a filter, or you going back into giving the thing lines that the SEGA version has hints of lineart compared to the non-altered version, but I think that works better for this cover version of the art as it more clearly delinates stuff (which is, well, needed considering the amount of white highlight. Fixing the shading and/or highlight level will help you from having to rely entirely on the lineart hinting to keep Amy and Blaze's detail from being washed out). Alternately, you could strengthen the contrast of those corresponding values in the original work to give it a more "colored linework" feel which might not be as jarring depending on how you feel.
Long story short, good piece overall, good go on greyscale painting, but I'm not a fan of the washed out highlighting. We can talk a bit more on Skype about this if you choose to do revisions, but other than that, the picture is solid.
Excellent feedback. THANK YOU (as always ^^). Now then let's clarify some things:
- When you say 'washed out highlighting' you meant it in the way that there's too much brightness/lighting that it's taking out the clarity of the original colours (e.g. Amy's pink and Blaze's purple fur). So did you'd recommend the colours to be desaturated in a sense to make their colours pop out less than Sonic's?
- Alternatively did you mean it by 'textures'? You wanted Amy and Blaze to look more soft and less solidified than Sonic?
- And yes I actually used POSTER filter to get the lineart. I spent 20 minutes to figure out which filter would give me the effect I want. At the same time I adjusted the opacity of the second 'filtered' layer to have the effect empower over the original too much.
- I'm happy with the shading work on Blaze and Amy, in fact if you go to thumbnail 7 I've deliberately darkened Sonic and the foreground more than Amy and Blaze to make them pop out more. [link]
- Yeah it's a cheap effect ain't it? Though it is like what you said - personal preference. = ) I actually like having those textures to boost some details to give it that grunge like look in pirate drawings - like you know the ones you see in burnt treasure maps and such.
Anyways once again your feedback is not taken for granted. I'm interested to learn more about that highlight - colours washed out issue because I seem to see where you getting at but I'm not 100% clear on it. What I'll be doing right now is to reduce the poster textures on Amy + Blaze + bg to see how it looks like. Thanks again HappyAggro and yeah hell I'm more than happy for a Skype call about this. If I see you online I'll probably ping ya and see if it's all good to call. *thumbs up*
No no no, it makes no sense for their colors to stand out LESS than Sonic's in their current state because they're already de-emphasized enough by it being too dang bright! Take the brightness down so they're not de-emphasized COMPLETELY! XD
By textures, I meant that effect. I didn't mean to have them less solidified and more soft, I don't know where you drew that conclusion from but I apologize if I wasn't clear enough on my end.
I've added one additional 'MULTIPLY' layer on top of Amy and Blaze. Adjusted the opacity and yeah... You're right! It's looking much better! the colours stand out more than before - originally I didn't want it too vibrant or saturated but it makes sense to follow the colour tones to Sonic's because in the SoA colour design it is purposely colourful (much like 'Sonic the Hedgehog' series palette).
So yeah now the updated version today has less poster edge effect and more colour tone to Amy and Blaze. The BG also had a boost in colour tone but only 30% compared to the 50 that Amy and Blaze has received. Thanks for the advice!
Looks like I've been given another set of advice by someone else above, let's go have a look.