Shading Struggles and Proportion Claustrophobia - Character Design Critiques #4 (Now Weekly!)

by: Brookes Eggleston - Character Design Forge

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hey what's up its Brooks briefly staying the weekend with mullah brother Tristan here and this white Muppet who will not leave my arm alone so new series you've already seen a couple of times I've put up critiques these are the patreon novice bard tier critiques from viewers like you who are patrons over there this is critiques of character design art things that can just totally help you level up your work deciding to make it a weekly installment here on weekend mornings and of course if you'd like a critique of your own you can go to then ISM and it's completely optional whether or not it's shared publicly these folks have just elected to do that of course these videos are made specifically for the person that they are intended for but we have a lot that we can learn from them even if we aren't that person so those people this week are both hero cat and valley hero cat for a while has been wanting his video to go public so I'm glad to indulge that he has a couple things to work on as far as construction and dimension in his character designs and also something that I'm calling claustrophobia of proportions so I watched his critique to see why that makes sense Bailey is struggling with her rendering and shading and so I provided a couple of solutions and things to work on some of them that might not actually seem that obvious so without further ado here's this week's critiques

hey they're here okay thanks for being willing to do this thanks for being a patron I pulled up the art that you submitted here and there's a couple things I wanted to talk about so right off the bat the strongest piece that you have you submitted to me here is obviously going to be this fox and there's quite a few reasons for that so one of the primary ones is and sort of we'll compare and contrast a little bit with with the rest of your work here to just kind of give you some things to work on in the future but what I like a lot about this fox is so apart from you've got a nice sense of realistic lighting with the yellow coming in from the left here and a nice you know kind of blue shade coming down here of the shadow what I like about it the most is that you've got a nice sense of distinct shapes for each part of the character and there there's semi-realistic stylized shapes right like the arms are tapering down the way that we expect them to we have some nice segmentation between each of these pieces like the you know the the muzzle area the ears and head and everything but even then the hat adds a nice segmentation right between the ears and the rest of the head so it breaks down really nice and so one main thing that that I wanted to talk about with the rest of your art with that in mind is the idea of sort of separating these shapes out and from a design perspective you want to make sure that things are viable right and so sort of looking at this character the way that this one is structured it sort of feels like a little bit of a sense of claustrophobia if that makes sense so you have a head that's starting out just as a sphere like this and then that sphere is immediately sort of embedded to where the shoulders are and then the arms aren't really being given a huge amount of room to breathe right so what you've been able to do over here is add this head right this head that's in kind of multiple sections of shapes then even with the collar you know same same kind of collar between these two even with the collar you get a sense that the neck tapers down there's sort of some distance before you head shoulders and so the viability of this character over here is kind of reduced because if we were to look at them from straight on we get the idea that they're shaped a little bit like this right and so properly executed in sort of a chibi style it's possible to make this work well but like I'm saying from a design perspective it would be great to have some more brakes specifically both between between these two characters a sense of just some extra shapes in the head right and it doesn't have to be extravagant but say you kind of built an extra piece onto the bottom like that now you've kind of freed yourself up a little bit and then it's all about a little bit of a sense of contrast with large and small shapes as you kind of transition between them otherwise you get something like this where there's a couple things that we'll keep talking about that are happening with this but yeah I'd try and break those up a little bit okay another big thing that even is present here in the Fox is a sense of very flat shapes and I actually just put up a video about fighting the flat which talks about construction and constructing your characters out and something I'd suggest for you to kind of look into because there are especially down here in it and some of it is rendering based with with this character you get a sense of each of these the pieces of this character being very flat right with with all of them there's there's a lack of sort of dimensionality where things are coming out at you and you'd mentioned perspective is one of the things that you're trying to work on whether it's some that you're doing intentionally or unintentionally there are no we don't really see the feet here right in any of these and these these imagers are fairly zoomed in and what I'd like to see from you is just some exercises rights where you're say you take your your Fox character here and you did a turnaround where so you take what you have already as sort of the the front face on view but then you you do the side and and get a good understanding of sort of what he looks like he or she right and and figure out what those shapes are and then move into the 3/4 view and one of the things I talk about in that fight the flat video is setting up a ground plane for your characters that's that's basically perspective right it's just sort of a shorthand for perspective and laying the feet there and building up from that point and that'll help you to kind of so with something like this character here let's do a little bit of a draw over actually right before the draw over I wanted to say about this character because we're about to hide it the way I was drawing this the way that you've rendered this is actually kind of reinforcing or kind of hurting that idea of flat shapes because you've gone with the colored line art and there's several areas where the line art which is supposed to kind of be a little bit of a rest and the shapes that it's defining or kind of the fill inside should be a little bit more vibrant in value you've got some areas where it's blue and lighter and lighter lines tend to make this even harder so now even if you had sort of defined this this out with some dimensionality right then you you'd still have very flat looking shapes because of the lines and with this I would just say that you're almost there with the way that this should lay out here let's try we'll do two drivers excuse me so we're gonna lay down this skull here like this right but then adding this line down here this the position of the muzzle here is a little bit it's drifting from the eyes so we either want to move the eyes over or we want to move the muzzle and if you're thinking about this in terms of 3d shapes it won't be intimidating to draw it from any angle really because you just kind of rotate the model and whether if that's because you need to or neither in order to achieve that you need to draw it from several different angles to kind of figure it out and study it you know you can you can do that or if it means because you kind of have a better understanding of it or you create a 3d model yourself okay so now the eyes kind of fit for this always down and this year can kind of come over here now the placement of everything makes a lot more sense right and so you're it's all about creating the illusion of depth and unfortunately one sort of little thing can can cause the depth to go away I don't think this I is in the quite right place anyhow I wanted to move on to the other character okay so let's drop the opacity on this guy and I'm just gonna do a quick you know not not a super thorough draw over here but if we were thinking of okay our perspective is coming in where maybe our point of perspective is about here right so from here all these lines are sort of radiating out and perspective seems intimidating until you realize that especially in a stylized realm you can you can get away with a little bit of fudging although I would advise you to kind of figure it out through the right way to do it okay so we've got a line here that defines our grain playing right and it's also we've got a line here and here and we're just cutting a little piece of it okay let me get rid of this guy now we can lay our our feet down and the the tapering limbs I would just be a little bit careful of because it's hard for them to either come together it's hard to to strike really cool poses because the legs inevitably kind of bump up into each other so let's try something like this I'm going kind of backwards here but I I know where my feet should be landing so that's that's already helpful then we come up here with a head and not really knowing too much about proportion we're gonna we're gonna Bend this arm because it's it's sort of more naturally what he would be doing if he was kind of turn around like well it's like a car's pulling up behind him or something right we'll give him a line of action like this down to the hips he or she again sorry hopefully that's not detracting from the point will give a little bit of a neck area or something or at least to show it underneath this because we've got a large head and a thin neck area or a short neck area right so we want it to that's all kind of general and I'm getting too much into details anyway but then this arm can be wrapping this way and now we kind of define all right we want this hand to be closer want this one to be also oversized but because it's farther from the you know where we're looking at it or the camera it's going to be smaller that's just for shortening right and now we can add like sort of a ridge line here for the eyes and we'll ignore for the moment that idea of adding extra shapes onto the sort of the base of the head here although the way that a human skull works talked about this before it's not just a symbol fear like this you actually if you're looking at it from the side you get this extra flat plane off of the front and so if you're looking at a character from a 3/4 view like this you're always going to have this kind of protrusion down of the jaw and then some skulls sticking out the back it's pretty similar for animal characters although a lot of animals are kind of more in this shape right but you can do the same and because you're anthropomorphizing and giving human characteristics you can you can kind of do the same thing so that maybe there's some more out the back right or out the front with the skull okay but even from here right you kind of get the idea that here's where our perspective is is landing us just generally I would also just give a little bit more room for the eyes to breathe we're kind of getting into stylize stuff here or style choices but currently the the eyes I can't get enough of an emotional read from the way that they are so maybe even they're either adding in sort of the whites of the eyes or just some more musculature or this Domino mask in the sockets around the eyes that makes sense okay so all suggestions it's it's not all stuff you have to incorporate immediately or you know take as as as law but hopefully that tackles sort of the ideas you are going for and I would really push yourself to zoom out the camera a bit and work on this structural stress stuff and if you're afraid of it or if it's it kind of gets you down because you don't you know get it right or it's it's hard or slow at first don't let that like stop you because as soon as you get into comics and telling stories and stuff you're gonna have to be able to you know rotate characters tell things tell the story from different angles pose them and show expression you know like have them a moat and expressed so just think of it all as building up toward that purpose for you if the academic aspect of it is intimidating or or sort of boring sounding hopefully that helps let me know if you have any questions and thank you again take care here okay

either Valley Valley not quite sure how to say that pronounce it properly thanks for being a patron thanks for being willing to do a critique so I've assembled some of your work here one of the things that you mentioned was shading as something that you're aiming to fix or your you know you're you're not too happy with right now and you'd like to improve so I've assembled a little bit of your work here some really nice stuff I really like this this Hamilton work that you started looking forward to seeing how that that sort of finishes out big Hamilton fan here in for fans really in my household so one thing that I want to talk about I'll get to some shading advice and things that that can kind of help but one thing that shading having problems shading is a symptom of is actually not understanding the dimensions and forms of the thing that you're drawing right so one thing that I want to just kind of point out with the work that you have here is that there's a bit of an issue with how flat things come across right so let's get over to sort of our correction brush here looking at sort of the the body we have something that's that's fairly it's starting to get three-dimensional right we're sort of seeing it it's it's fairly flat but there's at least an attempt there to keep it a little bit rotated and then we get up to a face that's completely right like we're looking at exactly a profile with this head here something similar down here with this face right we're just cutting right into the side not that this is a bad thing but I think it's a sign of sort of something that might be a weakness for you which is constructing these heads shapes with with three dimensions right coming down to this face here there's it's still a little bit flat but you've kind of managed to turn just a little bit toward the camera from the profile right you have a little bit of this this eye coming out on this side which is really helpful because now you've sort of tricked us into thinking that there's mention they're tricking of course being what every good artist does right the setting up the illusion properly and then of course with the Hamilton work here we have a three quarter view for this face we have a straight on view for this face and this face up here isn't isn't bad looking over the the shoulder but of course again it's a little bit of a profile right it's just a tiny turn of the head so let's go to the example that you gave here where things are sort of the the most dimensional right and from here let's let's turn a new layer on I'm just gonna try really quickly to let's see we'll come over top here it's not gonna be super pretty but I'm just gonna take a an airbrush here come in over top of a good amount of our subject right I'm gonna turn this to multiply and let's see let's get a little bit darker a little less saturated like that alright and then we can come in get let's see let's grab my it this isn't necessarily super important this is just a pastel brush so it's kind of you know it's middle range soft and hard right so now I'm coming in and because you've given me a good amount of info with the forms I can start cutting away where I think light is going to be right so I think there's light hitting the forehead probably right at the tip of the nose and a good amount of this to blend it in there and sort of what you want to do when you're you're shading and adding you know this really what is just you're adding a visual to the dimension that should already be there in the work it's it's hard to take something that's flat like this this can you even see that yeah you can and and add too much to it because it you know things are flat let's same with the cheeks like this what we'll do is we could do this additively but we're just doing it but you know subtractive Li there's it's kind of a personal choice and maybe a practical reason why you would choose either but see we're just kind of cutting in here and of course the red is really intense right now because we want to make sure we know where our light is coming do some right here we'll do some translucence through the back of the ear because it's you know that usually happens light comes through and it's a good amount maybe just a little bit of light inside of the eye right here okay so quick and dirty and let's just do like some some streaks through here we don't want it to be so intense and we want it to kind of flow with the hair a little bit so everything I just did we could have done by adding light in color right so it's messy but look what's happens when I lower the opacity there down to maybe 30% or so and maybe I can even blur you know I can add some blur to it very sparingly to sort of shore up some of those really hard lines and the key thing here being that you know the eye socket casts a shadow right the cheek here is casting over the rest of this so you could continue to kind of cut away and maybe you you know change the opacity that you're cutting with but now that you've got those hard shapes out you can move on and it's the same in the other direction you can either start with a lot of you know a flat shading layer and cut into it you can start with the base and add light or add shadow right we could we could have come in with our red and add it on top of it but that's definitely that requires knowing sort of the plains of the face and so it would be helpful for you if you kind of came in with let's see with you know sort of you started with the the box of the head right and and figured out okay you've already got the profile down so how do those things break down into you know the flat plain of the nose and everything just and where does how does light affect it if if flights coming from this direction you know what shadow is being cast is it being cast into this eye here here a little bit over on this cheek is it you know overexposed on this cheek stuff like that and that's a life drawing thing that practice can help with but I think that's you know understanding that's going to be key for you and the same with you you know just drawing heads in the first place not necessarily shading them but but understanding okay you've got a skull so character here is a little bit a little bit flat so you know if you were gonna add this skull here you'd probably want this jaw to come out just a little bit further like that to really sell it but that's generally what you've when you get with with heads you start with a circle you can add sort of a box midway through and continue on by adding in you know the eye line the eye line is going to meet up with the ear adding in some some mouth and everything but that's kind of going to be the touchstone for you and I say I harp on practicing drawing the head so much just because it's a complex object it's something that we very readily recognize right and it's something that because we recognize it appears off immediately whether it's in something that's been photoshopped or in a drawing right so hopefully that's helpful for you hopefully that covers a little bit of your your shading woes it doesn't necessarily need to be about technique it just has to be about understanding your subject and hopefully that'll help you as you go forward looking forward to seeing the rest of your work especially at a Hamilton thing I'd like to see how that ends up for you take care thanks a lot Bailey

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