Serious critique needed! v2

  • Hey! Ashton here.

    I just finished v2 of my "Doggy Mech" Character design.
    (No story yet, just a character design)
    (Dog on the left same character inside the robot, just full body)

    This being said, what are your thoughts about it? Have I improved? What could I do to make it better?

    @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen @CesarAndradeArt @Susan-Marks @Heather-Boyd

    Great love and respect to everyone!

    Mech v2.jpg

  • SVS OG

    @Ashton-H This looks a lot better! Nice work!

  • @Ashton-H I love the concept of a dog driving a robot suit. Very cool. I could see him flying through space or taking down baddies etc.

    For the crit, I have to say I think I liked the first suit better for a couple reasons.

    1. The joints are more believable. These joints on the new version do not appear to be as functional to me. @Jake-Parker has a good class on drawing robots that goes through this. If you are member check it out.

    2. There is much more value contrast and interest in the first bot. If you "squint it down" (just squint at the drawing) the whole second on is just a single value (level of gray) so the elements are separating visually.

    Now all that being said I think the feedback that others gave you on the first still applies. Especially the about the feet and line work. I would say on the second one the feet aren't big enough to hold the robot up which makes it look tipsy... might want to enlarge them.

    Hope that helps, can't wait to see this character on their next adventure!

  • @Marsha-Kay-Ottum-Owen Thank you Marsha!

  • @theprairiefox Thank you for your amazing feedback Jesse! I agree with the joints part!

    Personally, I prefer this version, but I'm still a work in progress!

    A pleasure reading your thoughts!

  • Hey Ashton, I love the cartoony style of your character design. It reminded me of an article I read recently, I've attached it for you 🙂 . Check out the part on proportions. Right now your character's head, torso, and leg proportions are very similar (both in and out of the mech suit). Maybe you could consider exaggerating them a bit.

    Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 11.26.07 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 11.34.18 AM.png


  • @StudioLooong Thank you, Taylor! I'm glad you liked it! Can't wait to read the article, and afterward checking out your work!

  • @Ashton-H cool! I put the full pdf at the bottom of the post (the link right above my name) after I posted it I realized that it's probably not that easy to notice... should have put it up in the text.

  • @Ashton-H

    I like seeing the dog outside its suit. 🙂 Your dog is adorable.

    Even though it's a character design -I don't think you should avoid the story aspect because really we are stories, our character/who we are is shaped by our experiences and how we respond to life. Without going to deep into the importance of story why is your dog is a space suit, why that suit -is it functional for what your dog needs or wants? What does that choice of suit say about your character -because your dog can exist without it -or can it? Just have them in mind as you create or write a list.

    I like that the colours are consistent. A note on pose. On the top portion it looks like it is in a 3/4 view but the lower portion is straight forward. It's right arm is hiding behind and the left one is pulled further out . Maybe have its right leg coming forward and adjust the hips.The dog/helmet is straight forward to -keep everything straight or 3/4 is what I am saying.

  • Hi ashton! A promise is a promise, so where we are. I will echo some of the sentiment in @Heather-Boyd s comment, about a design needing a story or background. Not necessarily a full background and story per se, something as simple as "This design will be an enemy on a FPS game" is sufficient background to start making more successful design, because then you can start imagining what it's attacks are, and why is it armored and so on; in other words, by constraining your design to an actual use case, you are truly doing concept art, and not just trying to do cool stuff (though that is also fine, it's just not quite concept art).

    Concept art/design is an utilitarian matter, and every concept needs a use, so to speak. We as concept artists are primarily helping save money/time in a production by exploring or generating specific ideas that will become assets within a game/movie/product. Think of yourself more as a car designer than a fine artist. We make cool and pretty stuff, yes, but the point is to inspire the team and provide the necessary information to the rest of the production team to start creating the assets.

    Now obviously concept art for your own personal illustrations is a much more introspective matter, because the use is determined by you and by what the overarching story of the illustration is, but you are still constrained to something specific, just not quite so "industrial" as in typical concept art. Though you might not do a 3D model of your design in this case, you still need to figure out how to make you evil guy look evil in your illustration, for example.

    So my current advice, beyond technical aspects now, would be to really figure out what you want to get out of this design or exercise. Do you want to practice drawing mechs? stylization? rendering? and if so, what specifically about such topics? if trying to practice stylization, perhaps taking an already created mech design from like, John Park, and try to do it in your style is more what you need, instead of trying to come up with the concept from the ground up- anyways, i would love to hear what you think about it, and good luck with your endeavours!

  • @Heather-Boyd Thank you Heather! Much appreciated!

  • @CesarAndradeArt I totally agree with you Cesar, such amazing advice!

    Right now I'm working on developing my own style. No stories involved. Just want to get the fundamentals right. Once I master the fundamentals I'll move on to everything else!

    I just want to know If this character design looks professional, If not, what could I do to make it look professional?

    Thank you!

  • @Ashton-H Hmm, let's try it this way, what fundamentals specifically are you working on? It would be better at this stage of your development to step back and focus on one thing at a time, rather than a complete character design that involves just about everything sans composition. Some people already offered some general advice on some technical aspects, but if you truly want to focus on fudamentals and getting good at them, well , then we gotta get real specific.

    My advice? First, post some examples of professional work you like, and you aspire to. Grab about 8 of those images. Place your image in the middle. Now ask yourself, is this to the standards of all the other images? if not, what is missing? and that's when we can help you more, because I can give you some generic advice like "try to make your forms more 3D"; however, if you are going for a flat or semi-flat style, that advice becomes useless, and maybe even a hindrance. However, if you figure out what direction you want to go, instead of giving general advice on how to get better, you get real advice on how to reach your goals, because now we have a point of comparison.

    Think of it this way, the people that excel at specific sports, they all train specifically for that sport. They all have a basic level of fitness of course, but training methods vary wildly, so if I tell a gymnast to train like a bodybuilder, or to train like a swimmer, though there might be some overlap, in the end ends up being not quite as beneficial.

    I am bit reluctant to say "practice drawing dog skulls" or "work on your perspective" without you first knowing what your goal is, and that is the second, more important half over technical skills and general draftsmanship; you can hear Lee White echoing this sentiment in a few of the podcasts, because, if you are committed, you will get the technical stuff, but the ideas and concepts and direction of the work is the important bit that will make you stand out beyond just being a technician. If you figure this out early, coupled with focused specific feedback and hard work, you will get really good really fast. You might even discover you are alright being more of a technician, which is awesome too, I would just encourage you to find out early so you don't waste time, like I did, for a long time.

    Cheer mate and hope to hear your thoughts!

  • @CesarAndradeArt No words Cesar. Best advice I had in a very long time. Thank you! You've changed my perspective, you truly have.

    Great love and respect to you and your craft. Talk to you soon!

  • @StudioLooong -this looks like an excellent article. Is it in a magazine? Would you recommend it? Thanks for passing it along.

  • @Ashton-H I'm with you-I prefer this one. And I think many things are better.

    I like the colors you used-I agree you could bump up the contrast.
    I like the texture on the suit, and the red rusty imprints.
    I think the hips need to be rotated a bit to support the weight on the feet (which as mentioned would support the size of the suit-if the feet were bigger).

    The robot suit is 3d while the dogs look 2d--is that intentional? (I could imagine it could be true).

    Thanks for posting the updates-I'm learning a lot from the things people are pointing out.

  • @Susan-Marks it was an article in Total Magazine put out by 3d Total, you can download them (maybe for free?) here: It looks like they put out this magazine with articles from their pay-to-subscribe publications and give out free PDF downloads whenever someone buys one of their products. I believe this article in particular was trying to get you to subscribe to Character Design Quarterly which seems really cool but at the time I didn't subscribe... now that it's top of mind again I might. They upload previews of all their issues on Vimeo if you want to take a look yourself:

  • @Susan-Marks Thank you Susan! I really appreciate it! Such amazing advice and people around here.

  • @StudioLooong Very interesting sight. Curious especially about the games--oh to have more hours in the day! Thank you for sharing.