AuthorTopic: Promo shots of characters for my next project  (Read 1333 times)

Offline hobbler_toppler

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Promo shots of characters for my next project

on: June 11, 2019, 01:11:56 pm
Hey guys, I'm making another actioney platformer similar to Way of the Red. Trying to have really strong characters and an enjoyable plot, so this time around it felt important to make some slightly larger art of the characters for promos and websites and stuff. I don't usually draw bigger pieces though, and feel like I could use some critique.

Here's the first one. The main character, known only as "the Sorcerer". The idea here is to have a few pieces of art like this to stick in promos and banners akin to HLD's advertising. Let me know what you think.


The game is a high-fantasy, gory 2d brawler with swords, capes, fireballs, lightning bolts, and lots of jumping around blowing things up. A lot of characters wear capes which has been a pixel art challenge, but I really like the aesthetic and am going for a very Book of the New Sun/Elric of Melnibone vibe. Will probably post actual gameplay pieces in another thread a few days from now.

I'll add other characters to this post gradually so as to not dump a bunch of different pieces at once. Thanks for your time.

Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 03:27:58 am
Everything here is in an acceptable state except for the face

I'm sorry but you need to entirely redraw that, preferably with some reference material on hand. Everything else here can be kinda glossed over.
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Offline 32

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 05:54:44 am
This is a really cool looking character ;D The pose is really interesting and I'm enjoying the perspective!

I think a big issue you're having here is with colours and contrast. The gloved hand is getting pretty lost in the dark pants and the hair feels like it needs some shading compared to the rest of the drawing.

I'd put a little more time into the hair to really sell the feeling of it floating, take a look at some shots of people with long hair underwater for inspiration. The strands you've got here are all really thin, it doesn't feel like it's clumping together in the way that hair does.

And last thing I'm not sure what those white shapes at the tip of the cape are but they're not reading like anything to me.

Overall I think with a bit more time for a detailed cleanup pass this will turn out great  ;D

Offline Kiana

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 09:07:10 pm
Looks cool! I agree with the points made by 32 about the contrast. The arm and the form of the cloak near the top are getting a bit lost. For the arm, this ambiguity may also be caused by some tangents with the shadows on the pants near the hand. A tangent is when the edges of two forms or shapes are touching or nearly touching, making it difficult to tell which object is which, or obscuring the silhouette of a form. Clear silhouette helps your artwork "read" properly at a distance. Considering that there's also a bit of a tangent with the sword and the cape, the easiest fix to this might be to move the position of the arm and sword either up or down (down might require less editing).

The perspective and twist of the legs is really awesome. It's adding a good amount of dynamism to the character's pose. It would be cool to see that aspect of the gesture reflected in the upper body and cape more. If you have a mirror and something cloak-like like a blanket, try standing in the same way your character is - one leg back in perspective, pelvis turned to the side, and upper body/head directly facing the mirror. I tried this just now and what you have is mostly correct, but there ends up being a bit of a twist in the torso fabric and the cloak can have a bit of perspective applied to it for an even more dramatic effect - if you want to, you can push this. I'd say that making a standing pose look dynamic is one of the hardest things to do so great work there so far!

Everything here is in an acceptable state except for the face

I'm sorry but you need to entirely redraw that, preferably with some reference material on hand. Everything else here can be kinda glossed over.

Got a report from a user who didn't think this comment was constructive enough. I see what you're getting at, but can you elaborate a bit more on what you think could be done with it? OP might not know where to take it or what to look for just by looking at a reference. What kind of references should OP seek - photos or other pixel art faces?
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Offline hobbler_toppler

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 10:34:09 pm
Just a heads up, I didn't report anyone. Seemed a bit blunt, but to be fair the face probably did need some work. Here's where I'm at now.



In an attempt to convey shiny leather, I increased the brightness of the highlights on the boots/gloves. I also adjusted the shape of the glove and the shading around the area near the glove to hopefully fix the visually confusing area. I also added a proper "hilt" to the sword to perhaps help with the contrast in that area.

Fixed up the face. Not sure if I like the new "nose" (or implication of one). I have trouble doing faces with few pixels. Also added a third shade to the skin tone but I'm not sure if it was worth it. Actually put in effort with the hair to make it look like some kind of mysterious energy is causing it to flare up and wrap around the character. Not sure about the highlights.

Slight changes to palette for better contrast.

The cape is supposed to be "barbed", the idea being that when combined with magic techniques, it itself becomes a secondary weapon. I tried to show this off better, but then the cape made an annoying tangent line with the sword which drew my eyesight. So I added more red to the sword, but that's just a shortcut and I'll probably end up trying to move the hand around/angle the sword differently so that those two annoying lines aren't so close to each other.

I'll experiment with adding a little bit of twist to the cape next. Thanks for all the comments, I think it already looks a lot better.

Offline Kiana

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #5 on: June 13, 2019, 01:32:23 am
I can confirm it wasnít hobbler_toppler, just a user who wasnít involved and had a concern that the bluntness/lack of elaboration could potentially be taken the wrong way. I think itís fair to have pointed out the face needed work, no real harm done. :)

Nice edits so far, keep up the good work! It reads better already.
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Offline MysteryMeat

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 11:32:16 pm
yeah, I was a bit out of it when I wrote that and came off a lot harsher than intended. Whoopsididdles, haha

The face looks a lot better now, and you've done a lot to clear up the forms.

A big problem with the sprite that I was kinda saying "could be glossed over" about is that the style you're rolling leaves it hard to critique the anatomy of the piece.

notably her hand/wrist is bone-thin and then some, with a bit of disjointing at the wrist especially. The forearm as visible also has somewhat of an ill-defined shape, and it feels like there's something also up with the length of that forearm compared to the shoulder-elbow length.

Same for the feet and legs below the knee. However, it DOES give the design a nice spindly appearance that lends well to the sort of "Deadly Noble Elf Warlock" vibe the character has going on.

Notably however, she doesn't read as female due to the shoulders being so much broader than the hips. Generally the inverse is the case, at least to "traditional" beauty standards. This is not a bad thing necessarily though, I actually push for details like that designing women since you don't see a lot of androgynous/nonstandard designs on chicks, but it's something to keep in mind about your intent with the design.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2019, 11:34:04 pm by MysteryMeat »
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Offline hobbler_toppler

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #7 on: June 16, 2019, 08:20:46 pm
No worries. I'm glad you like the "spindly" design of the limbs, it's a style I'd like to keep as long as it doesn't detract too much. The character is actually supposed to be male. He's androgynous looking but with masculine body language and personality - basically a variation of tropey Alucard/Sesshoumaru/Elric type characters. "Noble Dark Elf Warlock" invokes just the right image I've been trying to achieve, so I'm glad I'm getting closer to hitting the mark.

Here's where I'm at.


I've taken some things in a different direction, hopefully they don't screw up the personality of the character. I moved the sword up and out of the way so as not to interrupt the silhouette of the cape while still hopefully looking menacing and calm.

Slight changes to shading on the face.

Twisted the belt backwards a bit to help imply the slightly rotated hips.

I've decided to actually take some risks with the cape, so as to 1. imply that his hips are slightly pivoting and 2. show shading around his arm to help convey the problematic elbow + gloved fist area more effectively. Right now I'm still not 100% sure. As I'm looking at it right now at the time of posting this, I'm thinking maybe the arm above the elbow is a bit too long. Let me know what you guys think.

Offline Chris2balls

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 01:28:39 pm
Nice character!

I think you can further accentuate the slenderness. The thing about capes is that they tend to hide shapes and make things seem bigger than they actually are, so you have to find a compromise to show the cape as well as how slender your character is.

Here are a few ideas:



As you can see, I've changed the proportions, so that the legs are a lot longer, and I've made him globally taller, too. His arms seemed a bit longer so I've shortened those. I also found the nose a bit wide for an elf, so I've narrowed it. I tried breaking the symmetry, which can make a pose seem rigid, to also suggest the other arm.
One way you can make the legs stand out is with contrast: you can either make the inside of the cape lighter against dark boots and trousers, or darker inside cape against light trousers and boots.

I hope this helps!  :)
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Offline hobbler_toppler

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Re: Promo shots of characters for my next project

Reply #9 on: July 06, 2019, 07:28:27 pm
Thanks Chris2balls for taking the time to do a full edit, that's very cool. I've incorporated some of your advice into the newest rendition, namely showing a bit of the off-hand and trying to take a wilder approach to the cape to give it a bit more life. I've started to become attached to the character's wide nose/face - I think it adds a bit of masculinity that the character needs in order to read as male. Also moved the arm up to be more anatomically correct.



Anyone, feel free to comment on this character if you feel something can be improved - but I get the impression we're becoming bored with this one, so I'll move on to the next character. This next guy looked WAY worse when I started this thread, but I applied a lot of the advice directed towards the first character to this one as well. Take a look and let me know what you think.



He's a bit of an anti-hero who is more concerned with looking cool than actually being good at fighting. He's supposed to be wearing cargo pants with big pockets up top, tailored to be skinny and twisty near the bottom. At this point I don't know how well they read. The cape has been a mystery to me; I feel like the top is too detailed and the bottom isn't detailed enough. I've been looking at it for too long to come up with elegant solutions, I think. Thanks again, in advance, for all input!