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December 30, 2012
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Kingdom Hearts - Atlantis Xigbar by Electrical-Socket Kingdom Hearts - Atlantis Xigbar by Electrical-Socket
It has been

SO

LONG

since I drew anything Kingdom Hearts! It's simply ridiculous how long it's been! So here's some underwater Xigbar.

(In all honesty I started drawing this because I wanted to try drawing a guy who isn't pretty? I mean, Xigbar has a nice face, but he's definitely not ~**pretty**~. This was mainly an exercise in drawing different face types that went overboard into full-on SAI painting.

His tail is meant to be a blue shark's, lots of heavy reference for that and I'm still not entirely feeling that the colours/markings/etc are quite right, but oh well! I love drawing merpeople anyhow.)

To :iconimprovement-club: - redlines for anatomy or suggestions as to how this pose could have been more dynamic would be awesome! Thank you in advance to anyone who might give corrections. :3
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:iconlap-toxiccat:
Critique by LAP-ToxicCat Jan 31, 2013, 2:21:19 AM
This is my first critique, so if I seem a bit unfair be sure to let me know about it! We're all learning here, so tackle this openly and you should be good.

Nice work overall.....the image shows a fair amount of character and the depth works well. A few things technically; you'll want to watch out for the perspective created by those sunrays; if they aren't spot-on you'll ruin the sense of dynamic lighting and general 3-dimensionality. The image could afford a little more impact by enhancing the movement present in the pose...although it works well to create a great, focused composition, the top half is lacking in fluidity and feels stiff (I recommend checking out some of George Bridgman's works to learn to really get the action into the major masses.....in this case the chest and pelvis).

Another couple of things that could really make this image is enhanced values and modelling. Although I'm no pro with values, there is an issue with the range; you should have a defined light value and dark value, maybe even two of each, and the rest is blended depending on the form. This leads to another thing that lets the image down a little; the modelling. The top half of the character comes off as flat and dependent on line-work to define it's form; there should be a clarification of planes, and perspective. In this case, the perspective of the hips and shoulders don't follow the sun-rays and force of motion....instead of seeming like he's gliding past with a sly acknowledgement, he seems like he's stopped and is idle with his tail tipped up a little. Also, the lack of planes and sharp contours tend towards an overabundance of curved forms....this causes the anatomy to lose some of it's solidity. You might want to check those proportions more carefully as well; the forearm should start at the navel, and the ribcage's most bottom edges should stop a 1/3rd head above that.

It's an accomplished image, but one that suffers technical flaws that, with a bit of training, can be overcome. I recommend books by Andrew Loomis and George Bridgman to start fixing up those holes.

Good luck!!
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:iconkiki-doodle:
kiki-doodle Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hi! Sorry it took me some time to get to this :)

First of all, I like that you're trying to put some character and expression into the character's face. It's not just a standard smile, making it a more interesting emotion. The anatomy isn't terrible, but could use some work still, though, I think you did a pretty good job on referencing the anatomy of the shark. The pose is definitely a little too stiff. There is a nice sense of color here, and I like the blue hues you suggested, but value-wise, the piece is a little flat. The background is underwater, and therefore harder to make interesting, but I think you could have pushed the atmospheric perspective you already have going on and made a few foreground elements darker or more prominent in order to add more depth to the image. Overall, I think it's a pretty nice painting/character study. It looks fun and I really like the hair reacting to the water. Your treatment of shading seems pretty nice and you seem to have a good sense of how light works. You can just push everything a little further.

Now to go into more detail.
First of all, I think the thing that is lacking the most in this image is a dynamic pose. The character here is facing us, looking at us, is very perfectly framed as to prevent any cropping, and looks like he's just chilling with hardly any movement. I'm pretty sure this is because you said the piece started out as just a facial study, so you probably weren't worrying about the pose as much. Even so, the best way to give a piece more visual interest is to have an active pose. Before you start painting, try a series of pose sketches and try and find what's the most interesting. Don't worry if you crop some of the character. Or, in this case since he's looking at the viewer, think more of how he can hold his arms or his tail in order to appear more dynamic.
[link]
Here is a super fast sketch I just did. Just with a few simple changes such as a more dynamic arm and hand motion, as well as swishing the fin to add movement (bonus points for overlap) the pose already feels far more dynamic despite the changes being relatively simple.
Also style-wise your gallery seems to be going for a semi realistic yet still cartoonish approach to expressions. Play with pushing the expression anyway to see how far you can push it. and then see what other elements of the character you can pull back in to re-enforce the expression chosen. Scrunch up the whole face and tighten the hands and tense the muscles for anger, or loosen everything up for happiness and laughter. Let everything droop with sadness.

As far as values go, if you grayscaled the image, there's not much of a difference between light and darkness!
[link]
Allos yourself ot push the lights and darks as much as you can! Since the piece is underwater, you can also have fun with the lighting. Water really captures rays of light as they go through it, and it also tends to silhouette people against the light.
[link] [link]
Shadows feel heavier and bluer, and the light gets very warm. Also, play with the way the sunlight ripples across figures underwater. You can cheat this effect using dodge if you do it carefully.
Also, things in water tend to fade to blue very fast, so if any elements of your character are further away from the camera (such as the hair) you can start to let it fade into the ocean.
[link] (super rough paintover to show what I mean. The colors are wrong since I just played with the levels)

Another thing that could make the piece more dynamic is the background. Right now there are bubbles and some sea weed, but there is hardly any overlap and the bubbles don't re-enforce the movement of the character. Allow some of the background to obscure the character, and try and place bubbles wherever he would be moving. Any way you can re-enforce the movement of the character is a good idea. Additionally, I made the darker just a little darker and the lighter a little lighter here.
[link]

Now, I won't pretend that is the perfect piece, since your background had some good composition, but instead, it's just a visual guide to what I was explaining.

The biggest thing I can recommend to you, I believe, is just to keep PUSHING. Try a few separate sketches to see if you get a better idea before you work to finish. Or, before starting color, try some very quick color keys. While painting, turn your image grayscale to see if it still reads!

Anyway, it's a good piece overall, and just keep working hard :)
I'll get to the other piece a little later.
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:iconelectrical-socket:
Electrical-Socket Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this critique - I wasn't expecting it to come with visual examples and you have no idea how helpful I find that sort of thing. It's really great of you to have added those, I appreciate the heck out of it.

I'll definitely be making sure to bear everything you've said in mind for everything I draw in future. I'll keep working on making my poses more interesting, and definitely will remember to check up on how my values are doing when shading is concerned, and also be more daring with colour. It's funny how wishy-washy my colours look now I've seen the corrections!

You've pointed out quite a few things I hadn't noticed (particularly about the background and setting and how they should interact more with the character and vice versa.)! And thank you very much for saying this picture has good composition, I really struggle with composing things in a good way so that's quite reassuring - fingers crossed I can keep that up.

Maybe once I've got better at thinking about these things and using them in other pictures, I'll come back and do a redraw of this one and see if I can make it better!

(Thank you again for critiquing me at all! This was delightfully thorough and you've really helped me understand a lot of things.)
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:iconkiki-doodle:
kiki-doodle Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No problem :) Thank you for being patient with me, hahaa. I know I take a couple weeks to get to these, because I really make sure I just sit down for an hour to give a through critique!

Anyway, I'm sure you've seen it before, but google the golden ratio. That's always a great thing to think about when making compositions. Your character right now is placed to the side rather than the center, which makes the composition far more dynamic than if you had centered him.

If you ever do an update, please let me see! I'd love to see that :)

You're always welcome to ask me to critique your work.
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:iconlap-toxiccat:
LAP-ToxicCat Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Great critique! The examples really add to it. Hopefully everyone can learn something here, and we all become more open to this kind of stuff. I'm not sure if you intended for this, but it's in a comment; if you put it as a critique it'd stay at the top and not disappear into the comment roll.

Keep it up!
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:iconkiki-doodle:
kiki-doodle Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Sometimes I get a little apprehensive knowing my critiques will be shown to everyone on my watch list and placed on my page forever, hahaa. Dunno. I only actually leave half of them as legit critiques.

I'm glad it's able to help more people!
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:iconnamppa:
Namppa Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Wow :o I love it :love: This is so cool. :3
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:iconelectrical-socket:
Electrical-Socket Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, I'm glad you like it! :iconblushesplz:
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:iconnamppa:
Namppa Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Welcome. :D
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:iconstainedvenom:
StainedVenom Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2012  Student General Artist
I love it. But is it just me, or is his middle a little chunky? Then again, if he were skinnier, I'm not sure it would look right...
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:iconelectrical-socket:
Electrical-Socket Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much!

Yeah, I'm thinking it might very well be. I'm still getting to grips with realistic anatomy (especially male anatomy, my comfort zone is still drawing women at the moment), so there are a few squiffy things here and there that I need to be ironing out in future pictures. Thank you again for the critique!
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