Lab Crits : Death Knight

Have a piece (either WIP or finished) you want critted on Babe Lab? Write to us! We'll give you a quick (and hopefully informative) analysis and paintover!

Justin Owens writes :

"A few days ago I said f*#@ it and started a pinup for a death knight. [upper left] I unabashedly cheated by hiding the arms and legs. I wanted to keep this painting as stress-free and fun as possible, so simple was better! But now I've reached a point where I'm not sure what to do with it. Do I consider it done and move on, or do I keep refining it? Are there areas that just don't read?"

You latched onto something very pivotal in that second sentence, Justin. If you'd cropped your death knight differently, or drew her from a different angle, you might have been able to get away with "simple." But in this frontal, full body shot, your concealment of those limbs is just a tad too obvious. Babe Lab's suggestions follow!

1) Look at that big, flowing robe. Seems like that would give her hands something to do right off the bat. And while you COULD keep both legs obscured, wouldn't you agree that sliding one of them out into the open ups the sex appeal whilst introducing some angularity? Optional, of course!

2) Backtracking a bit, there's something out of whack with her proportions. The breasts seem a little too low, or the neck a little too long. Let's sort that out. Sometimes re-drawing the figure in underneath the garments helps you get a sense of what's where.

3) Her head, torso, and hips are all pointed in one direction. For variety's sake, one of these could be facing another way. Which one is up to you, but look what happens when you turn that hooded head!

4) In your character's silhouette, there are some subtle barbs wreathing the shoulders. The horns on her helm are likewise thin. If you play these shapes up, see how they help lead the eye inward?

5) Lastly, this is supposed to be a sexy death knight, no? For this, a neutral facial expression just won't do. Whether a maniacal sneer or a devilish, come-hither grin, the viewer needs to make contact with her. In the above treatment, her hood obscures one of her eyes, breaking symmetry and contributing to a sense of mystique. And that cast shadow provides a surface line that solidifies her features.

With these notes out of the way, let's list what's successful about this image.
-poppy contrast on those glowing eyes
-"vibrating" colors
-clear top-left light source
-shoulder pads are not "cloned" -- we have a larger, advancing one and a smaller, retreating one

Good show, Justin! If it's too late to reverse-engineer this piece, perhaps these observations will aid you in your next one.  And thanks for being the first to submit!