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Critique Session 2 – Creature Concept

March 14, 20131 Comment

If you prefer to read, here is the transcript:

“What’s up Stan?”

Before I start I want to fill you guys in on what’s coming and what you can expect in the near future. Right now I am working on a figure drawing series. I’m still in the planning stage, I don’t want to just jump in start making the videos, I really want to do it right. I’ll be working with models so I have to know ahead of time what to shoot for multiple episodes. And it’s going to be a fairly long series. I’ll cover gesture, structure, proportion, foreshortening, all the basics, and then go really deep into the anatomy. So, I’m really excited, that’s what I’m working on.. While I’m planning all this, I’ll be making more of these critique session and Q & A’s and maybe some random videos like timelapses and stuff. These kinds of videos take less time to produce, which leaves me some time to plan the figure series. But, I’m still trying to make all the critiques and Q&As useful and as educational as possible.

If you have any questions related to figure drawing, or something you’d like me to cover in the series, shoot me an email at, let me know.

If you want to submit your artwork for a chance to get it critiqued on the show, visit

John Willis - creature design
proko creature design

Critique for John Willis

In this episode, I have 1 critique, for John Willis and specifically for this drawing. As you guys can see John is already fairly advanced and this is a really nice drawing. The reason I chose it for this episode was, well, 1, I wanted to challenge myself, and 2 I thought it would be inspirational for everyone to see something a little bit more advanced and creative. So, John, this is a really good start to a character concept . I’m not the most creative when it comes to concepting, and I think you’ve done a great job creating an interesting character, so i won’t really try to help you there. But, I do see ways that you could improve the drawing of this character. So, i sat down and took a stab at doing my own version of your character and i gotta say, i really enjoyed it. I usually draw and paint real people whether its a commissioned photo or a model from life, so this was different for me. I found it really refreshing to be able to change things as i wish and to be able to push the anatomy without worrying that I’m making the person ugly. This monster, creature thing, is supposed to be ugly, so i was able to just focus on creating interesting designs. Not necessarily making the subject attractive.

Anyway, John as I was drawing I took some notes of things that I felt I wanted to change. So, here they are:

  • The eyes are different sizes and it doesn’t look like its part of his character, it looks like a mistake. So, that just goes back to basic construction in the early stages of the drawings. And actually while drawing my version I made a similar mistake, my eyes weren’t lining up. One was higher than the other. I’ll post a time lapse of my drawing in a few days, so watch you’ll see that I make that correction towards the end of the video.
  • The wrinkles on his nose look a bit repetitive. They do a good job in showing his expression, but so many repeating shapes isn’t good design. Look for ways to vary up the shape, size, edge, value in that area to add variety and that should make your drawing more interesting.
  • I noticed a little pattern in the way you choose to design your core shadows and reflected light. You make both the core shadow and the reflected lights really thin, almost like just a line. I would consider the forms a little more and add some varieties to the edge type and the thickness and darkness of the core shadow. So for example in the teeth, you can have areas of the core shadow a little softer and lighter. It would make sense to make the bottom softer and the top sharper, because the form is rounder at the bottom. But mainly you just want to look for ways you can add variety.
  • In the top row of teeth you pushed the left side up with the curvature of the lip. The teeth don’t move up as the lip moves. Instead, just expose more of the gums in this area. By showing this curvature you’re indicating the tooth cylinder as if we’re looking down at them. Judging from the rest of the drawing I think we’re looking straight at him. Or, her. I guess this could be woman? My apologies to the lovely lady…
  • I removed the hand because I wanted to just focus on the head since that’s the part that you’ve finished. Just judging from the layin of the hand, I’d say watch out for the repetition again. The fingers look the same size and shape. Especially in the knuckles try to look for more straight lines. Think about the tendon as it wraps over the bony knuckle and add that construction in there. Make it feel more solid. Right now it looks a bit bubbly because of these curves.
  • Personally I didn’t like the hair under the bottom lip. It feels weird coming out of the neck. And I decided give him messier more rugged hair. I think it adds some nice motion to the drawing too. If the ponytail is something very specific to this guy, I am sorry for butchering your character.
  • Finally, you can get a stronger light and dark pattern in there. It looks a bit soft and I think that with this character, having a more obvious shadow pattern could add some interesting shapes. Having a better worked out shadow pattern also makes for a more believable light source and that makes the creature feel more real.

Ok, that wraps it up for this critique. I will be posting a time lapse of this drawing in the next few days. Thank you John for submitting your beautiful drawing, and thank you to everyone else that submitted their work. Sorry I can’t get to everyone, but I will be doing more of these, so I might still get to you.

Sorry guys for being absent lately. I’ve been a bit busy with painting deadlines and planning the figure series. I think I’ll have more time now to focus on more videos. So, thank you for being so patient.

And if you liked this episode, I appreciate it when you don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with your friends. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter to get updates on new videos. Thanks for watching!

Filed in: Animals/CreaturesCritiques / Q&AVideos

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  1. This criticism makes me more understanding in face drawing, thanks Stan.

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