Generally speaking, good flow to the pose, and figure, though it does seem to be a well worn pose at this point. With the exception of the skin tone, which feels a bit too saturated, the remaining color palette feels good. When using color, a general rule I consider is to start by assuming a muted palette, reserving saturated colors for highlights and key points of interest in the figure. Large swaths of saturated colors, say like for the skin, tend to overwhelm easily.
The background elements feel like they belong in a separate reality, generated by other means than drawing them as the figure was, and then filtered in Photoshop for effect. You can do this to good effect, particularly if you are working in a pop-art mindset, but as it is here, I'm not sure that was the intended effect and thus not certain it works well here.
On the use of light/dark and atmospherics, the sword in the front appears to be almost illuminating, but it casts no apparent light and shadow on the figure itself. It's also the brightest element in the piece, which kind of makes it the focus of the piece, but the way the piece is cropped kind of suggests the figure is the focus, and the two thoughts are competing with one another rather than supporting each other, as if my eye wants to struggle between going back and forth between them.
Like I said, anatomically, the figure is mostly solid, with a couple of caveats. The first being that his head feels much too big, and the second is that the right shoulder feels disconnected from the figure, pushed too far forward to be possible given that it's forward-ness doesn't seem to be affecting the movement of the rotation of the chest to match it.
Lastly, and this isn't so much a critique as an observation; the second sword seems to be a suggestive indication that he's had his viagra today ...
Ha ha! Derp , I guess I should have paid a little more attention to what his silhouette was implying.
Yeah I agree I could have toned down the saturation in some areas. And I guess I did squander the possibility of some cool lighting effects with that sword.
Making the sword all glowy was more of an afterthought; same deal with the out-of-place background. I had no idea what to put there so I made a basic box room using some generic textures; then I tried making them much darker and blurrier than the rest of the image so that you don't notice it as much... guess that didn't really work.
Thanks muchly for the critique man!
Heh, Textured and photoshopped backgrounds are the "Frozen Food" of DA. Quick and easy to prepare, always made to be disguised, but yet Gordon Ramsey is still going to 'see what you did there' when he tastes it
You might still get away with it however if you incorporate similarly digitized texture into the whole piece rather than just into the background.
As for blurring effects, if you're using photoshop, there is a more precise way to control it (something else that if used should be applied to the whole piece, if possible) which I have a blog entry about here:
For the record, I used to make these kinds of mistakes myself. To a shameful extent, when my webcomic was still running.
Ha, awesome! That analogy is spot on, the texture-only backgrounds are totally like TV dinners: quick and easy.
As for the blurring I did try doing something similar; I used a feathered selection to give a sort of "fall off" effect to the basic Gaussian blur. I even applied it to the character, bringing certain parts into focus and blurring the rest; but ultimately I left out those blur effects on the in the final version because I wasn't digging how it looked.