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EMPOWERED UNCHAINED, as both rough + finished illo by AdamWarren EMPOWERED UNCHAINED, as both rough + finished illo by AdamWarren
As my trip to the San Diego Comic-Con looms nigh, thought I'd post an odd piece: Here's the rough sketch and the finished version of an illo I'm dragging along to the con, featuring Emp, heroine of my ongoing "sexy superhero comedy" series Empowered. The oddity, here, is that I like the rough sketch okay, but really, really dislike how the finished version came out, for reasons I can't quite articulate. Is it her hair? Her face? The lines of her upper body broken up by the aforementioned hair? Dunno, but I don't like the results much.

Anyhoo, the image riffs on a very obscure pop-culture trope dating back to the 70s, dimly remembered from my childhood: The captured protagonist's feet imprisoned within a block of freakishly quick-drying cement, as opposed to the more mundane (and far more practical) "chain a cinderblock to his or her feet" trope. Even as a wee laddie I was puzzled by this idea, mainly because I mixed a helluva lotta cement as a kid,* and thus was well aware that no form of cement or concrete dries all that quickly. I was considering a joke about this logistically and practically unsound practice in Empowered, save for the fact that I'm not sure anyone much younger than me would ever have heard of this trope...

Okay, so that finished sketch kinda blows; here are a few better Emp illos (including, yes, one for the "damsel in distress" fans):

On the SDCC front, I'll be signing in the mornings (Thursday, Friday, Sunday) 9:30-11:30 at the UDON booth (#5307), then in the afternoon on Thursday and Saturday, 4:30-7:00. I also have a Big Important Signing at the Dark Horse booth (#2615) on Friday at 4:00. Plus, I'll be appearing two panels (including a deviantART one!), as detailed here: [link] Beyond that, check my Twitter feed during the con for unscheduled signings and the like: [link]

So, the newest installment of Empowered, vol. 7, is now on sale at your Local Comics Retailer Store and/or conventional bookstore, and is also available in digital form via the Dark Horse Digital Store [link] and on Barnes & noble's Nook: [link]
More info here: [link]



If you've read the book and care to weigh in on the experience, feel free to leave a comment here, in a SPOILER ALERT zone: [link]

And now, further floggery: Empowered vol. 7 can be found at your Local Comics Retailer (or bookstore, possibly), or online at Dark Horse's retail website [link] or on Amazon.com [link] .

Say, here's Empowered vol. 7's cover, without the logo:



And here's the book's back-cover copy:

While costumed crimefighter Empowered makes a startling discovery regarding her unfortunate status as an all-too-frequent "damsel in distress," her hard-drinking best friend Ninjette confronts her own sordid past, violent present and frighteningly uncertain future as she fights a desperate, single-handed battle against a entire clan of supernaturally durable ninja warriors. Can our two hard-luck heroines also withstand the further perils posed by supervillainous minivans, dueling sets of "daddy issues," doomed-but-still-hot boyfriends, undead karaoke party-crashers, and even "spoiler alerts from hell itself" voiced by diabolically omniscient demonspawn?

In closing, I must of course paste in the requisite general-purpose Emp-related floggery: Print copies of Empowered's first six volumes (and a pair of one-shots in comics format) can be found on the shelves of your Local Comics Retailer or bookstore, or online at Dark Horse's retail website [link] or on Amazon.com [link] . All the existing Empowered books can be purchased rather more cheaply in digital form as well, via the Dark Horse Digital store: [link]

*During epic years of home restoration.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmajin88:
majin88 Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Prolly because the image that makes it to the page rarely matches what's in your head. (at least that's MY general problem!)
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:iconbondofox:
BondoFox Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Darn, I hate an unhappy ending 8-)
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:iconxzendor7:
xzendor7 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012   Digital Artist
It's Cool To See How You Developed The Scene Out Of A Rough Sketch
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:iconmistereye:
MisterEye Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
finnally!!
Reply
:icontwinsnake-coatl:
Twinsnake-Coatl Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
I'm tempted to say this is OOC, but when Emp gets pissed, she gets royally pissed!
Reply
:iconkidmonster:
KidMonster Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
I like this a lot. It's a really "Iconic" image and would make a great cover/poster/pin-up/ etc.
Reply
:icondonmurray29:
donmurray29 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
Always the case, you like the rough and hate the finished work, but later you will admire the work put in to finished artwork. Both are good.

A good way to be really happy is to scan or photocopy the rough onto watercolour paper or some thing thick like 120 gsm paper up that can hold paints, go over the copy rough in light watercolour paints, pencil colours, or pencil the line work heavy 6b and paint over it, or quick inks with crayola supertips or pantone/copic markers.

Also try charcoal, charcoal and fixing it, then paint over it with watercolour wash.
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:iconblindeyeinsight:
blindeyeinsight Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012
Yay! Rescue yourself! XD
Reply
:iconpol-rua:
Pol-Rua Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012
I think Succubeth nailed it. In the initial picture, the lines of the body are very pronounced, but in the finished version, they're broken up somewhat by the hair.

Also, as far as the blurb goes, if you're offended by it, skip it. As Jim Shooter once said, every comic is someone's first, and I can't begrudge Mister Warren trying to sell his stuff. If someone is unhappy with all the wonderful art being given away freely here, then maybe someone is a little bloody entitled.

I can't find it in my heart to begrudge the artist trying to sell his stuff. After all, the more of it he sells, the more time he can dedicate to wonderful comics and stories and the less to scraping for cash... which is bogus.
Reply
:iconballoonprincess:
BalloonPrincess Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
:heart::heart:Magnificent work!:heart::heart:
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:iconmpz28:
mpz28 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
nice :)
Reply
:iconzepeda:
Zepeda Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Gotta be the hair not enough whipping going on!
Reply
:iconmacsorro:
macsorro Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
So good!
Reply
:iconrudeboy308:
rudeboy308 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
I too am old enough to remember the concrete shoes, as some hapless snitch finds himself sleeping with the fishes like Lucca Brazzi. I remember a few Looney Tunes cartoons with that gag. Plus, the breakout pose is so golden age comics. Nice work.
Reply
:icondaveoozwizard:
DaveoOzWizard Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Awesome...
Reply
:iconcuongqtran:
cuongqtran Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Adam! You are one of my most favorite artist of all time and this is the reason why!
Reply
:iconchromebinder:
Chromebinder Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is definitely a case of the artist seeing something different than the consumer. I think the finished image looks great. Pretty dynamic. Whatever is missing, or seems off, is something that I can assure you is going to be unnoticed. If this were a fanart done by someone else I would say that they nailed it perfectly.
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:iconjaedub003:
JaeDub003 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Student General Artist
I love what you do here. I have an opinion that may or may not help & It's a slight correction to the pose. As it is now her right hand's palm is face down with a closed fist. Perhaps if her palm was facing up (in the anatomical correct position) with a clenched fist still, the impact of her breaking free of the bondage would seem more powerful. As far as the torso, hair, & other details that bother you, I don't see the issue, but I am not exactly a professional either. Thank you for posting sketch works to let us see what you do in the beginning process.
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:iconslimekingktw:
SlimeKingKtW Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Shows her progress in her special training ^_^
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:iconttnt:
ttnt Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I doubt you'll ever read it but...
Overall she's looking chubbier than usual on the rough ( D size, the boobs ?) but the pause seems to work.
But on the final one, it looks like you tried to make her appear less chubby and...
I can't describe it properly too but there is something strange with the hips and the thighs , the bust is may be too big ? And her spine seems stiff.
Well that's how it feels.

Fanboys please don't flame me, i like the artist, i'm just giving my point of view.
Also sorry for the bad english, this isn't my natal language.
Reply
:iconiorelsan:
iorelsan Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Oh of course I've heard of that trope and I am 28... so yeah Adam, you are not alone on this one =p.
Reply
:iconuberman5000:
UberMan5000 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
If you are trying to work out the weakness in the image, I'd be inclined to blame the chains in the finished picture. In the rough sketch, when they're rendered as swooping lines and curves, they give the image a well-defined sense of motion. In the finished drawing, when they're drawn as big, chunky chains, some of their sense of motion is lost, since their level of detail is kind of distracting. If you were really looking for something for me to say about it, I guess...
Reply
:iconhumungustudios:
HUMUNGUStudios Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012   Traditional Artist
yeah, it's all the hair in front. breaks her up too much. I also always wondered about that 'feet in cement' thing 'cause I also mixed alot of cement as a kid.
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:iconkaelstra:
kaelstra Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Both versions look awesome, but I can see what you mean about the finished piece. I actually do think in this case, it's just her bright hair breaking up the flow of the overall image. Maybe a redraw but with the hair mostly behind the shoulders, or flayed out to the sides a little more, so her shoulders and neck are more visible? It definitely makes the drawing look "busy" and a little top-heavy at the, er...well, top.

Have fun at SDCC! I wish I were going!
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:iconjhohcable:
jhohcable Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Awesome as frig. :3
Reply
:iconcrybringer:
crybringer Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Oh man, I can completely agree & understand with the sketch-to-finish hatred conversion.
*I* think it still translates really well in the finish. What (TEENY, TINY amount) gets dropped in volume here & there,
the viewer gets back in some fantastic details and rendering. Compromise.

Also, good luck & better health at San Diego, sir!
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:iconcementlover:
cementlover Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
love the cement around her toes :D
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:icondrkrazy:
DrKrazy Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
*nods* Cement Shoes are indeed fictational but I enjoy the theme overall. Which is why Empowered Volume 1 was my all time favorite volume. Great art as always A.W.
Reply
:iconjdmagee:
JDMagee Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
i LOVE seeing the early stages of professional's art. it lets you know they are still human!
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:iconmartheus:
martheus Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
But she escaped bondagement this time. That's got to count for something.
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:iconbensaret:
Bensaret Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Love seeing Emp finally break those bonds :D. Looking forward to her pulling that on some unsuspecting villains one day who keep assuming she's just useless shoulder candy :lol:
Reply
:icondr-syn:
Dr-Syn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
You don't need to keep reminding us that Empowered is your "Sexy superhero comedy/spoof"

I can assure you, we know. We've known for quite a long time. We actually have memories. We don't need to be reminded every single time. It's actually kind of insulting to think we need to be reminded of it with each and every single piece you put here. You can stop telling us. Seriously, it's okay. We know what "Empowered" is.

Its not like every official picture of Superman has the "Strange visitor from another planet who, as Clark Kent fights a neverending battle for truth, justice and theAmerican way." tagline. People can grasp a concept and hold onto it.

At least its refreshing to see Emp for once NOT looking humiliated and finally fighting back against her tired, cliched bondage shtick. These are two status quo's thats long grown stagnant.

As for the rediculously quick drying concrete thing. Let's face it. If there can be people running around in tights being able to fire lasers out there eyes, is it really THAT big of a stretch that somebody invented a special concrete mix that sets exceedingly fast?
Reply
:iconiwaza:
iwaza Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Hey, honesty doesn't mean being an ass. You're just using "honesty" as an excuse to be as big of jerk as you want while claiming to be the "good guy".

Believe it or not, there are ways to get your point across with out being a jerk about it.

Adam is not insulting your intelligence, that's something you've made up entirely on your own. You're not standing up for anyone, you're not "just being honest", you're just some jerk on the internet.

Go ahead and rage at me as well if you like. I won't be reading it as your opinion is as worthless to me as I'm sure mine is to you.
Reply
:iconmartheus:
martheus Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I can't agree with Iwaza more.

The bottom line here is that this awesome piece of art is being offset by a meaningless rant on what someone else believes is promotionally insulting. Mr. Warren has been in the industry for quite sometime. He has weather the creative storm that many creatives have drowned in and has managed to (not only thrive) but to produce one of the hottest up and coming indy characters and stories today. As an indy creator myself, I know how hard that is to do in todays comic climate. Let him promote as much as he wants as long as this creative property continues to strive. We need it.

I suggest we ignore the trolls and celebrate the art. That's what we are here for on DA. I love the piece and look forward to more Empowered goodness.
Reply
:iconjaedub003:
JaeDub003 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Student General Artist
Just a little heavy handed there huh? Repetition is key to all things, & on this illustration of the artists to promote their idea, characters, & concepts there shouldn't be an issue by observers & watchers of the artist's. But yet there is, & by you. Your Superman instance doesn't work out well, because someone who does not know who or what he is about can benefit from reading a blurb about the Man of Steel, & that may make a new fan from the chance illustration they stumble upon & like, but are not sure what it is about. We all enter into fandom blind & need to learn. It's why we have Intuos to sit coms, television programs, even movies, with a theme song perhaps that sums up what the experience is like every time you are about to partake in the programming.

Try & take it easy being so critical about original creators & how they market their material. Everyone doesn't want to use the methods you might prefer to feed the audience the back story of an image, character, or storyline. Please just try & enjoy the ride?
Reply
:iconjaedub003:
JaeDub003 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Student General Artist
Intos* not Intuos!
Reply
:iconttnt:
ttnt Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
..........Wait....What his doing about telling us over and over is for publicity. He is posting a lot on DA (and so, get on DA's principal gallery often) so he probably use it to get people on his gallery. And since not everyone know this comic (yep she's not known as much as Superman), he put this resume on every post. Wich is not that stupid since a fine way to get a free publicity, and so to get more fans, and please us fans since we got to see more arts about Emp. Nice advertising by the way Mister Warren.

But i think you're intelligent enough to apply tl;dr.

Now tell me here, i don't understand...If you're that tired of seeing Emp bondage.....Why did you expect? It's not like he didn't told us there would be a lot of bondage in the comic!
But i guess you don't read the story, you would know that the girl isn't always get bondaged (wich is still a part we like to see us fans) and can kickass.
Reply
:icondr-syn:
Dr-Syn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
Yes, he DOES post a lot on DA. And it's BECAUSE he posts so much that anyone who would care about Empowered would get the idea by now.

And don't suck up to the man. I'll tell him what I feel because I *OWE* it to him to be honest and not sower him with blind idolatry. It's actually showing disrespect to NOT be honest with your criticism.

Are you saying I should lie?

And the Bondage thing has been a prominent theme in the character. That of the inept little "Training wheels for supervillains" (Adam's words, not mine by the way) with ZERO self-esteem who only wins through sheer dumb luck. The point is the premise has grown old and tired. Like Archie never choosing between Betty or Veronica. See how tired that's gotten after SEVERAL DECADES? Things need to grow and progress.
Reply
:iconttnt:
ttnt Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
DA isn't really know by everybody in the world. Wich kinda restrict the possibility to get a public.
And i can assure you, Emp is far, really faaaaar, to be as know as Superman...Or even as Aquaman.(....I'm sorry Mister Warren, i hope you won't take it too badly if you read this - -')

So you're blaming him to take all his chances to get more peoples ?
Are-you forgetting that he is living of this ?
Also, don't forget that he is not as known as Stan LEE.(....Sorry again --')
It's so hard to getting know for your art, so how can it be wrong ?


Showing discontent to his maners to get the publicity is a thing, and yes, you have the right to say it.
But saying "you're annoying me with your resume", it's almost like saying that you can't use the scroll of your mouse...
Pointing that statement have nothing to do with the fact you should be lying (never asked you that btw) or my supposely blind idolatry, i believe.

Again nothing force you to read all this, since the first part of his posts are generally about the picture.
Use the scroll of your mouse.


Now, for Emp' herself.
Beside the part of the bondage, Emp have kicked back, saved peoples (ho yes not always in an heroic way) and gain others super powers, thing you should know if read the comic (do you ?).
The bondage, humiliation, and sexy you find in this comic is one of story's tread.
If you get it out of the subject, it wouldn't work anymore.
Like Batman stopping being dark, or being a rich dude. Or like The Joker, stopping to make jokes. That would kill the character, right ?


Emp bring sympathy, because, since the first album she show she's able to get past all the humiliation and still go on after her dream, being a super-hero. She don't give up, even if she haven't big esteem of herself. Wich is the only thing that really bring her down. But still, she's still going forward. Of course she go through a bit of depression sometimes, like everybody would.

All this show a character with humanity, instead of the others super-heroes who mostly act like bastards.

Funny, right? It's not only about bondage, humiliation, or pin ups.



Stop the tl;dr here, you better read this part.

I don't know if Adam Warren will read your comment.
He is probably going to do what he think what's best for his story, because he is the only writer and have all the rights to do so.
But if he decide to not change the parts that annoying you (wich will probably happen), i have one advice to you.

Just stop read Empowered.... Hey, it's sad, but when you are annoyed by a story, you just should stop reading it.
Since you're not the writer, apart giving your point of view like you did, you can't do much more. Or you start to do fanfictions.

Of course i'm not forcing you to this, as i said, it's an advice. But believe me, both works very well.

Do as you wish.
Reply
:iconttnt:
ttnt Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry about the horrible english errors, i didn't check enough.
Reply
:iconkaelstra:
kaelstra Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow. Being a snarky jerk is sure a great way to get people to take your suggestions seriously on the internet, huh?

Seriously, I don't mind reading the three-word blurb he ties to the title of his comic. New people come into it all the time and more readers are new to it, so it doesn't hurt the old fans to keep seeing it, geez. One of the biggest pieces of advice I read someplace was that it's good to be repetitive, because then people will remember. One blogger constantly would always say, "my wife, Jenny" every single post he talked about her. Why? Because new readers didn't know who Jenny was, so the simple, "my wife" added always in a new post would help out. It's a little bit like that.

So chill out, eh?
Reply
:icondr-syn:
Dr-Syn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
I'm simply standing up for everyone's intellect. I'm the one who's actually giving credit to your capacity for retention. So you can kindly shove your uncalled for JERK insult in your ear. I'm the good guy here.

I like his art, but I'm not giving him a free pass when he apparently thinks we aren't smart enough to remember simple concepts. I don't let idolatry blind me. I'm not a sheep that needs to be led around.
Reply
:icontommerch:
tommerch Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
If I wanted you to stand up for my intellect, I would have authorized you to do so.

When I don't want to read the blurb, I merely stop reading, skip down the screen a bit, then start reading again. It's a really simple skill that any competent reader can use. Perhaps you should learn it. It's handy in lots of circumstances.

Thos. Merchant
Reply
:iconbensaret:
Bensaret Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Jeeze, tone it down. Yes, he includes that blurb in his posts, but there's no harm in him giving the unitiated a little backstory. Skip over it if it bothers you so much :P.
Reply
:icondr-syn:
Dr-Syn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
If the uninitiated can't tell that it's SEXY, has SUPERHEROES in it and is obviously a SPOOF, why should that be OUR cross to bear? Let them figure it out for themselves like WE did.If they can't, well screw them.
Reply
:iconkaelstra:
kaelstra Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Seriously.

Also comparing Superman to Empowered is a bit over-the-top. Superman is probably THE most well-known comic EVER. Empowered is still brand-new and he's trying to promote it. Empowered isn't a comic title that everyone knows about yet; so a little self-promotion doesn't hurt at all.
Reply
:icondr-syn:
Dr-Syn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
So you're okay with not being given an ounce of credit to your intellect?

And Superman is quite apt. People who care about Superman doesn't need to be told every single time what he's about. The same applies to everyone who would care about ANY character. We all came here precisely because we know and like Adam's work. So it stands to reason that anyone who comes here would be well aware of Empowered's premise. If not, they can GET THE IDEA easily.
Reply
:iconkaelstra:
kaelstra Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think he's insulting anyone's intellect with this. The only one insulting anyone's intelligence here has been you. You do not speak for me, do not presume to challenge my intellect just because I don't agree with you on how Adam chooses to promote his sexy superhero comedy. I don't NEED you to stand up for my intellect, and frankly, it's an insult to my intellect that you feel I am incapable of deciding for myself what offends me or not. You need to sit down. Champion your own causes, don't try and champion mine for me.

Don't patronize me and try to offer back-handed compliments in an effort to get me to agree with you about the overuse of sexy superhero comedy. I don't. I don't think sexy superhero comedy is a big deal, and I don't think it's an insult to anyone's intelligence that he simply repeats sexy superhero comedy when he's promoting his (awesome!) sexy superhero comedy. You are basically carrying on loudly here acting like your intelligence has been gravely insulted because of the (alleged) overuse of the words "sexy superhero comedy".

I don't think you're the good guy here. You barged into a promotional post, complained about the promotion, and are indicating that everyone who isn't offended by it SHOULD be, and now you're challenging everyone's intelligence if they don't agree with you? You are in Adam's personal space here, and he's allowed to use it and promote his sexy superhero comedy as much as he wants. It's actually fallacy to assume everyone who comes here is already aware of Empowered, or has already read it just because they are here, just as much as it's fallacy to assume that everyone is annoyed or bothered by seeing sexy superhero comedy repeated on every Empowered image. It's a tagline, part of the promotion.

Now that I've said "sexy superhero comedy" enough, I am going to go do other things rather than be insulted by someone on the internet who thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

Adam, I deeply apologize for derailing your post. Feel free to remove my replies to get everything back on topic if you like. :)
Reply
:iconmartheus:
martheus Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Like.
Reply
:iconsuccubeth:
Succubeth Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2012
I think in the final version, her hair covering up most of her shoulders may be throwing off the dynamics of the figure. The sketch does look a lot more dynamic and she appears to be more in control of her body but looks more unstable in the final.

Good piece though.
Reply
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