When it comes to sculpting creating a character, I think that an external eye is always needed. Sometimes what looks fine to you looks odd to other people. I can only attribute that to working on it from the ground up for many hours. After looking at something for that long you tend to get tunnel vision on it, and you fail to see the problems. Usually for a 2D picture, I can flip the canvas around and rotate it to get a new look, but in 3D you're constantly rotating and changing angles to get stuff to look right from all views, which makes it even harder to get a fresh eye on it.
These are all my work in progresses. For the most part, I had gone too wiiiiide with the whole thing, though looking back I didn't hate it. But opinions for the most part said to go thinner, so thinner I went.
(From awful to not so awful!)
On the subject of criticism, I was talking to a friend today who said they didn't understand how people can get blasted and be enthusiastic about it. And for the most part, people are wusses who have been raised under a soft blanket of love and comfort. I was raised in the pits of hell and torment, anyone who knows me can attest to this by the way I act.
(Disclaimer: I'm kidding, Mum. You raised me well.)
But seriously, people are too sensitive in general. The thing about criticism is that people only do it when they care, and you lose nothing from at least trying their advice. Of course, I think that on the flip side, giving criticism is just as hard as taking it sometimes. It's hard to judge how a person will react. Some will crawl up into a ball and rock back and forth in the fetal position, some will lash out at your and others will take your advice like a man and do what needs to be done.
Level 1: Coddling (The Wuss)
To coddle someone when giving them advice usually means you're giving them the bare minimal. Stuff that won't affect their work, but makes it look like you care or have something to say to them. This level is pathetic, and no one grows from it.
"Oh, your work looks great! Maybe you could tweak this part a little, it isn't necessary, otherwise it is looking good!"
The coddle requires a profuse amount of lying, ego-stroking and hand holding. If you have to coddle someone like this, I suggest you buy them diapers and a pacifier. Because they're a baby who is probably just fishing for compliments. People like this rarely want to change their work or listen to your advice or get better. Avoid these people, they are a waste of time.
Level 2: Buts... (The buttings)
To "But" someone, is to give them equal amounts of praise along with criticism. For every nice thing you say about their work, you add "but..." and criticize them. This is somewhat more honest, and usually what most people can handle. Some like more praise than criticism, and some like the praise after the criticism so you leave on a high note. That last part is important if they're a whiny douche who can't handle reality.
"Your work is good, and I love the colours, but maybe you could work on the [AREA YOU SUCK AT] more, and really refine it. I love the idea of the gesture, but you could make it less awkward and stiff?"
The "But" is a good way to go for the most part, it's the middle ground, and middle ground is always good.
Level 3: HELL MODE
HELL MODE is for masochists and Satan worshippers. It's for people who really want people to dig into every aspect of their work and really give it to them good. Most people hate this, and will often mistake it for a personal insult. Some people love it, and will see it as a positive thing overall. HELL MODE decides the boys from the men, if you can take HELL MODE in your area of expertise, then you are someone worthy of respect. Taking HELL MODE means you really want to improve at something, or you genuinely care about making your work better.
"You need to work on your [AREA YOU SUCK AT] because it looks like you haven't studied [AREA YOU SUCK AT] very much. This [AREA YOU SUCK AT] needs a lot of work, because it looks awkward and unrealistic. The colours are flat and there's no depth to it, you need to study [AREA YOU SUCK AT] more before you attempt something this complex."
People who give HELL MODE advice usually seem like assholes, and usually they are... more or less. It depends on how you say it, usually a HELL MODE crit won't focus on the areas that are good or don't need work, because if you're good enough to not get criticized in that area then you don't need to be told about it. If your lighting is really good, but anatomy is really bad people will focus on the anatomy first and foremost. Some may comment on the lighting afterwards, giving compliments that are akin to pouring honey on an open wound, but someone looking for this type of crit isn't looking to be complimented.
Also, I really need to stop bouncing between UK and NA English spelling. Why can't those assholes just spell the words the same way we do?