Hey, I saw that you wanted a crit on your Thor redesign. I feel too often that crits come across as nagging even though they are meant to be constructive, so I did a re-design of your re-design to illustrate what I mean. Sort of like an overpaint. (I hope you weren't just asking for a crit on the lighting because then all of this is useless xD)
First, let's start with your brief: " I wanted it to be the Thor that the old norseman had in mind with a little bit of flashyness and coolsy stuff for today's people." What's confusing about this is that what the old norsemen had in mind looks pretty damn weird, nothing like anything that could be a character in a video game or movie. look at this ancient norse thor for instance:
To 21st century people this looks more like a garden gnome than Thor :D So I interpreted your brief as "A thor that is very believable and fits into a "realistic" medieval viking world, with a bit of extra spice added to it."
Things I like about your design: (and kept/enhanced in my re-design)
- the asymmetry of the armor fits the design really welll. It enhances the whole idea of a ragtaggy world where people make their own clothes and the line between nature and man-made things is blurrier than today. I kept true to it and added a balancing counterpart to everything on the other side, even his boots are different now.
- I don't know if it's intentional or a happy accident but his belt reminds me of these american wrestling belts from wwe or boxing, which is great! It enhances the idea that this thor is a fighter in a subtle way that draws from popular knowledge. I enhanced it by enlarging the belt buckle and adding a ram head to it. (Thor's chariot is pulled by a bunch of rams in some versions)
- Repeating shapes in the boots, belt buckle and shoulder tattoo. They tie everything together but there is room for even more of this. I used this pretty much everywhere I could without over-stylizing it.
- The diagonals created by the shoulder strap and his kilt work really well with the asymmetry of everything else and they improve the dynamic composition of his armor. Also, in a very subtle way they form an edgy "S" across the whole body which looks like a lightning. Again, I'm not sure if this was a happy accident or not but in any case it goes really really well with the whole god-of-thunder thing. Very nice! I kept it and added some more, smaller, diagonals here and there as well.
-draw the anatomy before everything else! make a structural drawing of the entire body and don't even think of designing anything else before this is working perfectly or it will haunt you later. Afterwards you can just design on top. (I left the initial anatomy drawing in there at 10% opacity)
-show the face! If he's a lead character, a leader, or anyone who needs to do some talking, he needs to have a face. Faceless people are hard to relate to and kind of anonymous. You don't want that for someone like Thor. It can be a great tool for making villains, though.
-Think about the pose. he looks like someone just put this hammer in his hand and he's so confused he doesn't know what to do with it. If you are pitching a character, (not just an armor) the pose is so important! It can tell you in a second what a character is all about. I twisted his shoulders and his feet in opposite directions (very slightly) so his pose is a little dynamic even though he's just standing there.
-Think about everything. EVERYTHING! you can't just use a glowy triangle as his hammer and call it a day. (also, it's not clear which form the hammer is supposed to have, imagine being a 3d artist and being told to build it. If you make it so contrasty that it overpowers everything else, you better have a very very good reason)
-Use more reference.
-Take your time. I know it's just a WIP but you need to put more effort into thinking everything out, maybe even before you start drawing.
-Do more structural drawings (draw-through) Lighting is just the icing on the cake, to sell it to non-art people. A design stands and falls with the draft. You can always paint it nicely later, when all the problems are solved. Maybe Jaime Jones and Craig Mullins skip this step, but that's only because they are so fucking good at it and have done it so many times already that they don't even have to waste conscious thought on it. Us mere mortals though, need to do it by the book.
-Less flashyness and exaggeration, more problemsolving and believability. I interpreted your brief as going in a similar design direction as Skyrim for instance so I cut back on as much flashyness etc. as possible. The biggest freedoms I took were the ram skull on the belt and the wolf head on his shoulder, everything else is pretty functional. I would have left those out and covered up his arms with armor/cloth as well if I wanted to push it even more in a functional/believable direction. You can always make the hammer or his eyes glow later if necessary.
-Little things: If he's a norse god, maybe cover up his torso. It's pretty cold up there. Also, I'm not sure why his hammer is in his left hand. I know there are left-handed people but with all of the symbolism of power that's made up around the right hand, would you really want Thor to be a lefty?
I know this sorta comes out of nowhere, but I had a lot of fun doing it and learned a lot as well :D If you/other ppl find it useful, it's been totally worth it!
PS: for the lighting I would have done a standard 3-point lighting (fill, key, backlight) with the hammer as another (weaker) lightsource.