I have always avoided asking for too much help since I feel like I cant unsee (and indeed why should I have to?) things that are offered for advice. The problem is that when a problem gets solved, it is solved.
Oops...I wanted to add that I see it as fair, but I just prefer to rely on lessons learned after the match.
It's perfectly fine to take critiques and implement them into your work here. It's not an unfair advantage considering everyone here has the same resource available to them.
Of course it's fair. Isn't that why we have a WIP section, so people can get advice and insight? It's free to use for both sides of a competition, so if someone doesn't utilize it when they need it, that's a risk they're running. Getting help from others is a quick way to learn, and isn't that a big part of why Pummel exists in the first place - to help us learn and get better?
There would be difference (imo) if a somebody used help to "fix" minor anatomy/perspective/whatever issues.
By minor issues i mean those that do not affect the overall/original concept.
However, if somebody uses this "help" to change the entire concept, because the original had major anatomy/perspective/etc issues, or uses "advisers" on every single step of his work, imo it would not be "fair" to judge it on the same merit as the other artist's piece.
Because this "fixed" work does not really represent the skills of the artist, but represent the combined abilities, knowledge and skills of those who contributed to it.
Anyways, on a personal note, I couldn't care less if somebody uses Jim Lee as an adviser or as some sort of a "guide artist", or if you are Jim Lee.
I always try to produce my best work without looking and thinking about what the other guy would make.
I'm gonna say as long as the original concept isnt changed then go for it. There is no difference in asking for anatomy help from here than looking at an anatomy book.
Now with that, if your piece goes from what normally can be described as major anatomy problems to those of Jim Lee then this is what could be a thin line of unfair advantage. Almost to the point of swiping.
Let's take AOS for example. He used things as references. We called it swiping. Now if someone helps me by drawing over my original and I change it to that, isn't that swiping?
Man this is a sticky subject to say the least. I saw helping as long as it doesn't change the original to the point where its different is ok.
In your thread, I think the only thing that looks like it was changed is the camera angle. The pose remained the same but from a 30- degree change to the left, the leg looks perpendicular instead of straight on.
I would just keep in mind the intent of the forum/challenge. Improvement. You can't do that totally in a vacuum. I'd say if what help you get is what you'd get in a school/from an art director, you're OK.
I personally was thinking that off limits "help" would be someone actually doing parts of pieces for you. Like if you have a designer friend and they make your illustration into a comic cover for you because they're whiz-bang at Illustrator/InDesign and it's rationalized as not REALLY being a part of the piece or something.
I think that anybody wanting to use the Sketch/Work in Progress sub-forum or the Finished Work sub-forum to garner advice on how to better their PUMMEL illustration(s) is well within their rights and the rules to do so. Those sub-forums pre-date PUMMEL by quite a degree and to not allow use of them would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Of course someone offering a complete compositional change to a competitor that is used line-for-line, ala a swipe, is probably going against the rules at that point. It's okay to say or show "this is how I would do it", but the swipe thing or tracing should still be way out of bounds.
There is always a tradeoff that showing your piece ahead of time reduces the "surprise factor" of holding your piece closer to the vest for the actual match. Sometimes I think that people who ask for advice would be better advised to do so about one or two smaller sections that they might feel are problematic and not the entire piece, so as to preserve a bit of that surprise?