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Forum > Critique > If my art were yours, what would you want to change? (lookin' for critiques)
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"If my art were yours, what would you want to change? (lookin' for critiques)", 8th Apr 2018, 11:54 PM #1
joeyballast
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Here's the most recent page from my comic. If you were interested in kinda taking the art to the next level, what would you try and work on and/or improve?

Thanks in advance!

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9th Apr 2018, 6:36 AM #2
NiaNook
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The first panel is impressive; good detail and the way the word-bubbles follow his eyes is creative. Something that might be interesting to experiment with is if you tried angling the camera dynamically to look more like it came from Cato's (?) eye level, since it'd help the audience follow his vision. Maybe it can make the room look bigger, or we'd feel right there in his shoes while he scans the area (and satisfy an itch to explore the place right there with him, eh?). That's just an idea that might be toyed with in the future, though. The panel works fine as is.

In the 2nd Panel; the anatomy is a little uncomfortable. There's a rounded wrinkle on his torso that seems to look like part of his ribs are being sucked in on one side. And I can't recreate his arm movements without bending my arm in a painfully awkward way. When you throw something behind yourself, typically, your elbow is still in front of you.

Maybe something closer to this?? (I'm sure there's a way to change that without his arm losing that relaxed look you gave him.)
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Third panel is dandy. Composition is clear, anatomy is good. I'm curious about your use of very thin lines for his eyes, while their nose and mouth have much thicker lines. At least in the 3rd panel, the difference is so noticeable that his eyes look beady. A part of me keeps wanting to thicken his eyelids just enough to match the lines on the rest of his face, but I don't know if that's just different stylistic preferences or not. I did hear a comment made, once, from someone who drew in that typical superhero comic-book style, about how they used subtly thicker eyelashes just to emphasize a character's expression (on males and females), yet you create so much expression with their mouth and body language... it makes me wonder how necessary they really are with cartoony styles...!

Hope this gives you some insight. Your art is already really good, overall, though :)
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9th Apr 2018, 9:24 AM #3
RJDG14

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I'd simply make the limbs more consistent and try and make the eyes more centered. You could also try and improve your fingers a little.

Your style is pretty unique and overall looks good though, so I wouldn't change too much.
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9th Apr 2018, 10:39 AM #4
BeeMKay

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I'm a stickler for Hands, so yes, they feel like they could need a bit more love.
Your Background in Image 1 Looks great, but when I look at the character's size and the size of the seat in both Pod and spare seat... is the proportional size in the comparision of the items to the character correct? *unsure*

(Other than that, if your art were mine, I'd probably cry tears of happiness, because I can't draw at all! :-D)
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9th Apr 2018, 2:17 PM #5
argylefox

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Panel 2, I no like. Something about the face, and pose, seems... off.

Of course, for MY art, that would be fine. But for YOUR art, which is 100% goals, not so much. It does the job, but doesn't look great. I can forgive it, though, because it is a 'glance as you are passing' panel.

Dat first panel tho...
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9th Apr 2018, 2:26 PM #6
heckos

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I don't have any criticism that hasn't been said already, so I wanted to say what I like about it
You create a great sense of space in your background, and your line quality is really good. The perspective of the boxes and other objects feel decidedly solid and believable. The colors of the environment and figure create a good sense of the setting as well, he really feels like he belongs in the space.
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9th Apr 2018, 3:12 PM #7
RJDG14

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argylefox:Panel 2, I no like. Something about the face, and pose, seems... off.

Of course, for MY art, that would be fine. But for YOUR art, which is 100% goals, not so much. It does the job, but doesn't look great. I can forgive it, though, because it is a 'glance as you are passing' panel.

Dat first panel tho...


Yeah, I was kinda getting at this panel. Panel 3 looks good, though.
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9th Apr 2018, 4:26 PM #8
inky
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I mean technically your art is leagues above what I can do rn but I have a few things I would change. I guess the main thing is that I'm not sure how well these panels work together. I think it may just be that there isn't any kind of background for the two bottom panels, but something feels weird about how you established that whole space and then just ignored it in the bottom frames.

The other thing I have to say is kinda a big claim, but I'm gonna make it anyway. Over all, I'm not sure if this feels like an important page. Really it's hard to tell with such an isolated panel, but while things can work and look great technically, the most important thing is your vision and how everything supports the theme of the work.

I haven't read Cato's Apprenticeship, so take everything that I say with a grain of salt, but I would say that something you've started four years ago is probably subject to have a lot of changes in vision, and I know that your art has grown a lot since then, which is great!

But in comics there always seems to be this ambition to make some great stretching story which takes decades to complete, and I think this is a fallacy carried on from the countless superhero comics and franchises that have saturated our culture. You don't want to drag out a story just for the sake of dragging it out. What I'm saying is that I'm a filmmaker who works on a very low [read: nonexistent] budget and when you have those limited resources, you see how much planning and thought should go into every little detail. It's probably just a different perspective on art, but I think that the best stories are contained.

So yeah, basically make sure that everything is there for a reason. Comics are notoriously slow to make, so you want to make sure that you aren't wasting your time drawing things that don't matter, and that the audience isn't reading things without purpose. You can have really good comics with less technical savvy that still work really well because everything is consistent and in line with the original vision of the work.

Oh, and also honestly if I were making this, I would be playing around a lot more with the page layout and really making the most of it. Whatever artform you're using, I think that you should make sure that the work you're creating is specifically tailored to it. If you're making a film, tell a story that can only be told through film. Same with music, writing, comics, etc. The medium isn't the message, but it's a very useful tool you should be utilising to totality.

Okay so that was basically just me talking to myself about art and you can ignore that completely because I don't know where this page fits in context. But that's the thing: it's not about the individual elements, but how they work together.
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9th Apr 2018, 5:33 PM #9
Proxy170

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Let me preface this with the fact that I think your art is great--you've clearly got a lot of skill, more than I, and I've got the "easy" job now of just editing on what you've already built. Editing someone else's work is way easier than building it yourself.

From the pic below it may be hard to tell, but I think the biggest possible improvement coloring-wise is your contrast. I barely added a bit here in the first and third panels (sloppily, too), but your light sources on a lot of your pages are soft. Everything kind of has a "fill" light that gives you those soft shadows and even colors. But if you add a few harsher shadows (see the straps on the cargo or in the ceiling and crates) or highlights (see Cato's hair) it makes it pop a bit more. Soft shadows are fine, but if it's always soft, it all starts to blend.

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Also, I did a tweek in panel 2 with Cato's eyes and arm (the hand is off as others have mentioned) but the thing I'm actually trying to hit on is his facial consistency. Looking through a few pages, the entire cast seems to change styles several times (and I'm not talking about improvement, I mean it almost seems like a bunch of different yet equally good artist) and the face isn't super consistent. Consistent meaning, eyes drift closer or farther apart depending on the angle. It's kind of like those drawings you see where the profile does not match up with the front view. TBH, I have this problem too, and yours is much more subtle of an issue than mine.
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9th Apr 2018, 6:01 PM #10
buffylove

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What do you want to change about your art?

Your question sounds like someone who feels blocked and frustrated. Really, your art is great. Better than a lot of stuff published by the mid-range companies. Any regular reader would see it and think it's fantastic. So I think it's more about what you want to do and where you want your art to go.

The one main point I'd make is that it seems like with the biggest names in comics, you can look at their art and in one panel know it's them. Sam Kieth, Jim Lee, Skottie Young, Darwyn Cooke, Humberto Ramos, etc. You look at a piece and you it's them. I'm not sure I get that feeling from yours. It's like you just haven't pushed it as far as you could. It makes me think of Dustin Nguyen who started pushing his art more or how Todd Nauck's art has evolved since his days doing TEEN TITANS GO!

One thing I'd definitely work on is the lettering. In that first panel all the balloons should be pushed higher into the darker spaces above. Use them to help really show the size of the room instead of breaking it up. In the other panels try to push the balloons against the borders or even have them overlap the borders. Anything to give a little more room. Even cutting out stuff like the "Look, they..." which is just there for rhythm but you don't really need since it gets a pause by putting it in its own balloon.

But I love your art. You can draw for me anytime :)

--Paul
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9th Apr 2018, 6:23 PM #11
Travis

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You are a great artist with a recognizable style. Hands included. I would focus on layout and drama. 25% of this page is a ceiling. Not even word bubbles. And the 2 bottom panels seem so separate. the fact that they are wider than the top panel make them seem very separate. If it was me. I'd overlap the bottom panels on top of the first one. I'd probably try an overhead angle on the first shot. make the girl smaller. really give it the big space feeling you seem to be going for. move that whole scene to the top of the page. Give that second panel a lot more action. more lines, more stuff flying. Give the flying things some Dynamism. Dodging pliers and what not. overlap some things for a sense of space. Panel three O would zoom in close have that wing-ding right in front of the girl's nose. maybe she'd get a little cross-eyed talking to the thing, since that's the focus, not tying up the bag. But like others have said, you're miles ahead of me. So these opinions are very humble.
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9th Apr 2018, 9:19 PM #12
joeyballast
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Oh wow! I came back to a ton of awesome advice :D

There will be many merged double posts...

Merged Doublepost:

@NiaNook

That's an interesting insight about the thinness of the lines I use for eyes!

The things I'm trying to keep in mind when inking (anything) are light, weight, and tension (before even thinking about complimentary line doubles 'n stuff) and so eyes kinda turned out delicate in general. I may try and change that, though, as I'm definitely not going for a beady-eyed look :)

I think the last time I really tried to switch up the line quality on my eyes was a while ago (they looked a little raccoony when I used thicker lines) but now that I have a little more control on my line width I'll try and thicken up the lines a little.

And yes, that pose in panel two is super weird XD. I tend to rush at times in order to finish off pages on time (bad habit; must fix)

Thanks for taking the time to check things out and for the draw-over (super helpful!)

Merged Doublepost:

@RJDG14

This is one of the reasons I like asking the comicfury community for feedback. There's always something that's not on my radar.

You mention that sometimes the eyes need centering and I think you're right (It's something I wouldn't have thought of at all if you hadn't pointed it out). It's time to start busting out the line segments on the heads during sketches again :)

Consistency is something I've always had trouble with, so I think I need to figure out a better system of sketching and such.

Thanks for taking a look :)

Merged Doublepost:

@BeeMKay

I think it's time for me to standardize my methods for drawing hands :)

Thanks for the kind words! Glad it looks good overall.

Merged Doublepost:

@argylefox

I really think I need to spend a bit more time on the sketch version of each page to avoid some of the more rushed looking panels (after inking I kinda thought 'that arm still looks wonky... Oh well!')

I'm a fan of the first panel, too :)

Thanks for the feedback!

Merged Doublepost:

@heckos

Thanks! I'm a fan of your work so that's some high praise :)

Merged Doublepost:

@inky

In this oooooone particular case some of the things in the bay (pod and seats and stuff) are used later on the story, so they need to be there. Though sometimes I must admit I try and draw large sweeping intricate backgrounds just for giggles (good thing according to some, bad thing according to others).

I think you're right that I need to work more with interesting panel structures. The comics I grew up liking and the advice from some of the comic-making literature I've read (mostly Eisner) use very simple panel layouts and sometimes advise against using complicated layouts. But it's really something I should try and work on.

Thanks for taking a look and taking the time to give me advice :)

Merged Doublepost:

@Proxy170

DRAW-OVEEEEEEER! Those hard shadows you added really do make things pop. I think that's one of those things where I really need to make sure I have time to add those shadows.

Consistency is the biggest challenge I think I'm going to have to overcome. Even when I do commissions at conventions a character I do in the morning will differ significantly style-wise from a character I do in the afternoon. I think I need to make some style sheets and really beat myself up over it...

Thanks for doing that draw-over. It really helps :)

Merged Doublepost:

@buffylove

I think proper lettering is one of those deceptively difficult things to master (or at least what I keep telling myself). You're absolutely right, though, it's something I need to work on. Particularly about the bubbles cutting the first panel in half.

And that's an interesting point about my art being not immediately recognizable (once again, something I never would have thought about). I'm hoping with enough time a truly unique style will kind of emerge, but it's something I'll keep in mind from now on.

Thanks for taking a look and for the compliments :)

Merged Doublepost:

@Travis

Thanks for taking a look! In general taking the time to make the shots more dynamic would absolutely help. Lots of good advice, thank you!

PS

Cato's a boy :) (though with that floofy kinda hair he is rather feminine XD)
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11th Apr 2018, 12:47 PM #13
DrewSpence

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The only thing I noticed was the huge amount of space above your word balloons in the top panel.
I was wondering what was so interesting or relevant about the ceiling.

Most of the other points ring true after heavy scrutiny.
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11th Apr 2018, 12:52 PM #14
Mild

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I absolutely adore your art :)

As to this page, I would've changed viewing angle on panel 2, just so we could take a look inside the bag over Cato's shoulder while he is rummaging in it.
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Two weeks ago, 3:54 AM #15
joeyballast
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DrewSpence:The only thing I noticed was the huge amount of space above your word balloons in the top panel.
I was wondering what was so interesting or relevant about the ceiling.

Most of the other points ring true after heavy scrutiny.


Thanks for takin' a look, Drew. I seem to remember there being a reason (not necessarily a GOOD reason) for the bubble placement, but I'll be damned if I can remember what it was :)

At the moment it really look like there should be something important about the ceiling.

Merged Doublepost:

Mild:I absolutely adore your art :)

As to this page, I would've changed viewing angle on panel 2, just so we could take a look inside the bag over Cato's shoulder while he is rummaging in it.


Thanks :)

A shot of the bag that Cato was rooting through would have been a good call. I've gotta shake out the laziness when it comes to using interesting camera angles.
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Two weeks ago, 7:10 AM #16
Pip
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The one thing I might change is the parts where it says Bink! Bink!

It doesn't look integrated enough with the panel in my opinion. Maybe if there were speech bubbles around them it would look better. Not necessarily a normal speech bubble like a human would have. The bubble could be rectangular, and/or glowy and/or transparent. Hard to say exactly how it should look, but it's something to maybe play around with and see what you can do. Right now I just feel like it's not quite at the same level of professionalism as the rest of the comic, it has sort of an internet meme look to me.

Another thing, this is really hard to explain since I don't know what I'm talking about, but there's something I don't like about the colors. I guess I would say they're not sharp enough, if that makes any sense at all. Like there are too many subtle variations in the color within one object. I think I'd prefer a style with more areas of solid color. There's something cleaner and easier to read about that style. I think the lines could be thinner and straighter also. This is all just personal taste, other people might have no idea what I'm taking about, or might understand, but disagree. The only thing I really feel strongly about is the Bink text.


Obviously really excellent art, overall.
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13 days ago, 8:04 AM #17
DrewSpence

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Yeah, we're opposites on the color.

I LOVE the color. It's like a washy-pastel and I think it's one of the strong points.
That's the first thing I noticed.

But at some point, we begin to stray past critiques and get into preferences.
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13 days ago, 10:31 AM #18
BeautifulRoses

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I'd add more of those blink creatures into the establishing shot, aka the first panel.
As they're small and only one in the above panel, it might easily get overlooked.

Second, I'd fix the hand, similar to Nianook's correction.

Then It'd just move on. There's no sense in getting bogged down here.
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13 days ago, 5:58 PM #19
joeyballast
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@Pip

I think you're right that the 'binks' need their own bubbles. I'd really love to find an easy way to integrate them with the environment more, but bubbles are probably the best way to go. I used bubbles for the 'binks' on the new page and it does look much better.

Thanks!

Also thank you for the feedback on the general style :) In the case of solid colours and the thinner lines, it's kind of where I started, if you get what I mean. For the longest time I was kind of trying to replicate vector art without using a vector program. I think I'm chasing a more classic ink-brush style with lots of thick-to-thin lines now.

Merged Doublepost:

@DrewSpence

I'm it looks like washy pastel! That's kinda the look I'm going for (though I do need to figure out some of my blenders and such a little more)

Thanks for the feedback!

Merged Doublepost:

@BeautifulRoses

Thanks for takin' a look :)
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13 days ago, 6:21 PM #20
Super Oliver
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I wish my art looked half as good as yours haha :')
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Forum > Critique > If my art were yours, what would you want to change? (lookin' for critiques)
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