New guy, new work, looking for a critique

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Silent Machine
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New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:16 am

I quit drawing in high school and only picked it up again last Christmas after 10 years of inactivity. I discovered that I wasn't too bad and decided to start adding digital to my toolbox in imitation of Kazu and other artists that I admire. Now I'm finding it hard to improve without feedback from people who know what they're doing.

Here's some of my work, anyone have any thoughts?

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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:11 pm

Page 4, completed today.

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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:35 pm

Well for one thing I'd love to see these at a larger scale! The colors look really vibrant and the layouts are very clean and clear, easy to follow the progression of action. One thing that might enhance the last panel on page 3 would be streaking in the light to indicate dust and gases between the forground and the star in the background. Ditto on the nebula on page 4, which seems a bit too gelatinous, less gaseous. Overall, though, I think it's quite excellent - the robot reminds me of Gir, from Invader Zim. Run with it - I'd love to see more, and see what the story is working up to!

--M
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:08 pm

Page 5 completed today. Not entirely satisfied with it. I did try to apply Mr. Average's suggestion to make things look dustier (see panel 2), but I couldn't get the surface features and textures I wanted on the planets and moons. Suggestions?

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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:26 pm

I don't know if you're using Photoshop to do the color effects, but here's something I've found useful for simulating rays of light going through dust.

Set up a separate layer for the gradient or whatever you're using to make the light (the corona of the star, or whatever), then apply a "Pointilize" filter to it. Then, apply a Radial Blur, setting it to "Zoom" instead of "Rotate." Set the zoom amount to the maximum, and put the origin of the zoom behind whatever the source of the light is (this is a bit of a crapshoot with Photoshop, but a few tries will get ti placed right). And that's pretty much it. You'll end up with random streaks of light emanating from the center of the light source. Then you can set objects on layers above the light streaks and delete the parts behind it, to give an effect of shadow across rays of light. This is not to plug my own comic, but a recent page I did used this effect for headlights on a truck, and I think it was rather effective. You can even do it more than once on different layers and pile up various gradations of color or transparency, to simlated differences in light intensity.

It's still a really cool comic, though, and I hope to see more of it soon!

--M
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Suzanne de Veld
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Suzanne de Veld » Fri Dec 25, 2009 9:40 am

What I read Scott Kurtz does for lighting of a figure with the sun from behind is:
1 grabbing a large brush and set it to the light color (this would generally be light yellow or white)
2 painting over the side of the (line)art, so the person or object looks like it is obscured by the light.

Example: first picture on this site http://www.pvpstuff.com/ding.html

Sorry but I couldn't find a better example :(

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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:59 am

I couldn't find a Pointalize filter as Mr. Average suggested for producing beams of light. I'm using Photoshop Elements, so that may be my problem. Using the examples provided though, I was able to simulate the effect manaually, see the last panel bellow.

I keep trying to post larger images as was requested, but for some reason they're not coming across. The image bellow is actually 4500 X 3300 pixels. I don't know if it's Flickr or the forum or just something that I'm not doing correctly.

One of my reasons for choosing the robot as the main character was to get used to drawing a styalized/forgiving human shape. Remember I have no formal training so I'm doing a lot of this by trial and error. I find the poses in frames 7 and 10 a bit awkward. Walking, particularly walking with perspective, is really tough.

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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:36 pm

latest page. I'm not sure i like my shading/highlighting methodology. I use a pencil with 25% black to create the medium shadows, then go over it a second time to create the dark shadows. I do the same thing with white to create medium and high highlights. What do you think of the general shading effect?

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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:04 pm

Well, for one thing, I think this thread ought to shift to the Storyteller's forum.

As for the shading, I don't see that there's anything wrong with it. I think it suits the sharper and flatter style of coloring you're using throughout, so I say go with it. A straight black shadow might not be quite the best all the time, so try using other colors for shading. That was a comment I got on my work recently, and it was pretty much on the money.

When I shade my comic pages, I usually use a few layers of different blues or reds (depending on whether I want the shadows to look warm or cool) and make them gradients with the lightest side towards the light source. It's not perfect, but it gives a decent result that's compatible with the cel-shaded "cartoon" look I'm using right now. I've also been experimenting with different shapes of shading areas - jagged edges, etc. In the end it mistly comes down to experimentation until you find what looks right.

--M
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k-9lives
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by k-9lives » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:43 am

I would love to see these larger... your layouts are very nice. Sometimes I think you may be veering away from clarity and readability with it. In general it works perfectly but a few pages I wasn't sure where the flow was headed in the page. I really like your artwork, still waiting to see whether the story grabs me but it's slowly drawing me in. Good stuff.
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:38 am

I'm glad to see I've at least generated some mild curiosity .

I keep trying to post larger images, but for some reason they're not coming across. I don't know if it's Flickr or the forum or just something that I'm not doing correctly. Next time I post a page (hopefully tomorrow) I’ll put it up at the full resolution that I work with it and see what happens.

I really want to improve my work, hence posting on this forum. I can venture plenty of guesses, but could you point to the sequences that you found hard to follow? “Page X, Frames Y-Z”

Looking over what I have produced so far, I have identified several areas where I need the most improvement:
-Texturing
-Use of sound/text
-lighting/shading

Does anyone see any additional areas I should focus on improving, or have any suggestions on how to improve?
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k-9lives
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by k-9lives » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:10 am

Page 3 when I guess he gets shot out of a shuttle shute? That was not clear, I had to go back and really think about what was going on.

Page 7 when I think he puts his backpack on? You could show it being thrown over his shoulder aswell?

Think that was the only spots I got confused at.
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:35 pm

new page as promised. I tried to get a little more complex with the lighting. And I finally figured out what i was doing wrong when i tried to post larger images. Any and all suggestions for improvements are welcome.

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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:51 am

I am mildly embarassed by the finger close ups in the first 3 panels. Drawing fingers that way works for distance shots, but there's no reason why i can't put in more detail in a close shot like that. I am afraid that the sequence from frame 5 through the end may be difficult to follow. Does it make sense to everyone?

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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:43 pm

I considered page 10 to be a landmark when I started this. I figured if I could get myself to produce 10 pages I might really have something. I also think that my style has already started to improve some since I started. I have 30 pages mapped out for the first chapter and a total of about 120 pages loosly in mind at the moment.

I am a little embaressed that I couldn't think of anything else to make the 'antelope' look more alien.

As always, looking for ways to improve.

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