New guy, new work, looking for a critique

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

Post by Mr. Average » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:01 pm

I think your work is DEFINITELY improving! And as I'm kind of on a kick of saying it these days, there's a lot to be said for just doing something for the sake of doing it. I'm in a similar boat to yours right now - trying to actually produce a full piece of work! I think the biggest thing in it is overcoming one's own inertia and just plowing ahead, no matter the cost.

And you are producing a very distinctive and immersive bit of work here, with rather a high degree of proficiency already - keep going with it! By the time you get it done you'll be shocked with how far you've developed, I guarantee it!

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

Post by Silent Machine » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:13 pm

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm really pleased with my progress. I have another page sketched and inked, but I will be on vacation for 2 weeks starting tomorrow and won't be able to color it until I get back.
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:35 pm

last minute post! Here's the untouched scan of page 11. I redesigned the fingers. They'll no doubt undergo some refinement over the next few pages. I will be back in two weeks with a colored and detailed version.

Page 11 Scan:
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andrew fulton
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by andrew fulton » Tue Feb 09, 2010 7:39 pm

These are pretty great!
It's a nice clean, simple style that I think serves the tone of the story well. On the one hand I always like to suggest varying line-weights a little, to give things alittle more dpeth & weight, but in some sense the flatness works with the whole robot thing you have going on. Maybe doesn't work quite as well as the jungle. I think some variation in the lineweights would work well to open up the space in that last page there - it might get better in colouring but I can't tell.
I really like the unconventional panel layouts - especially page 2, I think that works really well. I would be careful with these rounded corners though - sometimes it gets awkward - eg the space in the middle of the four panels at the bottom left of page 1 (I think that would flow easier if you lined the gap up) or the bottom left page 7 (either line it up, or move it even further apart - page 6 has unaligned gaps, but they are far enough apart that it doesn't read like a hole, if that makes any sense at all...)

What are you drawing this in?

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

Post by Silent Machine » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:23 pm

My self-evaluation scale usually goes from "bad" to "pretty good", so I'll take "pretty great" as high marks :D .

I've started trying to use some variable line weights and after I was about half done inking the last panel in the page above I realized just how much it would have helped. I'm using a number of cheap inking pens to ink up my sketches instead of a quill, so that limits the amount of control I have over the line weight.

I see what you mean about the spaces between panels. I will definetly keep an eye on that in the future.

I sketch these pages with pencil, ink them with pen, scan them into my computer, then use Photoshop Elements to clean, layer, flat, and detail. However, my intent is to upgrade to a new laptop and Adobe CS4 Web Premium in the near future.

Hopefully I will have a colored page posted by the end of the week so you can decide if that makes the line weights more forgivable.
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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:04 pm

A agree about the lineweights - if you're using technical markers like Microns or Copics, you might buy a couple different thicknesses and vary them as you go. But I think that only a little variation would go a very long way. Part of the charm of this is how clearly readable it is - you immediately "get it," like the Ligne-Clair artists from Belgium. THey had very complex styles (Hergé et al) but they were always very easy to understand because they were flat and clean-edged.

Keep going, is all I can say!

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

Post by Silent Machine » Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:06 pm

Now in technicolor. Some of it I like, some I don't. I think I have a tendency to be too light on the shadows (no pun intended), and I give my attempts at atmospherics a mediocre at best. The fur and the water are ok for a first attempt.

Does anybody have any suggestions or examples for texturing the durt, grass, and trees?

Everybody loves purple poop-throwing panther apes.

Page 11:
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:18 pm

It's taken me a while, partly because of my recent purchase of CS4, but here's the next page. Let me count the improvements:

Variable Line Weight
Full Value Shadows
Texturing (sort of)
Detailed Backgrounds
Background Gradients

Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.

Page 12:

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Craig Collins
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Craig Collins » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:12 am

As mentioned above, the only point of criticism I would make is to get a little more texture into your work, the lunar surface, the foliage etc. Unfortunatley I can't remotely help you with how to go about doing that!

Other than that, it's clear you've come a hell of a long way. This is a really charming tale so far and the layouts on the early pages are extremely eye-catching. Great stuff!
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Ugh... he's got a blog.
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Silent Machine
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Silent Machine » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:32 am

Ah-ha! Mr. Collins, I want to thank you for pointing out (in so many words) that my layouts have gotten less eye-catching. In focussing on other elements I have lost track of making the frames themselves appealing. I will definetly put some thout into improving that for my next page. Thank you for the feedback!
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Craig Collins
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Craig Collins » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:56 am

Ha! Sorry, that wasn't meant as a back-handed criticism.

The factory scene is much more suited to intricate technical layouts, to convey the busy workings of the machinery. You'd be hard pressed to have the same effect in expanded space or jungle scenes and it may not suit those pages anyway.

Just on the topic of layouts, this guy has done some really interesting ones and it's a shame he called it a day on this project.

Keep 'em coming Machine, this is a cool looking piece of work.
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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:37 pm

The layout of the latest page is really quite good! In particular I like panels two, four and ten, which are remarkably expressive - two and four, in particular, with just the face in the corner, suggest the gesture of the rest of the body, with the robot leaning in closely to observe. I love it, frankly!

By way of critique, I think you need to use more varied thicknesses of pen, especially on the details of the little alien creatures. The lines are either all the same or too close to each other in thickness, and a lot of potential detail is getting lost in the reduction.

So think it over, and keep producing!

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

Post by Silent Machine » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:26 pm

I agree that line weight is one of my biggest areas for improvement. The problem is that I know what I'm doing isn't quite right, but I don't know what 'right' looks like. Could you link or post any favorite examples of what I should aim for?
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Mr. Average
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Re: New guy, new work, looking for a critique

Post by Mr. Average » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Well, let's see. Some of the most typical ones are Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow, Will Eisner, Hergé and Tati. They are all masters of line control. The latter two are masters of the "ligne-clair" or "straight-line" style popular among the Franco-Belgian cartoonists of the middle 20th century.

More directly I'd suggest an exercise I used to give to my mechanical drawing students way back when: take one of your drawings and lay trace paper over it. Imagine the whole scene as a set of cardboard cutouts: they have general shapes in silhouette, and details on their surfaces. Follow? Now take two pens (if you use Microns, say a 0.8 and a 0.1) and use the thicker one to draw just the outline of the shapes (like a chalk outline, to use a grim example), and the thin one to draw all the interior lines (the folds of the clothing, the eyes, the other little stuff that appears on the "surface" of the cutouts). It will immediately be evident to you the difference that lineweight makes and it leads to the first real principle of line drafting, i.e., that the sharper the change in plane, the heavier the line. Granted, comics have a lot more variability than mechanical drawings but a lot of the principles hold true, I've found.

For a really good look at line principle for conveying information, read Architectural Graphics by Francis D.K. Ching. It's totally illustrated and makes a lot of the concepts very clear.

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

Post by Silent Machine » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:38 am

Awesome. That's advise I can definitely put into action. I was already planning on producing a page this weekend, so we'll see if I can make another leap in technique.
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