Critique Request on my comic! Any advice will help

  • @jthomas I’m gonna butt in and offer a link
    Check it out you might like it, all about comics coloring

  • You said be as honest as possible, so this might sound harsh.

    I'll start with some positives though. You have good colors, and balance! The characters pop from the backgrounds well. And the bad guy design looks really cool! Also the spaceships are done REAL well, they're even better than I can do.

    Now with the NEG,
    Immediately when I saw Jaz on the cover I cringed. Something about that facial expression just seems noobish, and it made me think the rest of the comic would be that bad. But then I was suprised cuz the comic is like a whole tier better. I would just redo Jaz's head on the cover.

    And I would ditch the airbrush shading. That's the classic mark of a noob artist. Don't wanna do that. At LEAST don't do it on the cover.
    (If you haven't learned lost and found edges. I'd look that up.)

    Same with shape language/design. Sometimes there's just real un-appealing shapes. The obvious example if the dog ball character. If you just look at him not as a character but the exact shapes of the fur that you drew, they're not very pleasing to look at.

    Writing wise it was pretty well done! One thing I think is needed is more panels to show the pod starting up. I think him getting seperated from his mom was a very siginificant moment, that needs more panels to show that moment.
    By doing that whole moment basically in a dialogue of him explaning it, took the impact away.

    Hope this wasn't too harsh!(:

  • @Joe-Koz No, this is great! Thank you! This will help a lot!

  • @Frost-Drive said in Critique Request on my comic! Any advice will help:

    I would just redo Jaz's head on the cover.

    Awesome! Thanks for the feedback! Not really harsh at all! Lol

    I would just redo Jaz's head on the cover.
    Would you say its the head shape or the Facial Expression? - I was going for a sort of Confident/playful look but I think it doesn't express the "World" he is in at this stage of the cover is in. I see your point!

    And I would ditch the airbrush shading
    So I've heard this A lot throughout the SVS community. I get it's not the desired look. But I want to dive deep into this and ask is it more so a "Children's book Illustrators perspective" or an Artists in general. Traditionally a lot of art is hard-edged shadows (especially in Animation art) comics sometimes do this as well with the Cell-shaded look mirroring Anime.

    My attempt was to show depth without taking multiple coloring/rendering passes as I'm the only one doing Everything in my book. Penciling, line-work, backgrounds, flats, text/dialogue, graphic design. I need the quickest way possible to color with the exception of being lazy. It's an "attempt" at finding my own coloring style. A mix of cell-shaded with a mild painterly approach. Think Anime cell flats mixed with a bit of Concept art.

    1. Flat colors
    2. Define Shadows and Lightsource by using greyscale flats and finding the highlights
    3. Define the hard shadows ( Dark purple, set the layer to multiply and opacity at 30-35%)
    4. Erase edges of hard shadows with an Eraser tool with a SOFT edge.
    5. Mild airbrush tool to add another layer of shadows.

    I will look up the lost and found edges you mentioned. Everyone really hates the shading. I'm just wondering exactly why. Is it just the audience or is it wildly hated by nonartists as well?

  • @jthomas

    Here's why everyone hates when people only/overdo do airbrush shading.

    It looks really bad.

    Makes it look muddy.

    Doesn't add any depth.

    Doesn't have balance of lost and found edges.

    Is a hallmark trait of a noob artist.

    If you want quick, then just do cell shading. it'll look helluva lot better than foggy nothing airbrushing.

    And I would just redo Jaz's whole head because it looks different than in the comic. It's wider. His cheeks look like their full of nuts. lol

  • @Frost-Drive Points taken. Thanks

  • @Frost-Drive said in Critique Request on my comic! Any advice will help:

    lost and found edges

    Here is an example of what I am going for.. would this be in the same category of too much airbrush?


  • @jthomas Very nice work. I currently have similar goals, so kudos to completing your first chapter. There were some items I want to highlight, and I hope you interpret the notes as suggestions from one storyteller to another.

    Page 4

    • The large slab in the background is a piece of furniture, correct? It should be more proportional to the size of the characters.
    • I think you were too quick to jump into the action. There should have been more panels devoted to establishing the child and mother relationship, their situation, and the kid's personality. Where are they returning from and why were they there?
    • Getting your first pet is one of those milestone moments in a person's life. Why did she gift Jaz a pet? To teach him responsibility? Is he lonely? Or did he annoy her for one?
    • The loss of the mother could be more emotionally impactful. For example, you could have had them sit next to each other on a hi-tech couch (I don't think that has ever done in sci-fi). Have body language show a close connection, like her leaning towards her child, petting the animal, picking off animal hair off her kid, etc.
      Or is it the opposite? Do they have a cold relationship? The distance of the chairs help, but more can be done.
    • You should include a scene that helps us understand what kind of person Jaz is. Something that will allow the readers to have emotional investment on him. It always helps to have a character flaw.

    Page 5

    • The intro states there are two travelers, then we see multiple personnel on the ship. Are they on a budget-friendly transport ship? A luxuruous cruise ship? Are there other (doomed) passengers? I think this need to be clarified either through dialogue or background art (more passengers, signs with directions, etc).
    • Why are the personnel running to do their task? Did they already know there was an intruder onboard?

    Page 6:

    • It's an odd choice to have the word "Crack!!!" turned at a 90-degree angle. You could have written the lettering as:

    Page 8-9

    • The chase scenes run too long. Two panels would have worked just a well.
    • Perhaps reserve the dramatic running fx lines for action scenes.

    Page 10

    • I would have liked to have seen Jaz climbing in and out of the drinking gulge pipes. There's opportunity for funny scenes here. Perhaps emphasis how crazy it is for someone to climb into a pipe, like a ship personnel staring with a “!” symbol overhead.
    • Jaz seems very righteous about capturing the antagonist. Did he get that from his mother? Is the mother a security officer? I think this should be mentioned or suggested early in the story.

    Page 12

    • I think the mother rushing into the scene (flip, descending, accelerating?) can be shorten to one or two panels.
    • The flip should be redrawn. I think you're avoided to do a challenging pose. I’d recommend looking up an action movie (I think The Matrix may have the right pose), screenshot a scene with a flip and trace over it.
    • "Help!!!" could have been moved to the last panel on page 11. If you did so, then page 11 ends with a cliffhanger and page 12 would read as her jumping into the scene quick and silent.

    Page 13

    • 1st panel is the money shot. I would recommend devoting either a full or ¾ of a page to this moment. Could use elliptical movement lines and would have liked to have seen the mother's facing the "camera".

    Page 15

    • On page 13, there is a continuity issue. Where we last saw the boy, it looked like he ducked. Then on this page he is flat on his back. Perhaps add a panel here he hits the ground.
    • On the last panel the line of the box is drawn over the character's foot.

    Page 16

    • The boy was on lying on the floor, but was able to walk to the pod as the room is being suctioned? There needs to be scenes of him and the pet struggling to get to the pod. Or have them run to and hide inside the pod during the fight.

    Page 17

    • Jaz’s face could look more emotional; perhaps change the mouth to a shouting pose. I’d recommend watching a movie with a good child actor playing a dramatic scene. Maybe like in Star Trek, when kid Spock was beating up that other Vulcan kid?
    • The panel with the mother could be changed to reflect the emotional moment. Maybe we only see her lips talking to a comms device, her skin lit in orange? Or we don’t see her and Jaz listens to her voice over comms?

    Page 18

    • Could have played up the drama with a black hole. Pod gets pulled in; boy must figure out the controls.
    • The crystal in the pod is the same one from the transport ship? We never saw the thief grab the gem. At the very least, we need to see the antagonist interact with his pod.

    Page 20

    • First panel should be moved to page 19. It'll be more impactful to start a new page with a new location.
    • There should be trees in the establishing shot, so the reader knows it's the same general location.

    Page 21

    • Should show the boy getting out of the pod. Maybe take the time to show how jarred he is and emotionally broken.

    Page 22

    • Is the pet called “Rabbit”, or is the species a rabbit? Whichever it may be, there wasn’t an earlier scene that would indicate either. While you did hint the boy has already chosen a name it seems odd to introduce it here. Especially before the boy tells the animal what its name is.

    As for the 'airbrushing', I think the technique is a fine choice, but you'll need to practice rendering form. I'd recommend you push forward with the next chapter, develop your craft as you make more comics. Hope this helps.

  • @willicreate Thanks for your thorough feedback and this was what I was hoping to receive. High detail on where my weak points in storytelling are.

    A few points.

    *Action scenes
    I was afraid that if I dragged out the initial setup and didn't get into any action I would bore a certain type of reader So I was aiming for a setup that had loose main story points, in the beginning, intentionally making plot holes to fill in the Chapter 2. Things like: How did the Crystal get into the pod? Who is Jaz's mother and why is she so strong? The Rabbit's name and species.

    • The loss of kind of a Red Herring to a degree. Not trying to Trick anyone but she's strong...And resourceful..

    • There were a few points I missed that could have been more humorous. Like the drinking Gulge. Good points!
      All your other points are correct. Thanks for the feedback.

    • I see most of the Questions I left unanswered might not warrant a follow-up in another chapter. Do you feel the same?

    At this stage, I'm not sure if it's worth redoing altogether or moving on to a new book?
    Would it be advantageous to fix these points?

  • @jthomas I personally think the action could start at around four or five. If the story has a good hook and flow, I flip through pages quick. What troubles me is I don’t know who Jaz is as a person. From the first chapter I get his strong sense of justice and can be headstrong, aka a hero type. But what makes Jaz 'human'?

    You don’t have to answer all the questions in chapter two. Having a mystery can foster audience retention. It would be better to allow Jaz to have his adventures before reintroducing the mother. To show how the crystal got into the pod, the easiest thing to do is show the antagonist exit the pod bay and then setup the charge. No dialouge needed.

    Speaking from personal experience, I think you should move on to working on chapter two. It's better to have a draft of a completed story than to risk a project get stuck in development hell.

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