In need of some critiques (now with more fruit!).

dane88dane88 Registered User regular
edited May 2013 in Artist's Corner
So I've been lurking for a while on these threads; always reading never posting.
But I think I hit that point where I really need my artwork to get ripped apart if I'm going to get any better.

All I really have to show are a few comics I've been doing over the last few months.

This i just one that I'm fairly happy with. Let me know what's good/bad about it. I'll appreciate any and all help I can get.


Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
dane88 on


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    FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    First and foremost, welcome to the forums, all things said here (at least by me) are ment to be said in good spirit.

    Second and not foremost, what is the end/use of this comic, is it going in a web page, you want to make this regularly, is it an inside joke to post on your facebook/myspace, or whatever personal page?

    Third: Anatomy, anatomy, anatomy. Id say you need to work on that. about the writting, I dont know, each time I comment on someones writting it turns out its some internet inside joke or a meme I am unaware of and I am just ignorant, so Im not going to comment on the writting ( I didnt get the joke ).
    Back to the graphical part of it, yeah, did I mention you should practice some human anatomy? the middle panel you seem to have a superficial knowledge of how comic-books anatomy works, I will asume that second panel was referenced.
    while the chest area seems well proportionate, matching the thighs, and lower legs (except knees), the head looks like it was drawn by someone else, as in, it conflicts with the rest of the body. The right hand is incredibly small and the left arm has some serious forshortening issues.

    Im sure someone will mention the colouring sooner or later, Im terrible with colour so I wont go there either.

    PS: basic anatomy, hands, heads, specially how necks and heads work.

    Yes, with a quick verbal "boom." You take a man's peko, you deny him his dab, all that is left is to rise up and tear down the walls of Jericho with a ".....not!" -TexiKen
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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice!

    And you're absolutely right. The anatomy is atrocious and I need a lot of improvement.
    if you (or anyone) can reccomend some books or exercises I'd really appreciate that too. Well, ones not already in the tutorial sticky.

    Anywho, the joke is just that.
    Terrible. Very terrible.
    The comic itself is something I wanted to do to get better at drawing/writing/in general; getting someone to laugh.
    Experimenting with different styles (often disastrous), coloring, perspective, etc. Anything to help me get better.

    So again, I really appreciate the help. Other than practice, I'm hoping I get a decent amount of critiques to work towards.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    Red_ArremerRed_Arremer Registered User regular
    A few things

    -As said before, anatomy. Some good books to start with would be those by Burne Hogarth and Andrew Loomis. However, figure drawing classes are probably going to help the most.
    -The foreshortening is messed up. The green beam coming from the lantern's arm should be coming towards the viewer. As it is it looks like the beam is shooting from a little nib-arm.
    -Digital painting. Try working things out with a pencil and shading, feeling the 3D forms of things before taking them right to the tablet/drawing program. Maybe practice separately on simple things with the program, as learning to paint well with it will help overall pieces. There's definitely a learning curve with the digital painting (I'm far, far from a good digital painter) so get a feel for it.

    Good luck!

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    So it's been a while and I thought I'd post the latest comic I've made so I can get some more critiques.
    Been working at that anatomy and experimenting with colours as well. Still a long way to go but hopefully it's all in the right direction.



    dane88 on
    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    TPSouTPSou Mr Registered User regular
    I'm not at all an expert, but I really like your newest one, and it made me laugh! In the way of criticism, the only thing I can offer is that the inside of the car roof looks curved, but on the outside it's dead flat. But who knows, that might be on purpose.

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    The WalrusThe Walrus ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Vastly improved.. But I'm not quite sure if that is a giant rat with a tiny seat belt or a regular sized rat with a tinier seat belt. I think the distance is a bit off. But yeah keep at it you are getting better!

    From a non artist.

    http://wreck-age.net Home of your soon to be favorite post-collapse, dystopian, SF Table Top Strategy game & RPG

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    DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    My first suggestion is that you stop working with color for now. That is, unless you're drawing/painting something for the explicit purpose of learning about/experimenting with color.

    Focus on your anatomy, your values, and your perspective. There are plenty of books you can read on these things, but one of the best things you can do is just draw. Draw cubes in perspective. Study the structure and proportions of various body parts, and draw still lifes. Take classes if you can - if nothing else, it'll help you keep at it. Kind of like having a friend to go to the gym with.

    And don't cut corners - It will only hurt you in the end. The skeleton and muscular structures can be really intimidating to look at and if you're
    anything like me, you're gonna brush all of that shit aside out of laziness. Try to break it down one bit at a time.

    Most importantly, don't allow your studies to take away your enthusiasm for drawing. Draw something for yourself once in a while.

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular

    TP - I'm glad I got a laugh out of you! The curved inside is pretty distracting, huh? It wasn't intentional, just a big mess up on my end.

    Walrus - Thanks for the kind words. And it's a normal sized rat with a tiny seat belt. I thought that would be entertaining but if it's not working I'll file that away for future comics.

    DDV- I think I'm going to continue to work with my coloring through these comics. I have plenty of sketches and drawings in my notebook that I avoid coloring. That's where I practice a lot of the anatomy.

    You're 100% right about the lack of anatomy/structure and the weak perspective. I do practice these things so I suppose it's a matter of perseverance and getting critiques.

    I'd love to take some classes once I get some things irl sorted out, but for now I use a website (Random Pose Generator) to practice anatomy and gesture. If there's something I'm having particular trouble with I just Google Image it and use 100 different references, as well.

    I'll try to post some of the sketches I do as practice to get those critiqued at some point.

    Thanks again, all.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    So it's been a very long time since I've posted ANYTHING...

    But I have been practicing and am ready to get told howpoorlymyartlooks-COUGH- critiqued again.

    So here goes.

    This would be my latest comic

    Some things I'd like to know SPECIFICALLY would be:
    What are some ways to get less jagged lines? It always seems like my tablet picks up every minor twitch in my hand as I do the inks.

    Speaking of inking-that is another area I suffer. What do you guys do to practice?
    I'm guessing crack open a notebook and draw strictly in sharpie? Leaving your mistakes as-is to stare you in the face. Laughing. MOCKING ME....whoah time to calm down

    Lastly: coloring.
    Help. Me.
    I really try to stick to a light source, not simply use opacity but also flow and hardness. Maybe I'm just a rookie with photoshop (which indeed I am) but the coloring always looks...so...bleh.

    Also, here are some sketches I do as practice so you guys can see what my process is.

    And I suppose that's it for now.
    Thanks in advance for any comments.

    Can someone help me with image resizing?
    Everything ends up too big. That's why I left the sketches as links.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    This is not insanely deep comic advice, but i'd suggest using gutters. I don't know if it's a personal choice or if you just haven't given it any thought, but gutters, some space between the different panels, give the audience a bit of a breather and allow each panel to come to its own much better. It also communicats shifts in perspective a bit more clearly i think. So that would mean some white space above, below and between the panels. Check out virtually any comic strip out there to see what i mean. gutterless comics always reminds me of the mid/late nineties comics.
    Like this:
    (in this case i guess the gutter could've also been black, but white is standard.)

    I wouldn't allot so much space to my huge signature. if you want your signature to serve it's purpose, have people recognize something as being from you, perhaps think about including your real name or URL. That way people will be able to find you if they catch a comic floating around on the tubes. Check out how other comics do it.

    Also, i resized the back wheel of the car a bit. It appeared to be smaller than the front wheel due to perspective errors. Google/ youtube for two-point perspective and you'll get tons of easy to follow videos and tutorials on that. It's quite easy and will really help your drawings and confidence. this is important stuff.

    colouring: perhaps move away from the soft brush and go for some flat colours/ blocking in/ cell shade style colors? because right now there's a huge difference between the hard edged lines and the soft fluffy color zones. (omg, this forum autocorrects colour into color!)
    Or just do flat colors. 1 shirt one colour, ditching the complicated light stuff. That way you can focus on the colour schemes and the actual drawing of the comic. Many webcomics started out with flat colouring and as the artist evolved it got more complicated (PA, pvp... ).

    In the old posts above you mentioned anatomy problems. One book that helped me out a lot (i've been digesting it for the past year and a half now...) is Jack Hampton's Figure Drawing: design and invention. But, to apply this method correctly it REALLY helps out if you know a bit of perspective. this goes for pretty much any anatomy stuff.

    Your lines are pretty wobbly. EIther this is a choice or a lack of experience/ confidence. Zooming in a lot to draw your lines may help (i always see Gabe recommending people to zoom in AL LOT). Or, alternatively, sketch it out in pencil before going digital. I notice in your older comics that you do some lines "chicken scratch" style where a line is compromised of many small lines, and some lines more bolder. Be aware of the difference they both communicate and i suggest you'd choose.

    Hope i'm not overwhelming you with nitpickings, but you seem interested in improving. Keep it up.
    (also, this is almost a bit of a cliché to say here but: draw from life. Practicing 2 point perspective and afterwords messing about drawing some papercraft cubes set up in front of you really helps).

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Glad: Thanks so much for the critique.
    I never gave the gutters much of a thought but you're right. It gives a chance for each panel to hold it's own.

    As far as perspective goes, I'm aware it exists and try to incorporate it, like with the car. But knowing about perspective and correctly executing it are two separate endeavors. I'll just keep plugging away at simple shapes with one, two, and three point perspective and gradually try to draw more complex shapes over time.

    Colouring; man you were a lot nicer to me than what I thought I deserved. I think I can handle sticking to flat colors for now. Maybe i'll try to throw in some shading to show depth every now and then until I can get it to look "right."
    Any books or practice methods you can recommend for someone trying to get better at colouring?

    For anatomy, I've been practicing for about from a few books.
    One being an older book "An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists"
    Another being "Figure Drawing" by Burne Hogarth (I see tons of people recommending this one).
    Lastly I have one that leans a little towards cartooning - "Drawing the Head and Figure" by Jack Hamm.
    They're all informative and I'm always happy to add to my collection to pull techniques from.

    Lastly my wobbly inking lines...are indeed wobbly. I'll try zooming in to extreme amounts. I know part of the problem is confidence. The other part is a mystery to me. In a sketchbook, my lines don't appear wobbly but on photoshop, that stylus picks up every minor movement my hand makes.
    I'll see how sketching it out on paper first goes for me, then transfer it over to digital.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to critique my stuff. It's always appreciated and never overwhelming.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    On colouring: this was one of my main weak spots for years. I improved a lot because i do a lot of gouache painting, and in painting it's easier to work within a restricted palette (by leaving my other paints in the closet). So basically restricting the colours you use should help out. If you want more on colour, check out James Gurney's blog. if you google for the posts on gamut mapping you'll get some interesting stuff. Mind you, it's all quite elaborate, but i think just reading about it helps the idea of restricting a colourspace. Just regularly returning to Gurney's blog and browsing his archives is an awesome way to get to know colour theory.
    It's insanely detailed at times, and many of the applications will be beyond your (and mine) aspirations/ talents, but that blog still is the best thing about colour available out there. There also is an amazing book, but the blog covers almost everything.

    on anatomy, Stan Prokopenko is going to release a series of anatomy video tutorials online. The videos on his youtube channel are very well-produced and also very free. Perhaps the portrait series he's already done could offer you some new insights for comic stuff.

    on the wobbly lines, take some time to check out videos of other comic artists doing their thing. I know Gabe sometimes ustreams his process, i'm sure many others do the same. That way you can check out how much attention they give their lines.

    Looking forward to seeing more of your stuff!

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    squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    Please please please get rid of the Comic Sans and hand letter or get a decent lettering font from Blambot or something; I can't even objectively evaluate the comic because all I can see is that font.

    I agree with pretty much everything Glad Hatter said, particularly about gutters. If you don't want white gutters than use broader black gutters; just get away from those slim dividing lines.

    On coloring: yours is very smudgey and does very little to describe forms, but mostly yes you also need to study lighting. The lights in that one are putting orange smudges on a white car; light sources do not make things darker. At the same time, white things are not actually, objectively white in the dark. Second the Gurney recommendation; he's fantastic at color.

    Keep at it. :^:

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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited March 2013
    Quick dirty thing to exemplify what everyone has already said so perfectly:

    I don't recommend working with color-layers in the long run though. It's generally much better if you get used to doing the flat colours first and then use coloured brushes to do your values (i.e: on a sunny beach you will want to make things lighter with a very light orangy colour and stuff darker with a very dark blue)

    m3nace on
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    jwaddjwadd Registered User regular
    damn menace good job

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    The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter One Sly Fox Underneath a Groovy HatRegistered User regular
    The colour stuff Menace mentioned in his awesome post/paintover is covered in great detail in the gurney book/blog. Great point on mentioning the sky as a coloured lightsource.

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Holy shit.

    Thank you all so much for your input.
    I mean really, from the font to the terrible colours and the gutters, you've all helped me out more than you can comprehend.

    Clearly I have a lot of practice ahead of me when it comes to getting the colours to look right.
    Menace-you consider that a quick-dirty correction but my jaw hit the floor when I opened this. Thank you.

    I think I will stick to using flats (as you've all recommended) before posting something of an honest attempt at colours/lighting/values, etc.
    I try to stay away from embarrassing myself too much on these forums.

    Again though, thanks to all for the much needed input.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Wait, embarrassing oneself is not the purpose of posting on these forums!? I feel cheated!

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Alright so here I go again taking a stab at all the suggestions I was given.


    Zooming in to 125% or more made a big difference in my opinion. I really like how the lines turned out.

    I dug around for a different font as well. I settled on this one because...well...it appealed to me. And now after using it for the last three weeks it definitely makes for a smoother reading experience, at least for me.
    If that even makes any sense.

    And lastly, the colours.
    I wanted to go for a "Spring" feeling, kind-of sort-of. Not sure if I accomplished that.
    Still incredibly novice when it comes to colouring. I think I'm making steps in the right direction.
    I was muttering to myself "warm light, cool shadow. Cool light, warm shadow" the whole time I coloured this. Hopefully I don't have that backwards.

    Or incorrect altogether.

    Pick away at this here example and let me know what I need to do better.

    I always appreciate this community's feedback.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    So not too much feedback from the last one. I suppose no news is good news.

    Maybe I can get some critiques with this one.


    I tried just using flat colours. It definitely took less time but I kept getting this weird halo effect.
    The elk was used from reference. Except the horns. Those were referenced from the preserve I visited.

    And now that I'm looking at the fence I think I seriously butchered the perspective. That 'T' in the third panel is looking too big...

    Damn hindsight.

    So what do you guys see that needs improvement?

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Still no critiques. So i'll try something else.
    How about...FRUIT!


    First try at digital paint. Actually, first try at doing value studies. I now understand why everyone says "paint fruit, draw an egg, etc." Even this was a challenge. For some reason the bananas were the worst.

    Both to spell and to paint.

    So why this? I've been lurking on the Noah's Art Camp thread; completely mesmerized by how awesome everyone is. I thought I'd follow along and try to do what you guys are doing.

    So what do you think? Am I on the right track or is this pretty awful?

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    MuddyParasolMuddyParasol Registered User regular
    No crits here but I wanted to say reading your last two comics and seeing your fruit studies I think you have taken a big leap forward. Everything looks cleaner and more confident.

    Your hard work is paying off. Don't stop. Keep working hard.

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    Red RaevynRed Raevyn because I only take Bubble Baths Registered User regular
    I don't get the elk comic, humorwise. I get that it's a joke about pills having blackoutish side effects, but I don't know who is talking in the first panel or which word balloon comes first. The mouse seems to have lost his tail, ears and possibly front legs as a silhouette in that third panel, and I agree that the perspective is off with that fence. Also, whereas you drew fairly accurately in the road-rage conversation comic, in the last couple you have a case of anime mouth (warning: tvtropes link) going on. That can be a stylistic choice, but make sure you're doing it purposefully and not because you aren't sure how to draw it realistically.

    On the springtime litterbox comic, are you doing your shadows with a single color? It looks like the shadows are all the same color, on the mouse, grass and sand. It shouldn't be a transparent overlay of some color, it should be a different color that is the shadow. The color studies thread from last month would be a great place to get a handle on this.

    The other thing about the shading is that it looks like you are doing it last on a single layer on top - are you using layers to paint? If you are, I'd advise shading the back/middle/foreground separately and behind the layers in front of them. If you are doing these on a single layer, you need to finish the background before you move forward. Otherwise you get the effect in the grass in panel 2, where the shading stops near all the edges (of panel, sky, mouse), giving it a weird highlight effects.

    I'd think about solidifying the text boxes as well, so that their horizontal and vertical sides are straight or a single curve. They are a lot better than before, but they still look like they've been bouncing around the UPS truck. Finally, in p1 of that litterbox comic I really like the mouse's pose, but then in p4 he's lost his hips and is doing some kind of high-fashion catwalk strut.

    Big big improvements so far though, good work.

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    dane88dane88 Registered User regular
    Muddy: Thanks for the kind words, man.

    Red: You're right. The Elk comic isn't very good. I can see the confusion and just the flat-out lack of a punchline. And the silhouette was suppose to the be the Elk. So yeah, I managed to butcher all 3 panels. The hell was I thinking...

    As far the mouths, that was by choice. I wanted this to look more like a cartoon and less realistic so over time I've slowly changed the appearance. I like drawing realistic anatomy/gesture/expressions, etc. when I'm practicing in my sketchbook though.

    I'll have to dig through the colour studies thread from last month. I'm in terrible need of getting better in that area. That's why the shading was all done in one colour. I'm not sure what I was thinking, looking back.

    And I'll keep plugging away at the text boxes. I think I'll try sketching them out first then inking them zoomed-in.

    Thanks for the critique. I do appreciate it.

    Link to where I post the doodles and comics. http://capandgowncomic.blogspot.com/
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    kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    You're in that stage of drawing where there's a lot of things that are all off, simultaneously. For your value studies the proportions, the edge quality, as well as the values are off. The good news is that you're already visibly improving, and with every exercise you do you'll improve even more, on all fronts. Keep doing those studies, and mix them up with BW photos, as well as working straight into colour. You don't have to spend more than 15-20 mins on them apiece to just rough them out. I put those things off for a long time because I dismissed them as boring copying work, but it honestly helps you develop massively. You're doing great, keep it up.

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