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New-ish webcomic, looking for criticism

TheRadiantOnesTheRadiantOnes Registered User
edited April 2011 in Artist's Corner
Hi, I'm new to these forums (obviously), and am looking for some critique on my webcomic. Honestly, I was originally coming here to hawk my comic, but after looking around a bit, it looks like this could be a much more valuable resource, in that people are willing to give real criticism.

Some context:
-It's a longform comic, told in scenes, rather than pages, as we didn't want our pacing dictated by needing a "punch" on each page, though that doesn't mean they're without any.
-It's a science fiction piece, set in the post-post-apocalypse (as we like to call it): essentially, this is during the second phase of rebuilding civilization after WW#(you get the idea), where there are a lot of things that are the same and different (we're interested in exploring this more, as we have space for it in diegetic world materials.

What I'm looking for, in terms of criticism:
-What I can do to the images to improve them? Especially, if it's the smaller tweaks (given that I've done about 160 pages, saying "stark black and white would work better" may be honest, but not all that helpful, while "you should use a different layer type for your colors" would be frustrating, but helpful), especially if you can reference examples from others' work of anything less obvious
-Suggestions with layout are appreciated: this is something I can change, with some work, and an area where I feel less confident.
-Suggestions with pacing or the website… this obviously requires going to site and reading more of the comic, so, here's the link, if you want to go that extra mile.
-Anything else (other criticism and, if deserving, praise, is always appreciated)

Thanks in advance, and now for some samples (in chronological order):

TheRadiantOnes on


  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Wow, your comic looks really ambitious!
    There's a lot of good stuff there, but i think with some back-to-basics tweaking it would really shine.

    This is the biggest cliché ever on art forums, but your fundamentals could use some work. You're clearly putting a lot of effort in, and it's clear that you're using a box-like model to shape your faces, but i think your model could use a bit of tweaking. mainly the chin/ cheek area is distracting when shown in profile. i think just peeking at a loomis/whatever face diagram would give you a better grasp at some of the planes.

    Also, in that last spoilered shot the perspective seems a bit weird to me. Looks like you started at the bottom, all high in the air, giving us a clear overview of the ambulance and firefighters, but when i pan up to the house, i can't even look over it's roof, therefore implying that the roof is higher than my own viewpoint. To me, the house almost seemed as high as the mountains... To me it looked as tough you tried to combine a bird's eye viewpoint for the firetrucks with a low and impressive shot of the house. Perhaps the latter would've sufficed for the impact.

    Also, while i kinda like the dark look it gives your comic, if you ever want to achieve some more lifelike-colours, try using something other than black for shading. There are various contrasting shades available to add some more life to shadows, should you want to. Because i kinda like the dark in some shots, altough it bugged me in the wel-lit desktop shot...

    Also, the speech bubbles seem a bit to thin and chaotically shaped for my liking. I found myself not feeling like reading the text, which is a shame, because the writing seemed to be okay.

    anyhoo, lookin' pretty good...

    The_Glad_Hatter on
  • TheRadiantOnesTheRadiantOnes Registered User
    edited April 2011
    re: facial structure, yeah, I've been working on that area of the face for a while, and it still is a source of frustration- I've looked at other reference sources, but hadn't looked at Loomis- those look good, thanks for the reference.

    re: perspective, I think I'm okay with the occasional odd perspective. I was going for a slight fisheye look, I guess it didn't get across, but there are points where I'm fine with reality not being wholly intact: illustration (for me) is getting the message across, not reproducing it exactly (my training is in photography, and it took a while to loosen up…)

    re: black shading… not sure about this one. I've considered more color-theory based shading, but the biggest concern I have is, how much this might effect the time it takes for me to illustrate. Right now, I'm doing about a page every other day, and that's already pretty taxing.

    re: speech bubbles… I dunno. We haven't gotten many comments about them making it problematic to read. If it becomes a regular thing, we'll definitely switch it out for a more standard style, but for now, it's a stylistic thing, which hopefully won't hurt the legibility much.

    Thanks for the feedback!

    TheRadiantOnes on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Glad hatter covered everything that I would note, But I'd like to echo some things about the coloring. I don't know what program you are using in particular, but you might want to try some softer brushes. Right now it sort of has the feel of a chaotic marker drawing. Do some smoothing and throw a little blue or red into the shadows.
    (the right is just sorta how you can quickly smooth out the surfaces and start seeing the shape with light, the left is the same thing with edges.)

    Your face structure is the weakest around the eyes, which is another seres of indents and protrusions to interpret, and your skull shape, which is flattening out in the back.

    Iruka on
  • TheRadiantOnesTheRadiantOnes Registered User
    edited April 2011
    It's… really unnerving to see my work manipulated like that. Thanks for the tips, though- I can see what you mean about eye structure and color… the eye structure seems like the more immediate concern, and I'll probably work on the shadow colors more when revising (much of the comic has gone through a revision already)

    The smoothing thing is partially a product of my darker shading not being as fine-tuned, and I was already planning a revision of that (looking back, I'm pretty happy with the rest of the shading in the ones I showed above). I'm happy with some roughness, as it gives personality to the image/style, but I agree that the shading was a bit choppy on those pages.

    Thanks again for the feedback (seriously, guys… the two above comments are more than I've gotten out of just about anyone I've asked).

    TheRadiantOnes on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Paint overs are really the easiest way to explain stuff, sorry if it threw you off. The shading works fine on like, that panel at the desk, but trying to get it under control is going to benefit you a bunch.

    Iruka on
  • TheRadiantOnesTheRadiantOnes Registered User
    edited April 2011
    No worries, the eyes/mouth were just a bit alarming, since I tend to draw them a little undersized, and you went a little oversized in the back. And you're right about the sketch helping visualize some of that stuff. And yeah, I still am having some trouble with heavy shading coming out a little clunky.

    I'm still redoing a number of pages (the combination of a faster computer (i.e. one that doesn't lag for a second between strokes) and bigger tablet hugely impacted my work, and I'm getting everything consistent with the new equipment and extra experience, so pointers like this are really helpful for improving both the past work and the new stuff. (In other words, thanks: since the art's still malleable, criticism is more useful than "this is what you did wrong.")

    TheRadiantOnes on
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