Brett Barkley

My Achievements


It looks like Steel was true to his word and this was indeed his battlefield. And I want to make certain everyone knows that Steel lost his first piece and then completely fought back, saying he’d make the second one even better. What a great show of determination and what a vindication for you, Steel, to have come back from what could have defeated you and to have won! Congratulations, Steel! All Might would truly be proud. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Scott – This one got my vote. I really liked your work on this. I apologize for not knowing the characters, so I’ll just refer to them as male and female. I thought the female character had a very nice style and was consistent and recognizable throughout. The male character, at times, could be difficult to read (in panels 2, 5 and 6). I’ve tried to consider what the issue is and I’ve wondered if it’s the gray tone, but I don’t think that’s the issue. I think it’s that, at times, you’re a little inconsistent with how you weight the foreground and background characters. I think the black in the background can compete with the characters a bit more than you’d want for a manga, which is generally supposed to be read more quickly than Western books(This was a struggle for me). I went back and forth comparing your original roughs with the finished work and that’s the conclusion I came to. Maybe trying to keep the heavier line work and toning on the figures would have helped a bit. Our eyes generally go to the areas of contrast first. But in all I really like the energy of this page and I love the storytelling.

Steel – FANTASTIC work! Steel I could tell you love the subject matter, because you put so much effort in to the piece. I have a couple suggestions on a piece I worked up below. First, I give some suggestions on how you structure the foreshortening of the leg. I want you to think of the upper leg as a cylinder. Simple, right? Then think of the lower leg as another cylinder. If you can get the general idea down, you won’t run in to trouble when you add the musculature–It just becomes padding on that cylinder shape. I also shrank All Might’s head. He is giant. This is one way of making that come across a little more clearly. And finally, I lightened the background a bit. I think this helps your image. Always remember the focus of the image or panel. THAT is what gets the most weight (either by line work, by contrast, or by color saturation. Think of it like this: what you spend the most time on, put the most work in to, is more than likely your focus).

Knight – Great framing and a strong shot! I think you could get a little more power out of the image by cropping it a bit and by lightening the buildings. I know you put a TON of time in to drawing those windows, but they get lost. And the figured getting slammed to the ground gets lost as well. Color can be tricky. But try to think of it like this: You generally don’t want to have BOTH the background and the foreground darker or more saturated when you’re coloring. Try to make one darker/more saturated and the other lighter/less saturated. You want the thing we’re supposed to be focusing on to really pop. I also redrew how the figure on the ground’s left arm is angled. Before, it was pointing off-screen. We don’t want that. I angled it back in to the focus of the image. Here on some of my thoughts:

And for something new that I found recently and may be of help to you all, I’ve found some of Alex Toth’s rules for art. He was a brilliant artist and I hope it can help a bit, particularly in light of some of what I mention above.

Alex Toth’s Rules

-Eliminate the superfluous, the unnecessary. Be lazy!
-Edit your art continuously, at every stage. Save work!
-Focus on the remaining (important) picture elements.
-Emphasize what is important in a scene. Save drawing!
-Isolate such key elements (as one does in a view finder).
-Closeups only when needed: face(s)-for mood and expression, and objects-small, difficult to distinguish in other ways.
-To set a scene, a place, to establish a locate, etc., go to a wide shot, angles okay (down/up, etc.)-but again, simply!
-Then, cut to tighter shots-pace them, for interest, etc….(wide/one shot/two shot/group/close-up/tight close-up).
-Establish light source, if need be, for dramatic mood and for blacks, drop shadows, etc., on figures & objects and walks, as correctly placed as you can make ’em!
-Eliminate such light/shadow work in other shots.
-Simplify, simplify, simplify, throughout!
-Remember, some scenes will and must be pedestrian, unimportant, and dull- because they are “bridges” between key storytelling scenes. As in any story telling form, movies, TV, books, plays, music, opera, painting, etc., you can’t knock ’em dead with every shot. Remember, this is what gives pace to a story, visual commas and periods in a pictorial “paragraph” or “sentence”! These are the resting places in an otherwise moving storm! Use them! Without fear!
-Some such “rests” or “pauses” can be heightened in pictorial interest by way of a pretty scene of quiet mood-if your locale allows! Don’t stretch logic to do it!
-By learning to eliminate unnecessary objects, figures, and background, etc., you can focus on what is left to draw in the shot-and draw it well enough to “carry” the shot!
-In other words: strip it all down to essentials and draw the hell out of what is left!
-All of this advice is based on Roy Crane’s critiques of my work-and he is absolutely correct, on all points!
-In the Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy strips and in Buz Sawyer, with Sundays focused on pal Roscoe Sweeny, his work of fifty-odd years demonstrates its validity! in his work, as in no other of his contemporaries’ offerings, you will find an extraordinary sense of balance, in his design of space within a panel frame, a strip, or a page! His simplicity allows us to see the use of shapes within his pictures, how they create tension, action or repose…clearly!
He avoided confusing details!
-To quote something just read: “To add to truth only subtracts from it!!! (Isn’t that beautifully put?)
-Authentic devices, objects, machines, locales, furniture, buildings, etc….to lend credibility!
-As Sickles put it: “Understand how a thing is built and you’ll have no trouble drawing it through!”
-Spend more time thinking-about what and what not to draw, and how-and you’ll do less drawing!
-Pre-plan, pre-think…Thus, save work and time!
-But-whatever you do, do it well!
-Tell the story as best you can! Bend to that storm!
-Be honest to it. Give it all you’ve got! Enhance it!
-Study films, photographs, paintings, etc. for composition! For cutting, cropping out of nonessentials, pacing, punch, economy, forceful and direct impact. But also for beauty and subtlety-tension, suspense, action, humor, light and dark, balance, line vs. mass, ad infinitum! Use it all!
-Analyze everything you see-be critical! Positively so!
-See-observe-remember! Build up your memory file!

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