Brett Barkley

Ok. I’m posting critiques, but they’ll have to go up over the course of the day, so if I don’t get to you initially, keep checking back.

Scott – This is just a fantastic page, Scott. I love the layouts and your clever take on the challenge. I think you generally do a VERY solid job of using the white highlights to guide the eye. I’d probably suggest making Storm Shadow’s mask in panel white as well. The reason being we don’t see him remove the mask, so emphasizing it may help build that logical bridge, so we’re not taken out of the story, even for a moment (I did kind of break for a second, just to figure out who the old man was…then saw the mask. I probably should have made this connection with the “crick” in panel 2, but that’s just how it read for me. Panel five is amazing! I love every aspect of it. I think the expressiveness and flow is just spot-on. I think my only real critique would be Snake Eyes in the last panel. I love the wheelchair gag-just love it, but this is your big gotcha panel AND it’s an action panel, so you have a couple things coming together here. I think you lose too much with the action lines. I think you need more Snake Eyes. Additionally, I think he feels a little short. I think you could have pushed this panel a bit more and really brought it all home. I just want to say, though, this is easily the most accomplished page I’ve seen you turn in. I’m SO impressed with how much you’ve grown over the last half year!

Steel – I’m really loving the direction you’ve taken your art. And I think you’re beginning to get more comfortable, or natural, drawing in this style. Keep at it! That said, for a piece showcasing a older, dystopian version of this character, I would have LOVED to have seen more of him! Show us some more of what you can do with his designs, by giving us more of the character. Also, I think it’s going to be tougher to pull this “Old Man” version off, because we don’t know what the guy under his mask looks like anyway… at least I don’t. So, bearing that in mind, I think you needed to show more of his suit and form, to really get at how he’s changed over the years. So get in there and have fun with the designs! Also, your hands have REALLY improved, but this one needs to be bigger. Male figure hands should be thicker and stronger, the fingers less slender. Overall, Steel, this is great, but there needs to be more!

Knight – I had the benefit of knowing you had used the Willem Dafoe version of the Green Goblin for this piece, so I had an advantage the others didn’t. With that said, I can see you used reference, particularly on Norman Osborn’s face. And the green in the background also helps, but I think we needed more information to get a better idea of who you’re updating and re-designing. Just think if you put him in an updated costume, or maybe even (in case you wanted him to be trying, in his advanced years, to fight against the Green Goblin side of his personality–which I like) you could have kept what you’ve got here, but have gone with something like this:

Knight, this is a great outing and I can tell you put a lot of thought in to it…but remember, comics and our art should be fun. Don’t over-think something, when there’s a fun, exciting way to draw it! ENJOY what you’re doing, THEN I think you’ll find your ideas are more fun and energetic for you and the viewer! GREAT WORK!

Joe – Joe, I think it’s great you’re giving the sequential pages a shot! This is great! I’d like to give you a couple of things to keep in mind. Doing sequential work is very much like doing the pin-ups, but you’re doing for multiple panels per page. What I mean is, you’ll have to keep in mind things like solid drawing, using reference (where necessary), perspective, lighting, anatomy…and not to mention story telling! It can be a challenge, but we’re here to help! 🙂 First, what are you drawing your page in? If it’s Photoshop, I have some perspective grids I can send you that would help with getting the perspective right, like in the first panel. I think that would help a lot of your buildings immensely. Additionally, I’d like to see you use some reference for the car. It doesn’t have to be exact, but tighten that up. There are some things I’d suggest about lighting as well, but I’m thinking my first suggestion would be what I suggested with the Long Halloween piece from a while back–you have to block in your rough shapes first…from the figures to the cars and even indications of buildings. I can’t tell you how important this is. You MUST do this and, in turn, work to NOT go in to detail before it’s done…no matter how much you want to. I’m slowly preparing a Youtube channel where I go over this type of thing, but in the meantime, please try to check this tutorial out. It’s not a direct guide for sequential stuff and I didn’t have a lot of background to deal with, but I think it will help you out a lot. Once you block in the forms, you’ll have a better idea of where your positive and negative space will interplay. This will keep you from overloading areas you don’t need filled with detail and leaving blank areas that should have detail (and it will help you determine how to best layout the page). We’re not drawing from life, we’re drawing sequential art, which is kind of an idealized graphic representation of people, scenes or settings. This took me way too long to figure out. But the short of it is, you have a lot of area for creative license, but you just have to make it cohesive, to make it work together. Additionally, something to consider for EACH panel is what is the main and then the secondary objective of that panel. You’re giving some information with each panel, but you’re also doing something else (like leading in to the next panel, building suspense and so forth). The rest is really just down to practice…feeling comfortable drawing something consistently and quickly. I hope this helps and isn’t overwhelming. I know it’s a lot. But GREAT work and keep it up!