Brett Barkley

Some critiques for this week:

Scott – I love the inking and tones. I also think figure construction (with one minor point) and movement is spot-on. There’s a weight to these figures, especially Batman that really works. I’m also really impressed with the expressiveness you brought to this piece. For the figure work, this is one of my favorites of yours. There are a couple minor tweaks I’d recommend. First, Batman’s left upper arm is too long. Measure your own arm to see where your elbow comes…even when throwing a massive uppercut. I always recommend using body points to cross reference and compare, just to keep everything in proportion. Also, I know you had been working with trying to move his left leg forward. If you’re wanting to exaggerate the foreshortening, I’d recommend lengthening the lower leg (the segment of the leg closest to the viewer), or exaggerating its length more than the thigh. I think everything else with the figures is great. I’d recommend doing something more to the background, though. First, I think you need to keep Batman’s feet disconnected from the buildings in the back. He’s in the air and nothing says “in the air” more than having the figure disconnected from gutters, edge of the page and the background structures. I think this is a great step forward for you, Scott. Great job!

Steel – This a great iconic pose! I really like your composition. Look at how you keep the image weighted, with the building on the right and lower right sides of the frame. This does a great job of offering contrast with the sky and does a FANTASTIC job of framing Batman. FANTASTIC WORK! In terms of areas of opportunity for improvement, I think you can start working more on simple anatomy. I believe you’d help yourself by doing more in the actual drawing phase and NOT moving on inks, and certainly not colors, so quickly. I think you need to nail down some of the basics of the figure and cloth, like the cape, for instance. I can’t emphasize how important this is at this phase in your growth. This becomes even more apparent in the line work for the gargoyle, where instead of lines demonstrating forms, there just seems to be a lot of random lines with no reason. Also, try to find reference for your things. I DO NOT think it’s a good idea to chain yourself to reference, to have to use it for everything. But I do think it’s a good idea to draw costumes accurately, or maybe to get an idea of how a gargoyle works and attaches to a building. I think it would help a lot. All this said, I’m really impressed with your growth, Steel. But it’s time to start guiding your growth in a more disciplined, informed, way…THEN you’ll be free to break the rules and take your art in whatever direction you’d like!

Knight – For a very rough piece, I like where you’ve started this. I think this is a pretty decent pose and you did a great job framing Batman’s head with the composition of the building in the background. That said, if Batman’s head (or whatever you choose to guide the viewer’s eye to) is a focal point , it HAS to be really solid. I know you were trying to strip down your work this time and that we are working on posing, figure work and detail, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to put time and effort in to getting the details right(anatomy/perspective/light and shadow). Again, I think this is a good start. Let’s work on taking the next Art Clash even further!

David – I really like the piece you submitted. As I mentioned above, I like the separation of planes and how you used grays to push the background back. I like the face and I like the hatching on the face. You did a great job of focusing the eye on the face. I know this piece was a little more rushed than you would have liked, but I feels a little looser than the Batman vs Freeze piece you’d been working on. And I think it works a little better. I think the proportions of the first piece feel a little more superheroic…maybe that’s it. I’d be curious to know how you rough/gesture out the figures when you begin a piece. If it would interest you, something that works for me, in terms of keeping a sort of looseness in the figure work, is to use a carpenter pencil, or rectangular drawing pencil, something not too dark (maybe 2B at most) and just gesture in the forms (not anatomy or detail in any way–just general blocks for where things go). I used to just go straight to trying to do general anatomy and figure work, but this has really helped me keep my forms a little more fluid and it seems to encourage superheroic-style exaggeration (thought I’m trying to push it more), because I’m not worried about figuring out anatomy when I’m doing layouts. It keeps everything in its place and takes the stress off of trying to figure everything out at once, I guess. Just a thought.

That’s all for this week. I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with next week!