Monday, December 10, 2007

Update: Wizard World Texas Portfolio Samples and notes

(If you just want to see my artwork as well as the following critiques and could care less about my explanation for my long absence from blogging land, then just skip the next few paragraphs. And please....ignore the numerous typos. ;))

Hey, sorry for the long looooooooong leave of absence. Due to the fact that I haven't had acess to a working scanner/printer(until today, thanks to my friend Will Terrel :) ) and also due to the fact that life has just been....busy(studying, working on portfolio samples, Wizard Wold, a vacation to Hawaii, and working full time at Sams club), I haven't been keeping up with anything online. But now I'm going to start making the time to at least give a brief update every week. :)

About three weeks ago, I attended the Wizard World Texas convention in Arlington, Texas with my friends Will, and Luis. It seems that the entire Lubbock comicbook community(Radio Free Metropolis radio host guys, some Sketch Club people, and the Star Books and Comics guys) made the journey down to the convention and a fun time was had by all. I'll try to go into more detail about the convention experience in my next post once I uplod the photos from my digital camera. But for right now...

I took my portfolio and a notebook for critiques to the WWTexas convention and did my best to keep a detailed report on who said what about my artwork and what I needed to improve. I did three different samples this time: a four page Huntress sample, a three page Batman Sample, and a three page X-Men sample. I ran around the convention floor the entire November weekend trying to get various artists to review my portfolio and to rip me a new one with whatever they felt really needed to be improved upon. It was a humbling experience. I had worked on my samples, feeling as if I had really made a big improvement in my artwork and I went away from the convention realizing that I still have aLOT to work on.

So, for the enjoyment of the two people who probably read this blog, I thought Id post my portfolio and my critique notes for your entertainment and pretend interests. ;) If you have anything extra to add, feel free to leave me a comment. Praise AND flames are both welcome.

(NOTE:Click picture for larger image)

BOP/Huntress Sample
script by Gail Simone

Batman Sample
Script from

Ultimate X-men Sample
Script by Brian K. Vaughn

The critiques(in the order that they were received)

Mitch Brietweiser:
*Pages are overly detailed. Put less detail in the background and economize panels.
*Anatomy is a little stiff
*Cleanup artwork and tighten pencils. Tips:use Interior Design perspective grids. Draw on back of bristol board with the lightbox.

Ethan Van Sciver:

*It's still going to be about two or three years before your ready to work in mainstream comics. Theres a lot of improvement from last time, but it'll still be 2-3 years.
*Figures are stiff.
*Artwork is muddied.
*Action should take up entire page. Huntress pg1 panel 1, X-men pg 1 pn.2, and Xmen pg.2 pn.5 for example, theres a LOT of wasted negative space that the action should have taken up. Work on making action sweep entire panel. Work on dynamics. Xmen sample page 3 panel three is a good example of covering the entire panel with action.
*Your good at backgrounds and at establishing, but your overestablishing. Huntress page 1 pn. 2. Focus more on the important parts of the scene. You could have just zoomed in on the gun going through the window.
*Your at a point now where you really should be using photorefrencing faces.
*I've seen your portfolio alot of times at Megacon and that head(Batman pg.3 pn.4)--I don't like that head. Never draw that head again! :P It's to bulbous...correct it.

Joe Benitez:
*Work on your anatomy. Study "Brigmans"
*Move "camera" angles for more drama.
*Use reference on backgrounds.
*Work on Dynamics
*After awhile, go back and look at your work for mistakes. If your old work seems bad and it's easier to spot your mistakes, then you'll know that your getting better.

Kody Chamberlain (with input by Michael Lark):
*Use photo reference for your figures and anatomy.
*Draw all important details within the "live area" of the prelined bristol board.
*You lose the form at times. Erase your rough drawing completely.
*Your brain is not involved in the procress. Learn to excluse it and just draw what you see--not what you think you see.

Editor w/ Viper Comics:
*Work on proportions.
*characters are stiff.
*Vary body types--not everyone has to be muscular.

Tommy Castillo:
*Study anatomy.
*Work on page design. The page should flow in a 'z' patter. Leading the eye through the entire page ans into the next.
*Watch for tangents in artwork.
*Get more training. Draw through "Bridgmans Complete Guide to Anatomy" and Andrew Loomis' "Figure Drawing for all it's worth and draw through them two or three times and get a skull or plaster cast to study.
*You need to start developing your own style. Right now I can see where alot of your influences come from and thats great--but find your own voice. Your style varies to much and your straddling being cartooney and realistic. Now you need to decide which was to go.

Angel Medina:
*Keep working on turning out sample pages. If your artwork has improved this much in a short period of time, then your mistakes will hammer themselves out.
*Take whateveryone tells you at this convention with a grain of salt and don't let what they say take your focus off of trying to turn out as many pages as possible. I could tell you alot of thing to work on here, but in a few months it won't matter and the problems will have corrected themselves.

Adam Kubert:
*Your figures are stiff. Take as many life drawing classes as you can. Drawing from life is an essential part of any artists' training.
-Assignment: Take 5 pieces of paper of any type--notebook paper, napkin, printer paper, contructionpaper, stationary, etc--and fill each sheet of paper up completely with figure drawings from life(from beach, cafe, school, work--anywhere). Back AND front. Leave as little black space on the page as possible.
*Watchout for tangents--Huntress pg.3 panels four and five-the staircase rail goes right into the couch and gun on the next panel. Be more consious of your layouts and avoid this as mush as possible.
*Mix up character sizes. Vary their size from panel to panel.
*On Pg.1 panel five on the Batman sample you could have overlapped the falling Two Face with the building
to add more depth to the panel.
*When showing portfolio smples, it's important to fill in the black areas and make your portfolio look as polished as possible. you can take the little shortcuts and leave spotting blacks up to your inker(if you so choose.) once you've got the job.
*there are alot of panels where you should have zoomed in on your characters to add emphasis and dynamics to the scene.
*great background detail.

Topcow Editor Filip Sablik:
*Work on your rendering
*Maximize your layouts and your panels. Make characters lager in certain panels and vary sizes.
*You have anatomy issues. Work on them.
*Try to focus more on your finished pencils than on your layouts and try to maintain as much energy in your final art as you can.

James O'Barr:
*Work on your storytelling and page design--see michael Golden while your at this convention if you want tips from a real master.

Humberto Ramos:
*Your anatomy needs work.
*Work on your heads. they're a little to rounded out on some panels.
*Keep turning out pages and keep working on your samples.

Mark Silvestri:
*Work on making your art more dynamic.
*Study and pay closer attentio to your anatomy.
*Figures should have been bigger in certain panels.
*Anything black will come forward--remember that rule when working in comics. Throw some blacks on or behind your characters and it will make them pop and bring some depth to your page.
*Work on spatial variety.
*Work on your storytelling.
*On your figures/chracters--focus more on body roation and fluidity. Again, make them as dynamic as you can.
*Pull back on your backgrounds--you show alot more than you need to.
*Loosen up on your layouts, it will suck all the energy out of your final artwork if your not careful.
*keep submitting your samples.

Michael Golden:
*You need to work on making your work more bold and Dynamic.
*Lost dynamics on Huntress sample page 3 panel 4 and pulled back to far. Gun should have been more prominent in the panel. I barely noticed it. Panel 5-throw shadows on the fore figure to add depth.
*Huntress sample page 4 panel 2-panel could have been a close up on Huntress and the smiling thug and on panel 4 you could have zoomed out.
-in Panel 6 you need to work on the rendering. Throw some shadows on the couch.
*Batman sample page 1 panel 5-you could have added up-lighting from the streets below to create shadows on the building and make the panel more dramatic.
*Batman sample page 2 panel 2-you could have added more motion lines to indicate mpore clearly that that Batman and Two face were falling.

-Panel 1 is a good example of a dramatic and dynamic camera angle. Good work! But again, you could have added some dramatic lighting caused by the city lights below to indicate more clearly that it's night.
*Batman Sample pg3 panel 4-instead of creating a'halo' of light around Batman to separate his black costume from the black backgroung, you could have just let them blend together to creat more of a mood for the Dark Knight.
-the characters should have been bigger in this panel.
*X-Men Sample Page 1 panel 1- Could have rendered more grass in the foreground and spot blacks on the tree in the foreground.
*X-men Sample Page 2 - characters could have been bigger in some panels.
*X-men Sampe Page 3 panel 3- Wolverine could have been more dynamic in this panel. The figure could have been twisted more until his claw and the sparks coming off of Colossus' chest were right in the readers face.
*In comicbooks you can't be to subtle or 'shy' with your artwork. Become more dynamic and bold with drawing. When your ready to ink your sample pages, make non-photo blue copies and use a sharpie to ink them. This should help alot.

J. Scott Campbell:
*Tighten up figures.
*Your linework is sketchy.
*Work on spotting more blacks.

Mike Choi:
*Your art needs to be more dynamic.
*Take more lifedrawing classes. Don't draw from memory. Draw from life as much as possible.
*I can't stress enough that you need to work on your anatomy. Draw only what you see! Work on developing your own style later. Draw from magazines, take figure classes, draw peope at the coffee shop or at the pool.
*Improve your foreshortening.
*In some panels you could have made the perspective lines curve into 'fishbowl perspective' because it sometimes looks to forced.
*Don't draw comic books for a while. Put it all aside and just focus on building a foundation of solid anatomy. Your strengths are alot of other new artists' weaknesses. Your weakness is your figure work. Learn that and everything else will snap into place.
*Work on your heads. I won't point out which haces are poorly structered--thats for you to figure out and improve. But just start working on the structure of the head.
*SUCK!(Note: He actual wrote that in my notebook. :P He was kidding....erm, I think. <.< >.>)

Everyone was really nice at the convention and every critique was very infomative and good natured. Though I was told of a lot of mistakes in my work, it was all told with the right intentions and by great artists who definitely have the experience and knowlege to know a flaw when they see one, so it was all very much appreciated and well recieved. These are just my notes and the gist of what I was told--so it's not verbatim. I definitely have a lot to work on, but I'm looking forward to this process. :)

Whew! This is one long post. I'll try to be shorter with my next update,which should come in a few days. See you guys later. ;)



mike choi said...

I WAS kidding :)

theimmortalfireboy said...

Very cool!
Humberto Ramos is my favorite artist.