Ashlan vs. Kazue L. Burns

Ashlan vs. Kazue L. Burns

386 points
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Crit level: No preference

by Energy

235 points
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Crit level: No preference

Critiques & Comments
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Approval Committee
# 12   Posted: Dec 24 2018, 11:17 PM
I think the takeaway from both of these comics is a general sense of displacement. Like, where am I? Did I flip the channel in the middle of the story?

ASTRO-  I did a dry run through read before I went through the previous comments and find myself more bewildered. There was a flashback in this comic? Where?? XD Why is Ash wearing a cone of shame? Who's the yahoo blasting her in the face? Why can't she speak? Where do we go from Kazue assuming Ash is an enemy and then assuming she's a dog? I have so many questions, I'm disappointed to find arent really answered.

I did however dig the expressiveness in this comic. You have some great tonal shifts with your use of color, and the squash and exaggerated degree of Kazue's facial expressions made this fun to look at- even if I was a bit thrown as to whats what XD

ENERGY- I think the big takeaway I get from your side is that there are alot of silent beats. Like the opening panel, or Kazue walking past or standing in the foreground in abject silence. Do they know each other in this comic? why is Ash mad? What problem are they talking about? They're both slinging these exposition word bubbles at each other over an issue that hasnt been established or explained prior, which leaves me as a reader lost.

 I'm not sure if this is the best advice, but I'd be curious to see you act this out in real life with a friend. Record yourself walking past, being stopped by someone calling your attention and tension building. I think observing that interaction would really help you in translating it into a comic. Because as it stands, the behavior, dialogue and interaction between these two feels so wooden and uncomfortable.

# 11   Posted: Sep 4 2018, 09:10 PM
I've already @ each and every one of y'all who critiqued my thanks, but once again, thanks to all of you for voting/commenting! Much, much love.
Admittedly about pacing, because of time constraints, I actually /took out/ the parts of the script which would've explain jumps here and there. Big Whoops, but it's ok! Pacing/Writing has always been a problem of mine, so it's nice to have it acknowledged by y'all like this. : D
I'll take my time outside of Void comics, which will be awhile, to try and formulate what I want do with my characters and get better at my visual narrative game. I appreciate all of the suggestions and references y'all have sent to me!

Thanks for battling me Energy! I had fun reading your side, looking forward to what you'll do with Kazue in the future!
And once again, many thanks for Shen for helping me out! I really appreciate it.

# 10   Posted: Sep 3 2018, 01:35 PM
@Astro: Nice colors, I like the warm tones. Great comic overall with a sweet ending. As far as crits go... I feel that the silhouettes in the foreground and even sometimes in the background don't fit well with your style. There is just not enough use of solid blacks in your art for them to not feel so out of place. I feel like your lineart is nice for the most part, but a bit inconsistent. It would be nice to see you clean it up a bit more and manage/watch your line widths better. Great job on this though, you have a really nice style.

@Energy: I feel like others have all covered what I was going to say. I don't think green was the best choice for the background colors. I guess you were going for complimentary colors, but I think a warm color or even a more analogous color like red violet would have worked better. Even so this is good stuff, glad to see more of your colored work and I'm happy to see all you've improved.

# 9   Posted: Sep 2 2018, 08:29 AM
I've more or less given energy my advice and direction to work towards soooooo...

Astro: Yo, really good stuff as far as art quality goes. Especially within a week. Now the main thing you gotta work on is the things that apply to comics and visual storytelling rather than the art's quality. The most important thing is the sense of positioning of the characters in the environment. Do look up the 180 degree rule, because most of the problem lies in you breaking that without any measure or use the effect made from breaking that, that being the characters looking like they have swapped positions in space. For instance, in page 2, you have en explosion, Kazue facing left, then kazue facing right. So where is Kazue really? Did she turn around, shout at people, then make a 180 back the other way? Did the camera viewpoint swivel all the way around to show kazue's anger then swivel all the way around the other side again? And then on the next page the camera swivels all the way around again. It's very disorientating so watch out for that.

There's also a pacing issue with the narrative, but that's something that you'll have to learn to get a feel of as you go on and you only had 6 pages to work with so I won't go on about that much. Overall, good stuff, just need to brush and learn up on comics fundamentals.

# 8   Posted: Sep 1 2018, 04:36 PM
I want to start off by saying you guys did amazing! Fully colored comic pages are alot to ask for and both of you achieved 6 full pages. Something to be proud of!

Overall, your colors was excellent. You did a great job showing the passage of time with the sun setting slowly through your comic. Your expressions were also on point, I loved every single one on page 4!  Also your backgrounds are really coming along, Ash’s house was well drawn and the streets were p solid. Smart move having everyone else be silhouettes to populate the streets. It’s a one weeker so gotta know when to take shortcuts and personally I just like style haha.

The flashback was hard to understand at first, I was forced to read it a couple times before I noticed that your colors shifted more towards green for it while the present had more of a red tint. It was a good attempt but it all still blended in too closely.

It’s already been recommended to study up on composition and I just wanna double down on that. You don't use gutters and if that's a style you want to keep developing that’s not impossible! It just involves understand how to push the composition and using your colors more wisely. I have a comic I can PM you for an example that might be useful to study!

Story wise, aside from the flashback, the only part that left me feeling like I missed something was right before the jump to page 4. It just needed one more panel to at least help lead the audience to the next page. We are left with a confused Kazue annnnd that's it. We get the explanation later but I can’t help but feel like I would have rather had it visually showing her coming to the conclusion that Ash must be a lost pet on page 3.


First of all, great job building your city here! Some of the perspective is off and it’s really noticeable on page 2. I know that slowly but surely it will all come together as you continue drawing backgrounds so keep it up!! Also it’s good to keep in mind a city doesn’t look complete without some indication that people are actually living in it. Even if it’s just shadows of people the way Astro had done, anything is better than a deserted city.

I liked the limited palette but like Desi has said, shading in other hues would really make a drastic improvement. Even if you don’t want to stick with using this kin of palette, it’s a good tip overall when it comes to shading.

So storywise, the setup was kinda of a mess. It makes Kazue unlikable. It’s like her mindset is ‘Hey! Here is this monster-looking person doing absolutely nothing yet it fills me with absolute disgust. Why aren’t cops taking care of this problem!?” What problem?! Ash isn’t doing anything but existing. So just being a monster enough of a reason? yikes.

It’s fine if a character isn’t hundred percent perfect and it gives room to grow, however this set up makes me think Ash is here to give some counterpoints about how you shouldn’t be judging but she doesn’t seem to care that Kazue clearly dislikes her just for looking the way she does but instead. “Hey leave cops alone! Deal with problems yourself!”  Once again,  What problem!? What I’m getting at is that this left me extremely confused.

The story DOES go on and if I just forget the beginning the second half I do like! Kazue’s feelings are clear here and her resignation about the reality is actually interesting. This is something I would like to see more and see how she deals with it and hopefully overcomes? I really do love her and I’m here for her growing some more and learning ways to deal with this situation and become the heroic person she wants to be.

Also a quick shout out to the mentors!! Thank you for volunteering your time and helping out your fellow voiders!!

Global Moderator
# 7   Posted: Aug 29 2018, 07:42 PM
Astro: as your mentor i feel inequipped to crit this because every crit is a personal failing of my own for not pointing this out to you sooner but i do want everyone to know this is still a massive improvement over the Beta Version I was shown in thumbnail form and the colours are fantastic, draftsmanship on another level, we just need another go to work on pacing since i didnt see the finished dialogue version until it went live but i love Fuzzy Humiliated Housepet Ash and Empathetic Kazue so A+ from me, obviously, and I hope you dont feel like I let you down
energy: you should be proud, dude! a full colour comic done in a week, it CAN be done! Limiting your palette was smart and I love the colour choices. I dont know why Kazue suddenly starts complaining about the police or even why she refuted Ash's very valid point that she should do something about it instead of complaining, it makes Kazue feel weak. Even running away from Ash confronting her, nothing about kazue is feeling very heroic so I'm not sure what sort of character you want her to be, how you want us to feel about her.But! This is a great level up from you, so I hope you don't feel so intimidated in the future about one weekers! Just consider exactly what emotion you want to illicit from your readers, how am I meant to feel?
GREAT WORK DUDES and high five to Jii for his work helping energy this week!

The Bent One
# 6   Posted: Aug 29 2018, 05:06 PM
Energy: This is a big improvement on your previous comics. Your stuff looks much better when it’s fully inked and colored. A lot of the stuff I wrote about composition in Astro’s crit also applies here, but I would suggest you focus more of basic sketching and figure drawing right now to develop your drawing skills. Don’t be afraid to use photo references for posing figures, they really help and you will be adding to your mental library of shapes to draw for future comics. At this point, it’s just drawing something every day to practice. I would really recommend figure drawing, even if it’s just from photos. Nothing is better than live figure drawing, but you can find plenty of model references on DA and other places. i think there is a list of links somewhere in the forums.

My main critique for your comic is the writing. The characters bump into each other on the street, then get into a fight (kinda) after launching into an argument about the state of the city and their resolve to fight. It’s a fairly common trope used on the site, but it can be written interestingly if you get creative enough. My issue with the story if how quickly they start arguing their points to each other. It seems to come out of nowhere, especially Kazue telling Ashlan that she “refuses to out her life on the line fighting a loosing battle against murderers and psychos”. It just seems like a strange philosophical argument for two characters who have never met before to just jump into on the street.

If this is what you wanted the characters to argue about to lead up to the fight, it’s a good choice. My issue is with the delivery. There isn’t a lot of subtext, so it feels sudden and rushed, with not a lot of motivation behind Ashlan’s attack. When writing a short comic, especially in one week, I usually try to figure out what the characters are doing in the situation they find themselves in, and how they will react to it and each other. If they have their own pre-existing motivations for fighting, then those will usually not be said out loud by the character. That way it lets the reader try to guess what the character is really thinking and feeling based on what they say and how they react.

As always, more practice and attention to detail will improve your skills. Keep making comics, and don’t be afraid to analyze your favorite comics for inspiration and reference. Keep up the great work!

The Bent One
# 5   Posted: Aug 29 2018, 04:29 PM
Astro: i have a few critiques for your comic, mostly on technical aspects of the craft. Your panel composition isn’t cohesive in most of these pages, by which I mean that is isn’t working together with the art and narrative flow to move the reader’s eye through the page in the best way it could. Page 1 is a good example. The triangle panel distracts from the overall composition by calling attention to itself, as well as sitting right up against the top on the flashback panel. The could have used less space in the top establishing shot, and had a full length panel under it with internal composition leading the reader’s eye down and to the left to point to the flashback panel. Having the panel shape itself do this can be very distracting, and it’s usually better to use your internal panel composition to lead the eye.

You seem to have a habit of using too much space in big panels when you could have given some of that page real-estate to other panels. Some panels get too squished and don’t have the space they need in the layout. Page 2 has 3 panels, but panel 2 could have been at least 1/3 bigger and Kazue’s appearance could have still broken the border, but have been twice as big for dramatic effect. Panel 1 on page 3 also seems very stiff for showing an explosion. You should punch up the dramatic poses and kinetic energy for a shot like this to excite the reader, and show your character reacting (or in this case, “not” reacting.

Page 3 to 4 feels like too big of a narrative jump. The overall story doesn’t seem to have a real purpose, other than Kazue being out of touch and confused by Ashlan. We do get to see a little more about Ashlan’s place in the city, but I feel like there is a lot more story potential here that hasn’t been tapped yet. Your coloring technique is really good, but make sure to pay attention to how dark some of your scenes get. Your coloring style will really pop off the page if you focus of adding more contrast.

Overall, I’d say my biggest piece of advice to you for future comics is to really study and experiment with composition. Study how professional comic artists use the entire page layout to move the eye through the panels, as well as how the internal panel composition moves the eye. It’s one of the most difficult elements of making comics, but if you can combine good composition with your art style, you will be a force to be reckoned with in Void. I’m only going so deep in this critique because I like your stuff and I want to see you improve.

Think Tank
# 4   Posted: Aug 28 2018, 09:06 PM
Astro: Really good comic I love the characterization you gave for both characters in this and really showed their personality also your colors are always fantastic.

The only criticism I have is the first page flashback. I glossed over it the first time, not knowing what it was,  but after going back I realized that the bottom panel was a flashback to the previous battle. This is easy to miss for a couple reasons, they all center around it blending too well with the rest of the comic. The colors while different form the rest of the comic are still in a similar enough style that it comes off potentially a way to symbolize a dramatic mood change rather than a flash back.
The lack of gutters makes this panel blend in with the rest. In general you may want to try putting more gutters in to help separate panels to either show stuff like this flashback being separate or a bigger jump in time. Gutters are an important tool in comic storytelling since they are one of few ways comics can express differences in times. Longer gutters symbolize more time between panels and smaller ones meaning everything one after another. the lack of gutters makes different panel shapes have less impact since your panel borders are not noticeable.
The panel before that flashback one doesn't really indicate that it was a flash back, a little bit of dialogue could have helped or also a more pondering pose though I think really dialogue would have helped a bunch with this. Basically your comic blends so well and seemlessly between panels that it can actually hurt when you wanna do stuff like flashbacks and I really think you should try experimenting with more gutters and white space in your comics.

Energy: This is a great step up from you, your art and poses are getting better. more impressive is you were able to do 6 colored pages in 1 week, production wise this is more than what you have done previously. You likely know all the stuff you need to improve on art wise so I will try to explain some of the writing stuff to work on in the future. mainly you will want to work on making your dialogue more natural. the main example is why does seeing ash prompt Kazue to just suddenly start ranting about cops? One thing could have been a background element like a road barricaded off by police or do not cross police tape over a door near by them. also another thing you will want to work on is bridging the dialogue together.
For example Kazue's response on page 4 to Ash's comment at the end of page 3  is so broad it could be responded to so many things and not just that one thing which makes it come off as feeling unnatural. One trick you could try doing is repeating a key word in dialogue. So in this instance when Ash is saying the city is falling apart because of cowards like you. Kazue could say something like "I'm a coward because none of this matters anyway", or maybe something like "this city will fall apart regardless of what I do" Both of these do a better job linking the dialogue since in both a term from the previous line of dialogue is used.
Your writing is better in this comic than previous ones but hopefully this tip of working to connect dialogue by repeating words can help.

Think Tank
# 3   Posted: Aug 28 2018, 03:25 PM

Lovely comic, I love how you render your art, and your usage of color is absolutely phenomenal. From a visual standpoint, this comic is absolutely breathtaking. and I'd have to be extremely nitpicky if I wanted to find something that needed to be fixed in this, from a purely visual standpoint.

However, despite this there are still some things I want to make points on. For one, the first page actually is really confusing, after relooking at it about five times, I think Ash is lowering her trench coat and then eating a person in front of her, but I'm honestly not sure. We're also not properly shown what exactly it is that Kazue was doing before hand. We can assume she's beating people up, but some more visual cues would be helpful because this part also confused me quite a bit. The latter half was much better than the former in the means of visual clarity to what's going on.

All in all I loved this comic, and of the comics released on this day, it may have been my favorite one, you executed this very well, and kudos to Shen on a great job mentoring.


I'm gonna start off with some of the pros, and places I'm seeing improvement on. With Kazue in particular, you seem to be improving quite a bit at showcasing emotion, my favorite parts were when she was sad and when she was scared, because you made her body move with the emotion a bit. On the contrast though, I saw NO emotion in Ash, which doesn't really seem to fit her character much? I do know though that she is a lot harder to draw than some characters so I won't bother you much in regards to that. I did appreciate the slight moment of retrospection for Kazue by the way, I think that's the most meaningful thing in this story, and I'd love to see more stuff that seems legitimately important to your characters, and that showcase how they feel, instead of how your last few comics mainly were "i hate cops" which I have no issue with being a message your character deliver, but... What I'm trying to say is with this moment here in this comic, you gave substance to her, you made her feel like a person with feelings, who has a lot of things going on inside. I really enjoyed seeing that.

There's quite a bit of stuff to work on, for example the body proportions, and the unnecessarily stiffness to characters, but I think you already know some of that. What I'm not sure you know much about is that I feel like color usage is an important tool to work on. For this comic I can tell you're going for using only two hues mainly(at one point a third) but in a way I don't think it works that well. I'm not sure how exactly to improve with using only the limited amount of hues, but I do know that there's ways to shade that can give more depth to your drawings. I recommend trying to experiment more with using shades that aren't simply darker than a color, but have their hue changed a bit. For example, with Kazue's skintone, if you shaded darker areas with a more purplish color, it could really bring out your tones. Heck all around, I recommend when it comes to coloring looking at your opponent's comic and examining what kinds of colors they use to shade could work out immensely well for you. Good job Energy, because this is a pretty good comic, and pretty long for one week, and I'm proud of you. And Kudos to Jii as well for being a great mentor.

# 2   Posted: Aug 26 2018, 11:38 PM
The Bent One: If Ashlan isn’t wearing the cone of shame in this comic I will be very disappointed.


And on a general note: Looking at my comic in it's final form, there's a Noteable pacing/writing issue and some anatomy problems here and there that I really just can't fix now (And also a sentence error oh my)-- But I hope y'all enjoy regardless, and s/o to Shen for bein' a great mentor!! :'D And thanks to Energy for battling me, haha.

      Edited Aug 27 2018,  10:19 AM by Astrodile

The Bent One
# 1   Posted: Aug 24 2018, 12:09 PM
If Ashlan isn’t wearing the cone of shame in this comic I will be very disappointed.

      Edited Aug 24 2018,  12:09 PM by The Bent One

Comic Details -

Drawing Time: 2 weeks
Ended: Sep 3rd, 2018
Votes Cast: 19
Page Views: 740
Winner: Astrodile

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