Great Escalations 2022 Round 1 / Symone the 3rd Rouge Bird vs. Zeke

Great Escalations 2022 Round 1 — Symone the 3rd Rouge Bird vs. Zeke

This comic has been rated adults only by its creator(s)

Icon for Symone the 3rd Rouge Bird48.4%
464 points
Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6Page 7Page 8Page 9

Crit level: In-depth critique preferred
I had lots of fun doing this and this is quite the important tale as it pertain to my ongoing narrative. For those of you who may be lost when it comes to the "Anklet" that Symone is referring to (in case you don't read my stories or don't remember). It was an artifact that a mysterious stranger gave to Sebastian in the Epilogue of "A Lesson in Spirit". I hope you enjoy this story
tags: Battle Comic, darren j. cardinalis, Fear, gore, great escalation, scar battle, scar match, symone the 3rd rouge bird, zeke


This comic has been rated suitable for teens and up by its creator(s)

Icon for Zeke51.6%
494 points
Page 1Page 2

Crit level: No critique desired, comments encouraged
gasp a swear
tags: great escalations 2022, symone the 3rd rouge bird, zeke




Critiques & Comments
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TheCydork
Artist
606 comments
# 8   Posted: Oct 8 2022, 02:30 PM
All ye, let it be known if you mark in-depth crit I WILL hyperanalyse your comic, spend days writing a comment and literally lose sleep over it. Anyway-

Platinum: ShowHide

Composition and Blocking
Throughout the comic, I often don’t know the characters’ positions in relation to each other. On the first page, there’s a great establishing shot of Symone looking menacing and being framed by the moon. The second panel though, has her facing the opposite direction of Darren. We don’t know she’s supposed to be looking at him. This isn’t helped by the different lighting in the area Darren is standing in, and the lack of a landmark linking the first and third panels. I think it would’ve helped to zoom out further in the first or second panel, so we can see the building Symone is on overlooking the park. And adjust the colours in the clearing Darren is singing in, because there isn’t much indication it’s night apart from the black poking through the trees in the distance. Dim the character's colours. You don’t need to colour pick and keep them exactly same. Alternatively, if he’s supposed to be in a well lit clearing, that will still look different to neutral daylight. The lighting would be harsher, the characters more exposed, and the area out of light would be darker.

Just gonna briefly run through the other pages.

Page 2 - the cafe Zeke is at appears kind of randomly. Instead of a clearing with hills in the background, you could have placed Darren on a promenade, showing both the skyscrapers and the cafe.

Page 3-4 - from page 1, it seemed like Symone was looking at Darren head on, but when she attacks him it’s from the side. Then Zeke appears hiding behind a statue that wasn’t shown earlier.

Page 5 - good, clear blocking in that first panel! Showing all the characters in the same space, at different sizes indicates how far away they are from each other. Choreography is also pretty good if you ignore the knife jumping sides (more on this later).

Page 6 - Again, Symone is facing the outside of the comic. This part is tricky though, because Zeke is to her left (our right). So why is this still a problem? Well generally, characters should face towards the center of the page. I would’ve suggested a front view here, maybe a wide panel, to make Symone feel really unfathomable and immense.

Page 7-8 - Explaining this later.

Page 9 - Top panel has a very strange composition. If you wanted to emphasise how insignificant and weak Zeke is, I think you could’ve made him smaller and exaggerated the angle of Symone‘s shadow. If you want to focus on his pain, a close up would be better. Right now he’s in this weird in-between with a bunch of empty space.

With the character’s positions, it helps to have a clear picture of the location in your head. If this is too difficult, sketch out the location beforehand and mark where each character is standing, or any significant landmarks. This doesn’t have to be anything complex, honestly just a bunch of shapes will do. Think about what would be visible at particular angles. Drawing a “camera” (simple rectangle), and a quarter circle coming from it, with the point coming from the lens, might help visualise this. Here’s an example:



Also, I was going to show you what I meant with the blocking and flow since I think showing might be easier than explaining, but I've suddenly become pretty busy and I want to post this in a timely manner, so I'll just do the first page.

This is your original page. The eye follows the figure to the speech bubble, then the beak, then it hits a "wall". And has the other issues I mentioned earlier re: it not being clear Symone is supposed to be looking at Darren.



This is how I would've done it.



Making the buildings silhouettes saves time and makes the first panel more dramatic. I added a signal receiver (?) to the building right of Symone, so I can use that as a landmark for the second panel, showing this is the same individual we saw in the first (since as a far-off silhouetter, her features aren't clear). Having the building and the clearing in the same shot also show they're in the same location. Symone is looking down at Darren, so her beak points towards him, and then to the closeup, which coincides nicely with her revelation of "it has to be him". He is marked as an important character to Symone. I also added the statue and cafe, so that they are established in the space before Zeke appears.




Action
This is the best action I’ve seen from you so far! There’s particularly good flow in the middle three panels on page 5, nice wave with the knife slashes. However, the continuity isn’t great. Between page 5 and 6, Zeke’s knife frequently swaps sides. Going through every time he’s seen holding it, it jumps: right, left, right, right, left, right, right, right, left. One swap would probably be negligible, but changing so often without him shown switching them intentionally confuses the action. On page 6, he throws a smoke bomb to the floor, which we haven’t even seen him pull it out. This halts the action because we have to spend a few seconds figuring out what happened. Then he pulls out a book in the same hand he had the knife in, and by the next page, the knife has vanished entirely.

At the end of page 7, we see Symone seem to control and flow the soul fire around her, but the next panel is it already blasting towards Zeke. I know she’s sent it to him, but it feels clunky and I think you should’ve added a panel of her aiming it at him. The highlight on his face is a good start, but you could make it clearer and more dramatic by 1) using purple light, to link it with the purple blast and 2) making the background dark, to make the lighting more intense.

The expressions don’t always match with the force of the action or dialogue as well. On page 4, Zeke tells Symone “prepare to die!” but he’s just kind of frowning. A snarl or open mouth to indicate a yell would’ve upped the intensity. Later on, you did a fantastic expression when Zeke was scarred! Don’t be afraid to push faces like that more often.


Speech bubbles
The thick lines of the bubbles clash with the thinner lines of the characters. They should have a similar line width, or you can leave them completely lineless if you prefer. The bubbles are also elliptical, with wobbly connections. Bubbles generally look better when they’re not perfectly shaped. You can use the warp tool or mesh transformation (depending on the program) to squish the sides, and I suggest using a curved line tool to connect them if you can’t draw a smooth line by hand. Finally, the text is very cramped within the bubbles. The rule of thumb is a capital letter worth of space on all 4 sides. I know these all sound like small things, but it’s the small things that can elevate a comic from just good, to full on professional looking. I’ve seen many a comic that nails every aspect… and then has rushed bubbles that ruin the whole look.

Another thing is that the bubbles look like they were added as an afterthought at the end of the comic-making process. You do generally avoid focus areas, such as faces, which is a great start! But they still often overlap into other panels and the character’s bodies, which looks messy and breaks the flow. You can improve the placement by treating them as objects in the composition; you should already be thinking about where the bubbles are going to be in the thumbnail stage, and sketching them in. They can poke out of panels and overlap characters occasionally, this isn’t something you need to avoid at all costs, but it’s done in moderation OR with a clear reason. For example, a character is visible and talking in one panel, in the next panel they’re still talking but the view has changed to another character. Then it makes sense to add another bubble across the panels and connect them.


Misc. Art
Anatomy - Characters feel kinda boneless and blobby, and a lot of the poses look really unnatural or would be hard to hold in real life. Seriously, try posing your arm like the last panel on page 5. It’s straight up impossible to bend your thumb that way. If you’re not 100% sure about a pose and don’t have a reference, try doing it yourself. You’ll feel silly, but it’ll help. You should also do some real life studies or gesture drawings; even seasoned artists need to refresh their memory every now and then.

Perspective - Pretty much all of your shots are head on, i.e. on the same plane as the characters. There is no use of other angles. You have tried perspective in a couple of panels, which is a good start, but it's pretty clear no references were used. You tend to place characters higher the further away they are, which is the opposite of how they would appear in real life, unless they're on an incline or the camera angle is higher.



I took one of your panels and applied a simple perspective ruler, then sketched how it would look like with correct perspective. I also tweaked the placement of Zeke's monologue and his pose; right now, he appears to be staring straight ahead rather than at Symone and co, and is standing pretty stiffly.



This goes back to blocking as well. I get the feeling you draw characters first without a clear idea of the setting, then add it in afterwards, without adjusting the characters to suit. The background is not a flat piece of art behind the characters, it’s a 3D space they inhabit physically. Getting perspective right makes them feel grounded, as opposed to floating in space. I don't know about other programs, but CSP has perspective rulers, and while Photoshop doesn't have a dedicated tool, it's easy to make one. This video might help, even if you don't have Photoshop, as it talks about perspective in general:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upxBGNcryRs


Comparison
I wouldn’t do this normally, but since it was touched on in the chat I thought I’d explain myself. Nothin’s comic, though short, had better composition, flow, perspective and anatomy, and was more creative. Yours was a pretty straightforward fight with a cool villain who mocks the hero while barely lifting a finger. I’ve seen that loads of times before. Nothin also used greyscale and a single colour, making it feel more cohesive than your full range of colours.

You might notice that Nothin seemingly did the same thing I criticised in your comic - not making it clear the characters are in the space. However, here it was done intentionally for comedic effect. I must stress that a lot of the things I’ve mentioned are not hard rules. However, you do need to know the rules first to use, manipulate or break them in ways that enhance the story. For example, way at the beginning I criticised Symone looking away from the character she’s talking about. A good example of intentionally using this is an aloof or closed off character speaking to someone else - their facing away signals something about their personality. A large amount of negative space behind a character, which usually looks awkward, can be used to give a sense of isolation or disconnection, as can making the character small and indistinguishable in a large background panel.

These have probably been recommended already, but I will always rep Understanding Comics and Making Comics, both by Scott McCloud. They’re really thorough and easy to read books that have helped me (and others) a tonne. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard Framed Ink by Marcos Mateu-Mestre is good too.


Nothin - This was a great comic, short and sweet. Fun and clever scar too!

Fluffsamasprime
Artist
482 comments
# 7   Posted: Oct 8 2022, 11:42 AM
Plat- You've been going hard on this and got a pretty good page count for a 2 weeker, you didn't let your quality dip.
Lucky- you did a complete story in one page! didn't even really need that second page of explanation.
nice job all around!!!

Heavenbat
Global Moderator
232 comments
# 6   Posted: Oct 7 2022, 12:49 AM
Plat: One thing I really noticed is how good you are at drawing birds and bird beaks in your style. It's definitely your forte. On the flipside, I think you could use some more practice with other kinds of anatomy. I think one thing you could practice on specifically is to move away from so many curves. You tend to use a lot of round shapes, which tends to have the unfortunate side effect of making figures look a bit balloony/marshmallowy. Using some more straight(er) lines could help balance that out, I think! Story-wise, I will agree that this felt a bit standard, but on the other side I really enjoyed the fight scene you did. There was some great choreography there, and you really pushed some of the angles and everything which deserves kudos for not shying away from more difficult poses/angles! Also hot damn that scar is brutal and terrifying.

Nothin: I am seriously impressed by your backgrounds in this!! And also hot damn that motorcycle looks amazing. Obviously this is pretty short, and I definitely wish there had been more of it. But I think you did a pretty smart move by making it a humorous comic because you were able to get the punchline done in a short amount of time.

Gregly
Artist
186 comments
# 5   Posted: Oct 4 2022, 02:06 PM
Platinum- this is great, we immediately get a good feel for your character! The background on p1 is impressive and there's a good sense of space as the fight scene starts. I love when Symone catches the knife. The action on page five is great and the motion feels good so I didn't notice at first that his knife hand changes back and forth a couple times. The monster face is perfect-- the scar is perfectly gross! Nice work

Lucky nothin- I really like this even though it's short-- the detail on the grungy city streets is great, and I like the word bubble for his magical casting word. The three panel sequence of Symone getting hit by the spell is a good way to show her shrinking, but in the next panel she's back to that first size again for the close-up reaction shot but maybe she should have stayed small to better show she shrunk. Good comic, cute idea, I like Zeke

snager
Artist
388 comments
# 4   Posted: Oct 4 2022, 10:38 AM
it's always a pretty unique challenge to battle an opponent with no prior establishing character comics, but you guys did really well!

Platinum, I can tell you really dug deep for this one, and you're showing a lot of improvement in craft and story telling! You went for the run of the mill action character story with a big huge fight sequence and I can tell you put your whole back into it.
however, when the smoke bomb gets thrown, I lose track of who is doing it. are they suddenly doing a psychic battle? is it a memory? or did Simone really turn into a monster? or was that an illusion? a hallucination? maybe it is SUPPOSED to be ambiguous? but why the need for ambiguity? u_u; gotta remember us casuals might not follow what's going on very easily, so it's good to spoon it to us as much as possible.
anyway I can tell you got attached to the Zeke character and it's nice to see you show him so much love!

Lucky: you submission feels like a 24 hour battle and I know for you, it was, so if I grade you on what you had to work with, I still think you did really well. as a short short comic, it's nice and punchy. it explains how Zeke's powers work, how he feels about Void and the citizens, and the kind of problems he causes for people. short, sweet and to the point, it works as an intro comic. The scar to Simone is cute, but as a battle, the bird didn't get much screen time. but you already know all that. I think you should be proud for what you accomplished and try to be kinder to yourself, because we all like seeing your drawings and stories and how you handle other characters, even if it is a short and sweet little comic!

good luck, you two!

Bobert
Artist
124 comments
# 3   Posted: Oct 2 2022, 11:42 PM
That was a funny comic Lucky. Very clever gag.

Platinum:
I liked the menace that Symone brings forth with him. You gotta have more villains to balance out the heroes. They're fun!
I'd suggest that you continue sharpening your anatomy skills because the muscles on Zeke's arms looked very wonky to me. I'm still struggling and it's definitely tough to get right but fortunately and unfortunately the best things are hard to get on the first try.
Otherwise your comic is pretty put together, both characters have clear desires, you've featured different backgrounds in all the pages and the scar you gave Zeke at the end is very severe.

RamenBean18
Artist
71 comments
# 2   Posted: Oct 2 2022, 08:41 PM
These are so cute!!!

Lucky: great job for posting something!! And short and sweet!!

Another lovely comic Platinum!!! <3 <3 <3

Firefly
Artist
30 comments
# 1   Posted: Oct 2 2022, 02:01 PM
I love how much lore we learn about Symone in Platinumartist's comic. And I like how action packed each page was. The fight scene between Symone and Zeke was intense, with a gruesome ending that left me gasping!

Lucky Nothin's comic, was a very different tone from Platinum's but that's a good thing! I like the direction you went with. Poor Symone lol. The itty bitty ifying was very amusing.

Comic Details -

 
Scar Match
Drawing Time: 2 weeks
Ended: Oct 10th, 2022
Votes Cast: 25
Page Views: 450
Winner: Lucky Nothin
 

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