Friday, February 06, 2009

Critiques Of Comic Cover Studies

This shows marked improvement in her work.

Center line of Bugs' head should be in the center in perspective, not to the left of center. His face should tilt back more. His muzzle area should be more in front of his cranium. Especially the teeth which look like they have been punched in. Don't let the hairs cut holes in his skull.
Watch out for pointy corners (like at the back of his foot).

Not bad. He has actually constructed the drawing, not faked it like some tricksters. He could be a little more aware of the proportions. Bugs' body is too long and should have more subtle variation in shape between his chest and belly. The horse's head has backwards perspective.

Mickey needs center lines down the back of his head and body. This is a pretty good copy - by eye. The main thing that I see that needs improvement is better observation of the contrasts. They have all been toned down in this copy. The line of action is stronger and has more definite direction the comic pose. Mickey's black back of his head design takes up more space in the comic than it does in the copy.

Hammerson is naturally good at drawing clean smooth lines- which can be a handicap when going backwards and trying to absorb the more important basics of forms and their relative positions in space.
Here, Tom's head is tilted at a different angle than the comic. His nose/muzzle area is backwards perspective.The half that is closest to us should be larger than the part that is farther away.

The face is taking up too much space in the head.

The body should have center lines, taking perspective into consideration. That bit of belly fur is split too far to the right of the center of his body.


Good feeling overall. I can tell she is using the negative spaces to get things in the right place. Nice hands.
The vertical construction line should be in the middle of Oswald's head, not to the left of center. The eyes should be spaced equally (taking perspective into account) on either side of the center line. But you can see that the left eye is closer to center than the right eye, which defeats the purpose of having a construction line.

This also caused his nose and muzzle to be squashed too flat against his face.
I would like to see the features be less vague, with more commitment to the shapes.
She is doing a lot of studies- which is the whole point. The more you do, the better you get and the sooner it all sinks in.
Here are some earlier ones. I can see she got a bit better with each new study.
Here, she is trying to figure out the painstaking process and concept of constructing figures out of their basic forms. Not bad and I only have 2 tips: the contrasts in the designs have been evened out or toned down. Everything is creeping towards the middle. - like the dog's skull should be smaller than his nose/muzzle area, but in the copy they are approaching the same size.
Also, be careful that details, such as little bits of hair don't get too big and eat away at the more important larger forms they sit on - like the dog's head.
She even tried her hand at copying a J.P. Miler painting and did a pretty good job. It's good to mix and match your studies and get well-rounded, because all these skills are related and use similar thinking. Construction is the most important concept, because it affects everything else - especially your thought process and ability to control your art.

Paul B
Pretty good

The details have a tendency to undo the construction - like the fur on his cheeks and feet.

Trevor Piecham

Overall, pretty good


The finish looks good. The middle toes should be longer than the other toes. Bugs' skull should be tilted back more at the front. He doesn't have an oval-shaped cranium. It's trickier than that, but this is a pretty good copy.

To repeat: to get the the most out of these studies you need these things:
Talent (obviously) - but it isn't enough. Talent without knowledge has to rely on luck, rather than control.

Careful step by step thoughtful procedure.

Self-criticism - not at random, but careful and honest checking of where the copies are off - particularly in the realm of construction, solidity and hierarchy.

I see a lot of people asking for their phone doodles and sketch book doodles to be criticized, but there isn't any point. They are really just asking for you to tell them how talented they are. Only drawings that have been carefully planned and thought out are worth criticism. Randomness is just what it is. You don't learn anything by letting your hand go wherever it happens to go.

DRAWING LOTS AND LOTS OF STUDIES. The more you do (and the more you self-critique) the faster you will get better than everyone else who doesn't study. You are aiming to understand the fundamentals, not just to superficially imitate them.

The people who do the most studies will improve the fastest as I'm sure some of you are discovering.

Has anyone tried these yet?

Note that even the background elements have form and hierarchy.


Anonymous said...

Very helpful stuff. Thanks, John!

I think I'll try that last one tonight!

Elana Pritchard said...

Thanks for critiquing me John! I'll keep practicing!

nek said...

Great reading! Helps a lot to understand good drawings are result of long studies.

Niki said...

I suppose I can try the bear at the bottom, and Bugs with his football. I've only done the Preston Blair pictures, although, I got over excited and complimented myself. Also for some odd reason they're all coming out at the wrong angle! I'll try something else after school Monday, I'll try to be more critical.

Cartoon Critique! said...

If you need help with your cover studies come visit Cartoon Critique! You can post your work up and have it critiqued by people who follow John's blog. It helps!

Cartoon Critique!

Geneva said...

This means an AWFUL lot to me, John. Thank you so much! You have no idea how much you're driving me to study more. Thank you for getting me off my ass and actually offering specific criticism. I really do need to push and commit to shapes more. I've noticed that construction lines are weak, too. I'm going to really concentrate on them in future studies.

Again, thanks so much for looking at and taking the time to help me (and for looking at my previous posts!)

Paul B said...

Thanks John

Trevor Piecham said...

Thanks John! I am going to keep at it. I just wish I had more free time.

BTW - I love how I can type in cartoon college on your blog and have all of your great lessons at my hands. I need to start taking advantage of them.

Needles G.'s Urban Exploits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Thanks John! I really appreciate you looking at my drawing. I'm working on one of the new covers now. Should I post it here when I am done or back on the older post? Thanks!

Hans Flagon said...


I'd like to read your commentary on

I recall looking at this book, geared towards new hires or contracts for WBs merchandising department, as not being as bad as I thought it could be. Their model of Bugs could have been less appealing, or leaning more Jones or McKimson or otherwise, but it seems a nice balance.

JohnK said...

It doesn't look anything like any of the cartoons.

Bugs has human arms in some of these new drawings...and he's all mushy and fat.

Nicol3 said...

So, instead of doing any work whatsoever on assignments, I tried doing that last image in my teeny tiny sketchbook.. It's my first time trying one of these.

Yikes! I'm almost certain I screwed up on that nose, right cheek, etc. It won't be the last time I try, though. :D

Needles G.'s Urban Exploits said...

I tried doing that Dragon and Bugs comic cover

that drawing I did

Gerry Stankiewicz said...

Thanks for critiquing my work John. I really appreciate it.

Hammerson said...

Many thanks for the critique and advice, it means really a lot to me. I still have some problems with construction, and I'll continue to work and practice to sort it all out.

Gabriele_Gabba said...

Hey john, great crits! Love reading and learning from other's work.

I did the first of those Bugs covers, the link is below, please feel free to crit me. :)

Oh and i noticed someone mentioned that looney toons drawing book! I was gonna ask if you had seen it, maybe you should do a post on it?

Personally i feel the same way, bugs looks really fat and also looks like he just ate some seriously powerful happy pills!

SibbSabb said...

Awesome stuff. Below is a link to my first go at practicing construction from the Bugs Bunny Comic Cover. I definitely need practice.

Bugs Bunny

Ivan D said...

Thanks John.

I'll keep working on some of the other covers. Next time I'll remember to draw the center lines on all the forms. I see what you mean by lacking in contrasts. The butt and hand should both be bigger and the spine doesn't arch enough of mine.

I also recently did some studies of Daffy in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.

Thanks again.

Pasquale said...

Thanks for keeping this blog such an active and regular thing to appear in my reader!

I'm still young and such a freshman to drawing, but it's really refreshing to hear and see your views (and I love it when it's harsh and honest) on art.

My girlfriend is a Photographer, and I told her to get reading this. There's a lot of great gems here.

I think what you discuss here could really enlighten so many more people, and not just illustrators and animators!

ArtF said...

i tried my hand at the Bugs dragon cover, minus the dragon.

Bugs construction