Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thinking about starting this up again. Wonder if anybody will notice? Maybe this time around I'll be more careful of peoples feelings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cover "Fails" from 2/18/11

Ok, here we go again. Sorry I missed last week, but that's how it goes sometimes. Also, this week we have a guest reviewer, and his name is Viktor Kalvachev. Just scroll down a bit to see his side of things. I hope to get other guest reviewers in the future.

 OK, first off, I'm not sure if its supposed to be upside down. I only say that because there's so much weight with the cape on the top of the cover that it feels weird upside down. And then there's the anatomy. Good Christ! It's all kinda weird...from Batman's Barbie sized waist to his tiny hands. Finally, the way his arm looks like its double jointed at the elbow just ruins it for me. "A" for effort though.
 Kill it with FIRE! Seriously, who buys these books!?! All this cover is missing is glitter and a full bedazzled treatment. Like I said, KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!
 OK, we get it. You had a great photo of the actress, but crapped out on finding a reference photo of a guy sitting at a bar holding a pacifier. So your solution was to just making him up outta your head. Oh, and for good measure, lets make him cross-eyed.
 Arty and moody only works if it's engaging. This is not. A dark face and a photo negative of a house doesn't make me want to buy this book. An equivalent to this cover would be a teenager dressing like Robert Smith of the Cure while listening to Miley Cyrus while quoting something from the Twilight books.

Cover "wins" from 2/18/12

 Man, when it comes to Mignola, I feel like a broken record. So lets focus on Dave Stewart's color job. This guy is one of the greatest colorists out there. Why? Because he just gets it. With Mignola, he knows over-rendering and over-shading would work against what Mike is trying to achieve.
 And speaking of great coloring, the blues on this cover are so nice. Very European in a way. And the red in the mouth really set this off. To my eyes, this cover just stands out as being different.
 Story and depth make this Sook cover work for me. Does it "pop"? No, but not everything has to. It's just a well done cover. Engaging.
 Back to awesome color choices. Ladronn is firing on all cylinders month after month on this title. The cover pops, tells a story, and is beautifully rendered. Amazing.
 I've railed against covers like this in the past, but as I've also said, if you're going to do a "character standing there looking bad-ass" cover, you'd better do it well. In this, Mark Brooks does just that.
 I gotta say I'm not a big fan of the illustration on this cover, but the design, color, and font choice made me stand up and take notice. I "klimaxed" a little when I first saw it. Uggh, sorry, that was too much information.
 I also like the design and color choices here. The use of negative space is well done and makes the colors richer by contrast.
 As with other selections this week, color plays a big part in this cover as well. Keeping the mob rising up against Nightwing dark and muted in contrast to the hero leads your eye right to him, making him the focus.
This just has that classic Marvel design that still works today. It needs a star-burst story blurb with a classic font so badly! I just hope the color kicks as much ass as the line-art.

Guest Reviewer this week: Viktor Kalvachev

I put the offer out there to some of my fellow artists asking if they wanted to add some of their thoughts on the week's current crop of covers, and if so, then I'd be happy to post them here. So this week, Viktor Kalvachev of Blue Estate fame decided to throw his hat into the ring and suffer the slings and arrows for having an opinion. So, let's see what Viktor has to say:

Cover fails:
 I love when a cover provokes questions and you want to know what the book is about. Questions like, "Why are these characters in this situation?" However, if the artist pushes it too far (as in this case), the answers seem as though they are being articulated in a language the audience simply doesn't understand. The fact that there are some anatomical issues and compositional challenges doesn't help this cover either. 
 This could have been a great cover, if only she was not holding a lipstick, but a freshly cut off finger using the dripping blood to paint her lips. Also, why put a mirror in the composition if you are not going to use it to your advantage? She isn't even looking at it. 
 I am really puzzled with this one though... 
Beautifully rendered; great colors and composition, incredible motion that grabs you immediately... but why  does Spider-Man have a woman's body? Put a pair of boobs on his chest and that's one sexy Spider-Woman jumping at you.  


And here are Viktor's Cover Wins:
 The composition is solid, pushing everyone off balance except the giant bat. I like the green background and warm foreground. Great expressions too! Pretty much all the covers of this series have been exceptional so far!
 Fantastic composition, sucking the character into the unknown. Such great use of empty space and colors, all of which make the cover stand out. I definitely want to know what's going to happen if he walks down those stairs. 

That's just simply bad-ass!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cover "Fails" from 2/4/11

 We start this week off with a Red Hulk cover. I normally try to stay away from critiquing an artist's style, but in this case I have to say something. Basically, if you're gonna do an extreme close up of a face, you better bring it. This illustration feels more like a sketch for editor approval than a finished piece. I'm not saying it has to be photo-realistically rendered, but it just feels sloppy and unsure more than expressive.
 Speaking of rendering, air-brushy rendering can't hide the lack of artistic ability to draw the female form. If I had this artist in front of me, I'd slap the J.Scott Campbell comics outta his hand and replace them with a Famous Artist course book or an Andrew Loomis "How-To" book and say the following: "It works for J. Scott. You? Not so much."
OK, can somebody tell me when Superman's costume changed to a shitty hue of blue-green? Then  the colorists adds into the mix some "Prince Purple" to make me wonder if he/she is color blind, which would be supremely ironic. Or maybe he/she just hates Superman. It's hard to tell.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....snort,wha, ummm. Sorry, I fell asleep. This cover works better than Sominex....Boring angle, boring poses, and the expression on the Baroness is....well, expressionless. Maybe she's just checking out her drooping silencer. C'mon people, Baroness is supposed to be super hot. Her gun should be fully erect at all times!
This isn't a cover, is it? Seriously. It's really art on the side of a 70's van. Admit it. You can't fool me.
I actually like this cover. Well, what it could have been. As it is, it's just too dark, which is too bad, because all it needed was something like the red I added to make it pop; or for that matter, any light color. Dark tones like this are fine, but when the entire cover is dark, it's just too much. Also, the dead space is just screaming for a designer to get in there and do something cool with the title, but we're talking about comic book covers here, not major paperback book releases. And they have much bigger budgets.

Cover "wins" from 2/4/12

 Boy, talk about getting right to the point. How could I pass this book and not give it a look? A beautiful illustration mixed with a dirty gesture. Sometimes a simple idea can elevate what would otherwise have been a boring cover. Also, going with more of a paperback-novel-jacket design is a great touch. It really makes this book stand out as an island in an ocean of comic books.
 Another one of those "this is more than just a superhero comic" covers. Nice job on the font and over-all design. The use of limited color is nice. Also, having the rifle breaking into the above illustration brings together what otherwise might have seemed like two separate illustrations; plus, the rifle helps lead the eye down to the gunman.
 Here's an example of a straight forward cover. Nothing special about the design, but the execution makes it a solid cover. I would love to take the illustration and integrate the type into the design, like an old 40's-50's B-movie poster. The bottom line is: Brereton can paint!
 A strong juxtapose between a war helmet and a mushroom cloud. You just can't ignore this cover. It opens up a serious can of whup-ass; about 10 megatons worth.
 Imagine this cover colored normally. It just wouldn't have the same impact as this minimal palette cover does. Your eye has no problem finding the main focus, the main character. The only thing is, I might have pushed the tones a bit more to give it depth; darker shadows in front and lighter in back. The reverse of that would also work.
 Hiding illustrative elements in the shadow of a strong silhouette is a classic design that continues to work, as it does here in spades. Also, having cool tones on the outer part and warm tones on the inner works well.
 Speaking of tones, notice how the tone gets lighter and lighter as we get closer to hero? It's like a subliminal bullseye for your eye. Plus, keeping all the secondary elements more on the monochromatic side keeps this complex drawing from becoming a clusterfuck of detail that confuses the eye; not to mention, the colors themselves are really nice. Kudos to the colorist.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another one from myself 1/28/12

It seems by the comments to this part of the blog, that you guys are more fond of trying to rip me a new one than respond to my cover critiques, ha ha. But I can take it. Hell, I even agree with many of the comments. Maybe I should only post my own stuff from now on, just to give you guys a forum to give me your opinions. Nah, that's a horrible idea.