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Almayer
11-06-2016, 07:09 AM
Hi all. These are my current wip pages. Batman Confidential: Rules of Engagement #1, script by Andy Diggle. These are 5 of 7, working on the remaining 2. Tell me what you think. Thanks!

http://pre06.deviantart.net/095a/th/pre/i/2016/293/c/a/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_1_by_almayer-dagk4u1.jpg

http://pre10.deviantart.net/ade7/th/pre/i/2016/293/9/2/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_2_by_almayer-dagk68p.jpg

http://pre03.deviantart.net/e18d/th/pre/i/2016/295/e/0/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_3_by_almayer-dagk6l5.jpg

http://pre11.deviantart.net/93df/th/pre/i/2016/295/3/c/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_4_by_almayer-dahi74m.jpg

http://pre05.deviantart.net/5a34/th/pre/i/2016/295/9/c/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_5_by_almayer-dajdbyh.jpg

jorgezeraba
11-06-2016, 08:54 AM
It is a bit confusing.
1. I dont think a woman who is recently murdered would have her hand sticking straight up in the air. There are other ways to put a dead woman on the floor and batman within the same panel.

2. page 2, that shot of batman swinging in the air is unnecessary and perhaps showing the city skyline and the sun setting would show some time has passed. Because the jump is to abrupt. Unless, you intended that, it seems jolting.

3. page 4, i would remove this page entirely as it is unnecessary.

Almayer
11-06-2016, 10:45 AM
Thanks for your comments!

I obviously could have changed or removed freely anything I considered unnecesary from the script as is a practice of mine, but then I have had no script at all. There are several ridiculous things on it, as some of the ones you pointed, and there are some more. Here you are the script in case you want to take a look:

http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/BatmanROE1.pdf

I only picked it because I wanted to draw a simple scene with few people on it, just to practice. I think I should try to reduce the nonsense, but without removing entire pages. Professional artists remove entire pages if they consider they're wrong or unnecesary? Just a question, I don't know it, but I guess they don't.

jorgezeraba
11-06-2016, 03:04 PM
I think your efforts should be applauded.
Comics is a VERY difficult, and underrated medium. So I always respect anyone who practices it!
As far as I know, when I worked with scripts, I've changed or removed whole pages IF it made the pages read alot more smoothly. Personally I think most writers that describe what happens within each panel, don't really see the story as clearly as possible. They describe things, but you have to visually tell the story and simplify it. Trim the fat, keep it lean, lean and mean!
Comic pages don't have much space, so you have to simply to have bigger panels to show the art, and have the story read, smoothly and aesthetically.

But those are just my thoughts!

Below is a video about comics layout, that can show you a bit more about how i think when it comes to comics, if your interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-PKsp3XXfk



Thanks for your comments!

I obviously could have changed or removed freely anything I considered unnecesary from the script as is a practice of mine, but then I have had no script at all. There are several ridiculous things on it, as some of the ones you pointed, and there are some more. Here you are the script in case you want to take a look:

http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/archive/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/BatmanROE1.pdf

I only picked it because I wanted to draw a simple scene with few people on it, just to practice. I think I should try to reduce the nonsense, but without removing entire pages. Professional artists remove entire pages if they consider they're wrong or unnecesary? Just a question, I don't know it, but I guess they don't.

Almayer
11-06-2016, 05:54 PM
Thanks!

I think the same about writers, they don't "see" just write and then put you in trouble. But I always think about the job they do and say to myself "then they don't do their job! At least not properly!" They look to be untouchable somehow, and I think it's unfair, they're part of the creative process and the artist for me is equally important. Well, just my thoughts!

I'll watch the video and reply about it, thank you very much for the link; I think it is going to be very useful and I'll learn something for sure!

Scribbly
11-07-2016, 06:51 AM
Working on a script like this, that is meant to be used for sampling at Big Two Editors is better to respect the script the way it is. And follow what the writer requested for page and panels.
Never underestimate the writer in these samples.
These selected scripts were already published and illustrated by some awesome artist. These are no scripts made by wanna be writers who don't really see the story as clearly as possible. These are professional's scripts.

Good drawing skills and inking. Problems with narrative. Need work more on storytelling before going on final artwork. :kewl:

Steve Colle
11-07-2016, 08:35 AM
I'll comment more when I have more time, but wanted to mention that this script has been around for a while, with at least three other artists tackling it as a sample here on Digital Webbing and each with his/her own interpretation. One constant was the maintenance of all content from the original script, which was an actual published comic from DC.

Here's the thing about working at DC as an artist: if the editor doesn't see something wrong with the script as it was finally forwarded to the artist, then it's hard to make changes/take out content that the artist feels are warranted without a good reason and good argument for that to happen. And it can't be instituted unless the editor has been consulted first. That's the nature of working for a corporate publisher, along with many other work for hire facts.

Almayer, I think you have a clean style and skills that could lead to published work (or more work if you've already crossed that bridge). The details and how you were able to incorporate them is good, but there is definitely room for a re-evaluation of these pages and the script direction. I'd suggest re-approaching this same script with new pencils (providing it without inks to start with and then adding those after an initial release). You'll learn a lot from a do-over of the same material, something that would show a progression and willingness to accept input from others. This is something editors want: to have an artist who, when receiving editorial notes, they can count on to have changes made to the same material. In the world of monthly comics, schedule is everything, so each step of the process needs to get done quickly for the next stage to move forward.

I did find that due to your clean style, the lack of more prominent use of shadow and light made this sample less applicable to a crime story. Enhancing your use of shadow to help convey the lacking of light source in this woman's apartment would also help centre it in this genre. Many would argue the colorist can make these additions - which is true - but I look at the effectiveness of black and white. With this, take a look at the artwork in BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE to see what went into creating that tone and mood.

Steve Colle
11-07-2016, 10:13 AM
I'm posting the link to the script here first before my response begins: http://www.comicbookscriptarchive.com/goods/andydiggle/BatmanROE1.pdf

Bishop
11-07-2016, 10:23 AM
I find the panel with the baby staring at Batman's crotch a little disconcerting.

Steve Colle
11-07-2016, 02:28 PM
Okay, so I'm going to concentrate on the first page with notes I've taken - some general, others more concrete. I'll tell you right off the bat, comparing the script to your page was like I was seeing a different story than what the script called for:

- Consider the space your text will occupy vs. the visual details that need to be prominent vs. the size and shape of your panels. There are a few reasons I can understand why Andy Diggle wrote this as wide panels and not squares, as with a wide panel, the main visual details can be centered in the image with the text around the sides, top, and bottom. You didn't provide that space.

- Your first panel is overlapping your second, which should be the other way around if using the technique properly. Each time you create a layer effect like this, the newest information should be the one to cover over that which has already been visually read.

- Carefully read the script. Set descriptions create more than just mood: they establish situation and circumstance. A prime example is the direction you took away from "nasty old curtains" which should have been used to help convey her poverty level. More on this coming up.

- Diggle wrote that the baby was a year old in his script. This has pertinence as it applies to the mobile and how the child looks at least a year older in your pages. My initial question as I went over script and artwork was just how important it was to have the baby at the described age. Is it a battle worth fighting whether the child is a baby or two year old toddler? In this case, the answer is "Yes", and here's why: http://www.babycenter.com/404_when-should-i-take-down-the-mobile-from-my-babys-crib_1368540.bc. As it is, the mobile shouldn't even be there past any age where the child could grab it or where it could fall into the crib. One year old is an estimated age, but even that may be too old. Then there's the question of the mother's knowledge, experience, and mental capacity in deciding to get this precious gift for her infant daughter, something that has no bearing on the story and therefore shouldn't be in question. The result in much shorter terms: Make the child a baby.

- Something that Diggle was trying to get across in this script was the fact her daughter and the mobile are the only good things in this woman's life. Everything else - her living accommodations, the way she's dressed, etc. - should all reflect her extreme poverty. That isn't in the pages you drew. That needs to be there.

- In Panel 3, the direction is given that the mother has a "sad tender smile" as she talks to her baby. This isn't followed up on in the artwork and is necessary to the visual story. Here's why: Mom is trying to find the positives and has taken this opportunity to do so. It's important that a smile here is the opposite of how her facial expression changes in the next two panels. Make that change obvious.

- In the last panel of the page, there's an artistic Catch 22 in the description of her emotional look: "her eyes are filled with fear and deep, deep sadness". These two emotions are hard to convey together, so you need to concentrate on this fact: she isn't shocked by her pending attacker, but is instead resigned to the fact of his reason for being there, and she pleads, "P--Please. Tell him... tell him he can't have her." This is an example of description that needs to be pulled apart to find the right visual, so I can't fault your choice.

- Here's a key point that needs a special focus: The description for Panel 5 defines the silhouette of a man standing in the doorway. There's a reason it doesn't say "backlit" or "in profile" and that's building suspense and foreshadowing. It's necessary to Diggle's story that the big reveal of what her attacker looks like be kept a secret until he bursts out of the closet. That's the reveal, after all. By showing any sign of what he looks like and what he's wearing on this first page, you have effectively given away the proverbial punchline. He needs to be fully in silhouette for this to have the power when he reveals his full appearance.

If the script ain't broke, don't fix it. Diggle had a deliberate reason for the direction he gave. Changing it to make it your own can often detract from the story the writer is trying to convey, especially writers with history. As you can tell, this script went through three drafts before the editor accepted it, so any modifications you may suggest (if you could in this case) need to be presented to the editor before you advance, and with clear explanations as to why they would work better. That's how corporate and larger publishing houses work in their editor/creator relationships to put out quality product on schedule.

Nice art, but the work needs to be re-evaluated. Please do what I suggested and redo these pages for reposting.

Good luck!

Almayer
11-08-2016, 04:50 PM
Hi guys!

Thanks for your answers! Your opinions are really appreciated. Special thanks to Steve Colle who took the time to analyze the work so deeply!

It is incredible how putting these pages in different forums and receive feedback from different people can generate so many diverse opinions and enrich them.

They have already undergone several changes since I started them, following the suggestions of a veteran professional artist who has been guiding me (in another forum). If I had more free time I would probably re-do them, but my personal and professional circumstances do not allow me by now, so what I'd like is to concentrate on finishing them. And surely it will take a little longer. After that, we would see.

It strikes me how fine an artist has to spin when reading and interpreting the script. In your opinion the artist can hardly take licenses, just draw what the text says. It contrasts a lot with the opinion of this professional artist of which I speak, who encouraged me to modify and even get rid of panels when I considered them unnecessary, if I believed that the narrative (the most important) was going to improve.

Of everything that you comment I consider the acting is the main problem: their expressions are not well reflected. That is something to which I must pay more attention. And I must improve my English too! I think I would have better interpreted the panels with a higher level of your language!

So I take good note of everything you tell me and maybe I'll introduce some more little changes. Now I have the point of view of an experienced draftsman and that of a freelance editor. These pages are giving me a lot of learning! It's funny: I just wanted to draw a few simple pages to practice, but they are proving to be the most complex to perform! I can't imagine myself drawing samples of the Justice League or the Avengers!

Ha ha ha, it's true Bishop, the panel you mention is a bit disconcerting! A different plane would have been better. In fact, at first I thought that panel was unnecessary, but I guess Batman's view is "hey, an orphan, like me," and that cold empathy toward the baby should be shown somehow, in my opinion. But not that discoconcerting!.

Thanks a lot!

Steve Colle
11-08-2016, 08:06 PM
Almayer, because of the script being for a DC comic, where editorial control is more prominent than other smaller companies, that's where the artist has less freedom to express. That is, unless the artist is equally known and respected for his input. Someone like Jim Lee could take these pages and modify the visuals because he has a reputation. However, new artists need to build that reputation in the larger companies in order to have that freedom. In that sense, it's very much like other industries and professions, where those who have proven experience and value have benefits above those who are new or not qualified enough to have that same value.

I've been an editor, instructor, consultant, and writer in this industry for over 25 years, so I come with a bit of experience when I tell you what I did. Take what you can from other's experience and make your own decisions based on what they offer. You have the talent: now it's a matter of developing it further. I can see you doing this professionally in the future.

All the best,

Steve Colle
EDITOR'S EYE VIEW Freelance Services
editors.eye.view@gmail.com

Almayer
11-09-2016, 09:36 AM
Hi Steve.

Everything you say has much sense to me. I tried to tie to the script in these pages, and even argue in the other forum "hey, it's in the script" when they told me to get rid of certain panels or modify the story. I think that being samples to practice (I'm not going to send these pages to editors; I'm not prepared and I can see it), I could take some licenses and modify a bit and even get rid of pages or transform the entire story. I tied because I just wanted to draw from a professional script and see if I could do the job. There's much work to do, but well, it is my second attempt doing american comic book samples.

I thank you so much for your words, mean to much for me. I'll try to develop my skills. Let's see if I can arrive to the comic book market. I'll keep uploading pages whenever I can.

Steve Colle
11-09-2016, 10:27 AM
I'd like to add something that I didn't in previous posts, something that will have bearing on your experience with the industry and with the editors you will deal with: Every editor is different.

Focusing on those in the big two (Marvel and DC) and depending on their editorial role in the company (Executive Editor, Group or Line Editor, Editor of one title or many, Assistant Editor, Associate Editor, etc.) you will encounter those who strictly adhere to the need at hand, which is ultimately to get their titles through each creative stage to ensure the book gets out on time. Alternately, you will also have editors who seek to encourage creative expression. Not all editors have the same professional mandates.

Another thing to consider is the fact new artists aren't typically thrown on to a regular series as soon as they receive their first assignment. Short stories, one-shots, and mini-series are all testing grounds to see what the artist can do to showcase their style, skill, and most importantly, their ability to meet deadlines and work with others. These last two points are very important because if they can't count on you or feel stressed working with you, they may not consider you for future work with them. This also has a trickle down effect where professionals actually do talk to each other and may share their experience with you, good or bad, with others in the industry. The result: are you enough of a talent or commodity that they are willing to look past these issues due to the strength of your work on sales for their company? Some editors will say yes, but others would rather have good relations with their creative talent who have consistent quality vs. a creator who causes excess stress for the editor because of the almighty dollar in the company's bank account.

Personally speaking, I've worked with creators from both sides of the editorial desk - as an editor-in-chief and senior editor for publishers with clear direction and mandates, as well as freelance for creator-owned projects and on pre-submission packages to companies. I would rather work with a creator who, no matter how talented, is easy to work with.

Editing is as much a relationship-based job as it is creative or administrative one. To all who read this: approach your role in the industry with this same perspective and make yourself someone who editors and publishers will want to work with.

Speaking directly to you, Almayer, you appear to be someone I would want to work with. Hopefully we can make that happen someday.

Almayer
11-09-2016, 07:41 PM
Thanks, is very interesting to know more about the editorial role in comic book companies, and the different kind of editors one could meet and work with.

Another thing to consider is the fact new artists aren't typically thrown on to a regular series as soon as they receive their first assignment. Short stories, one-shots, and mini-series are all testing grounds to see what the artist can do to showcase their style, skill, and most importantly, their ability to meet deadlines and work with others. These last two points are very important because if they can't count on you or feel stressed working with you, they may not consider you for future work with them. This also has a trickle down effect where professionals actually do talk to each other and may share their experience with you, good or bad, with others in the industry. The result: are you enough of a talent or commodity that they are willing to look past these issues due to the strength of your work on sales for their company? Some editors will say yes, but others would rather have good relations with their creative talent who have consistent quality vs. a creator who causes excess stress for the editor because of the almighty dollar in the company's bank account.

This is something I more or less knew from the experience of a friend that's drawing comics for the U.S. He was working for Zenescope, then received the call to work for Dynamite, and he started doing fill-ins in this new publisher while drawing his 21 monthly pages for Zenescope, and that situation (I imagine it was very stressfull to draw 21+12 these months) continued for two or three months until Dynamite offered him monthly pages to do and finally leave Zenescope. The usual proving ground you mentioned.

Do I have what it takes? I think so, but I guess I would experience hard times for the first several months. I know this is a long run and that I will be always learning but I'd like to feel more prepared and confident prior to send any samples. As I wrote in a previous post, I can see there are flaws and much work to do.

Thanks again for your kind words!

Almayer
03-30-2017, 12:41 PM
Hi everyone!

There you are the last two pages for this little parctice project. It took me a lot to finish them as I was working on other things in between these pages.

I'm not totally happy with the project, but I think I learned a lot. Hope you like it.

http://pre06.deviantart.net/7361/th/pre/i/2017/085/e/5/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_6_by_almayer-db32h8g.jpg

http://pre05.deviantart.net/0370/th/pre/i/2017/086/8/6/batman_rules_of_engagement_page_7_by_almayer-db3rsfm.jpg

Cloves Rodrigues
03-30-2017, 12:57 PM
The drawings is cool, but the perspective is very "orthographic"

engcheedraws
04-07-2017, 02:15 AM
These last 2 pages are great! You've made much improvement in your art. I especially like that your figures look more fluid and dynamic now as compared to the earlier pages. Good job!

Almayer
04-08-2017, 04:55 PM
Thanks for your comments, Cloves and engcheedraws!

It's great to hear there's improvement (I barely see it), even with 4 months between the first pages and these two ones. I've been drawing, but not as much as I should.

I'll expect to upload new pages (of a new project) later this month.

Thanks again!