Comics Creators

MARVEL samples - Dave Acosta


Hi All,

Here are some sample pencils I drew up for Marvel a couple of months ago. Would love to hear what you think of them.



That is some beautiful artwork!. I really like the detail and sense of movement.

Great job!


Consider working for Marvel or DC to be like playing in the NFl or Premiership soccer. They only hire maybe a hundred guys at a time, and the best of the best on the planet are competing. Sometimes it might not feel that way when you see some books, but there are guys who get gigs because they’re reliable or have done good work in the past. So to get in you need to be above the typical Marvel average.

Your pages are good enough for Marvel, but you should raise them above. And even though there’s a book called ‘how to draw comics the Marvel way’ you want to have your own style rather than drawing in a way that looks similar to what most people do. That’s how a guy like Skottie Young can get so many plum jobs despite drawing in a cartoon style.

They’re going to look at your attention to backgrounds as those make a difference when you look at art. They’ll look at character placement, panel layout and so on. It might be an idea to work with a writer for this part, or to take an existing book and redraw the sequence in your own way.

Hulk is a tough character to draw so maybe avoid him. Too easily he can look off due to the unbalanced nature of the character.

For your work the Thanos cockpit looks great but the other panels on that page don’t belong. Plus you used 4 panels where you could have used just 2. And the same sized panels isn’t as interesting as a more unique arrangement.

Hulk looks slightly off - his arm placement isn’t quite right. You have loads of details on the robot head but not so much on the body. The smashed car also doesn’t look like how a smashed car should. From a storytelling standpoint Hulk is smaller than the robot yet he’s punching him from the side, an uppercut would have made more sense. On the final page you could have used 3 panels rather than 5 and added more action. And you have Kalma catching the Hulk mid explosion, in the wrong hand too.

You should pick a more interesting 3 page sequence. There’s basically 3 action panels out of 11 and there’s not enough there to know if you could take any character and do 22 pages of a filler story. You need a better sequence.

Sorry if this is a bit too much, but elements like this will make the difference - this is for the Premiership remember.

Most important should be making the artwork more unique and about you, rather than what you think Marvel want.




Thank you, Jim! That is one of the more thoughtful and expansive critiques I have ever been given. Thank you very much for taking the time to write it. And, of course, your advice is 100% spot on. Very insightful.


Firstly, @Jim just gave some serious feedback. I feel like I just got better at drawing reading that haha. I probably will not be that in-depth or helpful but I’ll give what I can and not retread the same areas.

Page one - I’d say there’s no real idea of scale here. Can’t really tell how big either the planet or ship are. Like Jim said, the cockpit panels could be condensed down to one panel with a simple switch of the angle. You could even condense all of that down to one splash page if you wanted by giving us the view of the approaching planet out of a window in the ship but the loss of the establishing shot could throw the reader off a little.

Page two - Again just echoing Jim’s words on the punch Hulk is throwing. I’d say that would need to be an uppercut or we there needs to be some more clarity on the fact the robot is coming down to Hulk’s level (so he can reach to hit him in the face). The amount of detail in this larger panel, while it is incredible, slow things down a lot. The time we take absorbing all of that detail really slows the action to almost a standstill. I’d say add another panel on there with more focus on the action than the environment to tie it together and ramp up the pace.

Page three - This could again be condensed down. I really like the three panels across the top of the page but feel the next two should just be in one. Much like the action on page two, the detail is that staggering that it takes time to soak it in and by the time you reach that fourth panel, you’ve been slowed down quite a bit.

Hope that helps! Great work!


Thank you, Tom. I’ve heard your comment regarding lack of scale before, so that’s something I will be sure to work on! Thank you for taking the time to comment.


No problem dude, I’m happy to do it. Keep up the awesome work


Your stuff looks really good, I’d definitely agree with the others though.

It’s really close to being professional quality, you just need to improve ever so slightly and you’ll be there.

I’d also agree with the comments about submitting to Marvel. They are usually not peoples first stop when trying to break into the industry.

Try smaller publishers, if still professional ones, like 2000AD. Their submissions guidelines are here;

You could also try talent hunts although both the Top Cow Talent Hunt and the Millarworld Talent Hunt won’t be returning until the latter half of 2017.

If you want to practice (and don’t mind not getting paid) you can also try submitting to small press publishers like FutureQuake;

It puts you in the position of working with an editor and makes a nice trial run for the big leagues. It also helps to prove you can work within that structure, although that is less important for you than it is for a writer.


Thank you Paul. Very good advice. I’ve been lucky enough to have stready work for the last six years. I’ve had some very good editors, and I am always looking for feedback that can help me progress, however incrementally!


Ditto the comments above. Also a general note about portfolio pages. Some people say “show me you can draw”, so artists cram heroes, vehicles, cities, aliens, explosions, a horse race, bar fights… all on just a couple pages. Bryan Hitch even sort of suggests this kind of approach in his book, but consider the type of books he draws and the fact that guys like him are ALREADY drawing them.

In the two portfolio reviews I’ve done with C. B. Cebulski he was less concerned with my drawing and more interested in whether I could tell a story. A lot of people can make superheroes look cool, but not many can make two people walking a dog as interesting. As the market continues to diversify, editors are looking for artists who can bring more to the table than another great action sequence.


Thank you for the feedback, that’s all very true. I’ve drawn many comics with lots of “talking head” scenes. I really enjoy them, actually, I love figuring out the “acting” of the characters. But with these pages, I kind of wanted to draw some big superhero action, for a change! I very much appreciate you taking a look and commenting.


Todd McFarlane hammers that point home a lot if you go back and watch him on Stan Lee’s Comic Book Greats. He keeps saying if you can make someone pouring coffee look interesting, the rest should come easy


I’d love to see some of that stuff, for some reason I love talking head scenes


This is spot on.

The art is good but the storytelling isnt. We don’t need a panel with Hulks arm.

Anatomy is good but Hulk looks flat - like Spider-man and Daredevil, he is a dynamic character. He should never look paused.


Thanks for the feedback!


These pages are from TWILIGHT ZONE/THE SHADOW #2. The whole issue was practically talking heads! Cigarettes make for good props though…


Great work. Keep it up


Maybe it’s partially the inking but I find theses pages far more compelling than the Marvel stuff and I think most of the editors at Marvel would rather see this. That being said, sample pages their talent scout Rickey Purdin sent me after my first portfolio review were an action scene with Spidey, so it’s good to have both. But in my opinion it looks like you do.

Also in comics perfection is not as important as consistency.


I did some samples for Rickey last year; he sent me a Spider-Gwen script to work from.