Comics Creators

Please help me improve my line art! (Modern age comics style)

Hey guys, I’m new here. Call me Jay.
I’ve just recently got my first comic off the ground, and you can read it here:

A huge problem I’m having with the line art is that it looks way too cartoony, even though I add plenty of hatching and such.
My aim is to be as much like the modern Marvel Comics style as possible. The best examples of this that I can find are below:

Can anyone help me? Someone who does this sort of comic art would be really useful.


could you share some of your art? :slight_smile:

It’s in the link

i’m not a professional but i think you can work on your figure drawing and your panel layouts. you don’t have to add a lot of hatches if you are coloring your comics. :slight_smile:

harvey tolibao would say in panels that you should try to imitate the art style that you want to make, hone it so much that it would become natural to you on drawing with that style. same thing with paneling.

looking at your comic, maybe you should try to add more square panels. :slight_smile:

again, i’m not a professional. but that’s my advice. :slight_smile:

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You have an interesting art style.

Personally, I think it would take a lot of work to move from that into the more traditional comics art. Or, more to the point, it takes a lot of practice.

Not necessarily advice, but options here. Take a look at Andrew Loomis:

These texts have an amazing amount of instruction and exercises to develop a traditional, representational illustrative style from figure drawing to composition.


awesome books you gave him everything he needs :smiley:


Hello Jay, I can’t really offer any advice, but just wanted to say hi. Welcome to Millarworld.

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Hello there!


What comics do you read? Do you make any?

That’s an interesting question. I read lots of stuff. I am fairly willing to try most things. Like a lot of people, I was very much dedicated to DC and Marvel for many years. Unfortunately a big Corporate Entity can’t love you back, and we have a looser relationship and I’m seeing other comics companies. One of the things that I love about this place is the opportunity to hear about books that I may not ever have heard of and very occasionally getting to chat with people who make them.

I don’t made comics, although I do write and it is something that I’m working towards. We have been doing Write-Off challenges here on the forums for a while, and I’ve been using that as a opportunity to teach myself how to write a script.

In my spare time I am working on a novel and used to to write and direct plays.

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Art comes from within ourselves… let your work flow naturally while u practice your techniques…


True. I’m a firm believer that a deadline inspires creativity though.


Things to think about when drawing:

First - Negative space

This goes into two areas. Take a look at some of Stuart Immonen’s pencils.

And some inked work

And in the samples you posted, take a look how much “blank” or open space there is even in the “busy” panels. This is important in giving the viewer a sense of having a position in relation to the action in and in between the panels.

Secondly, negative space also applies to the silhouette. Even if all the figures were blacked out, you would be able to pretty easily pick out who was who from each panel due to the signature of their silhouettes.

Next, Horizon line and perspective

Take a look at each panel and find the horizon line.

Like most artists, Immonen usually sets the horizon line below the characters’ eye lines. Some artists, like Hitch, will choose to keep the horizon line at the eyeline to contribute to his more “cinematic” or “widescreen” style of storytelling. However, the point is that even when drawing figures, perspective is important and has a subtle effect on the viewer.

Also, perspective in backgrounds tends to guide the eye through the page which is another reason why space in the panels is important. You need space to allow the eye to move through the comic book smoothly like camera movement in movies and television.

Also, obviously, you need space for the damn speech balloons and other text b.s. :wink:

Finally, Storytelling - choose your details and focal point

Instead of concentrating on every element in a picture, choose those that are necessary to deliver the story. Some artists have a very distinct technique of establishing the scene or environment in the first panel and then concentrating on the figure and finally the faces and hands as the story goes forward. You have to decide what it is important for the reader to see and know and let that guide what you give attention to in each panel and on each page.


One final thing that may help in regard to space.

In a lot of framing/composition techniques, the artist arranges things by foreground/midground/background. In wide shots, you’d need to think about all three. In medium shots, you could just have two - midground and background, and in close ups - foreground and background or midground. This is more like staging in theater blocking, and like this page from Hitch’s JLA shows, it is not a hard and fast rule when it comes to separating them:

However, it is a way of doing compositional framing inside the frame of the panel and especially effective, as in this case, at providing dynamic artwork in what is mostly a dialogue heavy scene. Even though all the characters are doing is talking, they seem very active from the shifting points of views. Also, note the progression from a wide establishing shot to medium shots to what is effectively a close up on Cyborg as he decides to take action.

Also, especially in the case of Bryan Hitch, look up the Golden Ratio and Rule of Threes when it comes to placing your focal points in the panel.

Separately, as far as penciling and inking are concerned prior to coloring, if you look at more artist’s pencils in the style you want to emulate, there is not a wide variety when it comes to shading. Basically, it is black, white and gray (sometimes light gray and dark gray). This is naturally because the inking will just be done with black and white and various levels of crosshatching or other inking effects.

The point being that there is no need to go crazy with the shading like some artists occasionally do, because it won’t be seen in the final product:

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Ah yes I can see that rule of thirds very clearly in the cyborg/batman page.

I’ve gone and bought a really good quality ballpoint pen which I know use alot in my inking.
Is the following any better?

More are at my Tapastic site.

Not sure how good ball points r these days… I’ve been using copic multiliner pens… kind of pricy but refillable


I still use the Pigma Microns but now I use the ballpoint for the crosshatching, small details e.t.c.

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How about these new pencils everybody?:

Sorry, my scanner’s getting fixed so I had to take the pictures on my phone.

I’d suggest life drawing above all else. After that copy from photos. And tracing is good practice, it builds up a knowledge bank in your head of how everything is connected, how shadows fall, how cloth drapes.

Then, when you refer back to How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way, building up a character from stick figure to fully fleshed out, all that knowledge helps you clothe and shade your figure realistically.

To do cartooning, you need to know all the rules before you can bend and stretch them!