Friday Fixup: Vince Underwood

Friday Fixup is where I take a page of some willing volunteer’s work and see if I can add some extra oomph to the story telling.

First page this week is by Vince Underwood

As ever, his version on the left, my edits to the right, annotations follow…

Let’s begin!

Panel 1:space! The final frontier. The edits: more drama! Just because we’re in space doesn’t mean we can’t have dramatic lighting around a figure (check out anything at all inked by Kevin Nowlan, the master at two source lighting). This little pure white figure against a pure white background felt a little dull, so some nice shadows inside him. Now, in panel 3 we meet some sort of villain, but where’s he come from? He just sort of appears – so I added a little flying figure of him in Panel 1 (it’s not much but it stops that can from just sort of showing up – it’s a reverse checkov’s gun problem we have – if the dude shows up as a massive threat on panel three, we’d better see him earlier than that!)

Panel 2: Couldn’t tell if we were looking at a sun or a planet, so I added some shadow shapes to help sell the planet, adding some central shadows around the flying good guy (Which really focuses you on his mouth and that scream) and added some more pew! pew! pew! (the original has two laser beams, but they’re white and on top of a white planet so it’s all a bit lost, now the planet is in shadow, added some jagged effect lines so it’s not just pure straight laser fire – visual interest! and lots more pew! pew! pew!)

(I make s/fx noises when I draw. I’ve learned to accept that about myself. Pew!)

Panel 3 – OOF! Here we want that impact point to be seen more, by adding shadow around the body of the hero that sort of guides the reader towards the chin/knee interface and adding a little white halo around the back of the villains leg, and more laser beam (pew! pew!) the panel has crunch and movement and focus.

Panel 4-6 Ok, I get what you’re doing here, a classic build up and then explosive punch! but I don’t think it’s working. Firstly the splatters of blood are too blobby and distracting, they’re not helping do anything but obstruct – this is a complex sequence so you want to simplify as much as possible. Plus, I think you’ve got Panel 4: PUNCH! Panel 5: Angry Panel 6: Angry and I think you really want Panel 4: punch! panel 5: PUNCH HARDER! panel 6: PUNCH EVEN HARDER, Panel 7: PUNCH THE HARDEST THERE IS. It’s sort of the rule of threes (I’ve gone for panels 5-6 as closer up views on the villains fist punching with blood, in case the drawing isn’t clear). Build and build and build and defuse. You have build, defuse, defuse, build, defuse.

Panel 7 (centre big punch). Ok, the centre visual effect here is cool but pointless, hard truth – it’s making me, the reader, look at the central effect and think “WHy am I staring at this dudes arm” – I’m completely missing the punch in the face that’s going on – I’m a dog that can only see on shiny thing at a time, and that shiny thing is SO shiny. So I moved the shiney to where the punch is. I did mine crudely you could do it with cooler v/fx, but the point is: the point of impact is the point. Not the dudes arm.

Panel 8-9-10 Again removed the blood splatter, so much clearer (I didn’t do it, but I’d be inclined to flip the horizontal on panel 8, as he’s arming his right hand and punching with his left, which looks a bit silly, but would work if it’s his right hand). Panel 10 I made it another punch, one with more gusto (I admit, my drawing of it is hard to make out) the point is: this is our heroes redemption moment, he gets his punch in, he’s going to win…

Panel 11: BUT WAIT! NO! Bad guy grabs him. I think you need a beat of the villain grabbing him before they start entering what I assume is limbo – I’m guessing the villain is vanishing them both away? I added a background to panel 11 (it’s the planet behind them, maybe I’d add some of the space ships too)

Panel 12-13-14-15 largely unchanged (I did add some white little lightning bolts to tie it to the visual effect on panel 7)

And finally, the background – let’s call it panel 16 I put some space ships in, because, frankly, they just seem to vanish around panel 3 where’d they go? Hopefully a reader won’t notice this stuff they’ll be so engrossed in the story, but there will be something nagging them in the back of their head, some sort of flaw they can’t quite see, and it’ll never occur to them that the spaceships just left, without a by-your-leave.

Anyway, hope that’s interesting/informative/something. YMMV on all of this stuff.

Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.