Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Critique of a Rob Liefeld cover

A lot of folks hate on Rob's art. But the truth is, he's still doing his thing in the industry. Like him or hate him, He's probably doing more than the Fanboys that point fingers. I just thought I'd offer an unbiased Crit of one of his latest covers for DC comics "Grifter." Keep in mind this is all subjective, and one artist's opinion.

First up- The composition. I like it. It's not trying to be anything more than it is. Straight to the point, dynamic, It's catchy, It's got explosions, and the Main character featured prominently. It Doesn't blow me away, but it really doesn't suck. At all.

Grade- B+

Next- The figures themselves. These Look pretty good. Oddly enough, I like a lot of Rob's older figure work better than his current stuff. The anatomy looks pretty good in this one. as comic book artists, we often take a great deal of creative license with anatomy. The thing that stands out as being a little off on this cover is the foreshortening on the main figure's arms. They just dont seem like they are coming forward in space enough. It's not like this piece has extreme perspective, But exaggerating it just a hair more would help things out a LOT.

Grade- B-

Which bring us to- Detail. Things look nice and rendered. It looks like the folds in the clothing and whatnot have had a great amount of attention payed to them. But what really stands out and turns me off about this image is the detail that WASN'T paid to the weapons. Grifter's pistols, and the cannon in the background look like no care was put into them. We live in 2012, where access to reference images is in the palms of our hands. A quick Google search will bring up millions of images of weapons that one can look at for inspiration. There is simply no excuse for taking shortcuts in this area. Readers nowadays have video games and movies with the most imaginative weapons people can think of, so we have to compete with that.

Grade- D-

Colors- For the most part, the colors are solid. Most of what i have to say about it is in regards to personal taste, not technique. I was never a fan of the "airbrush" highlight style. I feel like it takes away from the shape of the figure. The light sources look accurate, but then again, there is light coming from everywhere. That being said, this is also something we take a lot of creative license with. As long as it looks believable, You're usually good to go.

Grade- B

Last- The background. I understand that the background on this piece is the last thing most are concerned about. The thing is, it's kind of hard to tell where the pencil art ends and the photo background starts. In a bad way. I use some photo backgrounds myself, and it's a very thin line between clunky and seamless. I think this piece would be better off just dropping the line art and go with an all digital background.The colorist saved the background on this one.

Grade- D+

Okay students, This brings us to the final report card. In the end, Mr. Liefeld gets a B-. A few little tweaks here and there could make this cover awesome. But in a business where time is money, sometimes things just need to get done. I know this all too well.

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