t3h h3dz = the heads
It's too dark and impossible to see anything!
Actually, this is a critique i very much agree with, and one ive been struggling to figure out how to deal with.
What? You know about it yet you still do it? How can that be?
Let me explain. No, that will take too long. I'll sum up.
I try to keep a sense of the overall page and how it reads in my mind as i draw these things, and one problem with drawing with a single .4mm piece of lead is that its a lot of work to really get depth and gradient to work well. Not impossible, it just happens that if you are not careful you can really come off with a drawing where elements do not stand out the way you want them to.
I do have a serious issue with my work where the backgrounds tend to have values way too similar to the characters themselves. Some of the better comics recently really have been ones where i've actually not drawn in backgrounds. Thats great, you set the scene, focus on the characters, works great.
But scenes like this are hard, esp when i want to show stuff going on in the background, set up a scene, set up a sense of 'holy crap look at the damage'. Sometimes the visual information is too much, and when the balance isnt right, things can get muddled.
Frame 1 works pretty well for me, i like the way it came out. Perhaps zoomed out just a tad would have been perfect, gives a good sense of what is going on, you can tell she's perched, looking down, texting on her cell, the city is on fire or whatever, and she is ready to pitch another appliance into the street (and that the store is an appliance store via the sign.) Not too bad, really. A little more rendering and it'd be a little better.
Panel 3 does not work very well at all. THe angle is there, sort of, but the depth is very confusing, and it just comes off a bit of a muddled mess. same wth the next few frames.
Now, i like the look on yuki's face in the next to last frame, but the best frame in the comic is Largo in frame 7. Originally, there was no background behind him and i should have left it out, but the overall feel of the page made it feel like it was missing if i didnt add it. See how that can work?
Contrast this latest comic with comic 1044, one of the better ones i think i've done recently
Less clutter in the background, still some complex movements, but it *works*. Its clear.
I'm actually working on these issues and trying to figure out ways to mesh my work to make them better, but old habits die hard, and often when you are drawing you can try to make something work one way but then fall back on a method you know well and you just end up doing it that way. A panel just didnt feel finished and i kept drawing and viola, you get the last comic :P
btw, the most jarring example of the contrast between these two approaches in chapter 9 is between 993 and 994