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Good art, bad art, and you. It really depends on you.

And if you like a certain type of art, it is good while I may personally hate it. Many people enjoy the art work in Bleach, they will say that it is clear. I would say that it is devoid of life leaving panels that feel empty to me. You can say that same thing about some other artists, it is up to you to form an opinion, and agree or disagree.

When you come down to it though, it's very personal.

No matter how much you critique a piece it will always have people that love it.

For instance, I personally feel like Oda's art direction is simply brilliant. For me he embodies what great dynamics should be, he does this through his very fluid artwork, while his color excel in both use and complimentary of colors as well as color perspective create breath takingly beautiful compositions that I love. Yet there are people that I know that would whole heartily disagree with me on that point.

The reason is because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Art is really a preference thing, and your preference is not my preference. I personally really enjoy well done sketched work, because it captures the raw emotion that the artists was going for at the time. This is often reduced in impact when they take it to the final product illustration.

Technically Skilled

What we have talked about up until this point is emotion. If you want to understand comic art, you will need to understand the process used and how it is made.

But herein lies the trap. If we simply focus on the technical aspect of the art form by itself, when you look at the differences, you will need to realize the importance of distinction. Mainly people, critics included fairly to remember that there is a difference between art and art style.

So while art can be judged more objectively when you understand the process, how do you do that? What are the criteria that play a role in how you distinguish good from the bad?

This list is helpful in doing just that.

  1. Good Art style Doesn't Automatically Mean Good Art
    • I've read series with unspectacular art style, however full of emotions and never batted an eye over the art. I've read series with good art style, but with mediocre use of art. Although they're well illustrated, they lack the most basic elements to give it a dynamic feel.
  2. Interacting With Objects
    • Figures should interact with objects in a believable way.
    • When a figure is supposed to stand on a rock for example, the figure's feet and pose should be drawn correctly, otherwise it looks like he's floating above the rock.
  3. Emotions
    • Both comics and manga have the advantage of being allowed to show exaggerated emotions.
    • An artist's job is to convey emotions. The reader should sympathize with the figures when they're angry, sad, desperate or whatever the scene calls for.
  4. Correct Use Of Perspectives
    • When you think of perspective drawing, the first thing that comes in mind are maybe buildings and geometrical forms. However a good artist should also be able to draw living beings (humans, animals, plants) from different angles of view. Bad artists tend to draw their figures always from the same perspectives.
  5. Paneling
    • The comic artists' job is to tell a story with pictures. Good paneling creates tension. Panels should not only have a pleasant flow while reading, they also are part of the story telling.
    • You might find it useful if you pay attention to these things in particular: shapes, how lighting works (the shadows, shading, and highlights), line width, composition and layout, foreground/background and perspective, anatomy and proportions (which can be unrealistic and still look good), textures and effects.

Look at the art for multiple series, over time eventually you'll start to notice what works, what doesn't, and when you should just ignore the flaws. But be aware that the rules can be broken to good effect and you may be biased to the results. Once you become good at being a critique, you wont enjoy things as much, since everything is flawed

Now it is time for a cookie!