On February 18, 2020, at about 4 PM, I presented the final iteration of my Senior Thesis superhero comic to Lauren Redniss, and Jordin Isip, as well as another professor (whose last name is “Han”, but I cannot remember her full name), complete with the finished version of my comic book cover (see above). I told the Profs about my creative process and my inspiration for the comic from various superhero franchises and elements of ancient Japanese culture (particularly Shinto myth, the Legend of the 47 Ronin, and the idea of the samurai), as well as the best/worst parts of my comic, and where I was thinking of taking my Thesis in the near future (environmentalist superheroes!). I received a lot more positive feedback for my work than I expected, but Prof. Han also gave me some critiques regarding my artistic choices and drawing style, which, although harsh, was relayed to me in good faith, so that I may improve as an artist in the future. Below, I have listed a summary of the pros, “neutral” feedback, and cons of my superhero comic:
- Frames and panels are excellent/amazing.
- Sketches are better than final product.
- Amount of research is expected of an ambitious project. Impressive ideas.
- Text and image interaction works well and is separate from works of others.
- 70s/underground comix style (which professors love)
- Cultural considerations (avoid being offensive). Portrayal of Japanese society from non-Japanese perspective could be problematic, even with my good intentions (is this really a problem, though? I’m half-Asian, so…)
- Hybridization between realism and more cartoonish style. My drawing style occupies this weird zone that is neither realistic nor excessively cartoonish and stylized. Recommendation that I develop my own style separate from other people. Is this really a problem, though, or could this simply be “my style”?
- Add color to my work (which I didn’t have time for, in this case. But again, is black and white so bad?)
- Work larger. If I try to work small, things don’t look as good.
- Tentativeness in lines and anatomy— I look more confident in my sketches than I do in my final product, as objects are not as sharply defined and have “halos” in the former. Stop treating my thesis project as a final product— it doesn’t have to be so precious. Let loose! Stop trying so hard to be perfect!
- Homogeneity and equal emphasis of lines across panels makes it hard to distinguish foreground from background and what is happening in each panel.
- Recommendation that I ink my work as opposed to scanning with graphite.