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Comic Art Critique

Balancing Tonal Values and Detail

Balancing tonal value and details is paramount to presenting a readable illustration that’s visually digestible. An overabundance of detail or a lack of tonal contrast can often create confusion within an illustration, or worse, flatten it out completely.

In this comic art critique I’ll be discussing the importance of balancing tonal contrast and details to create depth within black and white line art, and how to emphasize the key points of focus within a given composition.

To illustrate these points, I’ll be doing a draw over of an art piece from Korey Barton’s second issue of Kozor ( read issue #1 of Kozor here: ). This particular comic book illustration incorporates an overwhelming amount of intricacy into a visually stunning composition.

But there’s an issue.

Tonal contrast isn’t present between the main subjects within the illustration, resulting in a lack of emphasis and visual disorientation. The details that have been incorporated into the illustration also aren’t dispersed in a way that accurately suggests the forms under the established lighting conditions.

As I address these errors throughout the illustration, we’ll focus on introducing additional depth, giving the characters more pop, and carefully re-balancing the details for increased readability.


I hope you enjoy the video! Thanks for watching!



Software Used: Manga Studio


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