IanStruckhoff's avatar


Writes Comics, Takes Photos
Artist // Professional // Varied
  • July 19, 1978
  • United States
  • Deviant for 16 years
  • ian-x.com
  • He / Him
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My Bio

Ian Struckhoff began writing his first graphic novel "The Deathlings: Anne's Story" on July 22nd, 2009. Since then, he has produced the first issues of that series, of an anthology of his comics short stories "Black Label Comics," and of the series "The Dark Age".

He is also currently working on the first issue of "Huginn & Muninn: Blood Brothers," a one-shot comic "Failsafe," and developing numerous series including "Rooftop Lily".

:iconthedeathlings: :iconblacklabelcomics:

Ian X. is a self-taught fine art portrait photographer, who began his work at the turn of the Millenium while a student in the United Kingdom. He studied Philosophy at Reed College in Oregon, the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and the University of Sheffield in England. Born in New Hampshire, he now works out of a studio in Lawrence, MA and resides in Cambridge, MA.

When asked to describe his work, Ian responds, "I mostly take strange portraits of beautiful girls, or maybe it's the other way 'round. My constant themes have been contrast (both visual and conceptual), beauty, darkness, personality, and the unnatural or supernatural. The same character, whether it's the subject herself or a fictional creation, should be seen as both powerful and vulnerable-- either predator or prey-- within an instant."

For information on portrait rates, visit ian-x.com/portrait/ . Clients should contact Ian to discuss terms and rates.


Favourite TV Shows
Doctor Who, Torchwood, Buffy, Angel, Castle
Favourite Bands / Musical Artists
KMFDM, Pig, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen
Favourite Books
Northlanders, Hellblazer, Stranger in a Strange Land
Favourite Writers
Heinlein, Pratchett, Gaiman, Azarello, Hickman
Tools of the Trade
Canon EOS XSi, Photoshop CS5, Google Docs
Other Interests
Photography, Comics, Philosophy


Comments Made18.4K
Comments Received3.5K


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:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Vision
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Impact

Overall, this is excellent work, a great showing for the tryout and a close match to how I imagine the book. It's a bit odd critiquing a work that I wrote, but I thought it would give you the best feedback.

I should say that, if you're selected for the role, we may want to do one more pass over this page, but more of a revision than re-doing anything. That actually fits with the normal process of pages in progress anyhow.

Anyhow, on to the critique...

The overall choices for the layout are excellent. The pacing and storytelling here are, in my opinion, very strong. At each step, I get the right idea of what is happening... including the appropriate degree of mystery for now.

The one thing that I would change about the layout is more space between the panels. I'm a big fan of a standard grid, with a white background and black outline for each panel, and clear space between the panels. For dark pages like this one, a light outline and black space works as well. These panels feel close, which works well for the top half of the spread by doesn't seem to fit the timing of the last four panels.

The style of the line art is absolutely perfect for how I imagined the story. It's a fantastic combination of stylized line work and photo-realistic shapes. This is most evident in the top half, and in the backgrounds and cityscape.

In terms of the overall style of the coloring, I think it's strong but I can see immediately how it could be better. I think you should reserve the painted-shading technique for certain panels and elements (like the red panels, as you did) and default to the flatter style that we see in the first two panels, and in the backgrounds.

There are some strong color choices, and some that I'm less sure of.

The all-red scheme works well for the stripping strip (heh) but those colors should be held in reserve, so seeing them elsewhere lessens the impact.

The colors in the second to last panel suit the setting, but I'm not sure that they give the impression of night time. The last panel, with a cooler, more limited palette, feels more night night in a city to me.

The final criticism isn't down to the technique, but is more specific to this story. I think we may want to work on the transformation design further--

The panel where it starts is a good effect, especially in the eyes, but it doesn't make the crow connection clear enough.

By the time it is complete in the second to last panel, she doesn't seem changed much-- she has an eye patch, and the man's hoodie, but she's not a stylized character. There's nothing here that can carry over to other incarnations of this character, and distinguish it from the incarnations of the other crow. I think her color scheme should be more distinctive, or else she should add some crow, feather, or tattoo elements-- something with a hint at the supernatural, without going over the top.

Obviously, as a critique, I've pointed out a number of things that should be fixed. That said, I think that fixing them is well within your ability, and more importantly that the overall effect is much stronger than the individual points I make might suggest. This artwork makes the strongest case I've seen so far for a style suitable to the book-- especially the line art.
H and M style test colour
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star::star-half: Impact

I'm writing this Critique in response to your request on #ComicFemales.

Overall, this work is very strong. I really like what you have done here.


I'll start with the things that I feel could be improved.

- Composition: The overall layout of the image doesn't seem ideal to me. For instance, the crop is close to WG's head, and right through SFs hair-- If their eyes were around 1/4 to 1/3 down the page then the focus on their expressions would have more impact. (Right now, they layout leads to their chests-- which I could understand, but everyone's eyes will go there next anyhow.)

- Inking (Linework): Part of me really likes the ultra-fine linework you've used here. It's very sharp and crisp, and distinctive. However, I think more varied line weights would give the image more depth and impact.

- Coloring (Shading): Really the only problem I have with the coloring is that the light source isn't clear. Where do you feel the light is coming from in this image? This leads to some confusion about the depth and shapes.

- Background: The moon/sky in the background work well as a simple backdrop. However, the debris and smoke at the bottom doesn't seem to be of the same quality as the rest of the image.


All that said, for the most part I think this work is powerful and well-executed. Here are some of the biggest strenghts.

Coloring (Palette): You've got some excellent color choices going on here. Given the combination of all of Starfire's colors, Wonder Girl's hair color, and the Star Sapphire colors-- you should have ended up with something that clashed atrociously. You didn't, and I commend you!

Coloring (Style): I really like the soft but somewhat flat-feeling style you've used for the colors. There's depth, and a soft sensuality, but it has a strong pop-art/designy feeling that works for the image.

Emotion/Expressions: Their expressions are great, and very expressive. I wouldn't have thought that Wonder Girl would scowl at being linked to the spirit of love, but the expression is still powerful and well-executed. Even the somewhat blank expression that Starfire has is well-executed and mysterious.

Character/Likeness: One thing you have definitely nailed is something that people usually have a hard time with in comics art-- You can easily distinguish the characters. I don't mean colors, costumes, and powers-- all of which are modified here. I mean that you can tell which characters we are seeing based on their faces, attitudes, and physiques. They definitely aren't generic.

Again, overall this is great! I look forward to seeing more.
Titans Sapphire
:star::star::star::star-empty: Overall
:star::star::star::star::star-empty: Vision
:star::star::star::star-half::star-empty: Originality
:star::star::star-empty::star-empty::star-empty: Technique
:star::star::star::star-empty::star-empty: Impact

First, the positive..

This piece does a great job of following the open-ended outline that I gave for such an image. You captured the idea I was going for, even though the image wasn't terribly specific.

Overall, I really like the composition/layout of the piece. Most elements fall in place that draw the eye, it makes good use of the page, and you've designed around logos, etc.

The character designs are solid, and are recognizable. The similarities and differences between the two characters are appropriate.

Now, on to my concerns...

The first thing that I see is that the anatomy seems problematic. The body shapes are fine, and it's not unusual to have problems with feet and hands, but the perspective/angle and proportions of the heads and faces needs work. Pay especial attention to where the eyes lie on a real face, and how the image represents three-dimensions.

While some elements (stones, the moon, parts of the tree) look realistic and appropriately stylized, others don't seem right (the crows, parts of the tree, gravestones).

Overall, you have a potential, but a long way to go before you're working on a book. I would spend a lot of time working on the basics of drawing figures, and make sure you're comfortable with a simplified realism before trying to develop a style.
H and M ...
While you're not entirely wrong, you probably could have been a bit less blunt and persistent in your negativity.

This photo shoot was, in effect, a try-out of a new mobile lighting unit. You've fairly accurately picked up on the fact that I was (indeed, still am) getting used to getting good light out of the setup, and that we were both fairly uninspired at that moment as I struggled with it. The other sets from the same day largely used natural light, with this unit doing fill-in duties, and the results are fairly different.