Moving into the final stretch!

Wow, okay. SO. In order to have promo material ready in time for ComicCon, I basically have to stop doing new pages for the time being and concentrate on cleaning up the old ones. Which is great...!

...Except that now I have to figure out what the final pages will look like.

I've done two tests of the approaches I'm considering, neither of which would be prohibitively time-consuming. If you have a minute, I'd love to hear some opinions on this!

And also, just for the sake of comparison, here's what that page used to look like:

ARG so nervous about sending this to my editor O_O
I'm no artist nor do I have great judgement, buuuut..

I vote for the first! While the second one is slightly easier on the eyes, the first one comes out as more expressive ("look, tradition/revolution!"). It works well with the text, IMHO. :x
Thanks for taking the time to offer an opinion, and for explaining it as well! Gonna have to ponder this, I think.... <3
I like the second one better. I think it would print better than the first, and it's easier for me to comprehend, and over time I think would be easier on the eyes if that makes sense. And I find the blocks of grey to be more visually interesting.
I think I like the second one better. The hatching effect in the first one strikes me more as some kind of lighting effect that is happening. It also kind of sets all the characters on the same level, but with the grey tones there is a bit better hierarchy of the figures going on
Yeah, differentiating the figures is definitely something I'm worried about... :|

I prefer the second. I like hatching, but it can easily turn into "I'm hatching a lot to cover up my weak drawing" sort of look. I'm not in any way saying that your drawings are weak, but I am saying that good hatching might be tougher to maintain in the long run. <3
Yeah, I do worry about the hatching seeming forced -- I'm tempted by the aesthetic of a purely B&W book, but not sure if that's the way to go. Guess I'll have to experiment a bit more! <3
I like the hatching for the first panel, but for the second panel, I prefer the tones.

When I saw these side by side, I thought of Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal, and how he does whatever he wants for each panel. He does whatever will best convey the artistic or emotional content in each panel. I'm especially thinking of the two On Silent Wings volumes.

The hatching gives a lot of energy and picks out the central figure. But that level of energy in the hatching won't be right for every panel. Many, many of the panels in Chronin will be so, so sweet with the tonal approach you used both panels in the second example, but for the first panel, overall, I prefer the hatching.
Yeah, I think you have a good point, there. I may need to just calm down and take each page as it goes in terms of BGs. I'm a little more worried about the characters -- will they have standardized grey tones of some kind? But the BGs I should take on a case-by-case basis, it's true!
Certain things stand out for both.
The hatching has a lot more energy in it but the tone has a lot more depth.
A mix of them both looked by far the best. I put version 1 over version two in photoshop and hit multiply and it looks really awesome with all the depth of the second while keeping the energy of the first.

If overlaying one over the other is too much work than I like version 1 more. Energy wins. :D
I like the first one for the contrast, not so much for the texture... All the scribbles are a little bit distracting and the depth isn't really there for the first panel. The second one is nice just cuz its a little bit smoother but the subtly shaded grays make it look washed out... Since this is in black and white (right?) I think a more contrasty look would be best. If you're going to use grays, maybe for sake of your sanity and for ease of reading you could limit yourself to like black-dk gray-mid gray-lt gray-white? And only use textures on bgs as to not suck the atmosphere out of the foreground/ important characters? Or maybe even look into tones, though that might be to manga-ish.

Just a general comment, it also helps to have strong lighting if possible. Like for the top panel I'm not really sure what the time of day is, the light source, etc. It also varied from example 1 to example 2, not sure if that was just so you could illustrate the two examples quickly or if you hadn't decided on lighting yet. Anyways, you could really take advantage of strong simple lighting by making all the bg a dark gray and keeping all the foreground white or something, just to push your figures forward.

Sorry I wrote so much XD Feel free to ignore any of this!
No no, crit is VERY MUCH appreciated, thank you!

I think that part of the problem is that these prologue panels aren't very representative -- they're much darker and simpler than most of the book. I think I'm gonna do another "test" on a more normal page.... you're totally right on all your points, though, especially contrast. I think I may just have a really light touch on most pages, so that the lines stand out more? HMMM.....I do want to make sure the characters pop, though....

I vote for the first, but I always go for hatch. I think in your case it better creates mood with in the page over the greys.
Although if you go with grey I would stick to a very limited tone palatte, since its pretty easy to go over borad and then there is risk of lack of contrast. If that makes sense? (I'm tired)

Although if you go with hatching in the long run it might be nice to see more flat blacks. Less distracting and better counter balance to the busy nature of hatching.

Your work looks good lady! STOP WORRYING.
Yeah, if I go with hatching, on most pages it would be more lowkey. And you're right about the flat blacks -- I'm a little scared of them, but it's about time I get over it!

I am also torn! TORRRRRRRRN

And there are sinister figures on the next page, lady, PATIENCE ;3

hee <3 <3 <3
I like the second one best.
I think that gives the most dept into the picture and has a more nice texture to it.
I would love to go more into detail, but is at work so I'll come back if you're interested in more thoughts.
Thank you! I think I'm gonna do a few more experiments, but this is good stuff to keep in mind! <3