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Zombies and a consulting detective - Need help with flow and comp.

I'm doing a thing for someone who has requested BBC!Holmes and Watson fighting zombies. I'm trying to go for a sort of 'hero' pose for the main image, and five cut-out scenes in small frames around the edge.

Right now, I'm having issues with the 'hero' pose. It just... isn't working.


Not looking for anything to nitpicky on the small details. Rough sketches are rough and for composition purposes at this point, so there are a billion flaws.

What on Earth am I doing wrong? I am so not feeling this, and I have to have it done by the 5th. D:


Mr. Red Flag
Both characters are more or less dead center in the composition. Unless you have some seriously dynamic lines to keep your movement flowing, it's going to make your actiony picture come out very static and without life. They're also roughly the same size, but on different levels of wherever this is taking place. It causes confusion and looks awkward. That one cut off ankle is also pestering the shit outta me.

It's also going to be difficult to do anything drastically visually interesting with cut-out boxes squatting around jabbing for attention. I suggest maybe putting those along the side?


As far as composition goes, you might want to consider shifting the characters to a lower corner (going with the flow lines, the bottom right). This will unbalance the picture and add some dynamics to it, creating some visual tension, especially if balanced with some blackness. Then, it would allow plenty of room for the action-shots you plan on for the left side, like a filmstrip.

As far as the hero pose ( on the zombie?), it's being weakened by the weak shoulders. They are more slumped which tends to indicate defeat or fear. Also, the spine is super-rigid on the pink person, so I'd suggest working in a flexion forwards so that the flow is visually focused into the gun rather than up and through the head. This will also force the head to duck in a bit, reducing visual attention on him and allowing the viewer to see Holmes as a more central figure.

Holmes shows less bravery though (although I like the sentiment), though his left hand I think would be better directed downward, showing more of the back of the hand and continuing the flow better from the crooked arm, as if he's withdrawing something from his pocket.

I'll try and redline/composition sketchup in a bit if you want.
The two guys in the front are not zombies. Should have made that a bit more clear.

I'll update in a bit, but I wanted to check up on this before Arthullu thought that I was lunch. But there's a lot of good advice in here, and I'll address it properly in a bit.
Points addressed:

Got rid of the portrait orientation for the purposes of having a larger area to work with. Ideally, that's what I'd like to keep, but I'm not sure how to make it work. I definitely do not like the square.
Adjusted Holmes' arms and added the missing cricket bat. I'm still not happy with his left hand, and am about to cry over it.
Moved Watson further to the left
Made adjustments to Watson's shoulder and legs.
Fixed the perspective on Watson so that he's not four feet tall.
Watson is still sketchy as hell because I'm still not very thrilled with him.

As for Holmes' uncertainty of the whole situation, it occurred to me that the man is so far out of his league right now that it's an entirely different game. For once, it's Watson taking charge, and BBC!Watson is an utter BAMF in wooly jumpers (that, and he does tend to lose his fights in this version for some reason. Watson either saves him, or the other person gives up. o_O)

Also, damn this coat. It looks awesome, but it drowns out everything. Holmes is just all... coat and bad hair. >.<