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Oh God, it's another web comic. It burns the eyes.

rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Artist's Corner
Hi there. Y'all probably don't know me too well, but I lurk here quite a lot, and harass people in the live feed chats.

Regardless, I've been working on both honing my art (which has been lackluster forever and a day) and trying to create a new, lovable world, though I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm mainly looking for any thoughts you may have on my latest set of comic strips. I'm trying to bring together something that is both unique and professional looking.

I'm gonna beat you to the punch and say that none of my comics (the 'Happily Inked!' series) are laugh-out-loud funny, since I've discovered that I'm just not a very funny person. Instead, I've gone for more of a charming set of lead characters.

A little exposition - the two leads are "Inky" and "Dinky." Inky is a mild-mannered, borderline naive American who lives alone with his pet primate "Dinky."

inkydinky.jpg

Anyway, any suggestions on how I can improve the style of these comics would be of much help. The style is meant to be as simplistic as possible while stylishly portraying a story in every 1-6 panels. Thanks.
http://www.happilyinked.com
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--=== UNRELATED ===--

If you care to see where I kind of stand in my (lack of) artistic skill, here's some of my most recent works.
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rfilyaw on
ErEX7tY.jpg
"Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy

Posts

  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    This feels a bit like it was drawn with a mouse. The line width being constant definitely hurts it. You should try experimenting a bit with variations to create more depth (just for starters, foreground stuff should be thicker, farther stuff should be thinner; work from there).

    I'm not a big fan of the way you've stylized the characters as well. The hands and feet resolving as simple corners feels like it was a shortcut and not a legitimate tactic to enhance look and feel. Overall I think there's a ton of room for improvement. Keep at it though, the aesthetic is pretty unique and that gives it potential. I think the best thing you could do would be to convince yourself that each panel will require about twice the amount of time you've been spending on it already. You have a decent eye for perspective and changing POV (panel 1 to 2 in your first strip, for instance), but the execution just isn't there yet.

    TiSBcast.com - Home of This is Serious Business, a weekly roundtable podcast involving media, beer, and general merriment.
    Twitters
  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I see what you're saying about the varying line width. On comic #4 I switched from using a uniform pen pressure to varying, but I know what you mean about things in the background being thinner lines. Somehow I always thought the opposite.

    Unfortunately for the stylization of the characters, that's something I think is unique to me and not really willing to compromise. I appreciate your input and hopefully a lot more strips will help me refine it to a more precious ore. I will definitely work on what you said.

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    You got a couple chuckles out of me and the art is... serviceable. Its clean and everything is more or less easily recognizeable but some of the short cuts are too obvious such as their pointed limbs so you don't have to draw hands and feet.

    you should do that- and by that, i mean draw hands and feet. I'll add new life to the characters- digits are very expressive. (these are all comic specific comments)

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Even if you want to keep that style, I think there are some tweaks you can make that would be helpful. For instance, in the sign photo shoot cartoon (which I think is your best), you introduce more curvature to the characters (see: the photographer's torso, the sign character's back and back leg). In most of the other strips, the limbs are made up of entirely straight lines, which gives them a disjointed feeling, almost like they're tacked on. Moving in a more organic direction while implementing line variations could allow the style to improve tremendously without losing the integrity you want it to have.

    TiSBcast.com - Home of This is Serious Business, a weekly roundtable podcast involving media, beer, and general merriment.
    Twitters
  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    In most of the other strips, the limbs are made up of entirely straight lines

    Of course, I absolutely agree with you. That's why they're different in the latest strip (and the one before it to an extent.) It's definitely the direction I'm taking it in all future strips.

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • KalTorakKalTorak Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I like the Monkey King comic, though I think you're a bit wordy with it. Also, try narration boxes instead of word balloons for that one; it's a slight difference, but I think the feel of them would suit that strip better.

  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Okay, I came up with 2 solutions, but I think the latter is gonna be my final result.

    This one, I added hands/feet to both Inky and Dinky.

    handyinky.jpg


    This one, which my friend demanded was superior, (since she couldn't stand the hands/feet on Dinky but thinks they worked perfectly on Inky) is my likely choice. That is, all pets/animals will have simplistic hands/feet while humans have complex ones.

    handyinky2.jpg

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • CrowlestonCrowleston Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I disagree. Dinky looks better with hands and feet. Without them, they look invisible or cut off completely.

    edit: I should also point out that in the second image, Dinky is not holding inky's hand. He just looks pasted.

    useless but necessary objects of society.
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    yeah, now it looks a bit like the amazing adventures of the Thalidomide Monkey.

  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    yeah, now it looks a bit like the amazing adventures of the Thalidomide Monkey.

    Then I guess that's what I'm gonna have to call him.

    Off-topic: Are they ever going to fix these forums? It takes 5 refreshes to get anything to load.

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Count me in for the "monkey needs hands" option.


    the forums been running good for me today....

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • ZaengoZaengo Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    You got a couple chuckles out of me and the art is... serviceable. Its clean and everything is more or less easily recognizeable but some of the short cuts are too obvious such as their pointed limbs so you don't have to draw hands and feet.

    you should do that- and by that, i mean draw hands and feet. I'll add new life to the characters- digits are very expressive. (these are all comic specific comments)

    thats kinda the style. its suposed to be stick people. and last time i checked sticks dont have fingures.

  • ZaengoZaengo Registered User
    edited October 2009
    now that looks good.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Zaengo wrote: »
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    You got a couple chuckles out of me and the art is... serviceable. Its clean and everything is more or less easily recognizeable but some of the short cuts are too obvious such as their pointed limbs so you don't have to draw hands and feet.

    you should do that- and by that, i mean draw hands and feet. I'll add new life to the characters- digits are very expressive. (these are all comic specific comments)

    thats kinda the style. its suposed to be stick people. and last time i checked sticks dont have fingures.

    We've been over this already in another similar thread, but stick people smack of laziness and they dont' make the characters easily identifiable for the reader. You should not use stick people esp when you can draw better, which this guy can.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • RikRik Registered User
    edited October 2009
  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Zaengo wrote: »
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    You got a couple chuckles out of me and the art is... serviceable. Its clean and everything is more or less easily recognizeable but some of the short cuts are too obvious such as their pointed limbs so you don't have to draw hands and feet.

    you should do that- and by that, i mean draw hands and feet. I'll add new life to the characters- digits are very expressive. (these are all comic specific comments)

    thats kinda the style. its suposed to be stick people. and last time i checked sticks dont have fingures.

    We've been over this already in another similar thread, but stick people smack of laziness and they dont' make the characters easily identifiable for the reader. You should not use stick people esp when you can draw better, which this guy can.

    While I appreciate your kind words and advice, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I think Inky and Dinky are very recognizable characters, and I wouldn't call them stick figures at all. They have body mass, flow, a feel of presence in a 3D world and color (white being every color.)

    I pondered it for 3 days and eventually decided against hands, because that would not be nearly as iconic as what I have now. I also thought of characters who didn't have hands that are still functional and recognizable. Bloo from Foster's Home, Frylock of ATHF, Squidbillies, etc., though I suppose one could argue that they're not human and are precluded from any such assumptions of phalanges, though I digress.

    I'm forced to wonder if my character started with hands if this discussion would not have been about his neck instead, then the realism of his face, then his absence of clothes all the way down until he looked like a realistic human.

    Anyway, here's my latest that goes up Wednesday.

    superhero.jpg

    Here I went for a more colored approach when it came to lines, so they didn't all feel so dirty and black. I'm still having trouble with varying line widths, but the characters (mainly the third frame) are a lot more fluid, and can move really almost super humanly, but still exist in an attractive manner. I also added one level of values to give the characters a bit more of an existence to the frame.

    I really hope I don't sound defensive, because I'm not trying to be. I very much appreciate all the advice, encouragement and help being provided. I hope you keep trying to help me.

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • CrowlestonCrowleston Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    The problem with a stick figure, which has been mentioned before is the Silhouette test. If anyone were to look at a Silhouette of Inky compared to any stick figure or any other character in your comic, he would not be recognizable. I disagree with your examples of characters without hands. Aquateen is meant to have a very stiff look and feel, which would not translate to a comic like it can in animation. In fact, all of your examples were animation which can get away with any of it anyway because there is actual movement instead of suggested movement.

    I don't think there is a problem with his face or with his neck. The emotions are depicted well enough with your simple lines, and the neck is suggested without issue. Look at Rayman, he has no arms or legs, they aren't important to the character so they aren't necessary.

    useless but necessary objects of society.
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Also notice that i didn't call your characters stickfigures, zaengo did. I was arguing why stick figures don't work and shouldn't be an excuse. You're characters are simplified, not stick-like... that said, Crowleston brings up a good point, even though they are simplified, they still need something rather iconic about them to separate them from every other character in your comic and in other comics around them.

    And there is no problem about the face or neck really, but hands are a very important thing that your characters noticeably lack and need.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I pretty much disagree with everyone here about the hands. If your characters have no ears, no noses, and no necks, I don't understand why it is somehow required that there be fingers and toes. In fact the images you posted with fingers and toes looked incredibly strange to me.

    At the same time, the whole pointy limb thing does not work for me at all either, so why not try somewhere in between, like what you did with the man dudes feet. You didn't give him toes, you just gave him a shape, and it looked nice. So do the same thing with the hands. Your characters are way to simple to have detailed hands with multiple fingers, imo.

    And I agree that you kinda need some sort of visual hooking point to grab attention, because character design wise it's rather bland.

    sig2.jpg
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    maybe a blocky hand shape would be better.

    Anything would be better than points.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • worstcaseworstcase Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Maybe a mittenish hand? And those feet in the multiple digits hand picture.

    Or maybe NO HANDS AT ALL.

    Just chop off his arms. Then he'll be easily recognizable.

  • AgentflitAgentflit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Just know that next to faces, hands are probably the most expressive part of the human/monkey form. Without them you'll have to emphasize body language and facial expressions more. People are hand experts and will spot a malformed hand a mile away, so I can understand why you might want to leave them out.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Agentflit wrote: »
    Just know that next to faces, hands are probably the most expressive part of the human/monkey form. Without them you'll have to emphasize body language and facial expressions more. People are hand experts and will spot a malformed hand a mile away, so I can understand why you might want to leave them out.

    The thing is, he can draw hands well like in the "hand demo" he showed us. They added so much to the characters, esp when holding hands with the monkey...You can feel their relationship because it looks like they actually have one... I'm not sure why he wouldn't want to follow that line of expression up.

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Spoiler:
  • AgentflitAgentflit Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    Agentflit wrote: »
    Just know that next to faces, hands are probably the most expressive part of the human/monkey form. Without them you'll have to emphasize body language and facial expressions more. People are hand experts and will spot a malformed hand a mile away, so I can understand why you might want to leave them out.

    The thing is, he can draw hands well like in the "hand demo" he showed us. They added so much to the characters, esp when holding hands with the monkey...You can feel their relationship because it looks like they actually have one... I'm not sure why he wouldn't want to follow that line of expression up.

    Yeah, that's what I was just thinking. Maybe pull an mspaintadventures and have the hands only show up when they're being used? I dunno.

  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    (I apologize, this is a crude joke, but it was more of a slice of life. Tell me this hasn't happened to you.)
    11.jpg

    I'm sure you all hate me by now by not going through with 'handing' my comic. I don't want you to think I'm being stubborn or throwing it in your face.

    I've drawn a few webcomics, and they all had characters with full appendages, clothing, etc. I really wanted to create something simple, interesting and attractive and I really think I've done that here. I made a conscious decision to draw 'inkydinks' as I call them in a very particular, simple way. It wasn't an effort to cut corners or assault the viewer's eyes. It was to make people think, which I'm happy to say has happened here.

    I really appreciate everyone's opinions on my work, and I want to further explore possibilities for the improvement of something I care about. I sort of just wanted this to die because I'm worried that you'll feel I'm being ungrateful, but I didn't want you to think I abandoned you.

    Thanks again.

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
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