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Third time's a charm: Trouble Ticket - my webcomic, again (massive update 11/29 on p 2)

amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
edited November 2011 in Artist's Corner
Okay, I promise I'm not new to the forums. I've posted this thread before but with search gone I couldn't pull it back up to revive it with new stuff. I even tried going through my subscribed threads since I joined the forums using plain text search and I just couldn't find the damn thing. So I will start off with an apology for making yet another thread.

Anyway, back in 2007 I decided I wanted to draw a webcomic. It was pretty horrible. I was drawing it on standard copy paper with borders printed in MS word and scanning it on a company copier. I knew nothing about photoshop or wacom at that time, but I really love to draw. I posted it here and got some pretty harsh criticism so I decided to do it again. I'd show you the first ones for reference, but I don't have access to them right now as I really only have them saved in one backup location because I couldn't bring myself to delete them.

So around early 2009 I started again with it and managed to do about 60 strips before I realized that, while my art was improving, my story telling really sucked. I started off with a storyline based comic and due to the success of a lot of gag a day and topical comics I shifted to a three panel format of topical humor jokes until I realized that I didn't want to do that, I wanted to tell a story.

Shortly thereafter I was fired from my job (along with the rest of the company) and got married and life and blah and the comic eventually went down for good. Here's an example of three of those strips.
Spoiler:

I spent a year working hard and practicing and learning photoshop and the most basic ideas of tablet use and shading and I think I've gotten better, at least to some extent.

So here's Trouble Ticket, for the third time. I'm keeping to a regular update schedule since I re-launched in November and I like where it's going, but I know I still have work to do. I'm not looking forward to getting ripped a new one but this is an important creative outlet for me and I'd love to see it develop into an actual career one day, years down the line.

Anyway, enough babbling I guess, here's the comics. I've picked a few of my favorites out of the first 16 strips. I update on Mondays and Thursdays now, but I'm getting quicker with the tablet and plan to make the jump to MWF soon.


First Comic



2010-11-24_001.jpg



Sample of strips


2010-12-09_005.jpg



2010-12-13_006.jpg



2011-01-10_010.jpg


Where I started to find more of a groove with my art and started working exclusively with the tablet without having to draw and scan images on paper first for reference


2011-01-13_011.jpg



2011-01-28_014.jpg



2011-01-31_015.jpg




And finally the most recent strip, right after I settled on some hopefully more permanent character designs...



2011-02-03_016.jpg



Alright, that's it, I guess have at it.

amateurhour on
Here's what I do...
The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
«13

Posts

  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Some thoughts...

    Your comic is suffering from talking head syndrome. Here are some different techniques for spicing up the visual aspect of your panels and bringing in some much needed contrast. Think about various camera angles (over the shoulder, etc.) and different levels of zoom (close-ups, master shots). Also consider the forms of the face as a landscape. Don't be afraid to fill up a panel with just someones face. When used appropriately it can be very powerful.
    Spoiler:

    Speaking of contrast... I think you could really up the contrast of your colors. Right now it pretty much reads as gray soup. You could consider bringing in more blacks, and conversely, more whites. Check out the look of black and white movies and the different levels of black, white and all of the different grays.
    Spoiler:

    Think of blurring your vision or even bringing that screenshot into Photoshop and putting it through a blur filter. Chances are you can still make out simple silhouettes of people and objects because of the different colors used. Complicated drawings don't work if they can't pass on basic design concepts such as contrast and visual hierarchy.

    I prefer the look of the dialogue balloons and the type treatment in the original comic versus the new ones. The type is a bit larger and easier to read. Give your balloons some breathing room. Don't be afraid to cut off part of the balloons like you did in panel 2 of the original comic.

    Consider backgrounds, and not just backgrounds, but environments. The difference is that a background just provides the setting for a panel, but an environment is something that the characters interact with. Something that reinforces the situation you are in.

    Don't get stuck just using four panels. You can make a variety of different comics in the same amount of space. Dialogue and pacing will usually dictate how your panels are laid out on the page. Don't forget to do various thumbnails for your comic. If it works with basic geometric shapes, it will work when you add in the details.

    Work on expressions (I could certainly follow my own advice here). There are various books on the subject, try using a mirror, check out tutorials online.

    Read your dialogue out loud to make sure it feels natural.

    Some of this advice not necessarily work for your comic (using lots of blacks for example), but there are certain things that will always work for any type of art (contrast, visual hierarchy).

    Keep working on it, have fun!

    signature-sir.png
  • MeditronMeditron Registered User
    edited February 2011
    So as a cautionary, I am not necessarily the best one to take advice from but i'll help if I can.

    It feels scattered to me. I will try to point out what I mean in one of the strips and see if I can get what I am seeing across.

    In the second to last strip, in the first panel you have the text, "DIE HIPPIE ALIENS..!", with a picture of a guy that seems to be staring off in the distance. It doesn't convey any sort of danger or real worry about the situation. Maybe try setting the scene of the strip with the character shouting or if the words are in his head, mid shotgun blast with alien crap spraying everywhere. Then in the second panel of the same strip, you have the character asking where his friend or furniture is. Yet again, a guy looking over his shoulder with not much space to show the scene. Another way you might be able to make it more visually interesting is maybe pull the camera back and show the character in a room by him self or even being surrounded by actual hippie aliens. Then for the 3rd and 4th panel, they both seem to want to be the punch line. It takes any potential for funny that you are building up for and spreads it like too much butter over bread.

    So I guess my advice is try to make your characters match more of the scene that they are in instead of statically being 3/4 waist up characters every time.

    I liked the 2008 version of your character more then the 2010/11 one. Maybe it's because it looks like ricky gervais, I can't say. It might be the more simple style of eyes though. The newer style with the sclera and the pupil both white, makes the direction of the eyes seem to be looking in a different place then the focus you might intend. Their necks also seem to grow a couple of inches each strip as well. Maybe try drawing out the characters, legs too, and get a solid way of how you want them to look.

    The last thing I would mention is the light source seems to come from between your characters and is pushing the shadows on them to different parts on different characters that are standing right next to each other.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Alright, awesome and thank you guys so much...

    Nib, man I've had that Wally Wood image like 20 times in the past and I kept losing it and couldn't remember the name of the guy so first off THANK YOU for bringing that back to my attention. I'm definitely going to make use of it.

    I definitely need to work on backgrounds, very, very much, and I plan to start importing them soon, but honestly the first 25 or so comics will probably be mostly characters with spotlights behind them while I get a feel for drawing them consistently. I'm trying to at least put props in as many comics as possible just to try and move away from drawing just two guys talking.

    I never thought to add more blacks and solid whites to the strip before, but I could see how that would benefit a lot. I'm going to play around with that for Monday's comic for sure. Thanks!

    Med, your advice is great as well. Just for the record, Couch is a person.... although having Couch be an actual Couch would be funnier I imagine.

    Anyway I can see what you mean about the Die Hippie Alien strip and how having him surrounded in panel 2 would be a good addition and I NEVER noticed that panels 3 and 4 were both punchlines. I should have had panel 3 stay as is and panel 4 just be Chuck getting torn apart by aliens or maybe just make it a three panel strip. I dunno, but I see your point regardless. And I will definitely try to make the characters match the scene. That's good advice.

    I have a huge problem with necks and I'm working on it. I'll get better, I promise. The only advice I won't take from you is to go back to the 2008 Chuck because I personally really like the new character designs. They are more comfortable for me to draw and they feel to me like they are better for eventually getting more advanced with profiles and facial expressions, which is something I obviously want to do. However your advice is good so I may try merging the two on some sketchbooks for practice to see what I can come up with.

    The last thing you said really hit home. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO SHADE. I never shaded before and honestly I'm just doing what looks the least horrible. Any reference you can link me to on light source would make me a happy artist. Thanks for pointing it out because I had no idea if I was doing it right or not, and I want it to be right.

    Alright, thanks guys. The new comic goes up Monday and it'll be here 20 minutes after that for you to critique and please everyone keep it coming. I really want to make a go at the comic and I'll only get better if I know what I'm doing wrong first.

    Thanks!

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • MeditronMeditron Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Trust me, I am horribad at shade but I am working on it.

    The guys here linked me this thread and it's been great so far, try it out.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=105734

  • The FoolThe Fool Registered User
    edited February 2011
    That penguin is very cool and should be a recurring character! But anyway, welcome back to the AC man.

    Something else to consider about your speech balloons is that they're read from left to right and top to bottom. On the first panel of your 2nd new stripe the balloons are placed so that the answer to the girl's question is read before the question is asked.

    To fix that the girl's balloon needs to be moved to the left or be high enough above the guy's balloon that the mind registers the fact that it comes first.

    And for expressions, someone recently linked this in another thread. I've found it extremely helpful, check it out-- http://lackadaisy.foxprints.com/exhibit.php?exhibitid=333

    Keep at it man!

  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Meditron wrote:
    In the second to last strip, in the first panel you have the text, "DIE HIPPIE ALIENS..!", with a picture of a guy that seems to be staring off in the distance. It doesn't convey any sort of danger or real worry about the situation.

    To add to this, sometimes you have the characters motioning or reacting in a way that isn't realistic. For example, the comic with the ghost (and the last line about having no penis) - the second panel has the dark-haired fellow with his arms up in the air, looking surprised or excited....yet what he's saying is "Like?"

    To go along with what Nibcrom said about reading your script out loud, motion with it while you speak it as well. That way you can get a better sense of what hand motions would be natural with what's being said.

    Definitely check out some of the links and tutorials people have posted. It's quite clear you would benefit from drawing from life. It will help your structure and shading!

    0210-1-1.jpg
  • kraz007kraz007 Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Needs to be more NOIR to fit my taste, but at least the protagonist have character.

    Riftforge: a free online RPG with fantasy tactics!

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Glad to get some more feedback. Thanks guys... (and/or girls)

    Fool, thanks! That comic doesn't do the penguin justice. He looked so much better zoomed in at 100% at 600 dpi that it pissed me off when I saw the final product. I need to work on my line weight and sizing in a panel.

    Yeah, I am well aware that the bar comic was messed up regarding the speech bubbles. I didn't notice until after I posted it and I have this thing about not going back to correct old artwork and stuff unless it's a blatant spelling error, so I didn't fix it. It's a reminder to do it right from now on.

    Also I love that tutorial. I found it last week and actually e-mailed the artist to thank her for posting it. It's really helped me a lot even now. The mouths and expressions in my last two comics were done after reading it. I've still got work to do but I'm trying to learn from it.

    Kraz, thanks... I'm not really going for a noir feel but I like black and white with shades of gray over color. Also I'm glad you think they have character.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Oh, I've got a technical question too.

    Right now the way I do the comic is that I started with a template at 900x300 at 72dpi with a clear background, then expanded it to 600 dpi and added the panels and stuff at the bottom and saved that.

    Is that a good size to be working in? 600 dpi seems fine but I feel like when I shrink it down I'm losing a lot of the detail and I'm just wondering if that's how it is and I need to work on sizing or if I'm doing it wrong.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    If you ever plan on having your comic printed, yes, 600 dpi is a good resolution to work at. I also believe it's just easier when drawing in Photoshop to work at a large resolution and then shrink it down for posting on the Web. Don't forget to zoom out on your art to avoid tunnel vision. Sometimes I even zoom out so that it will be even smaller than when I shrink it down to 72 dpi. If it works as a thumbnail, it will work at normal size.

    signature-sir.png
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Alright, here's the new strip.

    I tried to keep the light source in one location, and even added the world's laziest backgrounds, but there are backgrounds. I plan to work to make them more noticable in the future, but it's a start. I want to try and improve a little bit each time.

    I also tried to "act out" the conversation as was suggested and I hope this one reads a little easier...

    Anyway, here you go.

    2011-02-07_017.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • The FoolThe Fool Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Light source consistency is much improved except that the shadow on tie guy's hat is facing the light source.

    Nice inclusion of a background, first step! Keep an eye out for where you place things in the background though. The poor dude in frame one has a tree growing out of his head.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Here's the latest strip...

    2011-02-10_018.jpg


    I don't feel like panel 2 came out the way I wanted.... The expression seems flat... Any ideas on how it could have been done better?

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I like that you took the time to add a background, even if it's minimal (the tree in the second-to-last strip); little touches like that can add a lot to someone's snap appraisal of how much you care about your work.

    banner200x40.jpg
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    squidbunny wrote: »
    I like that you took the time to add a background, even if it's minimal (the tree in the second-to-last strip); little touches like that can add a lot to someone's snap appraisal of how much you care about your work.

    Thanks!

    I'm going to try to add at least something in all the comics from now on. This one just felt right with the spotlight because the snow kind of added enough in my opinion, but from now on when they're walking I'm going to try to add a building, or some mall background or the store..

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Here's today's strip. I was in a little bit of a hurry today so some of the linework didn't come out like I wanted, but I was pretty happy with the expressions and the joke.

    2011-02-14_019.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Watch out for tangents on your dialogue balloons (where the balloons just barely touch the frame of the panel).

    signature-sir.png
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Something that's bugging me about the recent strips is how the sizes of your characters jump around while your backgrounds remain static, confirming the perspective hasn't changed at all and people's sizes are just fluctuating wildly. When you're sketching, lay down some horizontal lines to keep yourself honest with various characters' heights.

    banner200x40.jpg
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    NibCrom wrote: »
    Watch out for tangents on your dialogue balloons (where the balloons just barely touch the frame of the panel).

    Now when you say this, is it alright to have a word balloon overlap the panel border? I kind of like it when that happens. Are you saying either have it firmly inside the panels or overlapping, but not "just barely" touching? Just want to clarify...
    squidbunny wrote: »
    Something that's bugging me about the recent strips is how the sizes of your characters jump around while your backgrounds remain static, confirming the perspective hasn't changed at all and people's sizes are just fluctuating wildly. When you're sketching, lay down some horizontal lines to keep yourself honest with various characters' heights.

    Thanks for the feedback, I hadn't even thought about that. I was actually trying to change up the perspective in the recent strips to have Evan towering over Chuck in panel 2 and have generic frost based snowman with top hat and corn cob pipe actually be in the foreground in panel 4...

    If I wanted to keep the spotlight effect in the background how could I work it differently to show that? or would horizon lines in the background show what I'm trying to do better?

    Thanks squid, you're very helpful, as always.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    NibCrom wrote: »
    Watch out for tangents on your dialogue balloons (where the balloons just barely touch the frame of the panel).

    Now when you say this, is it alright to have a word balloon overlap the panel border? I kind of like it when that happens. Are you saying either have it firmly inside the panels or overlapping, but not "just barely" touching? Just want to clarify...

    I couldn't find any mini tutorials on balloon placement, so I whipped one up. I don't know if this is industry standard, but it's how I feel. I wouldn't mind hearing what other people have to say on the matter.

    dialogueballoons.jpg

    signature-sir.png
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Yeah, that answers my question. I'll keep an eye out for the fourth scenario in the future and avoid it. Thank you for pointing that out.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    New strip...

    2011-02-17_020.jpg

    I tried to get more detailed with the backgrounds this time around and add a few different poses. Just trying to step out of my comfort zone a little bit.

    I'm thinking the spotlight was not needed, at least in panel 2 and 3.

    Anyway, lemme have it!

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Also, I'm giving a lot of thought to stepping away from the shading and gray scale and just doing a black and white, like classic PVP.

    Thoughts?

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • brokecrackerbrokecracker Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    First off let me say you are doing streets ahead better. The background in the above comic really makes a big difference, keep up the good work, it is always nice to see people actually listening to the advice on this forum.

    If you plan on going straight black and white you will want to work on your hatching chops for sure. Straight ahead linework with a few solid black fills can be boring no matter how good you are. Of course this isn't really bad advice whether or not you go black and white.

    A note on the writing: If the joke you are setting up isn't just rock f-ing solid, then break the expectation by beating the premised joke over the head or doing a u-turn. For example, the strip above, the joke seemed flat to me because I expected the last panel. A way to break expectation here would be to have the final panel of the two in bed, post coitus with the dude saying "I gotta quit doing this." It takes out the foreplay and gets right down to the point. The u-turn, and i think the funnier here, would be the same panel of them in bed but have the girl is the one saying "I gotta quit doing this." It is not at all what the reader would be expecting and it might catch them off guard. I'm not saying it always works, but playing with the set up is a fun part about writing comics.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Damn you for writing a better punchline. Hell that could have been an entire four comic storyline...

    First off, thank you for the advice and the crits. I am really trying to listen to what people are saying here and despite how hard backgrounds are for me I want to get better. It's not worth doing if no one is going to read it right!?

    I have no idea what hatching chops are. Could you explain that? Also I was thinking of still adding shading or shadows to the black and white, just no more 75, 50, and 25 percent opacity levels. I'm not sure though, I may have to play around with it

    I'll work on your punchline advice for Monday's strip though, most definitely

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • brokecrackerbrokecracker Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    oh, I just meant hatching. You know, "chops" like slang for skills.

    sig2-1.jpg
  • rfilyawrfilyaw Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    By chops he just meant proficiency. By hatching, he meant this: http://drawsketch.about.com/library/blinktexture.htm

    ErEX7tY.jpg
    "Daddy knows what he needs, and it's Fart Patrol." - Justin McElroy
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thank you both.

    Another question. Any tips for not getting tunnel vision when I'm zoomed in at 100% at 600 dpi to draw the strip?

    I feel like I make these detailed characters and then shrink down and it's all lost. I look at PA and PvP and other strips and the characters seem bigger and like the text bubbles just fit better. Is that just time and experience or am I doing something wrong?

    I'm working on a 12x4 canvas at 600 dpi because when I drop to 72dpi it shrinks perfectly to 900x300.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Window > Arrange > New Window for Whatever.psd.

    Have a second window open, zoomed out to 25% or whatever, so you can keep an eye on the big picture.

    banner200x40.jpg
  • Michael VoxMichael Vox Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    i really like the look of your greyscale shading. As has already been said work on the light source but I am working on that myself so I am not casting stones ;) One advice is work on your balloon placement. The dominant impulse is to read left to right, then up and down. Try to have your bubbles follow an organic line from beginning to end so the reader does not have to jump back and forth from right to left. I am a new cartoonist so I am merely stating the problems I am struggling with as well. Good luck!

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely trying to work on my writing and balloon placement because I've noticed several instances where the dialogue is hard to read. I try to get the bubbles laid out before I start drawing the strip but sometimes that just doesn't work out the way I'd like.

    Also sorry about the lack of updates since Thursday. I haven't given up or ran away, I didn't have internet for the last couple of days so I decided to take some time off to work on the next storyline before I start and I'll have a new strip up Thursday for critiques.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    I'm back. I took a week off due to the lack of internet to work on the next few storylines to really start getting some character and plot advancement locked down. Also I'm going to attempt three times a week just because I think it would be more helpful to my art to constantly be working on the strip.

    Anyway here's the new one. I'm pretty happy with the joke(s) and most of the art but something still feels off. So by all means let me know what that is.

    Thanks!

    2011-02-28_021.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    The geography is difficult to interpret in this strip. Some landmarks would clear up some confusion.

    Edit: To clarify, I don't understand where the girl is located in relation to the guy going from panel 2 to panel 3. And then I have no idea where they both are in panel 4.

    signature-sir.png
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    NibCrom wrote: »
    The geography is difficult to interpret in this strip. Some landmarks would clear up some confusion.

    Edit: To clarify, I don't understand where the girl is located in relation to the guy going from panel 2 to panel 3. And then I have no idea where they both are in panel 4.

    Yeah, I actually had Evan in panel 1 with the mall Chinese place behind him and the girl in panel 3 and 4 with the Italian place so that it made it look like they were sitting at one of the counters you see in the mall food court, but the backgrounds looked horrible so I took them out and hoped the table and chairs would convey the same message, but obviously not.

    I really need to get better with them. Any tutorials or tips you can recommend there?

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Well, I think backgrounds are all about using perspective to your advantage. I have this book that goes over one-, two-, three-, four- and even five-point perspective.

    Perspective is pretty easy once you practice a few times and understand the principles. Plus it allows you to draw pretty much any geometric shape (buildings and cars especially) consistently. The book I linked to also discusses transforming backgrounds into environments, the difference being that your characters interact with their surroundings, enhance the mood, etc.

    I don't have this book, but it looks like a pretty good as well, although it looks like it doesn't cover four-point perspective. It does cover atmospheric perspective, value and probably some other worthwhile concepts, although you can find atmospheric perspective covered in Color and Light. And value is covered in any color theory book.

    As far as the update schedule for you comic goes, don't forget to set aside time to utterly fail. Making completed works is valuable, but you're going to learn a ton from diving into subjects you feel completely uncomfortable in and making a plethora of mistakes on your way to increasing your artistic skills.

    signature-sir.png
  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    Also, to follow-up on Nib's speech bubble crits, I think the first speech bubble in the first panel should be moved more to the left, and the "iCup" bubble under it. I read his line first even on the second pass for that strip. When I posted here for my comic, our speech bubble etiquette and execution was basically ripped apart and rebuilt like in the military, so I can sympathize here. Keep going over them to make sure they are placed correctly. Remember, us readers will ALWAYS read top-left to bottom-right. ALWAYS. Trust me, you'll want clarity over aestetic any day, in terms of bubbles.

    Great improvement though, and a cute way to introduce characters there. Keep it up!

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    JLM, thanks for the crits!

    Okay, new strip is up (a day late as I battled the plague)

    I tried to make sure every word bubble read left to right and either went under the panel borders or overlapped them, but didn't line up against them.

    Enjoy!

    2011-03-04_022.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm still here... I don't understand how wordpress and comicpress works and I was modifying my core comicpress theme so when I finally broke down and updated it, it broke my site. Now I have a child theme (that I'm still tweaking) and it's all back to normal and so are the Monday - Thursday updates... Here's the latest strip.

    I tried to be more expressive with the characters, but I still have problems lining up the word bubbles so they don't touch panels. I think I just need more white space around the comic so I can overlap them across the panel borders to avoid them being adjacent. Also I now realize the last word bubble should have been a thought balloon, or maybe not there at all... Anything else I missed?

    2011-03-14_023.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2011
    You have major structural issues, especially with skulls (WHAT is happening to that chick's head in the last panel?) Since it's basically a talking head comic, the audience is going to be spending a lot of time looking at people's heads and you probably don't want them coming away with the impression everyone in your comic is deformed.

    What I'm seeing here is a lot of anxiety over style rather than substance. You've got very clean lines, but features are badly placed and inconsistent, facial expressions are from the generic How-To-Draw-Cartoons school of comic-ing, and while there is shading to indicate form, there is no reflection of that form in the linework. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix for any of this. In order to make believable cartoons, you need to have a strong grasp on realism. In order to make crazy exaggerated facial expressions, you need to know how to draw normal ones. I'm going to link Tracy Butler's primer here - her expressions are unique, communicative, and can range from way over the top to very subtle - which she achieves by having an excellent art foundation and understanding of skull structure, musculature and facial features.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks for the advice about the skull structure. I'll take that into consideration, and thanks for the compliments on the lines.

    I've read Tracy's primer and sent her a thank you e-mail for writing it up a while back and I feel like the expressions in yesterdays comic are leaps and bounds better than the expressions in the first couple of strips.

    Obviously I still have a long ways to go there though, I do see your point.

    Out of curiosity, can you tell me specifically what is off about the lady's head, or the guy's for that matter in these panels? Just so I know exactly what I need to work on for future strips? Thanks!

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
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