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

2

Posts

  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Second the praise for the line quality and agree that you've misprioritized some.

    The problem tynic's talking about with your skulls is that your characters apparently have none; they're faces with hair attached and the natural arc of a skull implied by their brows (they don't really have foreheads) goes nowhere, dead-ending in hair. Also, take a second to mark centerlines on your heads when you're sketching to get features in the right spot.

    Here, I owe you a drawover, anyway; sorry this is pretty quick:

    tt_drawover.jpg

    banner200x40.jpg
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    and just like that I understand what you're talking about now....

    okay so now I need to go spend the rest of the day re-drawing my character heads for reference. Next comic will have the suggested changes, and thank you very, very much...!

    wow.. seeing the two stacked makes me feel much worse about those heads I was drawing previously... it's like they housed tiny little brains due to lack of skull space, which would explain all of their wacky hijinks right... right? nevermind.

    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
    [strike]If I remember when I get home, I'll do a drawover[/strike] oops too late, squidbunny got it. Anyway I wrote this long post so you get to read it even though it's now redundant.

    In the last panel someone has simply sliced the entire back of her head off, and most of the time these people don't have a place to put their brains. Let's look at some structure.

    First, realism. Here is a skull:

    9057.jpg

    Note how far it extends to the back, and how far down the facial features actually are relative to the height of the whole skull. You can play with these proportions for effect, but you need to be very careful and know what you're doing or it just looks like somebody's doctor got too happy with the forceps.

    Moving on to cartoons: the following are drawn with wildly varying degrees of realism, but even the non-human characters retain the basic human relative proportions and/or feature placement, and all of them have a place to keep their think-pans (although in Trip's case this is expectedly small).

    skull1.jpg skull2.jpg skull3.png skull4.gif skull5.gif skull6.jpg skull7.gif skull8.jpg

    This not only helps us connect with the characters, it helps us understand them as three-dimensional beings. Poor proportions not only make people think 'deformed', they also look two dimensional, as unless it is deliberate, the z-axis appears poorly conveyed. Now, once you have a good grasp on anatomy it is possible to start pushing it around a bit, and really good artists will be able to take it to extremes and still make it look good, but it takes a huge amount of skill to get to that point.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Alright, tried to fix the skull anatomy with this strip and I hope it looks better than the last, but as always, lemme know if something is off.

    Also HAPPY SAINT PADDY'S DAY AC!

    2011-03-17_024.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Alright, tried to fix the skull anatomy with this strip and I hope it looks better than the last, but as always, lemme know if something is off.

    Also HAPPY SAINT PADDY'S DAY AC!

    2011-03-17_024.jpg

    Kudos on the skull changes. A difference can be seen!

    A couple of things I notice about this comic. Your characters, in a lot of different spots, aren't looking in the right place relative to those around them. In the first panel, the guy on the left is looking at the other guy's mouth or chin instead of his eyes. Similarly, the guy on the right in the last panel is not looking at the guy on the floor, but rather something almost eye-level to his right. As human beings, these things stand out to our eyes almost instantly, and can take away from a natural feel of a comic you need to achieve. Essentially, those little things take away from concentrating on the joke.

    Second, the last panel is pretty predictable. I thought it would be pretty funny if, instead of the dialogue, the two of the just high five with a shared word bubble and yell "Cattle Prod!". Switch it up.

    One more thing: the ellipse at the end of the word bubble in panel 2 should be a dash, and for timing's sake, maybe cut off after the "p" in pinch. So "...I'd like to see a guy try to p-"

    Keep the improvements coming. Good attitude!

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm glad the skulls look better than they did on Monday, that's for noticing.

    I'll work on the eyes because honestly I'm not seeing what you're talking about. When I look at the comic I see their eyes lining up in the right spots at an apex on the focus point... Then again, I drew the thing and did so at 100 percent image enhancement and I might just have a little tunnel vision there, so I'll work on that and maybe use some blue lines on my sketch layer next time to line up the eye focus.

    I dig the idea of working on my punchline panels... I've been trying to do that ever since the bar comic a few strips back before the snowman storyline and I can see that I've still got a ways to go. Writing is definitely the hardest part of all of this for me. I'll try to make sure my punchline panel always pops more than it does now.

    Lastly, thanks for the tip on panel two, I'll remember that for next time.

    I just realized a few self crits too I need to work on, for anyone else who's gonna comment. I realize in panel 1 there doesn't need to be that dip in the hair on the top of Chuck's head (guy on left) and I really need to work on my arm width from panel to panel.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Don't be afraid to let the reader fill in the blanks. A guy gets zapped, and then in the next panel you clearly see someone holding a cattle prod, with a guy saying "cattle prod, nice touch"

    It's a cliche premise/concept for a comic, made worse by the fact that you don't have the confidence in yourself to sell the comic visually. Don't just shoehorn dialog in, to make things clear. Have the panels make things clear.

    Keep trying to break down things into simple shapes, so that they seem to take up real three dimensional space. Right now they're all very flat, and if you can understand the shapes more, you can draw things from different angles, making the panels less of a talking head comic.

  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'll work on the eyes because honestly I'm not seeing what you're talking about. When I look at the comic I see their eyes lining up in the right spots at an apex on the focus point...

    2myqhdx.jpg


    This is how I'm seeing it.

    If the guy's nose was the topic of conversation, the first panel would be spot-on :P

    Also, the guy on the right in the last panel is definitely looking at something across the room.

    Hope this helps!

    EDIT: I realized, due to the flaming arm, that I gave the dude on the left very convincing laser eyes. HOT

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    From now on my comic is just going to be people shooting eye lasers at stuff...

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The guy on the left in the first and fourth panels, he still looks a bit squished to me, but the proportions are getting MUCH better! The guy with the parted hair, in particular, he's considerably improved over last time. (does anyone but Evan have names? a cursory inspection of previous comics didn't give me that information which I thought was odd.)

    Have you tried actually drawing a skull for each head before drawing in the facial details? I had a teacher who used to make us do that for cartooning practice. It doesn't have to be lifelike but it's a useful exercise. The facial features really only occur on the bottom part of the skull, and drawing in the eye sockets and jawline can be helpful to actually see where things belong on your face.


    Keep it up! It is exciting to see that your work is evolving and improving as the weeks go by.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    New strip. I tried drawing it by hand this time around versus using the tablet. I think the result is honestly about the same but it was a lot more fun, and I finally figured out how to properly scan my lineart in the process, so double bonus.

    2011-03-22_025.jpg

    I hope the joke isn't as forced this time around... I tried to have more fun with it.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The melons are lightyears better and, I think, greatly improve the whole look of the comic so big ups there. :^:

    Your lettering on this one is weird, though. You've got huge unused white space in your balloons in some places while text is running right up against the wall in others. Your copy is also smaller than it needs to be; you can take better advantage of the same space by flowing better with the elipses of your balloons. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

    ... here (NOTE: this is not an incrimination of your font choice; I think that's fine and actually way better/more readable than what I grabbed for this demo -- I just couldn't be arsed to figure out what you were using):

    TT_lettering.jpg

    banner200x40.jpg
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2011
    Tauhid once did a tutorial on word balloons, I guess I could try and find it.

    You have a consistent problem with leaning - your characters all tilt to the right rather noticeably. Try flipping the latest comic horizontally and you'll see what I mean. This comes back to groundedness and structure again - try making sure your characters have a balanced line of action that takes gravity into account, even if you're only drawing half of them.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks for the tips... my wife is writing the comic now because I suck at the joke telling, and because I hand drew everything my sizes are all off, which made a difference when I started plugging in the text. I'll look at it more closely next time to make sure the words do a better job of filling out the bubbles, and I'll work on the flow of said bubbles as well. Great advice, once again. I'm glad I decided to give it another whack here at the AC because I'm learning a lot this go around and I think in the long run it will make a much better comic.

    As far as the leaning goes, that was honest to god intended. The gray scale and shadows and leaning are supposed to kind of show some "skewed" viewpoint on the universe they're living in, but I guess instead it just looks like bad art technique. I'll work on it and I plan to start trying some different camera angles in the next few strips, like behind the back shots and stuff like that.

    Thanks again guys and girls.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    You could also do something like this with your balloons if you choose.

    troubleticket.jpg

    signature-sir.png
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2011
    Well, while I brought it up this time because it is more noticeable in this strip (although not enough to look deliberate - if you want to do a skewed camera angle in a 3-panel, waist-up strip, you generally need to get quite extreme because you don't have as much perspective to play with). But it does exist elsewhere, eg in the last panel of this comic:
    2011-03-17_024.jpg
    the characters are still skewed to the right. So if you have a more consistent sense of the vertical, you will also have to do less work to make it stand out when you change that up.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    New comic....

    Nothing to really say today. I tried a few different angles and just tried to have fun with it.

    2011-03-24_026.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
    You know, between no comments and just having to look at it for the last 24 hours I've decided that I really hate how the last strip turned out. There were way more errors than usual and I'm not going to hand draw it again. It's more fun to do, but the end product is much worse.

    ...meh...

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Well I have some comments about it, but I thought it would be easier to do a quick redraw of it, which I just haven't had time to do yet.

    signature-sir.png
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    NibCrom wrote: »
    Well I have some comments about it, but I thought it would be easier to do a quick redraw of it, which I just haven't had time to do yet.

    That would be cool... I just got kind of burned out on that particular strip. I'm still all about taking crits, keeping strong with the comic, and progressing, this last one in particular just really didn't do it for me. I was happy with the joke though, and I'm glad my wife is writing the strip now.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    On a conceptual level, more variation in character appearance would work well for you. While the blond man is distinctive, beard and goatee man are easily confused and really are mainly separated by facial hair. If you are sticking with black and white gradients for color, you may want to play around with skin tones and body shapes to make your characters more distinctive.

    Are you going for a gag comic or a slice of life serial based comic as your endgame?

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm going for slice of life mainly, very few gag strips when/if possible.

    Also, not to take away from your critique, but do you really feel like the goatee guy (Evan) and the guy with the beard (Chuck) look that similar? Completely different hair styles and facial hair. I guess the noses do kind of look alike, but I just don't see that.

    Then again, I'm Chuck and my best friend is Evan and we don't look alike so it's hard for me to notice that : )

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Okay, so here is what I came up with. I'm just concentrating on basic composition and framing here. No values or rendering, just very basic storyboarding.

    amateurhour.jpg

    Panel 1: They're talking about how great it is to be where they are, so I put some bottles in the foreground and have them sitting at a bar, establishing their location and avoiding confusion for the audience. The blond guy is leaning his back on it, his arms slightly over the counter. This is to give some variety to the poses, and to establish that he is relaxed and enjoying himself.

    Panel 2: I crop to just the two guys talking, since the other guy's presence doesn't come up again until panel 4. They raise their bottles, which we can see in the first panel (or at least the one the guy on the right is holding)...

    Panel 3: They clink their bottles together, establishing continuity between panel 2 and 3, and giving the audience something else to look at, rather than just repeating panel 2.

    Panel 4: I still have the two guys clinking their bottles, linking the continuity once again, and have the other guy in the foreground, establishing his importance and inserting himself back into the conversation and the audiences' mind.

    The location of the guys does not change, they barely move, but I was able to make a variety of panels, lending contrast and visual interest to the scene.

    Hope that helps.

    signature-sir.png
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Something like Nib posted is a good example of how to do some varying angles properly. The one you posted that you were unhappy with has some real fundamental problems, and shows how uncomfortable you are with drawing characters that aren't shown from a dead on front perspective. Even when you tried to do some different perspectives, they look less like a different perspective and more like a skewed version of the same old frontal view. It's good that you're trying because thats how you'll learn!

    I wont go into too much detail since you stated you're just going to start over. Panel one though looks like two dudes laying in a bed. Panel 2 has awkwardly positioned characters crammed into a panel. Panels 3 and 4 both fall into the talking head/boring angle problems. There should be some sort of background to support the strip taking place in a bar. It looks like there's an ever present spotlight shining on all the characters.

    All the above problems are insignificant though, and there's at least 2 more important things that are holding you back from making a good comic.

    #1) Characters: When I read this strip I become bored with the characters. They're not very likable. They're not very heatable. They're just this kinda blank slate that inspires no feeling of attachment, or anything really. They're kinda boring, and there doesn't seem to be any type of distinguishable characteristics that are specific to each character if you know what I mean. So they hate doing inventory, like drinking beers, and have interest in ladies. Okay, but what makes those qualities interesting or would make the reader care to know more about them? Guy on the right seems to be the most developed character from a visual standpoint, but he still doesn't feel like a real character. Don't get me wrong, making a comic book character seem real is probably one of the most fucking difficult things a person can try to do.

    I'm not trying to discourage you from making comics, but maybe trying to tackle some different subject matter might help? Its hard to make a good comic with so many cliche type characters doing such cliche type things. Maybe you just need to try doing something completely different for awhile, subject matter wise.

    #2) Construction: As many people starting to draw comics, this is the first thing to usually rear up its head. The reason why your having such a problem drawing characters from different angles is because they aren't built from shapes that have a 3D form. They're melting/distorted/stretched/different looking in every panel. They don't retain the same look from panel to panel because you never established a good model for each character. They're have shapes, but its distinctly 2 dimensional, and you can instantly tell that there's no roundness to the characters, meaning what isn't viewable to the reader does not exist. A good simple cartoon character should give the illusion of things wrapping around into areas the eye cannot see. But we should think they are there. For example, there is no indication that these characters are sitting on stools in front of a bar. Nothing about there pose or body language would indicate that. They're just a couple people floating in panels with a straight line plastered in front of them indicating there's a table of some sort. That doesn't make it believable or convincing however.

    Viewing some of the peoples webcomics around the forum, you'd think that making them is easy, but it just goes to show how much time/effort it takes to become proficient at something. Keep pumping them out and I'm sure you'll see results.

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'm going for slice of life mainly, very few gag strips when/if possible.

    Also, not to take away from your critique, but do you really feel like the goatee guy (Evan) and the guy with the beard (Chuck) look that similar? Completely different hair styles and facial hair. I guess the noses do kind of look alike, but I just don't see that.

    Then again, I'm Chuck and my best friend is Evan and we don't look alike so it's hard for me to notice that : )

    Here is going to be your first problem, and it's a big one. You need to drop your characters as being avatars. It's a great idea be inspired by yourself and your buddies, but you do not want to convey your characters as being yourself. This is a hugely terrible idea that many people run with. Yes, it worked for Penny Arcade (though they openly admit that the two characters were not originally tied to either or them), and for a few very limited amount of others, but more often than not the humor of the situations you were in will not translate when you use yourself as a character.

    You need to build new characters, not based on anyone you know, that can be inspired by them. Character avatars tend to be flat because you already know them. You know what happened, what will happen, and how they react. Because of that, you subconsciously direct actions in that response, leaving your audience confused and uncertain of the humor/situation/reasoning. When you have to explain to yourself how the characters interact, and discover it for yourself, you will be able to convey that to your audience much more realistically/reliably.

    Second, while they do have visual differences, in profile they are pretty much the same character with different facial hair. There is not a substantial amount of physical differences to them for it to be noticeable with your current level of physical drawing. Think about the Simpsons television show for a moment. If you make all of the characters into black silhouettes, can you still tell who the characters are? Yes, because they designed each of the characters to be immediately distinct from each other.

    This is what you need to do here. Design your characters to each be different sizes and shapes, from head to torso to arms to coloration. Play around with the size of their jaw or the severity of cheekbones. Play around with hair and coloration. Make it so that when in silhouette, they are still able to be differentiated.

    Next, and you need to do this before you make any other comics, write the next six months of strips before you make a single image. Figure out where you are going with the slice of life story, make a target goal for an incident or situation, and drive the plot there (with each strip building towards it, including the gags). This doesn't mean that every strip needs to be directly about the climax, but it should support something building towards it later on. Check out the writing forum here for more tips on that side of things.

    Scrip Frenzy (http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/eng/whatisscriptfrenzy) starts this Friday. It would be a great opportunity for you to draft up your plot and practice the writing side of your comic at the same time, so be sure to check it out.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Enc wrote: »
    admittedly good stuff that I've spent the last hour thinking about before I wrote this...

    I appreciate everything you just said, it was well written, there's a lot of good advice in it, and it sounded sincere and constructive. The link looks to be a great resource from what I've seen of it so far (I just checked it out)

    having said that, was the core argument there "stop drawing this strip, take six months off, and start a new one." ? I'm asking sincerely, because I don't know if you're saying I should rethink my characters actions and try to write them differently, or start on a new strip with an entirely new character set.

    Because I can honestly tell you that the second option is not going to happen. I'll definitely work on a more concise difference between Evan and Chuck, but the basis for this comic was the time the three of us spent together, since high school, and in college, and even to this day, talking about opening a store, or a bar, or a million other business ideas that never came to be, and the things that have happened to us over the last 15 years that aren't just inside jokes, but great stories.

    You're right about a lot of things regarding my strip, and I see what you're saying, but I feel that there's no reason a strip with an avatar basis can't work just fine.

    Please don't take that as me trying to get angry with what you've said, I hope you still continue to offer great advice.

    The glory of the web is that you don't have to spend 10 years working on your comic before it's ready for the world to see, which for the longest time was the syndication model. If you've got even a small amount of talent (which I feel I do. I'm by no means a pro, but I can draw) and a good idea you can start your comic. The characters motivations right now are limited, because the story is still developing. Chuck is the boss, but isn't treated like one and sometimes that grates on his nerves. (I've established that in a few strips now). Couch is the ladies man but lately he's having a lot of doubt about his lifestyle choices and wondering if he should settle down. Evan is a little bit of a stereotypical geek, but that's not an unheard of concept. They all like beer. It's not War and Peace, but it's a foundation that, over the course of the next 100 strips or so, will build these characters into far more detailed versions of their current selves, revealing layer after layer of what they really are inside, much like what Kurtz and Jacques have been able to do over the last decade. Their characters today are nothing like when they started.

    Someone once said "you've got to draw 100 bad strips before you start drawing good ones" and that's where I am now. I've got a good idea, some fairly rounded characters, and a decent understanding of how to draw. Over the course of 25 strips so far I've learned about proper skull anatomy, building a better light source for shading, and constructing jokes that don't telegraph a punchline two panels in advance. Hopefully after another 75 strips I'll have a story and art style that's more unique to me and more well developed, and something that more people will want to read.

    I guess, in a roundabout way, I'm saying thank you for the awesome advice you've given me. (all of you, for that matter) and please keep it coming. I want each comic to be a little better than the last. Sometimes that won't happen and I'll expect you guys to be quick to point that out, but for better or worse, I'm sticking with this strip.

    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
    To the other posts...


    Nib: Thank you so much for that re-draw. Today's strip has a few different camera angles so it's not just a straight on view. I'm actually running late getting it online because I'm taking more time with it. I hope what I post later today shows that.

    EWA: I'm working on a more 3d model for today's strip. I've been using a TON of google image reference for poses to try and get a more 3d feel, as well as some actual props and backgrounds that will hopefully help shape the room within the panel to give a bigger field of depth to the perspective. You're right, it's insanely difficult, so I've gone from taking an hour to draw the comic to taking 4+ hours to try and draw it right. Here's hoping it works.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    "stop drawing this strip, take six months off, and start a new one." ? I'm asking sincerely, because I don't know if you're saying I should rethink my characters actions and try to write them differently, or start on a new strip with an entirely new character set.

    I'm suggesting you take the time and write up the next six months worth of strips before you do anything else, not take six months off from the comic. Write out a plot and get a feel for what you want your characters to do, how they will interact, and what point the climax of your first story arc is. Writing takes a lot more work than most give it, and it's just as difficult to master as drawing. Knowing what happens six months down the line can give you a great base to work with when it comes to character development, and if you think up something new, you can always revise it. Script Frenzy is a writing challenge for comics, plays, and other scripts. It's a good way to challenge your writing skills with a community and also give you a month to get the next six months of story built up for you to work with on your comic.

    Don't stop drawing all together, but drawing without a plan will lead to uninteresting stories. Having a plan also allows you to set up concepts early on you can bring back for greater comedic effect (like the watch in Penny Arcade).
    Because I can honestly tell you that the second option is not going to happen. I'll definitely work on a more concise difference between Evan and Chuck, but the basis for this comic was the time the three of us spent together, since high school, and in college, and even to this day, talking about opening a store, or a bar, or a million other business ideas that never came to be, and the things that have happened to us over the last 15 years that aren't just inside jokes, but great stories.

    And are probably great inspiration, I get you on this. But because you are so close to these people, you have some problems. Will there be enough tension, and will you be able to develop that in a way that the reader feels the tension? The thing that happened to you must be able to translate into a tangible, emotional story that people will connect with. But they also have to be interesting and different enough for people to read you over all the other websites and webcomics out there. This is notoriously difficult to do when sticking to history.

    Another way to look at it is this: All these great stories happened to you, but what if they were more hilarious? More touching? More hurtful? What if one of your friends died in a car accident midway? What if two of them fought over the same girl? Or a different girl? What if one became indebted to the mafia? Sticking to life, these things can't happen. While some comics can hook you with just the plain day-to-day, more successful slice of life comics are about extraordinary characters in ordinary settings (Punchline is Machismo), or ordinary characters in extraordinary settings (Bad Machinery). In either case, there has to be some draw to read.

    Going back to your avatars, if you take these events and embellish them, can you do so without unconsciously shielding the characters from humiliation for the sake of your friends? Can you have base and horrible things happen to them and not expect fallout from them when all the web reads it? If you are sold that you can do so, roll with it. You will have a harder time with building these characters from scratch so that your audience knows them as well as you do, but it's certainly not impossible. A good example of someone who has done it successfully is Johnny Wander (http://www.johnnywander.com/ ), so it's certainly possible.
    It's not War and Peace, but it's a foundation that, over the course of the next 100 strips or so, will build these characters into far more detailed versions of their current selves, revealing layer after layer of what they really are inside, much like what Kurtz and Jacques have been able to do over the last decade. Their characters today are nothing like when they started.

    And more good stuff on making 100 bad strips, etc...

    Sure, this is absolutely the right attitude to have. You've got to do it to do it. But drawing is not the end all-be-all. Practice writing too and you'll get much better delivery, better characters, better drama and tension. Read the tutorials in this thread and also the Writing Forum on here. Lots of great resources in both.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks for clarifying on that, and again, I promise I wasn't trying to be snippy or overly defensive. I don't want to be that guy putting a comic here and then turning down positive criticism.

    I've got the next 15 or so strips planned out, and I've actually started redrawing the characters today. I've taken my core sketches, which are fairly detailed, and began shaving off a little bit here and there to give them a more simplified comic look which I think will better fit the style of the strip.

    Since my readership is currently a couple of guys in Boise, Idaho I think I'm going to take a week off and plan the next 30-50 strips out and do some full 360 profiles of each character, with about a dozen different headshots for each that I can use as reference.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    A tiny criticism here: I really, really dislike the amount of "..." you have in your dialogue. There are a few different ways to display that kind of pause in a visual medium and doing it using just text adds clutter, making it look unprofessional and unappealing. You could have a physical space between smaller balloons or something similar. Especially the one where it starts with "..." irks me the wrong way.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Okay, I took a week off to map out the next couple of months of storylines and work on some character re-designs. (I'm changing up continuity like George Lucas on a bad day...)

    I decided to give each character a specific outfit instead of always changing it up, and tried to make them all look a little more different so that they'd be easier to recognize.

    I'd still like some crits on this comic, but I'm going to take a break from posting in this thread for a while. I think I've gotten most of the good advice I need to move forward and really develop the story and the characters. I'm not giving up on the A/C or anything like that, and I will be posting more original art in the doodle thread to further develop my artistic style. I hope you all keep reading and I'll re-post here after another 10 or so strips just to give a general update and see what I'm still missing.

    Thanks for everything so far.

    2011-04-05_027.jpg

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well, if you're taking time off this thread I'm not gonna go crazy with crits, but I will say the simple act of putting that guy in a black T-shirt goes a long way toward making your mans visually distinct.

    banner200x40.jpg
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Thanks!

    Also I'll definitely be back because this thread is a wealth of great resource. The unfortunate downside is that there's a high burnout factor when ever single comic I post here gets visually torn to pieces. (at my request, and I'm thankful for it, I promise)

    However I can honestly say I've made a huge style change for the better from comic 1 to comic 27 and that's mostly due to the help here, so I'm just going to take a few weeks to develop what I currently have, and then post a batch of comics and see what I can do going forward.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    This last one is very good! Keep on improving.

    You might want to experiment with using horizon lines and measurements for detailing out complicated images like the pool table. The Loomis book, among other in the Tutorial Thread, has a section on this. It will help your character and objects look a bit more oriented against each other.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.
    3ds Friend Code: 5043-2266-3066
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Enc wrote: »
    This last one is very good! Keep on improving.

    You might want to experiment with using horizon lines and measurements for detailing out complicated images like the pool table. The Loomis book, among other in the Tutorial Thread, has a section on this. It will help your character and objects look a bit more oriented against each other.

    Thanks. I downloaded all the loomis pdf's a while back and haven't really looked at them for some time now so I'll go through them again.

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Additionally, keep a close eye out for continuity between panels. The bearded guy and the girl should have reversed positions in the 3rd panel, since they're facing the other way. Not super important here, but this is one of those "flow" things that readers will get tripped up on without even knowing why. Keeping these things consistent makes the experience seamless, and lets your readers concentrate fully on the joke or subject.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    Wow, I just realized I've left this here to die. (MASSIVE IMAGE DUMP INCOMING)

    I took some time off from April to August to work on some other projects (which is a horrible idea, I know) but I'm back. This past October I was actually at local show selling the first 36 strips in a 16 page (counting covers, otherwise 12) book along with some buttons and stuff like that. It was a real eye opener.

    I've moved from digital to hand drawn for the strips. I feel like it's helping me be a little more expressive, but I'm having trouble with word bubbles and lettering and I still need help A/C.

    For reference, here's the strips that followed the last one above. The second one (them in the car) was all digital, and everything since has been hand drawn (although I re-inked digitally over a few of them, something I'm not currently doing...)

    2011-04-07_028.jpg

    2011-04-12_029.jpg

    This is where I picked back up in August.

    2011-08-22_030.jpg

    2011-09-01_031.jpg

    The next two I tried doing completely by hand, including shading with pitt greyscale markers. I don't know if I like it or not, and I'd love to hear your feedback.

    2011-09-12_032.jpg

    2011-09-15_033.jpg

    I know the penguin has changed it's look a little from comic to comic. I was trying to settle on a final design. I finally did.

    A final all digital comic, for reference and comparison, and the end of the penguin saga

    2011-09-22_034.jpg

    2011-09-26_035.jpg

    I wanted to do something special for the back cover of the book and I wanted to play around with a long form comic so I did this one. Thoughts? Does Trouble Ticket work better this way? (spoilered for size)
    Spoiler:

    and finally, the comic as it sits now, hand drawn, hand lettered, shaded digitally. I finally ditched the oval background stamp out because I felt like it ripped off Corsetto too much (Girls with Slingshots was an influence)

    2011-10-31_037.jpg

    2011-11-03_038.jpg

    2011-11-07_039.jpg

    2011-11-14_040.jpg

    2011-11-21_041.jpg

    So that's it!

    that's where I am now. Is there something I'm still not doing right? Any thoughts on the writing or characters? I've been grateful for the AC feedback thus far and I didn't want it to seem like I dropped off the face of the Earth.

    I feel like my linework is pretty good, or at least where I want it to be to do this regularly (I know it will get better, as does anything I practice daily) My biggest worries are with the hand drawn word bubbles and lettering. I'm just not seeing it come out very well after I scan it and I'd love some advice to make it look better.

    Thanks AC!

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    yesterday's comic

    2011-12-01_042.jpg

    I really don't want to go back to digital, but I've got to find a way to get better at hand lettering... any resources?

    Here's what I do...
    The Vac - My Science Fiction Epic
    Fortune Pancakes - My Gag-A-Day Comic
  • LyricalLyrical Registered User regular
    What size are you drawing these at? I've found at larger sizes it becomes easier and more natural to "draw" the letters rather than relying at all on your own penmanship. And as someone with awful penmanship, I definitely get better results that way.

    I would affirm, yes, stick to hand lettering. Even though what you have there now isn't perfect, I think it works better for the strip than a type face.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    Thanks!

    I'm working at 5x16 (on 11x17 bristol) and that's honestly about as big as I'd like to go. I've started using a ruler to make college ruled lines where I want my text to at least try to keep some kind of order between the lines, it's just hard.

    I definitely want to stick to hand lettering because the finished product looks good, it just isn't shrinking all too well.

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