Hey all, hoping for some feedback and critique on my first (and only) webcomic.
I've been working towards this for a long time and I finally launched my site today (success!). Since I value the AC's wisdom so much in this area, I've been very anxious to get my work up here. I don't think I realized how many hats I'd need to wear to get this comic rocking. Write joke, rewrite joke, edit joke, pace joke, sketch comic, letter comic, draw comic, color comic, publish comic. It's a lot of work, but I'm finding it super fun and challenging (in a good way). So let's get right down to it! Here are the comics I've posted so far, in the order I drew them, with some commentary:
I'm pretty proud of the subtlety of the joke here. This comic also made me realize just how hard it is to draw people walking. Maybe I should have cropped more of their bottom halves out? I guess it's that way because I only had so much space to work with horizontally (less room in my 4-panel comics, than my usual 3).
Happy with this one overall. I created a brush in Photoshop that barely tapers because I liked the idea of having very solid, consistently thin lines like something you'd see in Garfield or FoxTrot. But I've since messed with some "sharper" brushes and I think it makes the comics feel a little livelier. More on that later.
Right around this time, it struck me just how many characters I might have to dream up. Which sounds extra scary because I apparently have no idea how to draw different hair styles. Right now the comic is one-off jokes with a non-continuous storyline and random characters only created to serve that single joke. I'm willing to change this approach but I'm not sure how. I love how Chainsawsuit and Three Word Phrase can get away with this because their characters are so generic, they all sort of look the same and are only punched up in a certain direction when the joke calls for it, ya know? Then you've got Penny Arcade wich has recurring characters, who have individual opinions and behaviors - but are making random one-off jokes... which happen to usually fall upon the same topic of video games. I have no idea what to do.
I like the overall feel of this comic's coloring and delivery, but hate the final style of Chad Kroeger. Even though I think it looks like him, it looks like somebody else drew it. I can't put my finger on it, but it's not how I want my comic to look or feel. But that's the kind of stuff I'm hoping to get a better grasp of in this thread. I also switched to Ray Frenden's brush pack for PS
(which is an awesome deal) in this comic. The inking brushes are pretty sensitive and can get too thick too fast. So I was happy I was able to keep some consistency here. Will keep using these and see where it leads me.
I know that more work posted = better thread, so I'll post some process shots for a couple of these:
As you can see, I was failing to understand just how to go about doing these underlying skeleton sketches. I pretty much drew everything twice. Which isn't the worst thing in the world, but failing to understand this step's goal: composition, proportions, shape, flow, etc... Right?
Moving a little more in the right direction. Sketch is getting a little
looser and I'm not worrying about my lines being 100% perfect. Still a lot of room for improvement here though.
As you can see a little clearer in this sketch, I (try to) use the blue pencil as a rough outline for composition and head direction, etc. Then refine the characters on top of that with the red pencil. If I have to move something or rotate it, I'll do so with the usual PS tools. Then I lower the opacity a little and ink on a layer on top of that:
As you can probably tell I like to throw my text in there early on because I fail to understand how I could lay up the characters without knowing how much room is needed for the lettering. I'm going to have to go back and watch other comic artists approach to this, because I feel like they do the opposite: Do the initial composition like they don't give a fuck and toss the words in later, potentially covering any priceless artwork that lies beneath. I'm a bit scared to try that though. Oh, quick note. I'm working 100% digitally. Not only do I feel right going in this direction, I don't have much of a choice. I'm married with two kids and a fulltime job - so I don't exactly have time to make physical sketches and scan 'em in. Those red/blue pencils you see are from the brush pack I linked up above.
Here are my biggest concerns right now: I feel like I don't exactly have a "voice" yet. I mean, I look at the work here (and around the web) and there's just so much style! Look at how they draw ears! This person doesn't even put noses on their characters! Cool shading! Unique color scheme! Etc... And I can look at my work and realize it's very generic. I'm fine with just putting work out and growing for now, but I sure hope I can see what sticks and what direction to take my art. Advice here welcomed.
My second biggest concern is that I clearly don't know how to ANIMATE my characters. I went to school for Graphic Design and I get jealous of the over-the-top character designs and reactions people are able to get. So far my characters are very flat and very stiff. Any advice on pushing and stretching my characters is very welcome. Cartoons have no rules or limitations, why can't I animate them?
Thanks in advance!