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Unironically looking for critique/help with a comic (Concept updates on pg. 2)

FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
edited October 2009 in Artist's Corner
First new thread in years, woo

I'm doing the art, my friend is mostly doing the writing.

Page1FIN.png

Page2FIN.png

I'm completely new to this, so I'm trying to learn as I go. My biggest concerns are layout, pacing, readability, and how the text fits into the bubbles. I know this is par for the course for the AC, but I'd really like to know what is working so far and what isn't in terms of art, and to a lesser extent, the writing.

Also, does anyone have any good font recommendations? I'm trying to dig up the free font-maker that was going around on the forums a while back. And does anyone know a good way to get the "white outline" effect inside the coat? Right now I'm just selecting the lines and coloring them white on the line layer above.

Fugitive on
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Posts

  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Just two quick reactions: font is too small (for me, on my screen, at least - and anyway, it's small enough that the letters aren't as distinct as they could be); also, watch panel separation, because those squiggly lines you've got going in the borders (cool, by the way) sometimes bring them too close together, and the flow becomes a little less than effortless.

    Oh, and I like the art. Stark black and white isn't exactly easy on the eyes, but I think your execution is pretty good.

    EDIT: By "isn't easy on the eyes," I don't mean that it doesn't look good, but that it's a little fatiguing, at least on my monitor - but my contrast ratio isn't the best in the world.

    iglidante on
  • CheerfulBearCheerfulBear Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Fug, this is awesome!

    The font is fine for me by the way. Also,

    "No way man that's not even a thing" sounds suspiciously straight out of Achewood!

    CheerfulBear on
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'd agree that the font is a bit small. I'm running at 1600x1024 resolution and it was a bit on the small side.

    As far as the writing goes, I thought the humor was pretty good. I enjoyed the two pages you posted.

    The one thing that was not clear to me is what exactly happened on the first page in panels 6 and 7. When the mindflayer says "Whoa," I was a bit confused as to what he was whoaing. Also, I thought he looked like Zoidberg from Futurama.

    Lucascraft on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Zoidberg?

    NakedZergling on
  • BelruelBelruel Life and death and love and birth and peace and war on the planet earthRegistered User regular
    edited October 2009
    the bubbles and text spacing/font need work. hand letter if you can, or make the bubbles smaller/text bigger so it fits in naturally, not like it was pasted in afterwards

    i like the art though, i'm digging it

    Belruel on
    3DS friendcode: 2380-4618-2503
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I should say that I'm running 1920x1200, and it feels squinty.

    iglidante on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Thank you Bear. My writing partner read that as "this is exactly as good as Achewood" so now I can never enjoy this project ever again.

    Yeah, font-size is an issue I'm dealing with. I went through several of Blambot's free fonts, but most of them just don't quite work (too small, too "Sunday comic", too novelty). I'd like to do hand lettering, but I also don't have the best/most consistent handwriting. I know there was a free program or a website that you could convert your handwriting to font, but for the life of me I can't remember the name of it or where to find it.

    Fugitive on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Was it YourFonts?

    iglidante on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Mmmmmaybe? I think it was 100% free, though, so I'm not sure.

    Fugitive on
  • CheerfulBearCheerfulBear Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Fugitive, when is our comic project coming to fruition?

    CheerfulBear on
  • Guy BellGuy Bell Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Really great style.

    Guy Bell on
  • jpegjpeg Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Your art is awesome, also the last line is awesome

    jpeg on
    so I just type in this box and it goes on the screen?
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Fugitive, when is our comic project coming to fruition?

    I'll have the first half of the chapter wrapped up by next week

    GuyBell/jpeg: Thanks, I always feel really stilted and awkward when I have to draw purposefully and within the boundaries of panels, but I think it's loosening up.

    Fugitive on
  • Smooth AlternateSmooth Alternate __BANNED USERS
    edited October 2009
    What are you guys on, crack?

    I think this is pretty terrible, the art is very poor and flat, and the writing needs work. There is just too much profanity, every other word out of these guy's mouths is fuck or shit or tits.

    This is way too contrasty. It's tiring to look at it.

    Come on, do better.

    Smooth Alternate on
    MaLibu wrote: »
    i have raped sheep like 9000 times.
  • CheerfulBearCheerfulBear Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Hmmmmmmmmmm

    CheerfulBear on
  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    What are you guys on, crack?

    I think this is pretty terrible, the art is very poor and flat, and the writing needs work. There is just too much profanity, every other word out of these guy's mouths is fuck or shit or tits.

    This is way too contrasty. It's tiring to look at it.

    Come on, do better.

    so i notice you chose to deride the opinions of everyone else, then not actually offer any useful feedback!

    constructive criticism is one thing, but criticising just for the hell of it then not backing it up with specifics is not really helpful.

    "the art is very poor" and "the writing needs work" are not really useful at all; what exactly do you not like about it? How would you improve it?

    i'd hardly call "tits" profanity, and fuck/shit are often part of regular conversations (in my life at least). profanity is something you can choose not to like, but the writing is not made "bad" just because of a few swear words.

    anyway, i'm a big fan of the style for the most part; with high contrast stuff (especially in black and white) panels can easily become visually cluttered when there is a lot of detail (e.g. in the 2nd panel of the 2nd page it took me a second to realise the lit cigarette was not a tiny speech bubble). I take it you're trying for a mignola-style look? (man his name comes up a lot).

    i'm not sure whether anyone else will agree with this, but personally i have an urge to take an eraser to the little overlaps in linework here and there (e.g. the shirt stripes continuing into the waistcoat in the 1st page's 2nd panel). could just be a pet peeve though!

    the writing i really like; obviously its pretty conversational, but the whole "banter" thing you've got going makes for interesting reading. i'll throw my hat into the ring for the readability as well though; its a little hard on the eyes because the font is so small.

    Fletcher on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited October 2009
    The writing/pace is fine, its understandable. I do think the joke is alittle stretched, personally, but eh. The art is sweet. Love the style, but I think with your heavy as shit blacks, you may need bigger gutters in places. The second to last row on the second page, for example, has good rhythm panel to panel but could maybe have a little more breathing room for each.

    Iruka on
  • FletcherFletcher Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    oh yeah and yourfonts.com definitely used to be free, so that could have been the one you were remembering fug

    but sadly they must have gone pay-only

    Fletcher on
  • TamTam Le Buggeur Risible Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Apparently graphic art can't be flat now. What a douche.

    Fug, I like it a lot, but I've got one little toothache- I am seeing some nasty-ass fill bucket halos. Also, clean up your stray line tips, come on now.

    Tam on
  • mensch-o-maticmensch-o-matic Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    i was just about to post what tam said-the 'paint bucket halos' were really distracting from an otherwise really nice looking comic. i'd also suggest straightening up the borders of your panels since it doesn't really help the clean look you're going for, but that might just be me.

    mensch-o-matic on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Zoidberg?

    I hate to say it but.... Zoidberg. If Zoidberg was on an Adult Swim TV show... which is cool in an "Allan Moore will deconstruct you!" kind of way.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Oh Jesus I don't even know how I missed those halos. I merged layers after resizing and it completely escaped me.

    Fletcher and Iruka: I'm never really sure how to handle the whole panel-clutter thing. I basically put the huge swaths of black in to absorb space and add atmosphere, but also because I'm terrified of just having the characters floating in a white, endless purgatory. On page 2, panel 6 I just had a few bricks in the background. Does that work better, or should I use background elements sparingly? (And yeah I definitely need to widen those gutters, since I had to double check that I was counting the panels correctly)

    And I cleaned up some frayed lines. I'm still trying to find a way to keep the life of the pencils while not making it look half-assed.

    I think the design for the squid is going to change too, since it seems to be invoking a major Zoidberg vibe in a lot of people.

    Fugitive on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Just say it was intentional and roll with it :)

    like I said, Allan Moore did that kind of thing, and its partly why he's so famous- deconstructing characters and whatnot.


    edit: also, my first thought was Cuthulu type minion, but that last panel screams zoidberg

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I hate to say it but I kind of agree with the jackass.

    It's a little harsh on the eyes. Most panels are split pretty evenly between light and dark and when you are working with straight black and white that doesn't look very good. I would be more cautious about the use of full black in the future.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm going to agree with Cake on this one... that said, there is nothing wrong with just white and black illustration, you just need to do it "right"

    A couple examples that are much easier on the eye (and god, help me for bringing this up... hopefully it doesn't bite me in the ass)
    sin_city_miller.jpg

    bw-2-3.gif

    that said, even in the comics this guy did, there were a number of blindingly awful panels due to the self-placed restrictions.

    Nappuccino on
    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    There's also the possibility you just can't really grow a bear like other guys.

    Not even BEAR vaginas can defeat me!
    cakemikz wrote: »
    And then I rub actual cake on myself.
    Loomdun wrote: »
    thats why you have chest helmets
  • Agent ColemanAgent Coleman Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Fugitive wrote: »
    I think the design for the squid is going to change too, since it seems to be invoking a major Zoidberg vibe in a lot of people.


    Until this, I thought that WAS Dr. Zoidberg. Not only in the design (which is very similar), but one of your characters (I assume the Zoidberg looking one) is named "PHD".

    Agent Coleman on
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited October 2009
    Not to also be a downer, but yeah, I think I remember you having done a lot more polished work than this previously. I think there's a disconnect happening between the sort of single posed figure stuff I remember you doing, and more functional storytelling artwork.

    The environment stuff espeically needs work- even patches of patterned detail, with sort of a sloppy hand that gives no dimensionality- it could work, but it's not given the sort of spit and polish required to make that work as a concept- what should come across as style comes across instead as lazy.

    The characters are a bit better, but again- I'm not feeling the finesse on the lineweight or design that I remember you having, which it desperately needs. And I see it in spots- the skull-faced guy's hands are drawn pretty damn nicely in almost every panel, for instance- if the rest of the character and environment design were as well drawn and thought out as that hand is, you'd have something going.

    IIRC you used to have sort of an Andy Helms thing going on, and I think- even if you want to get away from that sorta thing- it would be worth your while to go back and study some of his composition and line design choices, just figuring out how to do something that's simple and effective and kinda loose, and still retain more sort of life and belivablilty to it. I think you're getting killed by being too stiff and literal in your thinking- you need that little extra bit of thinking that will prevent things from getting stagnant.

    I think you'll get it sorted out eventually, because if I look at your old stuff, it doesn't nearly have the same sort of design/polish problems I'm seeing here, and I can only assume it's because you're not spending enough time sitting down and working these things out.
    http://www.iseenothing.com/artchive/fugitive/anxiety.png
    http://www.iseenothing.com/artchive/fugitive/ChickenChoke.png
    http://www.iseenothing.com/artchive/fugitive/Partner1.png
    http://www.iseenothing.com/artchive/fugitive/MooseVSCarry.png
    There's just so much more life and feeling of solidity in these old pieces (these are all at least 3 years old) than there are in this comic, you just need to reel that back into this work.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I think my biggest problem with the comic overall is the quality of the blacks - more specifically, their edges. Nothing feels crisp. Not the text. Not the speech bubbles. Not the panel borders. Not the line work. It all feels a little out of focus.

    But it looks like your brush was probably 100% hardness. The blurriness feels more like bad aliasing, or poor edge fidelity, than actual softness. Did you draw this larger and then shrink it?

    I know you're not going to redo this with vectors, but I think it would look pretty slick that way - nice and crisp.

    iglidante on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Actually Bacon those are closer to 5-6 years, so that makes it pretty heartbreaking. I'm not sure if the problems you're describing plague my stand-alone illustrations, but I think I need to re-evaluate what I've been doing with my art for the past several years, because apparently I lost something or picked up some bad habits along the way. I had no idea what I was doing at that time, and apparently still don't, since I look at those pictures you posted now and pretty much only see problems.

    iglidante: Yeah, I scanned in the inked pages at 300 dpi black and white, and resized after doing some editing with a hard brush. For some reason I've never been able to avoid the blurriness issue regardless of what kind of sampling I use.

    The text thing I don't get, though, since I put it in after resizing, and it's all done with vectors. It might just be too small. I doubt it's the filetype, since I'm saving it as a PNG so compression shouldn't be that much of an issue.

    Fugitive on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I'd recommend scanning your artwork at 300-600dpi grayscale and playing with the contrast on your own. Scanning directly to 1-bit really robs you of your ability to control edge fidelity. You can still get nice edges with grayscale - and they'll be nicer in the long run (usually).

    I think the text is just too small. You're not giving your letters enough room to breathe.

    text_blow.gif

    Some of the "strokes" in your text don't even have spots of pure black, and a lot of them run together. Even a small bump in size will look better. You've got a ton of play in those bubbles anyway.

    iglidante on
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    1680x1050 and the font is uncomfortably squished for me, as well. You have all the room in the world for embiggening in those vast, vast dialogue balloons you're rocking.

    I actually like the stark b/w but agree about the fuzziness; stark b/w works better when it is starker & crisper. This is good stuff, mightily taken away from by what reads like amateurish artifacting.

    No issues with the profanity -- the dialogue actually feels brisker and more entertaining in the more profanity-rich spots. For me, anyhow.

    squidbunny on
    header_image_sm.jpg
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    Yeah I guess the black areas are a bit harsh. I kinda like the look you have going though. It appears you're still working on the text so I wont comment on that.

    The black areas can be a bit overwhelming, but I think it can be remedied pretty easily by just adding a few white details in the seas of black. For example, the last panel of the first page, could have a few hints of white bricks and whatnot in the large black areas.

    Also be mindful of where your word bubbles are pointing because panels like the last one make it kinda hard to tell who's speaking.

    I wasn't floored by the dialog, but the art is nice and was enough to keep me interested. More Fug art is always welcome.

    earthwormadam on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    iglidante wrote: »
    I'd recommend scanning your artwork at 300-600dpi grayscale and playing with the contrast on your own. Scanning directly to 1-bit really robs you of your ability to control edge fidelity. You can still get nice edges with grayscale - and they'll be nicer in the long run (usually).

    My problem is usually when I scan in gray scale, it shows all of the areas where the inks aren't pure black, so a lot of the time it washes them out, and when I play with the levels to try and darken them, it also brings up lines where the pencils didn't completely come out. I guess I'll just have to play with the levels on a per-page basis.

    I experimented with some different approaches to resizing. The one on the left is resizing from a gray scale image with bicubic sharper resampling, the other one is resized from a black and white scan with bilinear resampling (I used bicubic on the page I already posted, and bicubic sharper looked exactly the same)

    bicubicsharper.pngBWbilinear.png

    I can see a difference when compared side by side, but it hardly seems night and day to me and I'm wondering if there's a better way to get that cleanliness that you guys are talking about.

    Wassermelone: Thanks for the links. I've been sort of casually following Guy Davis, but the Nick Stakal work definitely illustrates to me how an overabundance of stark black and white information can be tiring and confusing.

    Fugitive on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    I can see the difference in some spots, not so much in others. But overall, the one on the left is cleaner. Note the bottom edge of that first bubble, and the bricks on the wall. Also the panel borders. The one on the right has more jaggedness. But really, I think you might just be going too small, using lines that are a little too thin, for the detail you're shooting for. If you made those 25% bigger, I bet most of the line awkwardness would go away. Because there are only so many pixels to play with, and when you try to make a 2px line anything but straight, you're going to either get stair steps or antialiasing. And since the line is only 2px to begin with, that antialiasing robs your line of strength, and instead of being solid, it looks fuzzy.

    iglidante on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm just trying to figure out how to get line quality like this
    gm_010.gif

    But it might just have to do with the fact that my wrist/arm jitter for some reason

    Fugitive on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2009
    Try moving faster when you ink/using a slightly thicker pen? I don't know, I always remember your stuff having a thin but consistent line-weight, so the jittering isn't somthing I've noticed before.

    I like this, by the way, the writing's good and the art's so close. It just feels a bit stiff and uncertain - I agree with bacon, your earlier pieces had a more confident line.

    tynic on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Are you using textured paper? Ink seepage into the little nooks and crannies of the paper could be contributing to the jittery lines.

    iglidante on
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited October 2009
    I'm using bristol. It's not the paper, it's just that sometimes I will be drawing a line, it will be smooth, then suddenly my hand starts jittering. I can't tell if it's muscular or if my skin is skidding across the paper or what...

    Fugitive on
  • iglidanteiglidante Registered User
    edited October 2009
    Oh. Well scratch that. Bristol is smooth as hell. I tend to go over my lines a few times to give them thickness, confidence, and to even out the jaggies. But that's not really your style. Do you do any manipulation in software before you resize?

    iglidante on
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