Webcomic in Progress

slydonslydon Registered User
edited April 2011 in Artist's Corner
I'm not trying to site-whore as ask people to read and provide feedback on it. My shading is sucky but improving and pretty much everything before #30 or so is ass.

Be gentle, as I am a PA thread virgin. :mrgreen:www.unintentionallypretentious.com

slydon on
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Posts

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Welcome to the AC!

    You need to post some of your comics. Even though you said you're trying not to site-whore, that's exactly what that post is accomplishing.

    You can edit your post and add the images, and then we can start critiquing you and helpin' you out!

    NightDragon on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Thanks ND, I was more worried about clogging the thread with large images.
    UP is kind of a "slice-of-life" comic about a blind girl and her roommate living in NYC.


    Engadget
    19.png

    20.png


    Aibophobia is a Palendrome
    34.png

    59.png

    91.png


    With Apologies To XKCD
    60.png


    Shark Jumping or Happens Everyday
    68.png


    Halloween '10
    94.png

    slydon on
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Your dialogue balloons need more breathing room, and, while I applaud you for not using a terrible font like Comic Sans the italics, coupled with the small size, make some of your lettering hard on the eye. Maybe dump the italic unless you need it for emphasis.

    The art looks a lot better in what I'm assuming are more recent strips, where your lines are thinner and cleaner. That said, they could really benefit from some line width variation. How are you inking? It almost looks like mouse + pen tool.

    I'd stay away from using photo backgrounds with filters thrown over them. It's really at odds with the minimalist precedent in your comic.

    The "Roomba mod" joke works pretty well but the blur filter on the Aibo doesn't.

    Welcome to the AC! Hope you'll stick around.

    squidbunny on
    header_image_sm.jpg
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    right now I'm using "comic book" as a font. I've noticed it looks italicized even when it isn't, but yeah, comic sans is awful. What fonts do you suggest?

    About the talk bubbles needing more breathing room, that they should be smaller? Or the text in them smaller so that there's more whitespace within the bubble?

    I read up on GIS syndrome in webcomics, and try to keep it to a minimum. At one point early in the strip I used maya to generate some objects, but now they look strange to me.
    I'm trying to break from the "camera at 5 feet up, shooting at 90°" thing, so I'll just use maya as a reference to gauge things like object perspective, wall lines, etc. because if I don't, my sad sense of perspective will make the background look like pee-wee's playhouse!
    As an example
    102.png

    As for lines, they're just 1.5px (actually 3px but the whole thing is scaled 50% when I save) round brush lines with 85% hardness. I have much to learn about brushes.

    I've taken to giving the whole thing just a boost and softening the edges a bit more for example:

    99flat.png
    vs
    99.png

    It's not much, but I think the 2nd has a bit more life to it.

    :oops: I don't know where I went wrong on the blur on the dog.. I was trying to convey motion. Now it looks weird to me. I'll sometimes use a very light blur on background objects when doing a CU. (like the 3rd panel of the giant robot strip)

    Thanks for the welcome and the help! I plan to!!

    slydon on
  • JLM-AWPJLM-AWP Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The strip with the two of them talking in the diner is really the first one I didn't pay attention to the stiffness of the characters. Their poses aren't perfect by any means, but MUCH more natural than most of the other strips you have. Take the first panel of the sculpy strip, for example. The girl on the right looks like she'd holding her breath and sorta clenching her upper stomach with her arms. It just doesn't seem like a pose anyone would be in comfortably and by choice, especially in that conversation. Also, she's looking right at the camera.

    Are you referencing or tracing 3D to draw this?


    EDIT: Oops, I must have missed the top of your last post. More specifically, are you creating models and referencing those?

    JLM-AWP on
  • DMACDMAC Moderator mod
    edited January 2011
    One thing that bothers me about the characters is that they all look like the exact same model with different hair/clothing. The basic face seems to be the same on all 3 characters, male and female.

    DMAC on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    I have been using a mini mannequin to help with pose and perspective.. might be why they look stiff.
    IMG_9318-500x500.jpg
    I've been studying anatomy, mainly hands, because that has always been a weak point of mine.
    106.png



    I use maya once in a blue moon to get where objects should be in relation to each other, especially in different angles. I think the reason the diner poses look less stiff might be because the "camera" is freer? I dunno what I did right in that comic.

    slydon on
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The lack of floor/setting makes it a bit hard to figure out what's going on in that last strip, especially in panel 3.

    I still chuckled, though.

    Heartlash on
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  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ahha, neat.

    I'd still recommend adding a shadow, as they have in AD. It just completes the illusion of her flying off into space.

    Heartlash on
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    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The redhead is blind?

    W-why? What does it add? Is this slice-of-life as in: you're dating a blind girl or something? Why would you have blind main character when it doesn't seem to play any particular role in your comics? If you hadn't told us she was blind I wouldn't even have noticed it. Don't blind people usually have eyes that look different from not-blind people? Or have sunglasses on or walk with a stick? Or have a guide dog?

    Aldo on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    She's partly based on one of my best friends, who is much less zombie-like than tv would have you think blind people are. And, most of the time, it's kind of a non-issue, but part of what makes her her. :) IRL she does have a cane, but obviously doesn't need it in her home. With the exception of the robot dog, I try to play it straight.


    First comic
    1.png


    101.png


    But sometimes, it can be pretty funny. This is a real game.
    23.png

    slydon on
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I don't actually have time to write much anything intelligent but I just wanted to quickly put in that I don't think there's anything wrong with having a blind character in a comic where said character's blindness is not the whole point or a at least a focus. I prefer it in fact if characters with flaws/disabilities/quirks/whatever aren't totally defined by said thing and getting all up in the actual story by extension. Blind characters don't constantly have to be lost in a sandstorm or accidentally burning down the barn; I hate that approach.

    That said, I didn't realize she was blind, either, which may or may not matter.

    squidbunny on
    header_image_sm.jpg
  • earthwormadamearthwormadam ancient crust Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I'm sensing a sort of disconnect between what you're intending the reader to perceive, and what the reader actually understands when reading the strips.

    I too had no idea the chick was blind before you guys where talking about it. I mean, now that I know, it makes perfect sense, but the comics themselves should be enough to convey the message. It's a pretty funny idea, not knowing what type of packaged snack you have, but one that seems like it could have been played to greater comic effect. I literally has to stare at the little pop for a few minutes until I could figure out she was trying to pop open the bag with her cane. That panel is just not clear. Also for comics that rely on a prop of some sort for the final panel, it would probably help to introduce that prop somewhere before the very end. Like, show it sitting next to her on the plane or something.

    Really work on making you layouts concise because it will go a long way in improving how the comic looks, and how easy it is to navigate the comic. The last panel in the british robo-dog comic for example is incredibly cramped and could have been done in a way that didn't cram 100% of the characters and dialog into 50% of the space within the panel. When I look at that panel my eyeballs have no idea where to go first.

    Storytelling and layout issues aside, the comic just goes all over the place. The artwork is so different from comic to comic that it almost seems like you've a team of people pumping these out. The linework isn't consistent, the backgrounds range from rainbow gradients to photo-backdrops and it makes the whole product seem haphazard and random. To me, randomly inserting photobackdrops into comics will always look lazy and in turn make the overall comic suffer as a result. What other reason is there that outdoor street panel is a photo other than you didn't want to draw it?

    Now I don't think that there's no room for zaniness in a project such as this, but I do think that you are walking the line of it and need to either dismiss it or embrace it.

    earthwormadam on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    There is some difference along the way, as there are over 100 strips done over 2 years, so there has been some art evolution (Hopefully, it's sucking less). Like I said, this is still a WIP :)
    I'm not crazy about the photo backgrounds, and have only used them for a few outdoor scenes. I think I'm going to abandon them entirely. I'm not good at backgrounds, but it gives me a chance to practice.

    slydon on
  • bibblingprophetbibblingprophet Registered User
    edited January 2011
    On Blind Characters: I think that having a character who happens to be blind is great. Calling attention to her blindness, to me, would make it more of a gimmick. With over 100 strips, naturally you can't have an obvious reference to the fact she's blind every time. As long as you set up the fact when you first introduce her so we know from that point on.

    On Stiffness: I've always used references for characters, especially to get cool perspectives. I tend to find that referencing models will produce the stiff look, especially in a perspective you're unfamiliar with, while using photographs of yourself actually doing the motion (I'll do 5 quick shutter images of me punching someone, going through the whole motion) creates more natural poses. Also, I find it helps when I do a few rough sketches of the pose with stick figures before attempting the actual final image.

    Your art style has a lot of potential, I look forward to seeing where it goes in the future.

    bibblingprophet on
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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    To clarify on the blindness thing: I wasn't aware you had already made so many comics. I assume your readers are already aware of who the different characters are and you have moved beyond just telling one-off jokes.

    Aldo on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    This was why I posted just the link at the beginning.. I was trying not to "site-whore", but most of these are 24 bit pngs; by themselves they're not too bad, but they quickly add up in here.
    I didn't want to do a "blind joke" every week, but I'm fond of the reverse blind joke, where she's not always the butt of a joke. The Halloween one and these are some of my favorite examples.

    62.png

    35.png

    THIS ONE'S (MAYBE) NOT SAFE FOR WORK, SO JUST A LINKY HERE

    slydon on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    and for the record, I do have my blind friend's blessing on this on the condition that it not be exploited for merely cheap laughs and that I provide alt-text.
    Still working on the second one but it's hard to describe some of the sight gags ;-)

    slydon on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Trying to do outdoors.. yes I know the perspective gets wonky at times.. am still working on it.
    107.png

    slydon on
  • mullymully Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    i'd really like to see some of your pre-inking sketches

    mully on
  • kraz007kraz007 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The artwork is fine, clear lines and simple colors. I can't comment on the dialogs though, not my cup of tea.

    kraz007 on
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  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Sorry I didn't clarify what I said about your text needing breathing room sooner: I meant there are a lot of places where your dialogue is butting right up against the balloon borders and looking sort of afterthoughtish. The text needs more even white space padding it on all sides to look cleaner and less claustrophobic. And speaking of text.... hit up Blambot if you haven't already. I'm fairly sure a couple minutes' browsing will turn up a more readable lettering font that you dig.

    Art-wise your expressions are your weakest link, and they're also where your lack of line width variation is killing you the most. Your characters' faces look very bland and samey, and sort of Paintish, and it effects their acting ability. Draw some faces, and check out some cartooning tuts, like Tracy Butler's (I just can't stop linking that).

    Posting comics from all over your archive in no particular order is confusing folks about your progress, I think: a quick flip through your archive shows fairly steady improvement.

    Do you have any drawings not from the comic?

    squidbunny on
    header_image_sm.jpg
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    That Lackadaisy guide is wonderful! I'll be playing around with that this week :):D :shock:
    I have a bunch of drawings from Spamusement going back a few years (with dates).
    I'll post progress pics on next week's, probably around the weekend.
    Thanks everybody for the constructive criticism, hopefully it'll be better for it.

    slydon on
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    i think there's a promising career for you drawing those airline instruction pamflets

    not trying to be a jerk, but that really is what your art looks like at this point.

    it's all so...lifeless? like you're drawing mannequins or something.

    bwanie on
    Yh6tI4T.jpg
  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    If I had not been told she was blind, I never would have known. Maybe after reading the plane flight/iPad guy one I'd start to get it, but then you have a strip where the girl has a written list in front of her? So I would have gone back and re-read other strips to figure out whether or not she was blind. Be consistent!

    melting_doll on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    bwanie wrote: »
    i think there's a promising career for you drawing those airline instruction pamflets

    not trying to be a jerk, but that really is what your art looks like at this point.
    I'm glad that being a jerk requires no effort on your part, bwan. But I am trying to give these characters more life, among other fixes (font bubbles, lines etc) suggested more eloquently by the helpful people in here.

    slydon on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    you have a strip where the girl has a written list in front of her?
    I should have stuck the examples in order. That was #62, right? At this point, I was over a year in, and anyone who read it was already familiar with the character.

    The list is captioned "translated", and is blank in the other panels having her reading with her eyes closed and her fingers going across the page. For future reference, I'll try to make any drawn braille more visible, but it really does just look like plain white paper unless you're pretty close. In photos on the internet, the paper is always lit from a large angle as to make the tiny shadows more visible.

    Out of sequence, though, I can see why it would be confusing, but I don't want it to be her defining character in every comic. I've tried to address it as nonchalantly as I would the character in real life, because I'm trying to convey her vision loss realistically*.

    *Because blind girls punch as hard as sighted ones.

    slydon on
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    slydon wrote: »
    bwanie wrote: »
    i think there's a promising career for you drawing those airline instruction pamflets

    not trying to be a jerk, but that really is what your art looks like at this point.
    I'm glad that being a jerk requires no effort on your part, bwan. But I am trying to give these characters more life, among other fixes (font bubbles, lines etc) suggested more eloquently by the helpful people in here.

    what can i say, i was in a hurry and that conveyed my impression best.

    bwanie on
    Yh6tI4T.jpg
  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I was trying to put my finger on the style last week, and it's definitely airplane emergency instruction art.

    I really don't know where to send you from here, it seems like you've found a formula for getting images down quickly and developing that formula is only going to take you so far. I hate to say it (because it's cliche advise) but some life drawing classes might just be the ticket to break the banality of what you're producing here.

    Mustang on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Oof. Well, that's what I'll have to do. For the record, it's not a fast process, but it's obviously terrible and should be abandoned.

    slydon on
  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    It's not that you're terrible at drawing (I've seen a lot worse), you just need a bit more time to practice and learn before taking on a project like this. A major handle on gestures and expressions is what is going to separate you from the rest of the web-comic chaff, also good jokes help too.

    Someone (Iruka I think) posted a really good link on expressions....(digs around in bag)

    Yeah here it is.

    Mustang on
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    see? i'm not a jerk, í just get to the point.

    and the fact that you take the advice given here to heart alone makes you a lot better than some that get their stuff critisized here.

    no hard feelings?




    edit: man look at that dot over the second i. all elongated and diagonal. how did that happen?

    bwanie on
    Yh6tI4T.jpg
  • HugmasterGeneralHugmasterGeneral Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Do you have any sketches? If we could see your process, it might help us get a feel for your current skill level and some things we might do to guide you. Right now, it looks like the proportions are right , but the lines are slow and unsure, like drawing over photos or poser models with a mouse might produce.

    HugmasterGeneral on
  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Sure, I usually do the comic over the weekend thru monday or so i'll post my process throughout.
    No hard feelings.. just had the wind taken out of the sails a bit.

    slydon on
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    noooo


    soar, my precious eagle

    bwanie on
    Yh6tI4T.jpg
  • HugmasterGeneralHugmasterGeneral Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Eagles don't have sails DAMMIT BWANIE

    HugmasterGeneral on
  • bwaniebwanie Posting into the void Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Ronnie you should know better then to defy my knowledge

    shit, these don't soar.

    you may have won this round, my jolly bespectled nemesis.

    but the war is far from over...

    bwanie on
    Yh6tI4T.jpg
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    bwanie wrote: »
    see? i'm not a jerk, í just get to the point.

    and the fact that you take the advice given here to heart alone makes you a lot better than some that get their stuff critisized here.

    no hard feelings?




    edit: man look at that dot over the second i. all elongated and diagonal. how did that happen?

    Alt+161.

    I only know that because I have a Czech friend, though.

    Willeth on
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  • slydonslydon Registered User
    edited February 2011
    Sorry, am a bit behind.. usually the comic is finished early in the week, but had family over on Sunday (meaning Saturday meant cleaning and food shopping) :P

    The progress so far:

    The doodle:
    108_1.png

    The rendering:
    108_2.png

    The quick drawing (no details, usually just to get the shape and length of things):
    108_3.png

    Next: the clean lines, color, shading, and final comic.

    slydon on
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