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Marie August's Artwork - Primarily Featuring "The Fox and The Firebird" Webcomic

Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
edited June 2012 in Artist's Corner
I have a webcomic, and it currently has 54 pages. I'm thinking about publishing it, but before I do, I want to go back and perhaps edit many of the pages. Try to make improvements. I'm starting by adding a three page prologue. Since these go before the comic starts, it is not necessary at all for anyone to go to my website and read my comic in order to give me feedback. Here are the pages I am currently working on for the prologue:
PageP01.jpg

PageP02.jpg

PageP03.jpg

I'm going to color these pages tomorrow. I would really appreciate any kind of feedback on improving my comic. Particularly the layout and the flow of it. I know people who can give me feedback on art (though I welcome more from here, can't get better without criticism, right?), and I know people who can give me feedback on writing, but I strangely don't really know people who read comics.

After I finish these prologue pages, I'm going to start going over my comic from the beginning. Probably post those early pages here as I go through them and work on them.

Update 6/7/12:

Here are the prologue pages in color:

PageP01.jpg

PageP02.jpg

PageP03.jpg

banner3.jpg
Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
Marie August on

Posts

  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    if you want to make it more dynamic, expressive, dont repeat the backgrounds, and change the angles. If things would be changing in the background, like details showing some kind of progression, then repeating them could be a great resource. But as it is now, it makes the whole thing a bit stiff. Regretably, yes, the flow of things sometimes is directly related to the art, and not just panel distribution. However, if you are adamant about the background, angles and poses repetition... you may somehow give it more dynamism through colouring, maybe making each of the sons meet the king, and then depart at diferent times of day, or at diferent seasons.... wich could probably be achieved more or less well through colouring.
    About panel distribution.... no idea how it could be changed, all the panels seem to have more or less similar importance, with the exception of the first and last panels, that in my opinion should have been treated diferently, maybe with more detail, specially the last, with a wider shot, IF he is going to be the son who is actually taking the lead role in the story.

  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    FANTOMAS wrote: »
    if you want to make it more dynamic, expressive, dont repeat the backgrounds, and change the angles. If things would be changing in the background, like details showing some kind of progression, then repeating them could be a great resource. But as it is now, it makes the whole thing a bit stiff.

    I usually don't repeat backgrounds, but the prologue is a bit repetitive, so I felt the art should reflect that rather than attempt to hide it. Many fairy tales have a pattern of having the same thing happen three times with a slight alteration. I suppose if it was greatly uninteresting that way I could change the angle a bit with the father ordering his sons to leave. Do you think I should?

    I kind of liked how each page ended with each son leaving the castle behind though. I don't know that it would work better to mix up the angle when each son is doing the exact same thing. It's like if you're doing a three part gag in a comic with three different people doing mostly the exact same thing, you are going to probably use the same background angles.
    Regretably, yes, the flow of things sometimes is directly related to the art, and not just panel distribution. However, if you are adamant about the background, angles and poses repetition... you may somehow give it more dynamism through colouring, maybe making each of the sons meet the king, and then depart at diferent times of day, or at diferent seasons.... wich could probably be achieved more or less well through colouring.

    I like that idea! That's rather clever, and does help mix it up.
    About panel distribution.... no idea how it could be changed, all the panels seem to have more or less similar importance, with the exception of the first and last panels, that in my opinion should have been treated diferently, maybe with more detail, specially the last, with a wider shot, IF he is going to be the son who is actually taking the lead role in the story.

    The third son is the one who is taking the lead in the story. If you think it should be a wider shot, does that mean you think I should make him even smaller and zoom out more?

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    edited June 2012
    About the zoom out in the last panel, yes, showing the main character and his ride, maybe part of trail, path, road, etc. since its the start of a journey, Im thinking of it as a movie, how they will get a wider shot of the action as the party/hero sets course, and then cut to a closer shot, when a new action or highlight is involved, it also gives you more chances to play with text placement. Regretably I cant find video/image references to illustrate, but, think cinematics. It gives closure to a stage and allows a fresh start for another part of the tale.

    Edit: Btw, this would only work if he has distinguishable features (specific colours of clothes, hair, etc.) that would help recognice the character in a zoomed out view.

    FANTOMAS on
  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    Nice clean lineart but some of your line widths are pretty arbitrary. Used more judiciously you can better suggest form and even lighting with just those. Some of your thickest lines are on some of your most delicate details; the edge of a cape or collar, or where someone's hairline ought to be blending into their head. Also in page 1, panel 3 the background lineart is overwhelming the characters. Granted, some of this may be alleviated by eventual coloring, which helps define elements, but lineart that can stand on its own is never a bad thing.

    Good work. I look forward to seeing this progress.

    header_image_sm.jpg
  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    squidbunny wrote: »
    Nice clean lineart but some of your line widths are pretty arbitrary. Used more judiciously you can better suggest form and even lighting with just those. Some of your thickest lines are on some of your most delicate details; the edge of a cape or collar, or where someone's hairline ought to be blending into their head. Also in page 1, panel 3 the background lineart is overwhelming the characters. Granted, some of this may be alleviated by eventual coloring, which helps define elements, but lineart that can stand on its own is never a bad thing.

    I try to make the lines showing small details, like hands and facial features smaller. Other than that I mostly try to keep all the lines the same size. I use illustrator to create the lines, and the brush that is applied to them tends to make shorter lines look thicker unless I lower the stroke.

    I assume you're talking about the king's hairline. I can make those lines thinner.
    Good work. I look forward to seeing this progress.

    Thanks. Hey, you know what? I've read your webcomic. You advertised on my site at one point with project wonderful. Your art is pretty amazing! I really like your style and how you make every page different. You have so many interesting textures and background elements that you add to each page, making them each a unique piece of art. It's hard to do something like that without causing your art to be cluttered and distracting from the story.

    I had an idea for a fantasy western comic at one point, but you never have time to work on every idea you have. I appreciate you taking the time to critique my stuff.

    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    I've gone ahead and colored the pages:

    PageP01.jpg

    PageP02.jpg

    PageP03.jpg

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I dont know if you saw my crit in your last thread:
    Iruka wrote: »
    I'd recommend posting a few current pages, and then post the progress for the next, so people can have input on some stuff in progress. If you are actively looking for advice you dont have to worry so much about site whoring.

    You can totally be attached to your clean vector style, just know that its a style that lends itself to perfection. The more clean and perfect the style, the more glaring and obvious the smallest of flaws become. Getting your lighting down will also be really necessary. Don't think of it so much as "realistic", its more "shape defining". Seeing where the light falls is how we know what the form we are looking at is. If you let it get all wonky, everything will flatten out. With complex poses its especially important.

    Of course, if you want to have a flat feel to the comic, you can, but this is too in the middle. There is plenty of shading that indicates light, but none of it conveys direction. That makes the shading here a sort of meaningless clutter of false information.

    critmarie.jpg

    If you are trying to light her from the front, I would try something more like this. being more into the light makes figure building much easier as well, trying to light that weird leg would be impossible, her thigh is still angled a bit on the bed while her foot and calf would be getting some light. Thinking stylized doesn't have to abandon fundamentals, the more knowledge you have, the more equipped you'll be to decide what visually works.

    I would concern yourself with your lighting. It still seems very directionless, which is counterproductive to making volume in your forms. Check out AoB's tips for it: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/comment/2803434#Comment_2803434

  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    Since this is a critique to my style in general, I figured I'd respond to it here.
    Iruka wrote: »
    You can totally be attached to your clean vector style, just know that its a style that lends itself to perfection. The more clean and perfect the style, the more glaring and obvious the smallest of flaws become.

    I'm not really sure what this means. I don't really see my style as clean and perfect, even though it's vector. There are solid vector shapes, but I don't understand how using shapes to create a sort of shading makes some sort of flaws more obvious.
    Getting your lighting down will also be really necessary. Don't think of it so much as "realistic", its more "shape defining". Seeing where the light falls is how we know what the form we are looking at is. If you let it get all wonky, everything will flatten out. With complex poses its especially important.

    Of course, if you want to have a flat feel to the comic, you can, but this is too in the middle. There is plenty of shading that indicates light, but none of it conveys direction. That makes the shading here a sort of meaningless clutter of false information.

    I kind of like the "flat" feel to my comic. I figured that my way of coloring was a bit stylized and intentionally inaccurate. I've never really found anyone that colors the way I do, but I have seen cartoons and comics do shading without accurately showing light. There are probably some areas where I could indicate lighting/shape better (like in the clothing, particularly, as you said, with complex poses), but there are others where, if I used your method, I just wouldn't like it as much (like with hair or skin).

    I simply don't see it as a flaw, and more of a stylistic choice. If my shading makes the shape unclear, then yes, it's a problem. But most of the time, I think it does precisely what I intend it to: enhance the coloring and make it more interesting.

    So, that being said, I appreciate you giving me criticism for my lighting/shape defining, and in some cases, I'm interested in making it better. But I don't want to completely change the way I color. So if you have specific areas where you think the way I've shaded has made my shapes unclear, then I am interested in having it pointed out to me.

    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    intentionally inaccurate
    That's always a good stance to take.

    I don't see any reason for someone with your relatively true-to-life style, with very little in the way of caricature, to ignore something as important as accurate lighting. So I have to assume that as is often the case when artists are criticized, you're simply saying that to avoid the reality that you have room for improvement.
    I simply don't see it as a flaw, and more of a stylistic choice.
    If your audience sees it as a flaw, then you still have a problem. And to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that you don't recognize it as a flaw, either. These people know what they're talking about. If I were you, I'd listen. Besides, if you came here for critiques and not of site-whoring, you'd be open to change.

    Mangoes on
  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    If my audience recognizes it as a flaw, then yes, I have a problem. If I have a multiple people telling me that I need to completely change my style, then I will be more convinced that I need to.

    I did not say I wasn't open to criticism. I did partially change what Iruka suggested I change, and would be happy to receive more specific suggestions. I just don't agree with everything Iruka says I should do. I want feedback, and I want to get better. But I need to like my own art.

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2012
    Generally The forums operates with one thread per artist. Just post everything in here. It makes it easier to keep track of whats being said. Let the other thread die off.

    by clean and vector I mean "not painterly". There's no evidence of paint strokes or other mark making. Painterly work lends itself to a certain amount of expressiveness, so you can sort of get away with some more wild effects visually. This is really besides the point though.

    To a certain degree, No one can convince you that one thing or another isn't part of your "style". I will simply caution you that through school, and time on the forums, I know that the idea of your own style almost always is a veil that holds a person back rather than propels them forward. Always be ready to try new work, and you'll improve at speeds you didn't know possible. Hold onto tricks that you already know because they feel comfortable and you will slow to a snails pace. I don't know if you are seeking art as a career or if this is more of a side project/hobby, But if you seek overall improvement, be as experimental as possible. You can always to go back to ways you were working before.


    Also, you slightly miss interpreted me, I dont think your comic is flat, its in a weird inbetween. You are closer to "cell-shaded" than you are to flat, which is creating an odd visual because usually shading indicates light, and about 40% of your shading is done as if you are trying to convey light. Let me give visual examples. I'm not trying to compare you to these artists, but merely trying to show what I'm talking about.

    Flat with very expressive, not really defining light:
    migration_by_eatfun-d4k7ckb.png
    cb47b523a4f611e08544140588545adb-d4golec.png

    Solid shape "cell Shading" with a clear intent to define forms with light:
    adventure_time_by_speedking-d4bqjct.jpg
    ji_deuraegon_by_eatfun-d39h72i.png

    Flat with no light at all:
    __spera_volume_i_cover___by_aznmextofu-d3kyaxs.jpg

    Flat with very simple, but clearly defined light with evident direction
    __Tofu_Marathon___by_AznMexTofu.jpg

    The reason that knowing exactly what you are trying to do is important, is to bring a sense of cohesiveness to the work you are presenting. Your work can clearly, intentionally abandon showing light in favor of style, but what you are currently displaying is a confusion. You are placing the shapes in ways that sometimes indicates light and sometimes is just a design choice (like the texture of the hair in the other painting). While for you, it maybe a conscious choice, theres no real indicator that its your intent, and it makes it look visually wrong. If you flattened out all your colors you can deal less with light and focus on things like line weight, flat color, silhouette and pattern to help define shapes. If you want to continue putting light in there, though, I would still recommend studying it.

    Iruka on
  • melting_dollmelting_doll Registered User regular
    You say you need to "like your own art". But wouldn't you like it more if you KNEW you were doing something the right way, instead of just guessing? You might find the confidence you get from more basic knowledge of light can be a huge boost in your work. Confidence shows! Right now your attempt at lighting seems very timid and as Iruka said, confused.

    Styles change over time as artists improve, wouldn't you say? Look at Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade. Go to the first comic and look at today's. He still has a sense of the way he's been drawing from the start but his confidence and skills have improved immensely! Learning the basics will improve your work, not make it worse.

  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Iruka wrote: »
    Generally The forums operates with one thread per artist. Just post everything in here. It makes it easier to keep track of whats being said. Let the other thread die off.

    Ok, will do. Just figured I should post that updated piece of artwork in its thread.
    by clean and vector I mean "not painterly". There's no evidence of paint strokes or other mark making. Painterly work lends itself to a certain amount of expressiveness, so you can sort of get away with some more wild effects visually.

    Alright, that makes sense.
    Also, you slightly miss interpreted me, I dont think your comic is flat, its in a weird inbetween. You are closer to "cell-shaded" than you are to flat, which is creative an odd visual because usually shading indicates light, and about 40% of your shading is done as if you are trying to convey light. Let me give visual examples. I'm not trying to compare you to these artists, but merely trying to show what I'm talking about.

    Flat with very expressive, not really defining light:
    migration_by_eatfun-d4k7ckb.png
    cb47b523a4f611e08544140588545adb-d4golec.png

    Solid shape "cell Shading" with a clear intent to define forms with light:
    adventure_time_by_speedking-d4bqjct.jpg
    ji_deuraegon_by_eatfun-d39h72i.png

    Flat with no light at all:
    __spera_volume_i_cover___by_aznmextofu-d3kyaxs.jpg

    Flat with very simple, but clearly defined light with evident direction
    __Tofu_Marathon___by_AznMexTofu.jpg

    The reason that knowing exactly what you are trying to do is important, is to bring a sense of cohesiveness to the work you are presenting. Your work can clearly, intentionally abandon showing light in favor of style, but what you are currently displaying is a confusion. You are placing the shapes in ways that sometimes indicates light and sometimes is just a design choice (like the texture of the hair in the other painting). While for you, it maybe a conscious choice, theres no real indicator that its your intent, and it makes it look visually wrong. If you flattened out all your colors you can deal less with light and focus on things like line weight, flat color, silhouette and pattern to help define shapes. If you want to continue putting light in there, though, I would still recommend studying it.

    Thank you for taking the time to explain your issue so thoroughly. I'm sorry for being argumentative before. I don't mean to be, but I know I can come off that way when I talk about pretty much anything. I really do want to improve, and I can't if I pretend to agree with someone's criticism when I don't. If I do, I won't understand why I need to change.

    That being said, I do understand your point better now. You're right. I am mixing styles. The part that did not make sense to me before was that I thought you were saying that I had to accurately show light, or I was doing a poor job. Which did not make sense, because there is plenty of good art that does not do that.

    Now that I understand what you are getting at, I'll need to think a bit on how I can address the issue.
    You say you need to "like your own art". But wouldn't you like it more if you KNEW you were doing something the right way, instead of just guessing? You might find the confidence you get from more basic knowledge of light can be a huge boost in your work. Confidence shows! Right now your attempt at lighting seems very timid and as Iruka said, confused.

    That's the thing, I didn't know I was doing it wrong. Just because someone tells me I'm wrong, doesn't mean I'll know or be able to instantly agree. I understand better now though from Iruka's examples.

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    This is such a great example of the way this forum is supposed to work. I look forward to seeing how your artwork progresses.

  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    Lets take a break in my comic to critique a piece of fanart that I've been on and off working on for the past several months:

    Rapunzel02.jpg

    I've just started on the shading. After I finish that, I'll figure out a background.

    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Her proportions are a little off, but i think it may all be fixed if you just size down her head by like 20-30%

    Are you going for directional light in this?

  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Here's with Rapunzel's head 10% smaller:

    Rapunzel05.jpg

    In Tangled, Rapunzel has a big head. Her head is bigger than Flynn's, and his body is a lot bigger than hers.

    I am going to attempt to accurately portray a directional light.

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • Marie AugustMarie August Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Here's 5% smaller:

    Rapunzel04.jpg

    This might be doable. At least her head isn't smaller than Flynn's.

    Marie August on
    banner3.jpg
    Read my fairy tale webcomic, The Fox & The Firebird, at: http://www.fairytaletwisted.com
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    In the movie she also has dinner plate eyes, so you want to make sure you are keeping things proportional within the context of your drawing. I think the 10% looks fine, though, the bigger size was mostly making her arm look really oddly short.

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