Could I get a critique on my comic? (Don't worry its not low quality garbage lol)

antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
edited December 2012 in Artist's Corner
Hey there, I've been running a webcomic for awhile now and would like some genuine feedback if at all possible. I put a lot of effort into learning how to make a decent website, learning how to write jokes, and bumping up my art skills to an acceptable level.

So please let me know what you think about the website design, the writing, and the art. (and if you're feeling particularly awesome check out the 'support anthony' section to show your support lol!)

There's also a book I wrote on the site involving enlightenment if thats your thing too.

Thanks, and I love you all!


-Anthony

Grifter on
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Posts

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    Please post actual artwork.

  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Some people seem to be confused about the purpose of this section: it's not a widely-viewed venue to advertise, or to help you make the dolla bills in any way. It's a concentrated area of excellent artists whose aim is to help you improve. When people come to beg for clicks or puff up their ego, it rarely ends well. The people who end up sticking around are those with a humble attitude and the goal of learning.

    We want to help you, but I'm not totally sure that's what you want, yet. It's a time commitment, and it can be tough to be told that you've got a long way to go. But the end result is almost always significant improvement.

    Mangoes on
  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    Well, okay then... sorry. I didn't know it was forbidden to post a link to your site.

    2012-12-15-fs31.jpg

    2012-05-15-FS30.jpg

    2012-03-05-FS27.jpg

    2012-02-20-FS21.jpg

    2012-02-15-FSnineteen.jpg

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    Well, okay then... sorry. I didn't know it was forbidden to post a link to your site.

    You really should read the rules, then.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/165388/the-rules#latest

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    You're such a nice guy. Thanks for the warm welcome. Lol...

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    Even for an all ages comic strip those jokes are pretty stale.

    Aside from the one comic where you just used a stock image of Mickey (and poorly added a lightsaber) the art isn't bad, but using those ghost things with no real anatomy just makes it a basic talking head comic and if you're going to do that your humor really, REALLY has to carry the strip.

    Your line weight, shading, backgrounds, etc show potential so try drawing actual people to sell the jokes and it might help, but writing is definitely the pitfall so far. Your font placement and choice of font and word bubbles are all well done too. You obviously know what you're doing so you should push yourself to do better.


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    amateur is right, the writing is pretty bland. Your comedic beats aren't bad though, which is promising. You have structure, there's just nothing surprising going on. With art that is this variety of simplistic, you really need to punch up the humor.

    The art is serving its purpose, but you could use some more confident lines, and some more interesting expressions to really sell your jokes.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    Appreciate the critique. I really do, especially since it looks like you do comics too!

    I would really like the jokes to be better, I agree. Its tough... after staring at the strip for an extended period of time I lose all perspective of whether or not its funny. Guess its all just practice.

    Some turned out better than others I suppose. Here are some more.

    2012-02-29-FS25.jpg

    2012-02-13-FSeighteen.jpg

    2012-02-07-FSsixteen.jpg

    2012-02-06-FSfifteen.jpg

    2012-02-03-FSfourteen.jpg

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    I liked the last one, and I like that you put them in a different scenario every comic.

    I would suggest you stop doing 4th wall breaking comics about people making comics or being aware they're in comics. It's been done WAY too much and became a pretty bad trope of the early webcomics that most people agree just isn't funny.

    I really don't have problems with the art at all, it's simplistic but you do good work with props and backgrounds and your word placement and pacing is good, you just gotta work on the humor.

    You just need to work on your source material. If you want to see humor in an all ages format look at something like Dave Kellett's "Sheldon" to see how far you can go while still keeping it kid friendly.


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
    MuddyParasol
  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    Would it be funnier with more happening? Bigger surprise on the punchlines instead of just talking? I don't think I have a very good grasp on what humor is and why people find things funny. I really would like to improve. Any suggestions are welcome.

  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    There's no magic funny button you can press to make the internet love your jokes. It all has to come from your writing style. If you're wanting to be an existential comic then study people like Mitch Hedberg or Dimitri Martin and get a feel for their timing and humor and how they sell jokes.

    If you want to learn more about writing comedy and how that process works then watch interviews with writers of tv sitcoms or movies and read books about comedy writing or go see some local stand ups at an open mic, but don't ever think that just adding a little more to panel 3 is going to instantly make something funnier because it will likely have the opposite effect.

    Also don't stress it too much, when I gave my critique that's not my way of saying "your comic sucks, start over"

    EVERYONE'S first 100 comics are going to suck. The first 100 pVps or Penny Arcades were very weak compared to what they are now, same goes for any other strip out there. You have to make 100, 200, even 300 shitty comics before you get a rhythm and a style that's all your own.


    Arch wrote: »

    I never expected this burn from captain bushmeat
    MuddyParasoltapeslingerEsiotrot
  • brokecrackerbrokecracker Registered User regular
    incongruity is a great building block for basic comedy, break expectations. Take for example the one that has been drawn by the ghosty guy with no hat that insulting the ghosty guy with the hat. I fully expected that punchline, ready for it on panel one. What would be unexpected is if the ghosty guy with the hat had been drawing it expressionlessly. Try to break the expectation that you even started writing it for. The best comic I can think of to look for good examples of this is Nedroid (http://nedroid.com/). Go read all of them if you have not already. That is, if you want them to be funny, you could make a kind of matter of fact comic that just states things or explains things.

    For the art, I am not a fan of this kind of character design. It limits a lot of emotional language that can be communicated visually. Don't get me wrong, I like simple characters, just not as simple as you have them here. It might just be me. I do like it when you work in the more complicated backgrounds. The two with the sky, those are nice. You might have choose these designs on purpose and you might want to stick with these characters for one reason or another, but let me say this: No comic ever got worse because the artist improved. Check out Iruka's "Art Blog" link in her signature for tons of great resources.

    Good luck and welcome to the AC.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    I really like that nedroid comic. I've never seen it before. Thanks for the link, its pretty similar to what I've been going for. Simple lovable characters in funny situations. Gonna read them all and try to take notes on what devices are used to enhance the humor and such.

    In truth, I'm a pretty serious / intense person. It's really challenging for me to write a humor strip! But I'd rather die than not be successful at it lol.

    The character designs are very deliberate. I spent the last ten years of my life meditating and contemplating existentialism. I think that having the characters be super simple ghosts is making a statement that we aren't really what we think we are. Like we're really ghosts wearing man-suits. Gate is plain so he can "put on costumes" and fill roles as both a plot device and a statement on how we're all just acting our roles in the world. Rumi looks very much like a zen monk so I can throw in some buddhist wisdom without seeming too douchey. The devil is kind of symbolic of selfishness or a person that is very identified with their ego structure (somebody that takes themselves too seriously.) I suppose I could've designed some more complicated characters, but when I first started this I was not confident in my artistic ability, and I thought it would be a good idea to make things very minimalistic so I would actually have time to do things like shading and backgrounds.

    I hope you guys don't think my comic is complete trash. I've only made 31 of them so far, and I realize that I probably won't hit a stride until #100 or so... I'm just hoping that you guys (actual artists) see something of value in these.

    antleonardi01 on
  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    Beaver and Steve is another good comic although more story based and no longer updated.

    I'm no comic artist, but I'm a comic reader. Like the others, I think there's potential, but I have to be honest I do have a problem with the basic characters. They are so formless it's very hard to be interested in them or feel a connection. They're neither charming enough, naive enough, ugly enough or cute enough. It's like you want the jokes to carry the strip, but without a character to connect the joke to, that's very hard to pull off. You have to be as funny and intelligent as xkcd.com to pull off that kind of a gambit...

    Draw an egg.
  • DisrupterDisrupter Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    One of the better comic threads posted here IMO. I like the simpl, but well done, art, and the jokes in the second batch picked up a bit. I think you are over-thinking the comedy aspect. You seem to have a decent grasp of timing, you usually end with a punch. The "long introspective philisophical" dialog followed by shorter, simple punches has good rythm to it. Its a build of of expectations of some sort of wise ending, with a reversal of expectations for the punch. XDCD does that well.

    Not saying the humor is amazing, but the formula for success if there, and it isnt completely lacking. However, you need more than the one formula, cause otherwise the expectations will be exactly what you give, and reversing it wont have any sort of funny impact.

    Disrupter on
  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    Thank you for the positivity lol. It's pretty tough putting yourself out there for criticism, but its the only way to get better!

    The current strip I have written is a jesus joke, but struggling to make it work. Gotta get busy!

    I'm very into this whole comic thing and taking it very seriously. I've wanted to do this since I was a 13 year old videogame obsessed nerd drooling over penny-arcade. As I grew up I realized that I was really into philosophy and always wanted to try to make a philosophy comic. Gonna do my damnedest to make something out of this.

    antleonardi01 on
  • KatieKatie Registered User
    Check out this thread The Whomp Thread and the website now Whomp! (press random and you'll be a happy camper). Many of the links from the thread are broken but they show up more further in and it's still worth your time to go through it. It's a good example of pushing humour (by thinking about it and accepting critique) and what great art can do for communicating a joke. It's the old, 'show don't tell' thing. It's also a good example of how knowing your character can be a spring board for the humour, the more we learned about Ronnie the funnier he got.

    If you're set on using mostly words then I'd check out some stand up, anything from Milton Jones in the UK (surreal but funny) to that Canadian guy who's name I'll probably edit in here later but he does these one liner jokes that are sort of old fashioned but genuinely really funny. It doesn't take a lot of set up to do something that'll genuinely make people laugh and isn't obvious.

    On the comics you've posted, I liked the 'I knew you'd say that' one because it felt like the punchline to the joke you weren't telling and I enjoyed that. The last one with the pie... the set up was solid but the final remark fell a little flat. Maybe think up some alternatives and see how far you can push it, like showing Carl Sagan eating pie with God or having your guy hold up a mini universe he created in a jar. (Don't use those, they suck, I'm not funny) You can do it though, it just takes practice and a small part of your soul.

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    Are these things like tissue ghosts you make in 3rd grade?

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    Only in that the aesthetic very much fits your typical rendering of "ghost."

    ...but if thats meant as an insult I'm gonna go with "put-up or shut-up" dude. :)

    antleonardi01 on
  • AvrahamAvraham Registered User regular
    2012-02-29-FS25.jpg

    I laughed really hard at this joke.

    I recommend you take a look at happle tea
    Even the strips where people are just standing around talking, they are doing something or moving somewhere or there is some small change from panel to panel.

    http://www.happletea.com/2012/08/21/fireflies/
    http://www.happletea.com/2012/09/25/toilet-humor/
    http://www.happletea.com/2012/10/23/love-potion-9/

    this one and this one have a better sense of movement than the chess one.

    I took an improv workshop once - it's really difficult to improvise a fictional conversation off the cuff, because you're desperately trying to be funny for the audience and you're anxiously trying to get it "right," so you end up nervous and awkward. They advised we should mime an action while talking. Walk around, do something with our bodies and hands. It engages your brain and helps to get you into character, and helps give a sense of place to the scene.
    One thing I tried was miming taking laundry out of the dryer and folding it. The anxious part of my brain that would have been overanalyzing each line looking for the wittiest response was distracted. My conversation in the scene with my partner went much more smoothly.

    Like, in Calvin and Hobbes they don't just stare at a table while having a philosophical conversation. They famously hurtle down dangerous ravines in a wagon, or they climb trees or take a walk in the woods.

    I'm not sure how but I think you have avoided sounding too preachy or pretentious in these comics. I think you are off to a good start and you will just improve through practice! Your cartoony style is very cute and appealing.

    :bz: :bz: :bzz:
  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Only in that the aesthetic very much fits your typical rendering of "ghost."

    ...but if thats meant as an insult I'm gonna go with "put-up or shut-up" dude. :)
    This makes me dislike you. Especially considering you've failed thus far to "put up" anything impressive yourself.

    EDIT: Also, even simple white-sheet-ghosts don't typically look like stick figures with pointy robes on. I failed to identify them as ghosts until I read your explanations.

    Mangoes on
  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    It's super easy to trash what somebody else is doing when you aren't showing anything for yourself and I think that was a fair reply to him, but thanks for insults. Moving on....

    I really do appreciate that avaraham. I do love Calvin and Hobbes. Checking out happy tea as we speak thank you.

    antleonardi01 on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular

    2012-02-07-FSsixteen.jpg

    this comic is a good example of why I enjoy your comics but feel they lack that spark
    you tend to have too much exposition in your final panel - borderline "explaining the joke" so to speak

    this is a good joke

    it's funny, and I laughed.

    But it would have been even better if the character wasn't saying anything in the third panel, and we could just infer what he's doing from the piece of paper

    punchlines that are inferred correctly by the reader are always funnier than those that are explained - obviously it isn't always possible to draw the situation in such a way that the punchline is clearly obvious, but when it is, it's better to let the art do the talking.

    For a good example of a popular webcomic falling into this trap, this is a recent penny arcade strip

    i-Crvrwd2-X3.jpg

    This comic would have been better if gabe didn't say his last bit of dialogue.

  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    It's super easy to trash what somebody else is doing when you aren't showing anything for yourself and I think that was a fair reply to him, but thanks for insults. Moving on....

    I don't think he was insulting you. At least, not so clearly that it was worth immediately jumping on the defense. To me it just read like "oh, these are like those cool tissue paper ghosts from primary school! :D"

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    YES, that is exactly the kind of feedback I need lol. I thought that SAME exact thing when i read that Penny-Arcade comic!

    I feel the same way. Something is missing in my formula. The art part is subjective, some people are going to like it and some wont, but there is no denying that I'm falling slightly short on the execution.

    antleonardi01 on
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    i should note that i have no credentials or experience as a writer or artist, i am just speaking from a regular old viewer perspective

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    Being a fan is all the experience you need. Explaining less translates to funnier. It is helpful advice.

  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    I also wanted to touch on what avaraham said about having more going on in a talking heads comic

    for example, the chess panel.

    That one would have been a lot cooler if stuff was happening on the chess board while they were talking. maybe the heaven and hell pieces are fighting each other during the comic and at the end there's only two left.

    Penny Arcade does this a lot with fruit fucker in the background of some comics just doing stuff while everything else is going on.

  • MangoesMangoes Registered User regular
    YES, that is exactly the kind of feedback I need lol. I thought that SAME exact thing when i read that Penny-Arcade comic!

    I feel the same way. Something is missing in my formula. The art part is subjective, some people are going to like it and some wont, but there is no denying that I'm falling slightly short on the execution.
    Traditional art is only subjective to a point. It's a common excuse that beginners use, but in reality fundamentals are almost entirely objective. Things like perspective, form, line weight, etc. are crucial regardless of how simple your art style is, as long as you aren't "pushing boundaries" in the form of abstract design.

    Equally worth noting: this is the Artist's Corner. This section exists to help people with their art, not writing. There is a section for that as well, and if your punchlines are the only thing you desire to be critiqued on, perhaps you best move there.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    I love you too Mangoes.

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    I'm pretty sure Zerg was actually referencing an art project that he probably did when he was in 3rd grade.

    Do you actually want help with the artwork in this comic of yours? If not, please state so and we can move this over to the Writer's Block.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    I never said that I didn't.

    Help away. I'm under no illusions that I'm a terrific artistic.

    antleonardi01 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Do you have some intent for drawing these guys in this way, or is it just easier than people? I can understand the want to eliminate hands, feet and basically all anatomy so you can focus on the writing, but it loses some of the charm of gesture and varied expression. You may need to approach this with a slightly more complex character, or learn to draw these guys with a huge range of motion and expression to cover your bases.

    Do you do any drawing outside of your comic? It would be great to see something outside of these characters to help me get the extent of your range, but I can scrounge up some cartooning tips when I get off of work.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    I would love to learn to cartoon better. I'm sure there are a bunch of tricks to express emotions that I just don't know about. I've been toying around with adding arms... I'm just not that confident. I've taken a bunch of drawing classes, and I can draw a still life pretty well, but I'm definitely not ready to be drawing human anatomy from the imagination. I'm afraid it would turn out like all of those awkward webcomics you see with the boxy humanoid characters. At this point, I really do like the ghosts though.

    Here is something I drew a year ago.

    mmmmiddd.jpg

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    Do you have anything more recent that isn't a cartoon ghost? I don't think there's much point in us giving tips on fixing a year old image with numerous anatomical issues.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    Iruka asked to see something else I did ...

  • FANTOMASFANTOMAS Flan ArgentavisRegistered User regular
    edited December 2012
    Dude, you have to realice that you, YOU benefit from posting stuff here, so the guys who know how to draw, and know how to teach give you a clear insight on how to improve that you may not be able to reach on your own at this moment. We are all here to help you, give us something to work with.

    edit: to be more specific, post everything you have scanned, doodles, sketches, things you may think are worthless, everything counts, the more recent the better, if you kept the rough sketches for the comics, or sketches of how you organice the strip, everything counts.

    FANTOMAS on
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I'm not sure she meant one image from a year ago...

    Do you draw every day? :) Recent sketches are more useful here than one pinup from a year ago in this case. It's easier to give feedback on something that is current to your working style.

    I will join the "ghosts are too vague and expressionless" camp on this one. I feel like they could still be ghosts and be drawn with a ton of personality. They have a weird vinyl doll flatness that keeps them from being totally successful in conveying emotional range. The lack of real limbs makes it harder to read the activities they're doing in the strip. I would really recommend if the hands are going to be disconnected from the body form, they should be more clearly shaped like a real hand. Another nitpick I have is the body shapes don't read well; they're really dimensionless and the extreme length and slenderness of the neck doesn't look like a sheet of fabric.

    I do feel like the simplicity of the characters is a bit of a crutch here. It is possible to do simple well, but the devil is in the details.

  • GrifterGrifter BermudaModerator mod
    Iruka asked to see something else I did ...

    And I'm asking for something else.

  • antleonardi01antleonardi01 Registered User
    edited December 2012
    I guess it is a bit of a crutch. I'm willing to experiment. At the very least I could give each of the characters a unique design. Maybe I should go in one of these directions?

    vector-of-a-cartoon-ghost-with-a-stitched-mouth-outlined-coloring-page-drawing-by-ron-leishman-16207.jpg

    stock-photo-funny-ghost-cartoon-96963623.jpg

    cartoon_ghosts_01.jpg

    antleonardi01 on
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