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Help me get better at comic-ing

HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
Hey AC,

Lately I've been trying to draw comics a bit more frequently. I feel like I've been getting more confident and adventurous, but would love some feedback from you guys about what I can work on. In particular, I have a lot of trouble with text, line weight, and background colors. What I'm posting here are pretty much finished works, but what can I do moving forward to continue to push it?

First, here's where I was when I started doing this more regularly:

BreakingImmersion.jpg

Here's where I am more recently:

DOTA2Miami.jpg

Day9JimButcher.jpg

OldMacDonald.jpg

PajitnovConstructionCo.jpg

Any CC is appreciated. Thanks!

My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods

Posts

  • SeraphSwordSeraphSword Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Well I'll mention a few things to see if I can help. It would be useful to know a bit more about what you're trying to go for, who your influences might be, stuff like that.

    First thing, font. http://www.blambot.com You'll find plenty of free fonts here, and some better, paid ones that you might consider an investment

    I'm not sure what your workflow is, or what art program you work in, but a good rule of thumb for digital comic making is to work at or above 300 dpi, at a larger size than your finished image is intended to be. Reducing the size when you publish them makes the lines look cleaner.

    For digital painting in general I would suggest ctrlpaint.com. Plenty of good lessons that will apply to anything you work on.

    Use reference whenever possible. The tractor, the grain silo, the hard hats, David Caruso, all would benefit from a little more study. Getting better is often a matter of paying attention to the little things.


    The most general advice I would give is to keep studying people. It is the most important and most difficult subject to master. If you can master gesture, expression, and proportion you will be way ahead of most artists out there. The best way to do that is using reference, drawing from life, and studying masters (even if the 'master' in question is just a comic artist you like). Draw constantly and you will get better, inevitably.

    Good luck and keep at it.

    EDIT: Also thought I should throw this in here: http://www.stanprokopenko.com/blog/2012/08/video-draw-head-angle-1/ Some good tutorials on his site. Not all necessarily comic related, but helpful.

    SeraphSword on
    Mastery is the result of ceaseless error, combined with ruthless self-appraisal.
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    Thanks Seraph. I work entirely in Photoshop. Typically I rough everything out in a storyboard, then give it a linework treatment, then color (tend to do flats, then tones/highlights).

    300 DPI is a great idea that I definitely hadn't thought of yet. Since my publishing platform is entirely online, I'd been doing everything at 72dpi (with 590 width). I imagine working at a higher dpi is helpful because your lines are considerably more detailed during the production thanks to the extra pixels? That seems like a really great idea. I will try it.

    Thanks for the blambot site. Some of the free ones are a huge step in the right direction for me.

    I'll keep posting future work in this thread, including the rough/ink/color phases separately for more detailed critique.

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    So YOU'RE the guy that did the day9 comic. I saw it over on /r/starcraft.

  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    Yep, Day9 + Dresden seems like a match made in heaven. Still reading those books.

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    You gotta work in kitty4cats somewhere in there, and boner amanda.

  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited January 2013
    Here's a storyboard for my next comic attempt. Text is completely unpolished and will be replaced by a font. Layout is rough. The background will likely be a generic game retail shop (shelves, boxes, etc). Anyone have any thoughts on composition, execution, or anything else before I move on to inking?

    WM014storyboard.jpg

    Appreciate any input.

    Heartlash on
    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    Here's an inked version. I used the high DPI method and I felt like it gave me a lot better control over my lines. They're still a little unsteady, but with practice I think they'll get much more polished. I'm also trying out a new font from blambot for the dialogue:

    WM014ink.jpg

    Anyone have any thoughts as I move into color?

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • JohnTWMJohnTWM Registered User regular
    It feels stiff. Just as a general rule I find that comics are more boring if every panel is drawn from the same perspective. Some of your other ones were good about mixing up the angle (a little, you could have taken them further) but these last few have all been very flat, everything presented directly from the front or figures drawn all from same side etc. Even simple comics like xkcd (art style wise) mix up the panels; how zoomed in, showing the figures from the front then the back then the side. So generally, before I started drawing in the panels, I would story board it out a bit and make sure I incorporated at least 2 different angles of the subject.

  • SeraphSwordSeraphSword Registered User regular
    Sorry I didn't see this one before. On the writing side, I would probably change the last panel. It doesn't really nail the "getting old" punchline. Strictly speaking it would probably work better without the fourth panel at all, but a better way would probably be a 4th panel cut-away to him feeling old (e.g. the last panel of this: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/12/31 ), or the same shot of him, but with a long, grey beard or something.

    Of course that's just my opinion. Humor is ridiculously subjective.

    On the art side I would suggest something to give some context to where they are. I'm assuming they are in a video game store or something similar, but it's very vague at present. That can probably be done in the background, without having to change what you already have. A good rule of thumb for comics is that you should be able to take the words out and still know what's going on.

    Mastery is the result of ceaseless error, combined with ruthless self-appraisal.
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    Hey guys,

    That's some great feedback. Sadly I didn't see it before finishing and publishing this specific comic. I did add a background to give a bit more context as you suggested, Seraph:

    GettingOlder.jpg

    JohnTWM, that's a really good point. I think I've been too quick to take the easy way out and keep my frames too consistent. I will definitely try something more dynamic/adventurous with the next strip.

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
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