Learning to Comic

KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
edited September 2013 in Artist's Corner
Hi all, new user, although I've looked through a number of the tutorial threads here before with interest. I started a comic earlier this year and was looking to get some critique. I'm still very much learning the ropes - in particular working out how to use textures well, and trying to get better with background details. My character style is also kinda inconsistent, depending on whether I'm being lazy on a given day, so that needs work too!

The general aim of the comic is parodying films, with a few tv/news/unrelated items in the mix as well. The main character is a kiwi bird with one leg. He often serves as a punchline by being incompetent, rude, disloyal, cheeky etc. I'd like any given comic to be accessible to first time readers, so I'm not sure whether it works best to only include the character where the punchline depends on it, such as this strip:


as opposed to others, where the character is just there:


in some more recent comics, I have omitted the kiwi as I felt it wouldn't add anything, for instance:


Any thoughts or preferences on including the character or not?

I'd also be interested to know how accessible you think the comic might be. Some of the strips are quite niche - which reflects my own fairly broad taste in films. Obviously I'd like to make comics about things I'm interested in, but I suppose it would it give the comic more appeal if it was more focussed on a particular genre. Kinda hard to tell as I'm the one making it, so any opinions are appreciated! Thanks for your time.

Edit: this post seems to have strayed off just art and into writing, so feel free to limit your critique to the art only if you prefer.

Some other recent strips:


Kiwihopper on


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    KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Kiwihopper wrote: »
    Any thoughts or preferences on including the character or not?

    I'd say only include the kiwi if it serves a purpose in the panel, for instance in the monoke one (I think it's supposed to be that, haven't seen the film) it's providing an unexpected outcome for the other characters and therefore makes sense being in there.

    Personally I think the ones without the kiwi, or at least the ones that aren't wholly about dropping the kiwi into a film scene without any particular 'joke' to it, are the stronger ones - the terminator arriving at the clown bar made me chuckle in particular.

    Looks like you've got some good strip ideas, hope we can see more

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    KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
    Thanks for that - I think that's the way I'm leaning. I can post a few more, but don't want to start flooding!

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    inkboneinkbone Registered User new member
    Try to use some blambot fonts, it will look nicer. As far as improving the artwork, what do you use to make your comics? If you use a tablet, I would recommend sketching your artwork and then tracing over it in a separate layer. When you're tracing it, use your whole arm in a smooth motion for each line. It will make your artwork appear more confident and less shaky. It takes a lot of practice to change to this technique of drawing however, if you are used to tracing over your sketch more slowly.

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    KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
    I use a tablet for the comic - wacom bamboo and Photoshop. I do trace over a draft layer, but I could do with spending some more time getting used to smoother strokes in PS.

    For fonts, I'm still experimenting a bit - I'm fairly happy with the main font for speech bubbles (komika text) - although if you guys think it looks weak then I'll reconsider. For some of the others (like the ones in Fresh and Elysium) I'll spend some more time looking at alternatives. Thanks for the input, I appreciate it.

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    Adam CasalinoAdam Casalino New York (in my heart)Registered User regular
    I really like your sense of humor, especially the clown bar comic and the fresh prince spoof. As for your concerns about character inconsistency, I didn't notice any glaring problems, but the best way to make sure a character looks the same in every comic is to draw a character turn around, also sometimes called a model sheet. Here is a google search of some good examples: https://www.google.com/search?q=character+turn+around. Basically you will draw your character from all sides, front, back and profile. Use that every time you draw the character as reference.

    You can also find a version of the character you've drawn that you really like and use that as reference for future drawings (something I often do).

    Keep drawing, you'll only get better!

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    nocuddletimenocuddletime Registered User regular
    You've got the funny. Now start practicing every day with the drawing. The sketchbook should never leave your side!

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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    In the mononoke one I would recommend you split the three middle panels vertically rather than horizontally, to support the vertical action within them. And make the gutters between them thicker so the reader doesn't get all choked up in there. I did a dirty paintover to illustrate a few points.
    I flipped the panels so that the injured dude is on the left, because the reader is supposed to sympathize with him, and by having him looking or facing in the same direction as the reader reads it becomes easier to enter the character. On the other hand I flipped the bird's direction so that it shouts opposite to the reading direction for the opposite effect. I added a whole lot of black to the water so as to isolate the bird from the other elements of the panels.

    You could also easily bump up the body language of the dude who's hurt, especially in the last panel.

    m3nace on
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    KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
    Thanks m3nace, that works a whole lot better - all really helpful changes! When I get a spare moment I'll rework the strip. The darker water makes a big difference, as does the horizontal split.

    Adam - I think that would be useful. I find side on / facing away particularly frustrating to draw so both could use work.


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    KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
    Here's a comic from last week - trying to get smoother lines. Like Inkbone mentioned it's taking a while to try and get used to smoother strokes in PS - and for this one I ended up using the pen tool. Another option is to do the linework in Artrage, which came with my tablet and has some better options for freehand line smoothing.


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    sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    I gave you a bro, bro. Panel 3 looks a lot neater than some of the older comics. Especially compared to panel 1 of Tokyo Drifter or panel 6 of Mr & Mrs Smith. The perspective on the table is upsetting though! Would be ok on it's own but next to the wall and the bookcase it looks very odd.

    This one doesn't stand up as well without the text underneath it, as I wouldn't have known Kelsey Grammer was going to be in the next movie without that. Don't know if that matters or not. YOU DECIDE.

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    HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    There are some serious perspective issues going on. In panel 1, the human characters imply we are looking at them straight on, but the color change in the background implies a horizon line that is in the room with them, which would mean we were looking at them from an angle significantly above them.

    Check out panel 1 of this penny arcade:


    Notice how there is no floor/wall line? It's OK to do that.

    On panel 3, the table's perspective is off compared to the bookcase by a significant degree. Take a gander at the following, they will help you get a good sense of the rules of perspective.


    The writing continues to be solid. I hope you keep improving, as these have a lot of very legitimate potential.

    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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    KiwihopperKiwihopper Registered User regular
    Thanks for that guys - trying to work on the perspective stuff when it comes up, and found a useful tool for producing perspective lines in photoshop which I used on this one:


    I'm still settling on a style - whether to give characters basic shading, when to use textures, line thickness and so on. Let me know what you do and don't like. Annoying to find that sometimes I'll put out a comic, then look back and see that I've done a worse job with the illo than one from a month ago! Ah well:









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    MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Personally mate, the art isn't the problem. I just don't think any of the jokes are all that strong. Take the first one for example, the punchline is well a meme comic punchline. I feel you could do so much more without resorting to "cheap" tricks like memes. Just keep on trying, watch the pacing and truly think of the punchline. The rest of the panels should strengten the punchline by being a good set up, not just be there to deliver a generic punchline, that could pretty much be in any situation. Best of luck mate.

    Have some time, check out my blog
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