Suggestions and critics wanted

KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
edited August 2014 in Artist's Corner
Greetings everyone!
I am new to this forum, although I have been a fan of Penny Arcade for quite some time.
Since I have started a solo project, I believe this is the place to get healthy suggestions and criticism - I am making a webcomic with non-linear content, and any healthy advice concerning its appearance, message, style is welcome - as well as any other personal opinion.

The website itself is a bit rough around the edges, due to the lack of time at my disposal, please ignore the small deatils.

KONTRAZEN

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Posts

  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    Hey man. You can't just link to your site unfortunately (you said you read the rules?), you need to just post any art you want critiqued in the forum directly. Otherwise people would just spam the forums to get traffic.

  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    I must have misinterpreted the advice I was given, thanks - edited, is this OK ?

    Kontrazen on
  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    Yeah that is fine good work. Now link a few of the strips from your website here.

    Rather than upload them again to this forum, they will show up better if you just post the existing url's. Click the little chain icon, paste the image url in the box that pops up, then click ok.

    Kontrazen
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    So - this is where I am running into problems which I am in dire need of solving :

    These ones turn out OK when uploaded, being that their format is closer to a square-shape

    5be660a8407abaae98e13855968f13b0?AccessKeyId=425F20FDAC31675C6A72&disposition=0&alloworigin=1
    44619e6778df9e9e336324992d9e0910?AccessKeyId=425F20FDAC31675C6A72&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

    However, it pains me to see the results of having to stretch them out of proportion - it smudges up the entire image, and I am desperately trying to fix this :

    76b9c59405a832da8e8b46c72c966be8?AccessKeyId=425F20FDAC31675C6A72&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

    Kontrazen on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    You need to wrap the links to your images in img tags.
    [img]image link goes here[/img]
    

    m3nace on
    Kontrazen
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I'm not really... getting the "point" or some of the punchlines of these comics? I feel like I'm missing something. I'm not sure if this is a fault of the humor, or if you just need to convey what you're saying a little more clearly.

  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    @NightDragon
    Please, this is the sort of criticism I needed > which ones exactly are vague?

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  • TamTam Registered User regular
    I did actually get them
    I like the second one quite a bit
    As I understand them:
    1. The Mars Rover was an elaborate cover for NASA to bury a cat it killed
    2. The traditionally stupid first two of the Three Little Pigs were actually the smartest because they set up a trap to rid themselves of the Wolf rather than cower behind a wall
    3. JUST FUCKING CALL HER YOU FUCK

    though I think you could be more concise with the last one
    specifically, maybe have Cupid already peeking in on the first panel, have him urge the guy to call the girl in the second, have both excuses from the guy in the third, and then the violence as it is

    Kontrazentynic
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    Wow, thanks @Tam...
    Actually, everyone who ever addressed me regarding the comics got all of them (except for the one with the three philosophers, that one was (as you might expect) understood only by philosophy students and they loved it).
    I thought of leaving the cupid just as it is in order to give it more ways to be interpreted - although your way is quite nice as well - I was going for "I didn't want to make a jackass out of myself, but love did it anyway".
    - I plan to make the violent cupid a runing gag.

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  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    Really? Oh. The cupid one confused me too, after looking at it a bit I thought he was saying he wanted to call an ass, or maybe that if he called her he would be an ass, but then cupid actually liked him?

    Your way makes sense now you'v explained it but I don't think it's very clear just from the strip.

  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    I guess that there will always be a choice between making a message that you want people to understand and a message that you would like if it could possibly be understood, that's where a little bit of ambiguity can come in handy in order to try and please both.

    P.S. Yes, he thought he would be an ass if he called, I should have tried to make that more obvious.

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think that one of the really overlooked part of making funny comics is studying comedy. Who are your favorite comedians? What are your favorite comics?

    I don't think these comics are terrible, but I caution you from deciding that a bunch of people being confused about your intent is okay. When you think of a good joke, your reaction to usually wasn't "I think I got it". Good jokes just click. I'm not saying you need to aim for a broad audience, but I don't think ambiguity is necessarily your friend in comedy the same way it is in other forms of story telling. Make sure you are working to refine this area of your skill set just as much as your art or anything else. If you aren't consuming more comedy/writing outside of reading a few webcomics, that's a good way to broaden your scope.

    Conan, in an interview somewhere said "We've never gotten feed back on a skit that said "I just wish it was longer", a lot of our job is editing" You want everything to come together to deliver super effectively, visuals, dialog, mood. I think your drawings could probably serve you better. You're doing some cloning, which can work sometimes, but drawing every panel gives you the opportunity to add to the joke with small changes and new expressions, even if they are very subtle. I think your expressions themselves could be improved, but the direction you move for that would depend on what you want out of your art in terms of style.

    sampangolinKontrazenNightDragontapeslinger
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    Thank you all for the sincere and broad replies, you are giving me much to think about. I do not regret coming to this site.

    In my defence - although it's no proper excuse - I feel that I must present a few factors about myself, just to gain understanding :
    - I have diddly-squat of formal education in graphics, my profession is at the other side of anything that has to do with physical crafting, this webcomic has simply been something I had dreamt of for a very long time
    - I have made it a *must* to update the site once a week, and that may limit the amount of good jokes or ideas worth turning into a webcomic, but I intend to fill that schedule with the best I can come up with
    - The amount of spare time I can put into this is minimal, many a night has been spent awake in order to complete a single webcomic in that small time window
    - I understand that I am swimming with the big fish here, being that all I know about drawing is the raw talent I have and my knowledge of Photoshop (call me egoistic, but for a complete amateur I believe that I am not that bad)
    - All that said, I am willing to learn and expand as much as possible and that is why I decided to join an internet forum with other more-experienced enthusiasts

    I am asking you for a personal opinion, regarding this cloning - do you find the ones that were done without cloning (like Cinderella and the three pigs) funnier because they were not clones, and did you find the cloned ones bad because the art didn't vary from panel to panel (like the Stand Up) ?

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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm not sure I can provide you with a yes or no on the cloning. I'm not sure that I truly "get" any of these comics and find one funnier than another. Cloning, in my eyes is just wasted opportunity when you should be looking to push the comic and the joke. I could go on about what I think is good comic making, and what I find funny, but its way more relevant to talk about what you find funny.

    Not all really funny comics have super stellar art, but the trade off is usually that they are really, really funny. If you want to focus on updating regularly, I don't think that's a problem as your art is serviceable and you'll improve along the way if you try at it. What is important is to assess the quality of what you are putting out. Spend time considering the media you are watching/reading and being critical, refine your tastes until they start rubbing off in your work.

    Don't feel the need to defend yourself. In the end, its always going to be about what level of commitment and improvement is satisfying to you, but generally around here the idea is to critique and push like you are planning to be the best artist in the whole world. The AC has a bunch of artists of varied skill levels, you don't have to feel like you aren't up to it. You can still improve within your parameters, thats why you are here, after all.

    Kontrazentynictapeslinger
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    I think what your comics need to work is a bit of context. It's like the punchline just happens without really setting it up. Much of comedy is about breaking expectations and to be honest with most of these I'm not sure what I should expect to begin with. The Mars rover introduces a very animated rover and then it dumps the dead body of a cat, which is kind of funny in an odd way but it definitely needs some more context. Why is it dumping a dead cat? Are dead cats some kind of trope I'm missing?
    I think the idea of having the rover be an elaborate plot for something silly is funny, but the cat doesn't really sell it to me since it lacks context.

    That said, I think the three little pigs story is perfectly fine and I understood it the first time. I would actually suggest you take the premise of it and work it into a cartoon for The New Yorker or something like that, since it's precisely the type of humor they're looking for in a cartoon.

    tapeslinger
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    Drats... I could have sworn that the "They All Laughed At Me", "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Cinderella" had the tension for the punchline well-placed at them...

  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    @m3nace ... curiosity killed the cat.

    m3naceKontrazenTam
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Oh fuck I'm retarded.

    Tam
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    edited August 2014
    XD
    That's what I was trying to say - some may get the joke, some may not :)
    I can't go around explaining my comics nor will I stoop to dumbing them down if I personally don't feel that it will keep the intended spirit - but I am asking of you to point out if I am being impossibly vague.
    For instance, "Epistemology" is reserved for those with a slightly higher education - I can expect a good percentage of people not to recognize Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein or understand the point of the final panel. But those few that did, they loved it :)

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  • TamTam Registered User regular
    oh whoops
    I forgot that it was called Curiosity

    KontrazenNightDragon
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    I like them overall. The Cupid one was a bit long for the punchline (and the emoticon math made me think a bit . . . your average reader might not want to think at all, which is just something to be aware of).

    Like to write? Want to get e-published? Give us a look-see at http://wednesdaynightwrites.com/
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  • mri80mri80 Registered User regular
    My main critique is the fact that the style varies too much from comic to comic. If somebody showed me the last 3 (Pigs, Hero and Magic Beans) I would never guess they were drawn by the same person. Now this of course might be you trying out different styles to see which one you find more comfortable, but I would suggest trying to lock down onto one and seeing how you develop from there.

    I feel like something similar is happening with the jokes: the difference in timing, structure and themes makes the comic lack that unified feeling to it which I tend to get from reading any other web comic.

    NightDragon
  • KontrazenKontrazen Registered User regular
    mri80 wrote: »
    I feel like something similar is happening with the jokes: the difference in timing, structure and themes makes the comic lack that unified feeling to it which I tend to get from reading any other web comic.

    An interesting notion, I appreciate it.

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