Various comic book problems, opinions sought

Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
edited December 2008 in Artist's Corner
My comic is weird in that some of the pages are color and some are b&w. I'm trying to improve both, however.

I feel like I've hit a bit of a plateau with coloring...it looks okay but I know I'm not a super-colorist. I'm just looking for some general opinions on my coloring to give me some ideas.

SterlingCh2_81.jpg


SterlingCh2_82.jpg


SterlingCh2_83.jpg


SterlingCh2_84.jpg


I used to draw my comics with pencil and ink, only recently I decided that I didn't like the way the inks were coming out, and my penciling was getting too sloppy. I've been doing the last few pages in pencil and while I think they look okay, I'm sure there's more I could be doing to make them look good than just upping the contrast to compensate for the lack of inks. Should there be more shading and texture? I don't want to waste time and end up with pages that look muddy, but I feel like these pages are definitely missing something.

SterlingCh2_86.jpg


SterlingCh2_87.jpg


You can find the rest of my comic at http://www.sterlingthegraphicnovel.com -- I'm primarily interested in the two above questions right now, but any feedback is welcome.

Karen_Leslie on

Posts

  • ShiboeShiboe Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Your comic looks bland because it isn't dynamic or visually interesting.

    - Line weight variation : Easy way to make things more attractive, don't go all willy nilly though, find a system that works for you.
    - Form : Not mandatory, but if you're gonna shade or color, you really should be pulling the forms out. The very little bits of shading you have now are not doing this at all, and that's why everything looks flat. If you avoid form, you need a much better grasp on flow and how to make pleasing shapes.
    - Composition : Notice almost everything you've drawn is from a side view about head high. Go watch a movie and look at how they vary camera angles and what it does. Also, throw some meaningful backgrounds in there. You're not really even trying here in a majority of panels.

    Aside from that, your characters are not strong. It looks like you're learning to draw from other mediocre animes, and as such are missing what makes a face/arm/body work. Best solution is to draw from life and develop you're own style.


    I feel like I should save this for future copy/pastes.

    Shiboe on
  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    FIRST LOT - I think the characters are very similar between frames. As in, front/side on, and the camera seems to be placed in the same position. your first two mix it up a bit, and the compositions arent to bad. But the third and fourth, doesnt seem as well considered. Especially the action scenes with squall and the lizard monster thing.

    Second lot - I think these are more successful, drawings and compositions.

    Sorry if i make little sense, i suck at offering advice, as im still at the learning stages of drawing.

    winter_combat_knight on
  • Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Shiboe wrote: »
    Your comic looks bland because it isn't dynamic or visually interesting.

    - Line weight variation : Easy way to make things more attractive, don't go all willy nilly though, find a system that works for you.
    - Form : Not mandatory, but if you're gonna shade or color, you really should be pulling the forms out. The very little bits of shading you have now are not doing this at all, and that's why everything looks flat. If you avoid form, you need a much better grasp on flow and how to make pleasing shapes.
    - Composition : Notice almost everything you've drawn is from a side view about head high. Go watch a movie and look at how they vary camera angles and what it does. Also, throw some meaningful backgrounds in there. You're not really even trying here in a majority of panels.

    Aside from that, your characters are not strong. It looks like you're learning to draw from other mediocre animes, and as such are missing what makes a face/arm/body work. Best solution is to draw from life and develop you're own style.


    I feel like I should save this for future copy/pastes.

    Thank you for the feedback, but I'm not sure what you mean about form-- I don't know what "pulling the forms out" means, and I'm also not sure what you mean by 'avoiding form' and 'grasp on flow'. If you can explain what you mean in more specific terms, I will give it proper consideration.

    Karen_Leslie on
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I think by form he means the basic geometric shapes that would make up your drawings. Many of these are really flat. I don't think any of your drawings are horrible piece for piece, but many of them look cobbled together, like you know how to draw folds and wrinkles, but you don't know why you are putting them in the places you are.

    Do some drawing from real life, not photographs, I mean actual objects. Study using basic geometric shapes for figures and objects for use in comics.

    You need to work on your type and word balloons. They're all over the place. The text size changes and many of the bubbles are squished together, it looks very sloppy. I would look for some better fonts as well. For your normal text and your sound effects.

    I think your colors are probably the strongest part of the comic. They could certainly be better, but I'm afraid I don't have any advice on how to improve them. But that might just be cause I'm not the greatest with color either.

    You have some of the techniques down, but you're gonna need to go back to the basics to improve I think. Keep at it!

    NibCrom on
  • Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
    edited December 2008
    NibCrom wrote: »
    I think by form he means the basic geometric shapes that would make up your drawings. Many of these are really flat. I don't think any of your drawings are horrible piece for piece, but many of them look cobbled together, like you know how to draw folds and wrinkles, but you don't know why you are putting them in the places you are.
    Keep at it!

    Thanks for being specific, this is helpful. I'm not trying to make everything super 3-dimensional, but I'm definitely going to try fix this flatness problem on subsequent pages.

    Karen_Leslie on
  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Drawing 3 dimensionally is one of the hardest steps to grasp, I'm still struggling with it but I can see my work getting better with each drawing as my understanding grows. Your kind of at the point right now where you think your drawing 3 dimensionally, when in reality your drawing what you think is three dimensional. I know that sounds kinda stupid, but it will make sense once you jump that hurdle. My advice would be to grab a bunch of simple round objects (apple's , balls etc) and do a bunch of studies. The simplicity of the object will accelerate your learning of 3 dimensional form without bogging you down with complex shapes. You don't need everything to look super 3 dimensional, but understanding form will improve the artistic quality of your comics 10 fold.

    Also stop studying anime, I know you probably like it, but seriously, it's not doing you any favours.

    Mustang on
  • Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Mustang wrote: »
    Drawing 3 dimensionally is one of the hardest steps to grasp, I'm still struggling
    Also stop studying anime, I know you probably like it, but seriously, it's not doing you any favours.

    I started off being more anime inspired and if anything have been moving away from it. It takes a while to really change your style though (at least it takes me a while!) I think though that some people are going to dislike my stuff if there's ANY trace of anime/manga in it at all, and I think that's disappointing. Some battles you can't win though.

    For the record, I've taken life drawing. Many times. I have drawn apples and pears in charcoal, and painted nudes, and so on and so forth. If I'm in an art studio with a live model in front of me I can draw reasonably well from a classical perspective, at least according to my professors, my problem is applying those skills to the comic book page. I simplify for the sake of comic storytelling, but I think I have issues in choosing what to simplify.

    Karen_Leslie on
  • ShiboeShiboe Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Mustang wrote: »
    Drawing 3 dimensionally is one of the hardest steps to grasp, I'm still struggling
    Also stop studying anime, I know you probably like it, but seriously, it's not doing you any favours.

    I started off being more anime inspired and if anything have been moving away from it. It takes a while to really change your style though (at least it takes me a while!) I think though that some people are going to dislike my stuff if there's ANY trace of anime/manga in it at all, and I think that's disappointing. Some battles you can't win though.

    For the record, I've taken life drawing. Many times. I have drawn apples and pears in charcoal, and painted nudes, and so on and so forth. If I'm in an art studio with a live model in front of me I can draw reasonably well from a classical perspective, at least according to my professors, my problem is applying those skills to the comic book page. I simplify for the sake of comic storytelling, but I think I have issues in choosing what to simplify.


    Harsh mode enabled, be forewarned:

    First, it shouldn't take long, it's really not you're style. It's a poor replication of someone elses style. The problem is, you can't really see true style or what's going on until you cross the hurdle, which is unfortunate when trying to explain it. But the meat of it is, even if you spend years and perfect such a thing, it still would just be a copy of a copy. Draw real things, focus on drawing and learning what is actually there, instead of drawing constructs of what you think you are seeing seeing. Then you'll see a style of your own emerge on it's own.

    Secondly, if you've taken all these classes, they don't seem to have done anything for you. Your stuff is stiff and formless. Nib pretty much hit it, by form I was going for something looking to have volume or substance. I understand you're not trying to make a 3d rendering, but even 2D things, PA comics for example, have depth, which is important. I see a few places where you tried to break the habit of up down left right directions, and go towards the camera, but they don't work. That's the lack of form. Think about it, when you're doing stuff in front of a camera, how often is every part of you exactly perpendicular or parallel to the camera angle? You are forcing it to be, because you don't seem to have a grasp on your forms.

    Now all that said, I might not have the best approaches or methods. I've never really had classes of any sort. But these are things I've picked up either through practice or viewing, and a great deal of that came from this forum which is an excellent resource for beginners to pretty darn advanced artists. Also, this is not to say that I am beyond said hurdles, just that I am working through them, and at least to the point where I recognize some problems.

    Shiboe on
  • KendeathwalkerKendeathwalker Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Do you read Comics? I'm being serious. Because if you do, I dont think your taking anything away from them other than entertainment...

    Every single shot in your comic is a dead straight on view from a pedestrian level. That is boring. Very Boring. Im pretty sure that if you go look at a comic that you like, taking what Ive just said into consideration you will notice the POV changes quite a bit. Unless of course you are reading shit..

    There isnt really any excuse for having a full page where the backgrounds are just a gradient. You havent really told us visually where anything is taking place except for the b/w stuff which shows a library. Pull out show some establishing shots.


    You haven't done enough of the pear drawing, nude painting, and figure drawing. You wont need to ask how to apply things you learn doing that once your skill level improves.

    Hope some of this helped. If it offends, hopefully it will just piss you off and make you try harder.

    Kendeathwalker on
  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Ive been working on storyboarding a bit lately, which are very similar to comics. I find it helps if you try thinking of your story as a film. What kind of angles would you see? How would it be directed?
    I found that Wayne Fauchers ink drawings helped me. He uses great angles and compositions to empasize action.
    Here are a few scans of my Batman Detective comics i think are very good. Hope it helps.
    xckqiv.jpg

    qrdrtt.jpg

    e0mmhk.jpg

    winter_combat_knight on
  • ManonvonSuperockManonvonSuperock Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Do you read Comics? I'm being serious. Because if you do, I dont think your taking anything away from them other than entertainment...

    Every single shot in your comic is a dead straight on view from a pedestrian level. That is boring. Very Boring. Im pretty sure that if you go look at a comic that you like, taking what Ive just said into consideration you will notice the POV changes quite a bit. Unless of course you are reading shit..

    I see this being a repeated suggestion, and must add that this should be done in moderation. Change the camera angle when it suits the story, not for the hell of it. Also be weary taking the other person's advice about mimicking camera angles for movies. Comics and movies are two completely different mediums, and a lot of viewpoints that would work in one won't work in the other.

    If you start doing X-TREME closeups and aerial perspectives and worm's eye views for shots that don't benefit from them, you're going to end up with what looks like an early 90s amateur imitation of (the already amaterish) image comics.


    That aside,

    The most important thing about comics is visual clarity. At first glance, the reader needs to be able to tell exactly what is going before reading the text. The image then needs to be interesting enough to make the reader want to read the text.

    For example when looking at a page, the reader should immediately be all "Cowboy A is pointing a gun at Cowboy B who is holding Damsel in Distress" which causes the reader to want to read the dialog- which reveals that "Damsel in Distress and Cowboy B conned Cowboy A's father into bankruptcy and subsequently suicide." which causes the reader to want to read the next page, etc.

    As for color, yours are too saturated, you would benefit from toning them down, and thinking about reflected color and light, not just "red dress gets dark red shadow."

    Also, get a few fonts from www.blambot.com and use them. Standard fonts should never be used as dialog in comics.

    Draw backgrounds, not to just "to fill space" but to establish environment. you don't have to draw every detail in the background (despite that being the approach taken in mainstream comics currently.) A few specifically chosen details can take a reader a long way. A specific style of lightpost and a few cobblestones in the road can successfully tell the reader "Victorian England" Some stalagtites/mites and maybe a bat can tell the reader "large cave" and so forth...

    It is good that you're tackling full pages. Most people don't have the discipline to keep that up.

    Keep this up, take our suggestions in and keep posting. I'm interested as to what you do with it.

    EDIT: not to take this shit off-track, but- WCK, what issue of Batman is that? I dig that art, and it succeeded in exactly what it should have done, made me want to read more.

    ManonvonSuperock on
  • Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I see this being a repeated suggestion, and must add that this should be done in moderation. Change the camera angle when it suits the story, not for the hell of it. Also be weary taking the other person's advice about mimicking camera angles for movies. Comics and movies are two completely different mediums, and a lot of viewpoints that would work in one won't work in the other.

    Thank you, I 100% agree with this but it would just seem like I was being difficult if I said it.

    EDIT: Almost forgot, what is the reason for using fonts from Blambot? I'm not arguing with the suggestion, I just
    want to know why regular fonts should never be used for comics. Like, is there one main reason, or is it
    just a preference?

    Shiboe: I appreciate your taking the time to give me advice, but I have to disagree that I don't have a style. That's very near impossible. The fact that I have a style that you don't find interesting, is completely different, and I have no problem with that. I would be very hesitant in making that criticism of anyone, because it makes it seem like you're just being harsh for the sake of it, which I don't think is your intention.

    Some more stuff:
    Valkyriel.jpg

    Not part of the comic obviously, but I drew this yesterday-- trying to make it a bit more 3-D. Yes I know, I committed the sin of drawing from my imagination, we are temporarily out of fruit to make into a still life. I ate it all.

    These pages are an earlier sequence, I didn't post them in part because (a) the stuff above is newer and (b)I'm 99% sure the colors are way too bright, even considering the fact that this whole scene is basically an FF homage/parody. But compositionally, they're probably better. I'm interested if those of you who have really disliked everything so far have the same opinion of these.

    SterlingCh2_57.jpg

    SterlingCh2_58.jpg

    SterlingCh2_59.jpg

    SterlingCh2_60.jpg

    SterlingCh2_61.jpg

    SterlingCh2_62.jpg

    SterlingCh2_63.jpg

    SterlingCh2_64.jpg

    Thanks all, even though I don't agree with everything you guys are saying, it is informative and I do appreciate it.

    EDIT: Sorry, keep forgetting stuff! The reason why there isn't much BG in the color pages is because where it takes place is based on that area on the world map of FF7 near the chocobo ranch. It's pretty much a green field.
    If you look at the 160 some-odd pages of my comic so far, most locations have bg-- not that they're perfect, but they are there.

    Karen_Leslie on
  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    You really need to work on your anatomy...
    crazywonky.jpg

    I mean, that leg can't possibly be coming up in that way....


    Even if you're out of "fruit", you can still find photo references or flip through an anatomy book if you're unsure about what you're drawing.

    Nappuccino on
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  • Karen_LeslieKaren_Leslie Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    You really need to work on your anatomy...
    crazywonky.jpg

    I mean, that leg can't possibly be coming up in that way....


    Even if you're out of "fruit", you can still find photo references or flip through an anatomy book if you're unsure about what you're drawing.

    Well I was joking about the fruit:).

    In all seriousness, do you know why it looks wrong to you? I can get my shin almost touching my nose, and I'm not actually that flexible.

    Karen_Leslie on
  • LoomdunLoomdun Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Probably because her hip is there, going V, and the part where her leg connects to the hip is going ^

    Loomdun on
    splat
  • FabricateFabricate __BANNED USERS
    edited December 2008
    Nappuccino wrote: »
    You really need to work on your anatomy...
    snip

    I mean, that leg can't possibly be coming up in that way....


    Even if you're out of "fruit", you can still find photo references or flip through an anatomy book if you're unsure about what you're drawing.

    Well I was joking about the fruit:).

    In all seriousness, do you know why it looks wrong to you? I can get my shin almost touching my nose, and I'm not actually that flexible.

    This is why it looks wrong:

    thisiswhyirockmk8.jpg

    It looks like you really need to work on your anatomy and perspective. There are a lot of errors in your work. They are so abundant that it would be time consuming to go and point them out, however the sketch you posted has really unrealistic proportions that you can't really blame on "style." A style should bend the rules, not turn them over and rape them violently.

    In addition: while the camera angle shouldn't change arbitrarily it shouldn't be the same throughout an entire page. As an example i've simplified one of your comic's pages to show how terribly uninteresting it was. Keep in mind this was supposed to be an action scene (I think.)

    yourcomicisboringbg2.jpg

    That is boring.

    Things that have already been brought up have already been brought up and will probably be brought up again, so I can't be bothered. In short: Listen to what people have to say, do studies and keep going.

    e; I forgot that at the bottom of page six where you tried to make people look surprised or in shock, you actually made them look like they're on the receiving end of a facial. Their faces are really stiff and not very emotive.

    Fabricate on
  • Spectral SwallowSpectral Swallow Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    On the last page you posted(the black and white one) the cups hanging on the wall in the background look unnatural, they should be hanging from the loop down.
    Also the girls chest in the first panel seems really far down her torso.

    Spectral Swallow on
  • winter_combat_knightwinter_combat_knight Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    EDIT: ok they are drawn first. I think the colous are much more successful, and compositions are more interesting.

    I don't know if these comics where drawn before or after, but they are much better then the first lot. Keep at it. Also, like the others said, work on anatomy/perspective etc. That shit is hard, but considering it when doing your comics will make it so much more interesting, even if you're not too skilled with it.

    winter_combat_knight on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    How old are you, artist? I ask, because this reminds me of a comic I drew in highschool. Although mine was funnier as it consisted mostly of ripped off simpsons jokes.

    desperaterobots on
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    'Coloring'/painting is all about defining light.

    This is a fairly basic very very quick tutorial using your lines. VERY basic, but I thought it might help to see it with your lines. This is the next step if you want to go beyond the basics.

    It seems like you know how to go under lines well enough. But you are starting with candy coated colors. Which is alright... if you know what you are doing. I would suggest starting fairly neutral:
    quickietute1.jpg

    You want to start thinking about the light source light. The easiest and quickest way to define a light source is by starting with shadows. Think about the shapes shadows make as they hit an object. This is where drawing/observing from life is incredibly helpful. Light is a real thing, so why not learn from the best source? Light is also not always... ahem nearly never actually white. Light has a color and leaves colored shadows. A fairly good rule is that light leaves shadows the color of its compliment on the color wheel. So natural slightly yellow light will leave slightly blue shadows:

    quickietute2.jpg

    What is shadow without light?

    quickietute3.jpg

    The quickest way to a boring 'color' is lack of color variation. Skin for example gets warmer in hue and cooler in hue depending on where it is. Study of actual faces is a great source for this. But the places people tend to redden the most are the nose, ears, and cheeks. On guys, the five o clock shadow areas tend to be cooler (even when clean shaven as there is still hair under the skin)

    quickietute4.jpg

    Wassermelone on
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