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Webcomic SOTSOG

sotsogsotsog Registered User
edited January 2012 in Artist's Corner
This is a web comic I started a few years back with my good friend. We were able to keep a consistent schedule due to the basic style and for the short period of time we worked on it we had a blast. We've always thought these characters had potential and we loved the idea so much we started them back up three years later. We've kept to a weekly schedule and so far have 5 new comics to show for it. I'd love to get some honest opinion but I feel I'd have to explain a few things first. The idea of SOTSOG or Servant of the Servants of God was to have the cartoon Pope character completely without consequence. Because he was the Pope he kinda made the rules and has a get out of jail free card in a way. No matter how unethical or down right evil he became at no point would he every think twice about his actions. We had hoped he would eventually evolve into a character where we could do the truly outrageous and have people understand that its just how this character works. Through the comic the Pope befriends Satan who in comparison is far more level headed and a third reoccurring character Craig (the Pope's nephew) who is bright eyed and believes everything he is told. Really this comic does set out to offend but hell that's what we really love about it. I'd love to hear some opinions.
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This is an example of an earlier comic.

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sotsog on

Posts

  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    Another Old Comic
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  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    Yet another old comic
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  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    And finally how our newer comics look. This is the newest comic so far where we try to stick to the comic strip feel with each comic ending in a punchline but progress through a basic story arch. This one being Craig's first day at school.
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  • Spectre-xSpectre-x Registered User regular
    While I'm glad to see you've managed to master the apostrophe, I'm disappointed that the art hasn't really improved. I mean, the lines are cleaner, but they're all the same width and kind of boring as a result.

    While you've obviously chosen this look for your comic (because it looks like South Park or because you're not comfortable trying to draw something more complex or whatever) I'm not a huge fan. A simple look like this can work since a lot of powerful shapes are associated with it, but you need to really understand how to use them efficiently, and I'm afraid you don't. Everything's really flat, for instance, by which I mean that the backgrounds and the characters and every other visual aspect of the comic are equally prominent, which makes them uninteresting and more difficult to parse than they should be. And you have a lot of problems with tangents. They're all over the newer comic.

    On a different note, you don't have to make a new post for every image you want to show. You can put multiple images in one post. What you're doing now is kind of spammy, even if it's unintentional.

  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    Completely unintentional with to many posts. I was just worried that each comic would run into each other since they all have a black border. The style is incredibly basic and because of this I've tried to avoid to much detail to each character. I'm pretty decent at sketching and I have better work but I kind of enjoy how fast I can put out this comic and really pay more attention to facial reactions and consistency. (I'm referring to the newer comics the originals are more or less puppets created in illustrator and this really is a fun side project when I work on something more serious). Yes the widths are all the same and with the last comic it really does look incredibly flat. Perhaps I should lower the width or use a grey for background shapes? I will definitely attempt to fix this issue with future comics. Because I want to keep this basic cartoony style, which I do agree is reminiscent of South Park, do you have any suggestions to help make them pop.

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  • MustangMustang Registered User regular
    Spectre-x wrote:
    While I'm glad to see you've managed to master the apostrophe, I'm disappointed that the art hasn't really improved. I mean, the lines are cleaner, but they're all the same width and kind of boring as a result.

    While you've obviously chosen this look for your comic (because it looks like South Park or because you're not comfortable trying to draw something more complex or whatever) I'm not a huge fan. A simple look like this can work since a lot of powerful shapes are associated with it, but you need to really understand how to use them efficiently, and I'm afraid you don't. Everything's really flat, for instance, by which I mean that the backgrounds and the characters and every other visual aspect of the comic are equally prominent, which makes them uninteresting and more difficult to parse than they should be. And you have a lot of problems with tangents. They're all over the newer comic.

    On a different note, you don't have to make a new post for every image you want to show. You can put multiple images in one post. What you're doing now is kind of spammy, even if it's unintentional.

    Oh Spex, your crits are like the end of reality tv program where they build hope and then immediately squash it in the next sentence. "Tim your work is excellent! ly bad, your going home. Is what I would be saying if you weren't staying. But you're not, because you've been eliminated."

  • Spectre-xSpectre-x Registered User regular
    sotsog wrote:
    Completely unintentional with to many posts. I was just worried that each comic would run into each other since they all have a black border. The style is incredibly basic and because of this I've tried to avoid to much detail to each character. I'm pretty decent at sketching and I have better work but I kind of enjoy how fast I can put out this comic and really pay more attention to facial reactions and consistency. (I'm referring to the newer comics the originals are more or less puppets created in illustrator and this really is a fun side project when I work on something more serious). Yes the widths are all the same and with the last comic it really does look incredibly flat. Perhaps I should lower the width or use a grey for background shapes? I will definitely attempt to fix this issue with future comics. Because I want to keep this basic cartoony style, which I do agree is reminiscent of South Park, do you have any suggestions to help make them pop.

    If you're set on keeping this style, you should try to integrate the things you've learned from doing your sketches with this style. Your faces are expressive, by the way, but they're not very unique or remarkable in any way. They're more like diagrams of various facial expressions than actual facial expressions.

    Could you show us some of your other work, perhaps? That might give us some idea how we could help you find some kind of balance between styles or whatever.

  • NappuccinoNappuccino Registered User regular
    sotsog wrote:
    Completely unintentional with to many posts. I was just worried that each comic would run into each other since they all have a black border. T

    Just hit enter a couple of times between pictures and you'll get that extra space between images.

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  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    edited January 2012
    If you're set on keeping this style, you should try to integrate the things you've learned from doing your sketches with this style. Your faces are expressive, by the way, but they're not very unique or remarkable in any way. They're more like diagrams of various facial expressions than actual facial expressions.

    Could you show us some of your other work, perhaps? That might give us some idea how we could help you find some kind of balance between styles or whatever.

    My other work is nothing like this style, these characters were created so me and my friend could work together a state apart and still keep a consistent look. Originally it was my co writer Chris who came up with the original design (the Pope) and then other characters were based off of his appearance. When sketching out the strips I focus more on how the joke progresses so my sketches is just a quick drawing to figure out where I'd like everything placed. Once we know how to sequence our images we make a rough draft with our stand in models and then attempt to give them more life in the final phase. Because of their basic body shapes most of the time we end up reusing old models but now that were finally getting back into it years later we've been making slight adjustments to show more movement like when we have to illustrate them playing on a wii or jumping through the air to tackle tentacle Jesus. I'm not to concerned with them appearing to stagnant because its really unnecessary for what I'm trying to accomplish (at least with newer comics, the older ones are a little to stagnant). I've experimented giving the characters a thick outline stroke with a thinner stroke on the interior much like how many cartoons attempt but I very much dislike how it came out. For facial expressions I attempt to imitate how I would react and exaggerate it for more humor but perhaps I should rely more on a mirror or perhaps the eyes on Craig are a little to basic. I know if I draw out each panel on paper I can create a more organic look but I feel there is a slight charm to the imperfection of it as well much like, and I'm not comparing the quality of the work, Monty Python cutaway cartoons. Right now I believe I'm successfully getting my jokes across and that's my number one goal. Hand drawing each panel right now is just not an option being so far away from my co writer and with our schedules this style is very manageable. This may all be an excuse for a poor art style but South Park is a major influence and despite the series being paper cutouts there's no denying it succeeds in conveying its message. Because we've decided to stick to black and white the lines are becoming a major issue with the background and your advice was very well put. Currently I'm making the background lighter and it's much easier to distinguish the characters and I can see where changing the strokes in certain situations can help draw more attention to certain objects. There are occasions where we are forced to use color and with the right amount it works out great such as with blood. At one point we made a handful in color due to an acid trip and it was clear the characters did not belong. You mentioned earlier I'm having trouble with my tangents I was hoping you could go more in depth.

    sotsog on
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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Tangents are when lines intersect so that you're not sure what you're looking at, or it draws attention away from the comic. Like this one.

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    In the top middle panel, and the bottom left and middle panels, the bill of his hat is touching the locker line or a word bubble is touching the border. It makes it hard to distinguish what's what, especially for a black and white comic.

    I think using thicker lines for your characters and thinner and/or lighter lines for the bg would make a huge difference.

    edit: one last thing, black gutters are traditionally used to convey a darker tone. They're fine for your strip, in my opinion, but your gutters/panel borders are really, really thick. They should be half that size. Or even try spacing them apart to not have black gutters (the space between panels)

    amateurhour on

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  • farbekriegfarbekrieg Registered User regular
    white space... its important when posting

  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    edited January 2012
    white space... its important when posting

    Ya my last comment is a mess.

    Tangents are when lines intersect so that you're not sure what you're looking at, or it draws attention away from the comic. Like this one.

    Shoot I see what you mean. I'm sure this actually occurs allot in my comics but it's very apparent in this one. I may end up rethinking my borders all together. I really enjoy how they appear in Kirkman's comics where the word bubble breaks the border giving more room for text. Although in a webcomic format that may look like the words are just hanging in mid air. Looking at how thick my borders are and the fact that they are all black reminds me of manga. Nothing against manga but I just don't like how it looks on my comic now that it's been pointed out.

    sotsog on
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  • sotsogsotsog Registered User
    This weeks comic I tried a few of the suggestions. I don't want to change up the style but I feel my characters definitely pop more. Again thanks for the advice.

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  • The Lovely BastardThe Lovely Bastard Registered User regular
    it's spelled "yeah"

    and "huzzah"

    and using an ellipses (...) is to denote trailing off, unless your character is meant to be trailing off in the middle of every piece of dialogue they are saying, you are using it wrong. and. if they are, you should probably space out those bubbles, because those ellipses seem to be thrown there haphazardly

    I honestly could not focus on the content of the strip since it had all of those errors in the space of six panels. If you aren't going to take the time to spell things right and use proper grammar, I can't be bothered to take the time to read your comic.

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  • SaintElmosWireSaintElmosWire Registered User
    Since it's like, my thing, is that a Hitler leadership poster?

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