spoonyliger wrote:CRITTERS Online! Review
As I plunge into the website I am greeted by FURRIES!
Hahahah! Just kidding. No, not by furries but by the simple, welcoming...
Yes, that is what I am going to tackle first. Don't get me wrong though, although the simple design is user/eye-friendly, I still think it could use a lot of improvement - it's a little rough around the edges. But nothing that spending a lot of time sanding those edges down won't fix. In the Archive pages, that faded-out CRITTERS Online! logo in the background of the website is acting as a distraction that my eyes aren't liking very much as I'm trying to read the comic. Not in itself but how it was used. I'm not a big fan of how the Home page's design doesn't match the other pages in the site and some of the links on the side menu don't have the same name. But alas, I see the site is still under construction.
Without question, that 20-year-old page is a 200K mile Detroit big block in need of a complete teardown and rebuild. As I've said, that ugly logo is the first thing to go, followed by everything below it. I'm taking vacation in two weeks, and one of those days will be spent mapping out the new page on paper and then going to work. The new logo is about half done now. Once the main page is done and accepted, I'll start working back to the other pages.
This looks like your old newspaper bunnies... er, I mean funnies, sorry. The three to four panels strip comics is how most of the pages flow with the punch-line in the last panel. See? Newspaper funnies, they're great. I noticed some stippling in there, specially with April. Is it done by hand? I'm not a big fan of that technique but I admire whoever has the balls to do it. Stippling would drive me crazy.
Ah, after doing it for as long as I have, it don't bother you none. The only time it gets to be a pain in the ass is when I have a lot of real estate to cover with it. It's still fun, tho. It's a kind of puzzle; think in color, translate to B&W.
spoonyliger wrote:The character design is somewhat similar to the Looney Tunes, specially with the bunny characters, but not completely, there are some style differences I do notice.
Damn, that makes me feel better!
spoonyliger wrote:CRITTERS Online! has been going for a while now. I've noticed that, when an artist has been working on the same title for a few years, the art quality begins to improve. With this comic, I haven't noticed too much a change. Though the inking looks a little steadier and I noticed the pages aren't just one strip anymore. I also enjoy how some pages are TOONICOLOR!
I'm glad you noticed at least some change. I really started making an effort to evolve things starting two years ago.
I should make more of an effort to color artwork. Before, my argument against it was that I eventually planned on putting together B&W comic books, and with limited free time my focus should be on B&W first. But now? I dunno. Is the technology of today's self-publishing advanced to the point that full color is as cheap to do as B&W? I still color by hand using Prismacolor pencils, and I can probably color faster using those than trying to figure out how to color digitally. If all things are uqual as far as publishing costs go, I would definitely see about the possibility of adding more Toonicolor strips.
As I've mentioned before, the comic started with 4-panel strip pages. So in terms of continuity I doubt the story was meant to have any to begin with. But that eventually changed. The comic has a few short stories that actually go on for more than one page in parts, thus removing the "gag in the final panel" thing from the strips. So reading just one strip might leave you a little confused on what's going on. And although the anthropomorphic characters give the comic a childish look, the plots aren't always that childish. Which I find very amusing.
Heh, that's one angle I haven't heard before about my comic, but I like it!
As I said, I like doing both multi-episode serials as well as stand-alone gag-a-day strips. Maybe I need to separate the two into different divisions on the website to help with the confusion? Doing full-page comics stretches and exercises my creativity, but I can't neglect my local newspaper readers with your standard four panel strips, either. I'm hoping I don't get to the point where I need to chose between the two, but given so many things competing for my limited free time, it's becoming harder and harder to do two formats of comics.
I would remove the logo from background and actually use it on the top of the website for all pages, like how it's used in the home-page, only not as a big. The important thing here is that the site's look is the same for all its pages.
I'm not sure if Paul wants to keep the character design the same or not. But if he does that's fine. However, I'd like to see the artwork skill improve. If he does decide to give his characters a new look, I'd be excited to see them. Take the Chuck E. Cheese mascot for example. It's been redesigned to a more contemporary look and personally, I like it a lot better.
The story is perfectly fine the way it's going. The characters' personalities and designs are very diverse and it's fun to seem them interact with one another... or with inanimate objects.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind as I keep working. I know I need to improve; I just need to know HOW to improve.
spoonyliger wrote:Overall, in my eyes what Paul has created is a homemade chicken soup for the adult soul. Characters that, aside from their fuzzy looks, remind us of ourselves because they're put into situations that we know too well, thus we are able to connect and relate. But there is much work to be done in the visual department, and it seems like Paul has already started working on it... hopefully. Let me know when the new site design is fully integrated.
Will do, pal! Actually, I'll let everyone here know, as I'll be depending on their feedback to make final tweaks.
G'damn, thanks for your review, Spoony! It was chicken noodle soup for MY soul, considering what I've been getting of late! As I've said before, genuine peer-to-peer reviews cut so painfully deep, but in a case like this the rewards you get are also so much sweeter. I have always envisioned having characters people can connect with, so it's GREATLY appreciated when I hear I've succeded!