Critique please?

Think your comic can improve? Whether it's art or writing, composition or colouring, feel free to ask here! Critique and commentary welcome.

Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Wed May 27, 2009 8:17 pm

Alright, I'm just starting with this comic, so there's not enough plot to critique, but I'd like some opinions just on the look of it. It's called Vigil and you can find it here.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Wendybird on Thu May 28, 2009 8:20 am

I like the style. It's very rich and alive. It can be a little bit confusing, though. one thing that might help is leaving more room between the panels, so they're more clearly separated, and so we have room to breathe between all that color and movement that fills up the panels.

I don't have as much against comic sans caps as some people do, but it's easy enough to go over to http://www.blambot.com/fonts.shtml and pick out something a little more professional. With your art I might go with letter-o-matic but there are several free fonts that might work.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Thu May 28, 2009 10:50 pm

Thanks for the tips. I think I will change fonts, some of those ones look pretty cool and Comic Sans takes up too much space. And I'll see what I can do about spacing it out. And thanks to the magic of lead time, you'll get to see the impact of these changes as early as page 10. Hurray. Oh well.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Killbert-Robby on Fri May 29, 2009 12:30 pm

I love/hate your style. I'm a big fan of rougher work, but in yours, its almost too rough, and starts detracting from the whole comic.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Fri May 29, 2009 1:57 pm

Well, I'm just starting. Hopefully once I really get the hang of drawing the characters and settings the line work will get a little less rough. Some of the really rough stuff happens because I erased and redrew bits of it over and over to get it to look right.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Killbert-Robby on Fri May 29, 2009 3:14 pm

Alias Pseudonym wrote:Well, I'm just starting. Hopefully once I really get the hang of drawing the characters and settings the line work will get a little less rough. Some of the really rough stuff happens because I erased and redrew bits of it over and over to get it to look right.


Nnnnoooooooooooooooo, the issue is not that you're just starting, its that you color your comic by not using a single patch of solid color, but by using colored scribbles instead.
When you're shading, the occasional, well placed squiggle creates depth, etc. Nothing but scribbles makes something look like a mess.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Fri May 29, 2009 3:44 pm

...so is there anything I can do with the scribbles to make them less distracting for you? You said that you kind of liked the roughness, so...
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Re: Critique please?

Postby RobertBr on Sat May 30, 2009 6:03 am

I like the scribbled colour. Well, I say like it isn't my favourite but it does give the comic character. I think the problem is that the line work is very basic, it often looks like just a few very thin marks to tell you wear to scribble the colour, I think perhaps you need to make that element stronger and it might help tie down the colours to give a more pleasing effect. Perhaps either stronger bolder brush like lines, or a kind of heavier scribbled, sketched in line.

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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Sun May 31, 2009 8:28 pm

Yeah, that's more in line with my own thoughts about the comic. I've noticed that the line work is pretty weak and the comic looks terrible before I colour and shade it. Flash doesn't help with it's habit of making brush strokes lag when there are too many on the screen. I think I'll try adding a small step to my production process where I go back and strengthen some of the outlines and such. Because honestly, you're right, in a lot of cases the lines are just guides for colouring.

Also, the scribbly colour is definitely staying, it's characteristic of the world this is set in. See:

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...although in the comic I'm limiting myself to three shades for most colours to save time.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby JTorch on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:33 pm

I think the "scribble colour" style would work a lot better if you had more confident lineart. Using solid lines with varying widths instead of thin, sketchy lines might help.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Metruis on Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:25 pm

I've gotta agree... the scribbled color (which I LOVE, actually) would work a lot better with more solid, bold lineart, at least on the figures. Make the lineart less sketchy and keep the coloring style, and you'll have an interesting, unique looking comic. It's a bit too scribbly right now but I think cleaning up the lineart at least for the figures will do it.

And I agree on the font. Blambot has already been linked.

As for site design, I suggest you seperate your header a bit better from the comic, I found it blends right into the comic, which makes it distracting. Try larger navigation buttons? Maybe work a bit more on the design?

Anyway, I really like the scribbly look of the comic, I think it's pretty sweet.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Harishankar on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:39 am

From my perspective, I think right now your comic looks very busy and cramped. Also the characters blend in too much with the background which doesn't enhance the depth of the picture as such.

Less busy backgrounds and emphasizing the characters might help reduce this. The colouring looks fine to me.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:33 pm

Busy and cramped, I'm working on. I don't really see the background issue except maybe in the second half of page 3 and the first of page four, which feature abysmally stupid looking, distracting skies (I have no idea what I was thinking.)

The site is kind of just thrown together, I have no idea what I'm doing with HTML. Eventually there will be buttons for various things between the huge header and the comic, but I haven't made any of the pages that are supposed to be linked to yet, so...
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:19 am

Alright, this took forever because real life kind of bit me in the ass (these ought to take about 4 days and this took ten...) but I got one done featuring a non-comic-sans font and a conscious attempt to draw better lines. Next one will use a different system and have the panels spread out with black space between them in an attempt to fix the crowdedness.

Warning: Comic rated Web-14 for graphic violence as of this one.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:33 am

Well, I got nothing at all there. Alright, here's a more serious change to the format. What do you think? Did I fix the crowdedness of it? Did I introduce any new problems? I could really use some feedback this time.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:29 am

Oh come on people. Am I the only one in this forum section this week? Help me out here.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:55 am

Well, from what I can remember in comparison to when I looked at it the other week, it looks good. The separation of the banner thing at the top of the page and the comic itself helped, and the comic is nice and spaced out (if that's what you were addressing with the crowding issue) and flows better. Sorry I can't be of more help. As for the lack of forum activity here, well, it is summertime (in some hemispheres) and folks might be on vacation or doing any number of things, so don't get too worried if people don't respond, even within a few days. It's also the week, so people work and stuff.
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Lianweijun086 on Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:56 am

I've seen that you've taken a lot of the advice here to heart, well done. A couple of things that I think would make the presentation better, though, is smooth lineart. You've made them thicker and bolder, but they're still jagged. The sketchy lines sort of blend into the squiggly coloring. I think using smooth bold lines would help pop things out a bit.

You've also put gutters into the comic, but it looks like there's no rhyme or reason to the size of them. Gutters can be used to portray time. Small gutters illustrate a short passage of time, while larger gutters might portray the opposite. I tend to keep my gutters uniform, because, it's easiest, and I'm not an expert at the whole thing yet. At the very least, I think you should shrink the margins down a little bit, they're a little larger than they need to be right now, and it's actually disrupting the continuity of the page as a whole.

Finally, I've noticed a lot of tiny little panels throughout the comic. The balance of some of your pages is off. Large panels on top, tiny panels on the bottom. I'm not an professional artist, so I can't tell you why, but for some reason it bothers me.

My 2 cents!
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Re: Critique please?

Postby Alias Pseudonym on Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:59 pm

Large panels on top and tiny ones on the bottom is the result of bad space planning... I usually have a planned place to end things but sometimes I run out of space and have to squish things. Although now that I actually look at my archive, none of my pages really look like that except for the first one, the fact that most of them are really two comics glued together seems to have cancelled that somewhat.

Smooth lines. Sigh. I guess I'll try.

Also, what, you mean I have to pay attention to where my gutters go? Oh well, one more thing to worry about. Gah, my entire next comic takes place within the space of about five seconds. Time thing not going to help much.

This is kind of off topic, but does anyone know why comic artists sometimes put gutters in the middle of a single picture?
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Re: Critique please?

Postby VeryCuddlyCornpone on Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:04 am

Alias Pseudonym wrote:This is kind of off topic, but does anyone know why comic artists sometimes put gutters in the middle of a single picture?


I think that still falls into the idea of what Lianweijun said about time elapsing. Sometimes the artist wants you to look at a picture longer... dividing it up, sometimes using speech bubbles/narration on either side of the gutter, helps to create the illusion of time passing also.
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