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Thread: Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)

  1. #1
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    Wasp Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)

    Hi ConceptArt,

    Somehow, I kind of forgot I even had an account on this site. Because I would like to take advice from professionals as a... let's say "not-quite-gifted" amateur webcomic artist, I thought I'd attempt to post WIP of pages here before release, to submit it to your critique.
    I'll openly admit I've never taken a real drawing lesson, and it probably shows; at the moment, I can't afford such lessons, so coming to CA appeared to me as the best way to improve the quality of my work. I'd be very grateful if you could redline my stuff, or at least tell me what's wrong with it and maybe what's right.

    I think I'll post composition sketches, then lineart ready for colouring, then the finished picture, sometimes for several frames at the same time.

    Below is the composition sketch for the first frame of page 27 of my "modern look at Greek mythology" comic. Poseidon and distressed Zeus (holding his head in his hands and staring at the table) are chatting in a cafeteria. In the backgrounds are the dishes on the left and (the basic spot where I'll put) some other character having lunch. Other decorative items haven't been added yet, and the light blue mark above Zeus' head is the vanishing point of the picture. Anything wrong with the composition or should I go on and start drawing? Disregard that: below is the version I used in the final comic.
    Last edited by Greek Pantheon; April 3rd, 2010 at 04:12 PM.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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  3. #2
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    I went to your site and read all of "Zeus & Sons" so far...it really made me laugh! I sent the link to all my Greek friends.

    The sketch looks OK to me...In the long run, if you want to improve your compositions, my advice would be to draw the figures separately and assemble the panels in Photoshop (or whatever)...given the style you're working in, I wouldn't worry too much about precise perspective.

    Also, regarding drawing lessons--even given the present world economic situation, there's still probably some opportunity for you to take art classes for free or near-free. I'd check the schedule at the nearest community college (or whatever the EU/UK equivalent is.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    I went to your site and read all of "Zeus & Sons" so far...it really made me laugh! I sent the link to all my Greek friends
    Well, the least I can say is that that comment cheered me up quite a lot I definitely love entertaining people, and seeing as I don't have all that many readers at the moment, the gesture is all the more appreciated.
    Maybe you've noticed it, but in the early Z&S pages, I used to draw different characters on different images before assembling all the panels. It proved to cause several problems, including disparities in line thickness due to heterogeneous resizing and the drawing of redundant element that turn out to be overlapped by another object/character. I changed my panel composition method around page 7. Precise perspective isn't my main concern, but I'm considering it wouldn't hurt to get it right
    Since my town's kind of a university town anyway, I might as well check for cheap evening classes or something.

    All right. Next time I'm firing up the GIMP, I'll get to the drawing of the lineart (along with the composition of other frames).
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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    I understand the "disparities in line thickness issue." I suppose should've said, "do sketches of the various elements, assemble a rough version of the page in Photoshop, and then when you're satisfied with the composition, pencil and ink over that."

    Without wanting to seem patronizing, I will say that in my experience there's a tremendous amount of redundancy, development, and work-that-never-gets-seen-in-the-final-product in the process of art making...ranging from "creating concepts that the client doesn't end up liking" to "putting together intermediate sketch-stages in Photoshop." The idea of the artist as some kind of virtuoso who just sits down and bashes out masterpieces ex nihilo is a myth.

    Since you brought up the topic of line quality, my other suggestion would be to add some kind of variation to your line weight...your drawing is solid, but the jittery single-weight quality of the line bugs me a little (actually, a lot.) If you can't afford a better tablet, you might want to consider printing out your sketch and re-inking it by hand. I realize this entails additional labor (see preceding paragraph.)
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    Oh, don't worry about sounding patronising. I came here to hear the point of view of people with more skill and experience than I have, so I'm prepared for statements that someone less humble may take badly. Redundancy's the burden of the artist? Then so be it, it'll be mine as well. I've taken account of your suggested composition method, too. Does sketching foreground, middleground and background on different layers do the trick? Because so far, that's what I do.

    Also, although I'm quite influenced by the ligne claire style (what with being French and all), I hear some people are quite bugged by the uniform line. Should I bind the thickness of the line to its pressure? Or maybe I should draw the foreground in a thicker line than the background? If I change my uniform-lined ways, I may need additional guidance on line weight... and then I'll need to experiment.

    EDIT:

    Uh. Well, yes, binding the thickness of the line to pressure does give the image a different feel, and I think I like it.
    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)

    Feel free to redline while I'm fiddling some more with that new line style. One thing I know for sure is that Poseidon's right eye looks a bit too wide. His shoulder looks funky too for some reason.

    (in case you're wondering: the thing on the fork is a fish stick)
    Last edited by Greek Pantheon; March 11th, 2010 at 03:28 PM.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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    The pressure-sensitive linework looks great!

    The ligne claire style is fine...however, most of the artists I know of who use it combine it with a more rendered coloring style. Something to consider.

    One thing I'd recommend is to not crop the balloons unless you're going to really crop them...in the panel you posted there's sort of an unpleasant tangency betweeen the balloon and the panel border.

    Another thing you might want to consider is the overall composition of the panels. It can be a good idea to break up the composition by alternating close-up and long shots, and varying the dark/light relationship of foreground and background. Scott McCloud's book "Understanding Comics" explains the basic details far better than I can in a single forum comment. (JPEG attached.)

    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)
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  11. #7
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    I think I'll shrink the balloon a bit in the first frame so that the tangency thing's sorted out. Now that (after the first frame's been seen) it's clear who's talking with whom, I'll experiment with the second panel. That's one try:

    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)

    I admit drawing that's a refreshing change (for me) from the usual relatively close-up frames I usually draw. I feel it may need a character walking with a lunch tray somewhere, too.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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    Your thinking is good. However, the dialogue in a panel should always read left-to-right and top-to-bottom...the panel you posted takes some work to figure out because the dialogue is backwards. I flipped it to show what I'm talking about. (And I also cropped it tighter to remove some of the excessive empty space, moved the figures to one side, and turned the horizon to horizontal--all of which are artistic decisions you may or may not agree with.) I hope that is of some help.

    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)
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    This is actually very helpful, and I think I'm starting to anticipate the critiques now. As I was sketching the scene, I kept thinking "Aw hell no, the speech bubbles are going to be weirdly placed" and "I'm not sure I should keep my horizon at that angle. Unless I'm trying to give the reader an uneasy feeling or something in a creepy setting."

    I'll rebuild the scene (I showed the hot dishes self-service thing on the left in the previous frame so I can't just flip the frame) and get to the lineart step. I've taken note of the "too much empty space" thing too. However, because each frame is actually a piece of a pre-planned layout, I'll probably solve it by enlarging the sketch keeping the same frame size rather than by cropping the frame.

    So far, your advice is being quite useful to me, by the way!

    EDIT:

    Switched the point of view, now the entrance of the cafeteria, with the trays and the cutlery, is visible, which may be good for the overall feeling that yes, we're in a cafeteria. I added a clock (useful for knowing how long you have to finish that pita you ordered), a potted plant, a character walking away, presumably after emptying their tray, and someone eavesdropping. Also a lonely can on the floor.

    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)
    Last edited by Greek Pantheon; March 12th, 2010 at 12:32 PM.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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    That looks much better! My immediate response to the revised panel is that since Poseidon gets the punchline, it would probably be funnier to show Poseidon's face instead of having him turned away from the viewer.

    Something to think about.
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  16. #11
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    That'd mean he'd be looking away from Zeus... which he can do if he's eyeing somebody or simply relishing his awesomeness as a sea deity. Easy.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
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  17. #12
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    Actually, what I meant was I liked your previous sketch, where Poseidon's facing the viewer and Zeus isn't. In my opinion, that worked better than the "reverse angle" you have in the most recent iteration.
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    This causes quite a big dilemma. In one case, I can't place the text in a way that both looks good, and can be read chronologically. In the other, Poseidon's looking away from the reader.

    (then again, I've tried to fix it by making Poseidon look the other way. It results in him turning away from his brother as he's talking. I'm not sure it's all that illogical, as he's exposing a plan without much detail, perhaps trying to be cryptic or something. I think I'll go with my latest sketch and keep the layout considerations in mind so I don't get in such a situation next time )

    EDIT:

    Working on frame 2's lineart. In the foreground is Mnemosyne, covered in Post-it notes. There are a few anatomical problems as usual when I draw so small, and something terribly wrong with Demeter on the right (the character leaving muddy footprints all over the place) but I can't pinpoint it. Feel free to warn me about anything you may consider worth pointing out! :p

    Zeus and Sons' pre-release red-lining fest (ongoing)
    Last edited by Greek Pantheon; March 13th, 2010 at 10:45 AM.
    Take my advice with a grain of salt, I don't exactly have an artistic background (I'm an engineer).
    Zeus & Sons, my webcomic. You can help me improve its artwork in this thread.
    Reply With Quote Reply With Quote

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