Comic Critique *New pages added (28-29)*
I've been contemplating putting this in here for critique for some time since I know that this place isn't as much for comics, but in any case any sort of critique would be helpful.
This comic is ongoing and really slow so any in-depth story critique might be hard (but if there's something that you feel you should understand during these pages but feel that it was poorly explained/executed I'd love to know, or that the dialog is stilted etc), but if you notice anything art-wise, and especially things that might persist in several pages (as opposed to some first page wonkyness) would be really helpful. I'm planning on spending most of my vacation catching up with this and targeting all sorts of problem points.
I'll attach one page through the CA thing and rest from Photobucket and hope that they show, but if they don't you can also find the comic from these places:
Last edited by TinyBird; October 24th, 2012 at 03:10 AM.
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Looks good. Obviously you more or less know what you're doing art-wise, so the following suggestions (all about the writing) are as always highly biased by my own personal prejudices as a reader:
1. I realize that the slowness of the pacing (very popular in indie comics these days) is some kind of deliberate choice on your part, but reading this is a lot of work...just way too many reaction shots and unnecessary exposition panels. Judicious editing-out of about half the panels here would make it much easier to read.
2. The entire story seems to be about the personality friction between the various characters---which I just have a hard time getting into. If the characters had some kind of larger goals, I think I'd engage with it a lot more easily. (Please don't respond, "Oh, the 'larger goals' don't come up until Volume 5." I want a hook NOW.)
3. I feel like I've seen these characters many times before--the Plucky Even-Tempered Stablehand has to escort the Haughty Young Noble (and there's a good chance they become an "Odd Couple' : http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OddCouple .) I need more uncertainty to keep interested: what are some elements of their characters that don't fit those stereotypes?
So: speed it up, give me a larger arc, give the characters more depth. I'm not suggesting that you rework anything you've posted, but those are my suggestions going forward.
As always, just my two cents.
The Following User Says Thank You to Giacomo For This Useful Post:
I like the colours. The lines look a little unrefined in places, which seems good in the forest shots but sometimes a little crude when it comes to characters and animals. You don't always leave quite enough space in the word balloons.
The Following User Says Thank You to vineris For This Useful Post:
I like them. Art-wise I'd like to see a little more of a consistent approach to the way you separate the foreground and character elements to the background. Thick bold black lines for fg and thinner color lines for bg.
There also times when you are over detailing the backgrounds or scenes somewhat unnecessarily and adversely to the readability of the panels.
You might also try mixing your panels up a bit more by trying different layouts based more on verticals, triangles, parallelograms, or even other geometric shapes than the more somewhat standard formats you are currently using. Throw in a full or partial splash occasionally. Just thinking of ways you might keep it interesting and yeah, not enough room on some of the bubbles and I am also itching for a little less talk and a little more action.
Oh crap...I just quoted Elvis.
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Blankstate For This Useful Post:
I like it overall, there are a few things i don't understand though.
When the duck pecks him on the back, whats happening there? Its just seems out of place and unexplained to me. Is it just supposed to be cute, or is there a running joke here? Its just an odd transition as is. Also, another example is on the last page, why does he need to bandage himself up, from getting grabbed by the shirt collar? It seems your going for a samurai look there, but I just don't get why. Maybe thats coming and I'm jumping the gun?
So I think your on the right track, clarifying the art and story in needed, but the basis is cool and I enjoyed the read!
The Following User Says Thank You to SnailsPace For This Useful Post:
Aha ha ha ha... Actually the slow pacing less of a deliberate choice and more like I just didn't notice how exactly slow the comic is until page 13 when it took over 10 pages just to go inside and out of that castle (there's surprisingly lot that I don't notice with this thing). I feel like I have a bad habit of doing something more of a really choppy animation, where (the library-thing is a good example) instead of moving to a scene I have to not only show the character on outside and inside the door, also show him going through it.
So I really need to work on chopping at least one or two of those, along with the reaction images...
Oooh, ouch. The Odd Couple trope really hits the nail to the head, and coupled with the really slow pacing I actually find it really hard to get anything about the characters shown (though it's just as likely that there isn't anything to show).
I never really thought I would get anywhere with the comic so in a way there's nothing much to be expected even in Volume 5 aside killing even more stuff but well, if killing stuff is important in this then it would really make sense to get to it sooner rather than later.
I hate to admit that these were things that I hadn't really considered at all, so hearing these was extremely helpful.
Hmm, I hadn't really thought the lines before so it's very likely that there's several parts that are also just plain sloppy. Also yeah, the word balloons... My eternal enemy that feels like they always take too much space and fill up all the art.
Oh, those look so much better! Those are definitely things to revisit in the older pages and yeah especially that bird was a really bad decision that caused trouble even during drawing but it never occurred for me to just remove it because cute bird omfg gotta have picturesque crap.
Originally Posted by Blankstate
True. I'm guessing I'm avoiding everything fancy because of the "hey I'm a manga artist look at me I'm using manga panels even though I have no understanding why these panels are the way they are" thing in here and I don't really want to be seen as a manga-artist again so I'm overcompensating the standard comic layouts to the point that it hurts the comic itself.
You might also try mixing your panels up a bit more by trying different layouts based more on verticals, triangles, parallelograms, or even other geometric shapes than the more somewhat standard formats you are currently using. Throw in a full or partial splash occasionally.
You mean the one before the orange panel with the duck kwaak? Yeah I'll have to edit that because the duck is just jumping to the dragon from the other guy's hands, but I can see that they're so close that it can be confused to the duck pecking.
Originally Posted by SnailsPace
Hmm, I can of course only give a reader's view that's all. I must confess I am biased because I loathe comics, of all sorts- because I never ever understand what is going on.
I actually managed to follow that one pretty well, maybe because it is slow enough for me to cope just one thing really confuses me. The son, just before the blonde knight enters the room, what is he looking at when he has this flashback to his childhood? I first thought he is secretly painting something, but all the map references made me wonder whether it is a (kinky) map? I don't understand what you are trying to say.
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I actually had to stop reading because I found the pace too slow, so I probably suffer from comic impatience.
I like the art though. It's dark and rich and the detail in it is what makes it special for me, because a lot of the time I find comic book art like this to be too simple. Not that I'm an expert, just going on what I've seen around the internet. I did struggle to follow who was who though, and I wonder if thats because you've got a style going on in it that makes the characters look pretty similar to each other. Or maybe I should be paying more attention. Either way, I felt I should point it out.
Sorry I didn't stick with it to the end - I might come back at a later date. I really just wanted to post my thoughts because I owe you a critique.
The Following User Says Thank You to Candra H For This Useful Post:
I hope I wasn't too negative in my comments. I do, however, strongly encourage you to think more carefully about the story as you go forward.
Originally Posted by TinyBird
I experienced the paneling as quite stiff as well, often because the perspective, general colors and shapes are the same across several panels or even whole pages, for example the page with the duck and the sword. There everything is seen from exactly the same height and from the same side of the animal. You can definitely keep the scene with only small changes if you're going for a funny moment, but that only works once in a while. If you don't want to add other geometric shapes, maybe look at Donald Duck comics and see how they by varying the background, perspective and placement keep everything dynamic. The following page is almost exclusively in the same room and with only square panels, but it still doesn't feel stiff.
And here an example of how to create variation from a comic I read a lot when I was younger, The Phantom by Lee Falk (yes, I admit that I laughed at his clothes even when I was a kid). The quality of that comic varies greatly between different illustrators, but I find this page quite well done. Here, some of the tricks used are silhouetting, placing a panel over another, dramatic changes in perspective, different was of dividing the picture, and variation of the amount of details (leaves, screens, wall etc).
Hope it helps and that it gives you some ideas. Of course, you'll have to see what works with your way of storytelling and drawing, and shortening the story will also cut out some of those panels which seem very alike.
I didn't really mind the slower pace, though speeding it up won't hurt either. The story does feel a bit predictable. I did laugh a few times, like when I realized that "Gore" was a name (first I wondered why the heck someone wrote gore all over the first panels) and the part with the dudes asking "you had a kid" and "you even had a WIFE?". Gore does look a bit ridiculously big, but that's a stylistic choice. I'm just not all that into ultra-macho-big dudes.
Last edited by EagleGrove; May 2nd, 2012 at 02:45 PM.
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Oh, that's supposed to be a tapestry, just to note that he really has lived in the castle. Pulling the camera back to show the whole thing might've helped on that though.
Originally Posted by LordLouis
Well, I suffer from that too a bit, especially with comics that are heavy on dialogue, I just end up skipping ahead usually. For the characters I have noticed that many of them end up getting fairly similar face shapes and bodybuilds (especially the two-bit background people), so I definitely try to get more range of variation for that too.
Originally Posted by Candra H
Oh trust me that wasn't negative at all! (Let's just say that you can't top me when it comes to giving negative critique to myself. But on the flip side I can't really trust all my own critiques, especially when they start to contradict each other, making it possible that I'm just vindictive against my own drawings.) I can only wish I got more that sort of crits.
Originally Posted by Giacomo
The Following User Says Thank You to TinyBird For This Useful Post:
That is true actually, and I really must dig up my old Donald Duck comics. At least the ones made by Don Rosa! I really marvel how tight and relatively short he can keep the comics while still putting the occasional reaction panel in there.
Originally Posted by EagleGrove
OI. You don't laugh at the Ghost Who Walks.
(yes, I admit that I laughed at his clothes even when I was a kid).
...Except if you've seen the actual movie about him, then it's okay I guess. I also read quite a few of the Phantom comics when I was really young (so I don't really remember a lot but...)
In any case that page alone had good stuff to remember, at least for later points of the comic.
I have to admit I partly made him ultra buff because all my other characters were girly-boys and boyish-girls (and none of them wore armor) so, an excellent chance to try something new!
Gore does look a bit ridiculously big, but that's a stylistic choice. I'm just not all that into ultra-macho-big dudes.
Last edited by EagleGrove; May 2nd, 2012 at 04:11 PM.
Well, a sloppy page that's done is better than a hundred perfect pages that remain in one's imagination. Keep going, fix it when you're putting your first book together.
Originally Posted by TinyBird
Have you considered doing a few comic stories without words?
Originally Posted by TinyBird
Anyway, what I do is put the word balloons in first. That way I'm not tempted to squash them off to one side or commit other atrocities to them (which you do not do, so good going there). Also, it saves me from putting a bunch of tedious crosshatching underneath them.
I love the comic medium! It's great to see a big bite of comic pages here to crit. I agree with most of what's been said, plus the colours are a bit dark on my screen so details are lost. Vasara could do with some highlights. Also I lost the plot at a couple of places. Doing comics are hard though, I think they're the hardest kind of narrative creative output to master. There are images and words, and then it's pacing and the most important bit, what happens between the panels. And they take TIME. So kudos for sticking with it and for posting!
Btw, why is it that when I go to your Deviant-page I can only see the featured pic Sleepy Hallows Eve? To see more I have to click on that and go to "other images by Nightm.Hound". How do I get to your gallery?
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