my comic/ grafic novel. sci-fi setting
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    my comic/ grafic novel. sci-fi setting

    hello, I've been messing with this story time and again; I keep changing the format and the pov- especially where to star is a problem.
    what I have now is a short setting with (one of the) the main character and the world rules/setting. next we will have a battle, the outcome of which will cause her to form a somewhat odd alliance with the 3 other main character- which I will introduce later.

    what I got now is just showing the enemie's powers and the basic setting of the empire my main character now works for. what I am still missing is her powers. I could introduce them now, but that might be a bit much..

    anyway, I really want to get this thing out there for real. start a webcomic page where people can read it. but I'd like some feedback first. storytell, artwise, whatever you can think off. this is still a wip, but it reads well enough I think.







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    I'm bit confused about the sketches, are you planning on actually painting the comic?
    As for the story, if the trees fighting back is something that's important, I'd really like to see more of it than one itty bitty image in the corner of one panel. And some more scenery wouldn't hurt either, right now most of the panels consist of just talking heads, especially since for a lot of the dialogue we don't really need to see closeups of the characters that are saying the lines, and like it is now it's hard to see where are they driving or that they even stopped the car. Like say if they were driving to get to a headquarter or to a battle, then I'd like to see them arriving there, not just bunch of heads and then have her step out of the car.

    For the artwork, it has several structure, anatomy and perspective problems and at this stage the character don't look consistent at all, something I'm not sure if it's because of the rough stage of the art or an actual skill problem (though I'm leaning in for the latter). The shape, size and structure of the character's faces seem to vary from image to image, other panels showing the woman with small and pointy nose, others with large and round-ish, etc etc...

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    If you haven't read Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, do it. I recommend it to anyone starting comics.

    Is this soldier going to be an important character? If not, I wouldn't have him elaborate on his background. I get that you're trying to say, "Hey, we have Earth soldiers here on this other planet, and this girl isn't from Earth", but make that point later. Think about how you can give us story through action. If you spent a few panels showing us the environment while the woman talks, we'd get that they're not on Earth. Rather than talk about the tree monsters, you could just have one attack their jeep before the soldier can finish his sentence about them. And that they're controlled by people will be a nice reveal for the reader later on, so don't just give that away!

    To keep your faces consistent, trying drawing a character sheet showing each character's head at a different angle, rotating 45 degrees till you get to a back view. Do the same for bodies, though you can probably away with just a front, profile, and back view. Take your time. I see from your sketchbook you do a lot of studies, but you need more patience. You're still at the point that you should be building heads from boxes. Basic forms.

    Besides that, I would ditch the fancy font and go go for something more basic.

    I'm no comic guy, but here's an example of what I'm talking about:

    Panel 1: The destruction she's talking about.
    Panel 2: Where they're coming from. (descriptive view of battle.)
    Panel 3: Where they're going. (indicate whether they're going towards or away from danger)
    Panel 4: Characters (Oh, so that's the person who was talking.)

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    @Grunler- I own Understanding Comics, and the follow up.. the were good reads though I have to admit, its been a few years since I've opened them. maybe I should look them up. they should still be somewhere in that library of mine.
    I guess I should keep the character sheet on my desk when I draw or something. I'd done it a long time ago. also, still not completely happy with it. I kind of figured I could fix the faces after I made some decisions there.
    but it its certainly a better idea to tell the tale with some action. I'm donna go do that now. also, I didnt think if doing the character face in 45 angles. that's one to add I guess. when Im happy about the face.


    @Tinybird- ouch! haha. I appreciate your honesty! well, I have to admit. I have trouble answering your first question already.
    I would say I was going to do a black/white. but as Im drawing im edging towards greyscale again.
    but then doing a color version isnt really that much extra work.. oh dear. I suppose its better to just make a decision now then just see what it turns out into right?
    but I always seem to drift... anyway, you're right. the faces arent needed to tell the story. I'll get some more of the surrounding and stuff. also, I should probably put into words what I need to tell first.




    I have a character sheet here, though I admit im still not happy with the face. I dont want that over-used chibi nose. something bigger. I was thinking a real hook. but now I think a pointy one loose better, more 'naughty?'
    more stuff I guess I need to make a definite decision on. its just so hard. every time I do, I change my mind by next week...

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    Okey, before you do ANYTHING, change the font. Reading that for more than a few pages will put a serious dent in the eyes of your readers, and I'm willing to bet that you want to avoid that at all costs.

    If you need suggestions then Georgia (body/bubble text) and Verdana (Headlines) will do nicely. They also hold the advantage of being web-fonts, so that you can use them on the webpage for consistency.

    Also, knock it down a bit, you don't want the text to be black, it strains the eyes, make it dark grey instead.

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    It's mainly a blog about how I develop as an artist, but I post my exercises and how to's on it as well, so if that interests you than take a look.
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    Yeah, you don't want your text to be in script if at all possible. You can also get a whole lot of comic lettering fonts at blambot instead. Just check out the "Dialogue Fonts" under the "Fonts" section. Or you could hand letter the lot, but it's an extra set of skills to learn.

    Grunler's layout has a great point to it. That establishing shot up top is a real good idea. Review your copy of Understanding Comics. It'll help with remembering important ideas, like leading your readers eyes left - to - right, top - to - bottom with each dialogue balloon. You do quite well with this on the first page but then it goes astray on the top of page 2, where it kind of reads like this:

    "Oh-ho?"
    "n-no mahm! I was an-nexated with our origi-nal militery"
    "did they send me another tree-hugger"
    "from earth you see... it's only been six months"

    We can figure it out as readers, but it takes an extra second to go back and re-scan it, which breaks the reader out of the flow. Also, make sure to spell check your dialogue before you stick it in. It's "Military" and "annexed" for instance.

    You'll want to refine that character somewhat, but I like where the design is going. Make sure to put plenty more work into the hair detailing. I like her pants-straps but bear in mind that Military people rarely take on extra trappings unless they're useful - so you can show her hanging stuff off them, mounting things on them, etc etc.

    All that said, it's best to just get a good start and keep on going. You're talking about how you change your mind week - by - week. I know exactly what you mean. But staving off the start is what leads to never getting it done. You have to just dig in and get straight to the coalface.

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    @donoval- thank you VERY MUCH for taking the trouble and coming out here to help me! I'm will be taking you imput aboard as well. I took a step back and did some thinking on what I need the first pages to tell. Keeping that in mind, I am trying to get to the point fast.

    here's a mock-up of the first page I'm working on now. the last 2 panels on this page will be the platoon marching into the darness, and the commander looking miffled when they scream their death screams. I changed the font and the color. again, I can see am not doing the action shots. but maybe keeping it off page is more dramatic?


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    Look... there's really no excuse to mangle word balloons and panels the way you do. If you want your comics to look more professional

    - use a comic font, not something that came free with Windows. If you need free comic fonts, check www.blambot.com and 1001fonts.com
    - fit the words inside the ellipses evenly
    - fit the balloons inside the panels evenly
    - use gutters between the panels

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    @vineris- cutting off balloons is a bad thing? I thought it looked kind of cool?
    I think I have the blambot fonts. but I have so manydifferent fonts now I can never find a nice one. this one is georgia. that should be ok?

    >>SKETCHBOOK. you'll visit me. I'll visit you, we'll have a tea party. with arts and shit. it'll be dreamy. stop by.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashess View Post
    here's a mock-up of the first page I'm working on now.
    I can't see any image, there's just a broken pic icon.

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    thats weird. but I had some wierd forum stuff happen yesterday and lost a post. can you see it now?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ashess View Post
    I think I have the blambot fonts. but I have so manydifferent fonts now I can never find a nice one. this one is georgia. that should be ok?
    If it looks like it belongs in a newspaper or on a law document, it probably won't look good in a comic.

    Quote Originally Posted by ashess View Post
    cutting off balloons is a bad thing? I thought it looked kind of cool?
    You usually don't want dialogue to look kind of cool. You want your readers to not notice it so that they really get into the story. If your readers are thinking about how the word balloons look, they are not thinking about all the cool action that is happening.

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    Yes that makes sense. I should probably find a font that does not call attention to it either. Id be tempted to go with one of these. But I seem to have bad taste!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ashess View Post
    Yes that makes sense. I should probably find a font that does not call attention to it either. I’d be tempted to go with one of these. But I seem to have bad taste!
    Personally I'd avoid all overly curly or detailed fonts, unless you can be sure that they'll stay readable even in small sizes (because you want your pages be small enough so that the reader doesn't have to scroll too much).
    And on the other hand I'd avoid too clear and artificial fonts too (like the viner hand font, it looks like it's belongs in a law document) Also an all caps font removes all problems with lowercase "j/g/etc"s.

    Blambot has an excellent list of fonts designed just for this: http://www.blambot.com/fonts_dialogue.shtml
    I myself use the A.C.M.E Secret Agent and Anime Ace 2 fonts.

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    hmm I think Ill try the digital strip one. it seems pretty basic.
    I could have sworn I downloaded a lot of blambot files years ago.. maybe on an old computer.

    >>SKETCHBOOK. you'll visit me. I'll visit you, we'll have a tea party. with arts and shit. it'll be dreamy. stop by.
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    how is this as a first page?

    -I changed the fonts : speachbubbles to fit & use a different font.

    -I framed the action to have all important parts in frame without bubbles overlapping.

    -tried to get a better interaction between diapogue and picture.



    >>SKETCHBOOK. you'll visit me. I'll visit you, we'll have a tea party. with arts and shit. it'll be dreamy. stop by.
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