Leonor's Comic
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  1. #1
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    Leonor's Comic

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    Last edited by Leonor; March 4th, 2014 at 03:27 AM.
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    Looks good..the emotion and psychology on the characters' faces is very well-done.

    I think your three "reasons" are about equal in terms of narrative function--any one of them will work as well as the others. When you say, "it's also a very early revelation to do in page 2," though, my immediate reaction is, "Uh-oh. This is gonna be long and boring." It's one thing to build suspense; it's quite another to make your readers slog through page after page of minimal activity waiting for basic information to appear. As Kurt Vonnegut famously said: "Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible."

    My thoughts (take them for what they are worth):

    1. Most importantly: the interaction here seems...well, weird. *Why* exactly does the bald guy suddenly get the idea that the homeless person is someone whom he's been looking for? It's not clear to me at all.

    2. The dog is drawn in a very cute-cartoony style and the humans (at least their faces) are basically realistic, which feels jarring to me. It's like the dog and the people are in different universes.

    3. You could probably tell a lot more of the story by being more precise with the characters' body language. Right now the faces are very expressive but the bodies aren't really saying much. Photo reference could really help here.

    As always, just my two cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonor View Post
    The bald guy recognizes the homeless man because he has seen him before, but not at first sight because he didn't see him dressed this way/ in this situation. Maybe I should make that more clear in the dialog? Maybe in the lower left panel in page 2 he could say: "I've been looking for you but I couldn't recognize you in that attire." Would this help?
    I think you are overthinking this (or else you really just don't want to make major changes to the two pages you've got.) Look, here's how I'd do it if it were me (let's omit the dog for the moment):

    1. Establishing shot of bald guy on street.
    2. Bald guy walks by, and doesn't notice, Spiegelei. (His name is "fried egg." Hm.)
    3. Bald guy does double-take.
    4. Bald guy bends over and asks, "Is your name Spiegelei?"
    5. Spiegelei says, "Who wants to know?" (or similar noncommittal remark. "Does it look like I'm here for the small talk?" seems, to me, too hostile a response for someone who wants the person he's talking to to give him some money.)
    6. Bald guy gives Spiegelei some money.
    7. Spiegelei says "Almost. It's Mr. Spiegelei."
    8. Bald guy says: "My name is Requiem. I need to discuss your future with you. Would you care to come for dinner at the castle?"

    I suppose my point is that every panel needs to advance the story...right now you're sort of 80% there and I think it needs to be tightened up. There's a lot of reaction shots and unnecessary dialog that I find unnecessary and a bit distracting.

    Is it that bad for the reader to be left wondering why was the bald man looking for the homeless man? I'll be telling a few pages ahead. Should have hinted at what the bald man has seen before this scene? Or is this scene awkward as a "meeting" scene altogether?
    The reader isn't going to wonder why Requiem was looking for Speigelei, because it's the entire action of the story so far. The reader is waiting to find out why Requiem was looking for Speigelei. There simply is no story until it's explained.

    Hope that is of some use.

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    I like the dog. I actually don't think hes distracting or way out of style with the rest of the comic. Also if hes made that way so you can better show his emotions then more reason to keep him that way. The only critique I can offer you is splitting the "you're welcome..." into its own balloon, to help with the pacing. I used to have a tutorial type thing that talked about this but its escaping my brain atm. Heres a site I love that talks about comic making http://www.paperwingspodcast.com/

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    Nice work. I like your drawing style!

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    Yeah, that's a lot better in terms of moving the story along! There's some issues in the new pages with "on the nose" dialog--(basically, if you have a character say in words exactly what the story is "about" thematically, it tends to feel awkward and boring) but in terms of storytelling the new pages are a big improvement.

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    What's the thinking behind changing Requiem's head-thingy from silver and part of the skull structure to red and more painted on? Or is this another version of him? (My opinion is that it looks a little tacky-80s but that could be because I'm used to the old version.)

    Shaggy hair and beard: there is a risk that because his hair is a different colour from his facial hair, it ends up looking a bit too much like a hat from a quick read. Not sure how to solve this problem without sacrificing some appeal (i.e. making it messier) by adding more loose bits of hair in the main hair part. Maybe messier is okay for this character though.

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    Hobo Spiegelei looking way better! (Chin looks a bit fatter/longer though.)

    What's the thinking behind changing Requiem's head-thingy from metal to plastic? And generally changing the shape from this design? I ask because I think the old designs were really cool, because they wrapped around the head and showed the shape more, plus were more 3D. But if there's a story- or character-based reason for changing then I can make more useful comments.

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    Does the metal plate have to entirely attach at the skull? Could it attach at the skull at the top/back with no moving tissue, and extend further but just be a surface thing (for aesthetic reasons)? So, attached at back, clamped at front. Alternatively, the front could be made of some material that can move with the muscles, maybe being attached to them like cartilage.

    My strategy would be to go with what's cool-looking/fun to you and to work out justifications for it afterwards, maybe making some minimal changes for believability, but I'm not sure how realistic you want this story to be.


    Not a crit, but I'm really digging the character designing. (Both the looks of the characters, and how different they are from each other, and in your methods for designing like face comparisons and trying different stuff.)

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    I have a question. When/where is this story taking place? When requiem says that there were no artificial's in the story, does that mean there have ALWAYS been artificials? Is it written about a time before there were any around, a story about our own future? Or is it about an entirely different world where the artificials have always been a part of human society?

    I would also like to see some clarification here about the standing of arificials in society. Are they sort of like black people during the 1900's? Would you lose social status if you 'become' an artificial, can people not help it (is it maybe a medical thing, implemented by a government, for legal reasons?) or is the procedure done out of your own choice?

    I don't know how much of this will be explained in the next few pages, but it might give you something to think about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonor View Post
    I'm experimenting with reboots. I'd like to know what you can read from these 2 pages. Tell me the story back to me as you understand it so far.
    Based on these two?
    At first look I thought the first panel of the second page was the guy being dumped inside the garbage van, and it left me puzzled as to why we after that needed to see the van pick up more trash.
    I know there's supposed to be some effect in the first page, but personally I think these two would still work better if they were arranged the other way, so we first see this sort of deceptively "unimportant" intro until we get the reveal that there's the guy in the dump, like in CSI where we always have some intro that leads to finding the body and the story continues from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonor View Post
    Page 3.
    In this one, I would show, not tell, so personally I'd rather show the grandma in the kitchen finishing something and the kid coming there asking is there cake/can he have some and when the granny asks if he washed his hands you could show the kid looking bit guilty that would proceed to the rest of it. Currently all the actions/talk seems to be cut to different panels when they'd be as or more natural/flowing if they were also combined.
    And similarly in the actions, I'd "speed them up". Like, is there need to show granny cutting the cake and the kid having it on the plate, when you could show the granny having already cut the cake and putting it to kids plate, and then show the kid eating the cake?

    Also if these three pages are supposed to be continuation, it's pretty jarring at the moment since for the viewer it looks it cuts from guy walking towards random garbage can to kid running somewhere towards someone that has never been established visually.

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    (Yep, still a fan of that older, 3D design of Requiem's head-thingy.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Leonor View Post
    Ok, I have disagreements on this one. I see no point of the kid showing guilt so I just show him following through happily. ... So this one is meant to be a slow build up.
    It doesn't have to be guilt, but the point I think TinyBird was trying to make is that there should be some kind of pause/thought/reaction/continuity. So perhaps the child looks at his hands curiously to 'check' (really it's just a gesture to show us he's thinking about it, not strictly realistic), or he's puzzled for a second, or he's like "On it!" or something. Anything to convey that he's registered his granny's comment and to connect his actions to the previous panel.

    You could have more interaction with child and granny when she's talking to him, like her touching his cheek to look him in the eyes when she asks (in a "Wash, remember?" way). Alternatively, any kind of expression that conveys the meaning of her sentence instead of just being happy-blankish. People tend to exaggerate their expressions when talking to children (like eyebrows raised). Some quick examples:

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    This is a general crit of all the panels in that page -- the expressions are all kind of the same, making it seem a bit wooden.


    I had the same confusion as TinyBird with the dumpster.


    I wonder if you may putting your emphasis too much on describing events in a straightforward manner instead of hinting/implication. In general, your panels seem to go from one key point to another and often I don't get the feeling of implied movement.

    Maybe it's because you take your panel snapshots at the event, rather than the moment before.... For example, the child is washing his hands -- it feels like he's washing them for eternity because you've focused on that moment, instead of just before as he lunges at the sink while looking back at his grandmother, or just after as he's drying his hands and already running towards the cake. (Or just turning his body towards, or even looking towards -- something to convey intent rather than purely the current moment. The point is not what attitude he's conveying -- that's up to you, your characters, your story -- but that he's conveying some kind of attitude/thought process/intent.)

    It's not the objects or surroundings that are the important things in a story. What's important is what a character is thinking, how characters interact with other characters, what their intent is. Focusing on the cake or the sink is the wrong emphasis -- those should be objects used purely to help convey what a character is thinking (which should be secondary to the character's expressions and body language).

    It kind of reminds me of an improv scene I saw once with a newb and a more experienced player. The newb started miming picking apples. Other player enters, says "That looks like hard work!" Newb says, "Can you help me pick apples?" (being tell-y rather than show-y). Other player accepts, "This is gonna take all day..." Newb says, "Enough apples, let's go pick pears!" Other player says, "Wait!" takes him by the shoulder, "Apples, pears, what does it matter? Let's not horizontally advance in life. What matters is not apples," picks up an apple and looks at newb in the eyes, "but our relationship. This is about you and me, in this together." The scene was very meta ('horizontally advance' means making the scene go sideways, having the appearance of advancing but just changing activity), as it was in a workshop, but even so it worked.

    Anyway, as I was saying: In order to convey movement between panels, there needs to be anticipation. Something where you can guess what's about to happen, or what has just happened, instead of "this is the thing that's happening right now". Because if you're focused on the thing that's happening right now, there's nothing to suggest that anything else will happen. (If that makes sense.)

    If you look through random PBF strips, you'll see a lot of implied action, and that the panel snapshot is nearly almost just before and/or just after the action. (Incidentally, found this from Dresden Codak, which has some useful blog posts on comic-making in his early blog archives.)


    As for the last page (4), I don't get what the skeleton is. Is that Requiem's view of Spiegelei because he thinks Spiegelei will die? Or what flashed before the child's eyes because he was scared of the rat? (Is the child young-Spiegelei? That was my guess given the pages are connected.)

    You show the moment the child reacts to the horror in the second panel -- note how PBF would never include that moment. (Implied horror is generally scarier than actual horror.) It's a bit of a come-down after the reader is already slightly freaked out from the cake-rat. To connect the last page to this one, you could change the child eating cake panel to a close up of his eyes looking freaked out, and then on this page change the child-reaction panel to a post-reaction panel (or omit it altogether to speed up the action).

    You show the moment Requiem grabs Spiegelei, instead of him being in the process of grabbing/pulling him out (action!), or the anticipation of reaching for his collar while Spiegelei jerks back in reaction to the hand (or looks at the hand confused, whatever, again which attitude you pick isn't important for the comic meta).


    I guess thinking in implied action is different from thinking of a progression of events. As a plot writer you think of things in terms of a progression of events, but as a story-teller or comic artist you need to pick the moments which hint at what's to come or what has just happened, partly because of the static nature of comics and partly because this means the reader can fill in what's happening and the plot can go faster.


    Summary:
    - ANTICIPATION
    - POST-ACTION REACTION, not moment the thing is happening
    - IMPLIED, not explicit
    - CHARACTER'S THOUGHTS, not props (or use props purely to help illustrate character thoughts, through character reaction to them or otherwise)

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    How can I tell this better?
    Aside from starting over with what I was saying in mind?

    There's a hundred different ways of telling this story, but here's my amateur, un-refined idea that should at least show a different way of going about it (may have too many panels per page and need splitting up into 3 pages):

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    (There could be the establishing shot of being in the dumpster as a full page before these.)

    Page 1, panel 1: Spiegelei in a sleeping pose (clarifying that he's not dead if there was ambiguity in the first page)
    2: Zoom in to his face, expression changed, perhaps grimacing (again to show he's alive and thinking, disturbed sleep shows dreaming)
    3: Blackout to suggest fading to black and coming back in with a different scene. (To emphasise the 'fade out' it could just be very very dark version of him sleeping.)
    4: Dream sequence indicated by being in a different style -- e.g. sepia, or low-contrast, or fuzzy, or dimmer. Optionally make panels different, like wavy or broken or fuzzy or whatever.
    Child running to grandmother. "Nan!"
    5: Embrace, showing friendly relationship.
    "Did you bake cake?"
    "Did you wash your hands?"
    6: Child running to sink or has just arrived at sink. Optionally saying something, such as "On it!" or "Sec!", to show to the viewer that this panel is a response to her last question.
    7: Child indicates the hand-washing is done. I have him showing his grandmother his hands saying "See?" but it could be something else, like just finishing drying his hands saying "Ready!" or some such. The point is that it's left at a moment right before cake.
    8: Blackout/fade to black.
    9: Dump truck going towards dumpster.
    10: Requiem the truck driver heading towards dumpster.

    Page 2, panel 11: Return to dream sequence, using the dream style again (I figure it doesn't need to be established with a blackout this time because the style has already been established). Grandmother serving cake.
    12: Rat bursts out of cake on child's plate. (This part is a bit awkward because I wanted to have child look at grandmother, but I was keeping a '2 panel for dream sequence' stylistic choice so I did one of those double-head spinny around things).
    13: Grandmother skeleton (hair and clothes remain) about to reach towards us/child.
    14: Same pose in the opposing panel, but lifting the dumpster lid (as you have it, though I think it reads better if they're right next to each other). "Hey! Wake up! Get out!"
    15: Requiem pulling Spiegelei out of the dumpster. (Optionally add your "You have to leave now!" dialogue but not sure it's necessary.)
    16: Spiegelei now standing, Requiem is about to go about his business when Spiegelei says, "Hey..."
    17: Close up of Requiem, showing him looking back/responding, with a "what does he want now?" look, or whatever look that conveys what he's thinking.
    18: Zoom out again, same panel + dialogue as what you did in your second-to-last panel.
    19: At this point I realised there should be more dramatic perspective, so this is an overhead shot looking down, again having the same conversation as your last panel.

    So that's one idea. But this is your comic, and my version has flaws, so consider this as merely an example.


    I'm not sure what sort of answer you're looking for, though. I think all the advice I gave in my last post is about how to tell the story, what moments to pick to better convey what's going on. There's also little details like making the skeleton more obviously like the grandmother, but my guess is you could go a long way just by working on which moments to pick.

    Perhaps this exercise would help. (Haven't tried it myself yet and not sure how much applicability it has to comics, but it seems great for getting a more 'filmic' sense of sequential art.)

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    I read about half of Making Comics a while ago but I forgot most of it (though rereading it now, it's good!). It's possible I internalised some of it and was using that, but I think it was a mix of things. The main one being: I thought about what I would want to see, what would look cool, and I imagined it as an anime/animated movie and just 'watched' it.

    It's easy to get stuck trying to get down all the ideas and be descriptive and then forget about how it feels to read. That's why some people go to lengths to separate out the script-writing phase to the roughs phase to the art phase. I dunno how much you do that but doing everything at once is hard. (When I did the sketch example, I had everything laid out which meant I could just focus on moments and flow and not worry about anything else.)

    You could change the panel I suggested to Spiegelei kid just washing his hands. The reason I did all the movement was to connect it with the previous and next panel. Maybe there are subtler ways to suggest that. If you wanted to slow down the moment, you could do an extra panel before and/or after where he's walking to the sink, to imply a relaxed straightforward fulfilling the request.

    Could even do something like what Making Comics says like showing him washing his hands but also panels of other stuff in the house to show atmosphere. Like drag it out a little, cut to grandmother getting cake (with her expression to show everything's okay), or the cat playing with his shoelaces, or something else innocuous. Then it would make the sped-up dumpster incident even more dramatic, after this serene family scene.

    Good point about not wanting the reader to know about dream. If you wanted the reader to discover it's a dream later, you could start with the dream sequence, then cut to the overhead shot of Spiegelei in the dumpster, then dump trunk on its way, then the close up of Spiegelei going into the next part of the dream sequence with optional fades. Then the reader will know from then that it's a dream sequence instead of the beginning.

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