Right to left, really?

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Right to left, really?

Postby darkenergy » April 16th, 2012, 2:19 pm

I'm wondering what the motivation for artists working in English to go right-to-left on their oeuvres is. Currently, I refuse to read anything set up that way because it strikes me as annoying and silly, but since I also refuse to read anything in Comic Sans I'm starting to come to the conclusion that I am a judgmental bitch.

Seriously though, is there a strong reason to go against the language's native direction? I'd love to see examples of pages where it's done well--so for one, the reader instinctively goes that way, etc. etc.



(Maybe this is more appropriate in the whining forum...I dunno.)
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby mitchellbravo » April 16th, 2012, 2:35 pm

I think it's honestly people being confused because they're trying to imitate a style that usually is read in that format, and they don't realize the "why" behind making it right to left.

I agree with you, though. If I'm reading a comic that's in English (or any other left-to-right language), I'd prefer it to be you know, read left to right. I can see how it might be difficult for someone who's translating theri comic from a right-to-left language, but I feel like most people just do it because they think that's how it's done.

If I could read Japanese or Hebrew, and was reading comics in either of those languages, then yeah, right to left would make sense. But I think it's really people not understanding why that convention exists to begin with, and who are just copying the format of the manga they read.

FWIW I've been noticing it less and less- not sure if I've just been lucky or if people've been getting called out on it and fixing it.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby neko-axe » April 16th, 2012, 2:36 pm

I've only seen people use two, exactly two reasons for going right to left.
1) Their native language, the creators, is in fact going right to left and despite it being in English they automatically work that way
2) They want it to be "real" manga.

I have to agree that it tends to be pretty annoying, and I also tend to skip the right-to-left comics but only when its clear that the person is not used to it and it is incredibly butchered. The main problem that I have with people doing the right-to-left when its not natural to them is the fact that those that do that often don't understand the flow of comics in general, so to smack a foreign concept on to it makes it a complete migraine to read and would often end up reading better if they had managed to just slap doodles on a random page put obnoxious arrows pointing to directions to read and call it a comic.

Unfortunately their has only been a couple of artists that I've ever seen do the right-to-left in a good way, and I can't find the links :'( Then again, maybe they took them down and those were the dead links I cleared out of my bookmarks
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby The Bearded Man » April 16th, 2012, 3:59 pm

neko-axe wrote:2) They want it to be "real" manga.


I know what you mean with that and I see a bunch of people thinking like that and I find it funny. They may do what they want but still, if they want to be taken seriously, they should have a reason for making it that way.

I've been bothered allot with the same critique over the years (and I'm glad of it) that everything you do when you make a comic must have a reason. I used to think allot like "Hey, it looks nice that way, lets do it!" but then I would sooner or later be reminded that it was more confusing than anything. Often I would not understand why people had a hard time understanding a page I did until I realized some wrong visual choices were confusing them. (I still have to work allot that bad habit of mine)

So the question we have to ask is, why is it like that? If the answering argument is weak, it may just be an indicator that the piece's credibility will be just as weak.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby AngelsMelodie » April 16th, 2012, 4:45 pm

It's ok with me because I read manga all the time that I've gotten used to switching from right to left and left to right. It's not that confusing to me, but it feels weird to be clicking the next button then reading from the right. I also like the left to right better because when drawing(with my right hand), it doesn't smudge my work but when I draw from right to left, then it gets smudged by my arm. But I'm guessing most people do this because they read many manga and they've gotten used to that format already.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby Kattlanna » April 16th, 2012, 4:49 pm

When people do what is the reverse order to them, they're just doing extra work with no real gain. Coming up with a good page layout can be hard at times, why make it harder?
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby xkrazydog » April 16th, 2012, 4:55 pm

its because they cant draw facing left. its a huge handicap alot of artists have where they cant draw going in a certain direction. Comics are the same, it clashes when you read left to right but most of your characters/ actions read the opposite direction.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby yuugi » April 16th, 2012, 7:40 pm

I'm very used to reading manga so I'm fine either way, but I confess... I don't really see the point of doing a right to left comic unless you are Japanese (or native to a language that is written that way).
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby The Bearded Man » April 16th, 2012, 7:54 pm

yuugi wrote:I don't really see the point of doing a right to left comic unless you are Japanese (or native to a language that is written that way).


But even then, if it's written in a language that is read from left to right, why doing it in reverse just because you're used to write a language that reads from right to left? English translated comics from Japan are read from right to left because it allows them to keep the original format. That I can understand. But in the case of an original piece in English or any language that reads from left to right, in my opinion it just serves no purpose.

If it's just to feel more "manga", it just makes me go: "Really? It's just for some make-believe aesthetic? Come on, you're better than that."
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby SpiralPen » April 16th, 2012, 8:07 pm

I honestly think putting up a fuss about this is pretty silly and comes close to being nitpicking.
If the comic's story, characters, or content in general grab you and make you want to read more, it hardly takes any effort to adjust to the new reading style. I read comics that go in both directions and I honestly don't think the author's country of origin really plays into my analysis of the material. Yes, there's a reason for it in translated manga, no, it might not be necessary in other comics, but really, it comes down to the material. If I can adjust to read backwards for a good manga, why can't I do the same for a good webcomic?
Is it pointless? Usually. Is it a crippling flaw? No. Is it something to be ashamed of or picked on for by other members of the Smack Jeeves community? Certainly not.
It's an easy adjustment that takes less than a minute and over all else, I think it's really a choice of style. If manga is what the author is passionate about or what they want to emulate I don't see any reason why this should be an unreasonable decision. It's no different than a comic taking a Pop Art, cel-shaded Jack Kirby approach to a more Western style, really.

I can see why it might become sort of a hassle on a site like Smack Jeeves, where most people are keeping up with multiple comics, characters, and storylines every day, but it's not the author's job to make sure every page of their comic acts as a perfect transition out of whatever we might have just been reading. Occasionally the transition is jarring. That's life.
Comics are about creative and artistic expression and if the backwards reading is a barrier you can't overcome, try picking up a couple of good Japanese graphic novels sometime.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby dunklen » April 16th, 2012, 8:23 pm

Well, If the internet didn´t existed i would make a big deal about it abou the orientation because it would be harder to know about these kinds of things but here is the internet and you can get things from around all over the world, learn from other cultures and stuff. it´s funny that people make a big deal from a simple orientation format thing.
People are free to do their comic whatever they like, right to left, left to right, whether they know or not, they realize their own ignorance in due time and unless they stalk you, nag you, telling you 24/7 that the eastern format is the best, i don´t see a problem with that.
And we´re talking about webcomics, they´re really not as restricted as the physical comics because the internet is not divided in western and eastern, It justs as simple as this: if you don´t like the eastern format, just move along and that´s it! just beware that you may lose the oportunity to read some great comic just because of this tiny impediment. :D
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby SpiralPen » April 16th, 2012, 8:29 pm

dunklen wrote:Well, If the internet didn´t existed i would make a big deal about it abou the orientation because it would be harder to know about these kinds of things but here is the internet and you can get things from around all over the world, learn from other cultures and stuff. it´s funny that people make a big deal from a simple orientation format thing.
People are free to do their comic whatever they like, right to left, left to right, whether they know or not, they realize their own ignorance in due time and unless they stalk you, nag you, telling you 24/7 that the eastern format is the best, i don´t see a problem with that.
And we´re talking about webcomics, they´re really not as restricted as the physical comics because the internet is not divided in western and eastern, It justs as simple as this: if you don´t like the eastern format, just move along and that´s it! just beware that you may lose the oportunity to read some great comic just because of this tiny impediment. :D

My thoughts exactly.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby The Bearded Man » April 16th, 2012, 8:53 pm

SpiralPen wrote:I honestly think putting up a fuss about this is pretty silly and comes close to being nitpicking.

Well, discussion threads often pretty much serve a purpose of nitpicking. (Not that it's a bad thing if we can discuss about it)

Anyway, in my opinion, one should ask himself if he wants to do his own little stuff or if he wants to be taken more seriously than a hobbyist. (Not that any of those two stated options are better or lesser in any way)

If you do not care, you do what you want, that's a given but if you want your stuff to be taken seriously, you need to show something that is made a little more seriously than just for the hell of it. At some point, if you do not have a reason for making your comic that way and still present your work as something you take seriously, people will fill in the gap for you and may start thinking of a poorly assumed faking aesthetic. UNLESS, you show that there is a meaning, maybe a satire of Japanese comics, maybe it allows a specific layout that will help understand the story, who knows?
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby SpiralPen » April 16th, 2012, 9:14 pm

The Bearded Man wrote:
SpiralPen wrote:I honestly think putting up a fuss about this is pretty silly and comes close to being nitpicking.

Well, discussion threads often pretty much serve a purpose of nitpicking. (Not that it's a bad thing if we can discuss about it)


Oh, I know! I just don't want this thread to make anybody feel discouraged about their own work if they happen to work in the right-to-left format!
Like I said, it's a matter of style and I don't think people should go around pointing fingers and ridiculing styles in the Art Tutorials & Techniques section. Not to say I don't think there's a place for discussion on the reading format here, but not the way it was being discussed and introduced here. It's hardly an issue at all, much less a comic-breaker.
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Re: Right to left, really?

Postby darkenergy » April 16th, 2012, 10:54 pm

SpiralPen wrote:
The Bearded Man wrote:
SpiralPen wrote:I honestly think putting up a fuss about this is pretty silly and comes close to being nitpicking.

Well, discussion threads often pretty much serve a purpose of nitpicking. (Not that it's a bad thing if we can discuss about it)


Oh, I know! I just don't want this thread to make anybody feel discouraged about their own work if they happen to work in the right-to-left format!
Like I said, it's a matter of style and I don't think people should go around pointing fingers and ridiculing styles in the Art Tutorials & Techniques section. Not to say I don't think there's a place for discussion on the reading format here, but not the way it was being discussed and introduced here. It's hardly an issue at all, much less a comic-breaker.


I did try to make it more about the fact that I don't know why people choose to do it than me being super-judgmental. (It wasn't easy, though....)

My problem with people who do this only because they're used to reading manga--and don't get me wrong, I read a ton of manga so I'm used to it--is that they're probably making other decisions only because of the way they've always seen things, and usually the biggest thing that suffers when you're just duplicating an art style you love (even when you do it well) is the story.
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