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Postby cebap » February 12th, 2014, 7:59 pm

Webcomic: Alucinari
Author: GreenHairedFae
Genre: Drama/Psychological/Fantasy
Author's Description: A surreal multi-plotted epic.
Disclaimer: This is my first webcomics review on SmackJeeves, so I'm sorry if it's a bit rough around the edges... I'm a professional artist, but in no way a professional comic artist or writer. My review will be art heavy, but I will give as much feedback on plot and story as I can. Glean whatever information you want from this review, but take it with a grain of salt. Now, on to the review!

Alucinari is a full color webcomic set in a fantastical, fairy tale world. It includes a vast amount of characters, and is made up of small 'scenes'. Each scene contains a small snipet of different characters and their interactions. The art style is Tim Burton-esque, reminiscent of films such as Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland. I find it to be an experimental comic more than anything else.

I'll start with what I like about the art generally. I think it's great that it is a color comic. Oftentimes color can be a hinderance to a comic rather than a good addition, but the painterly way this comic is rendered really does give it some life. I quite like the neutral tones and feel like the artist really has a natural eye for what colors look good together. The early textured pages look great, and are sort of like a collage, which adds to the "surreal" element. I'm sad that texture was taken out in later scenes. There are some pages where I also feel like the character faces look great, but those are few and far between.

Things that need work in this comic generally fall into two categories:
Consistency and Clarity.

The first thing that jumped out to me from the start was that the character art is not consistent. The forms of the characters faces shift so much that the only way I can tell them apart is the color of their hair. Because of the genre of this comic (aka: NOT manga) I would suggest moving away from super deformed/ chibi versions of the characters and work on drawing the characters, in the same style, consistently. The best help I can give for this is to make character sheets like theeeeese, with a front, side, 3/4, and back view. Keep this as reference either as a file open on a computer, or printed out near your work space. Do this for the main characters of the comic, and really work on trying to communicate how the forms of the body turn in 3D space. Get it so close, that if we turned your character sheet into an animation of the character spinning, it would look consistent. This just as important as practicing anatomy when you are working in comics or animation.

Speaking of anatomy. I would suggest lengthening the torsos of the characters. Right now, the characters have very long limbs, and more often than not they have shortened torsos. This makes them look like little people with long arms, which is not the appeal I think this comic is going for. If the torsos are lengthened, with the elbows hitting the waistline, it keeps the stylization extreme but rights the proportions.

Going on to mark making. The overall drawing style of this comic is sketchy. Sketchy is not a bad thing, but there is often a fine line between sketchy and sloppy. This comic is far into the sloppy category, and I feel like more deliberate marks will help raise the visual quality of a comic. Right now, in order to communicate light, shadow and line you just scribble away with a small brush until you get the form or shape you want. This often leads to 'hairy line' and is a very common mistake in line quality that artist's make. When you go about your lines, I invite you to be more deliberate when you make a mark. You can go over your lines, sure, but try not to go over the same line over and over again to get thickness, etc. Just use a larger brush for that. As for shadows, block your shadows in with a larger brush to stay away from the hairy scribbles you have now. As you become more deliberate with your mark making, you'll find your line quality improving. You can then add tricks like using line weight to communicate where light and shadow fall to give your comic another push in visual quality.

While I love that you add outdoor environments, I have no idea where the characters are if they are indoors. With as many scenes as you have, it's super important for the reader to have a panel that has a detailed drawing of where the characters are. For example, in the beginning scene, I had NO idea that the character was in her room/in bed. You must show us where she is, not tell us. I understand that this is probably about drawing in perspective, but there are online resources (such as perspective brushes) that can help you get started with less organic scenes.

Art Rating: 2.5/5 Stars


Paneling/Comicky Stuff:

Right now, I'm struggling to read the comic because of the see-through bubbles and the ever-changing fonts. Pick a light color for your bubble and just keep it a solid color. It is not a good idea for art and text to compete with each other, and I often find it doing so with these bubbles. Also, throw out whatever fonts you've been using, go on dafont or blambot and find a readable, appropriate comic font. Keep it consistent throughout the entire comic. (Do not change it from character to character unless it adds something to the story) You can get a detailed, decorative font and use that CONSISTENTLY for your scene title pages.

Use your own art for the cover pages or keep them blank. I enjoy the covers since they give a pause between each scene, but I would expect you to use your own art rather than paste oversized clip art onto a canvas. :/

Choose a page size and stick with it. The page size changing constantly is jarring and does not add anything to the story or experience. I would also add larger spaces in between panels. Often, there'll be a character drawn on one page over and over again and without spaces in-between each panel it feels claustrophobic. Give the reader some space to breathe by adding some black or white gutter space in between.

I give this section 2/5



Since I'm not as experienced with this part, but have the strongest feeling about this part of the comic, I'll try to keep it simple. Sorry if I get a bit blunt.

Off the top of my head(and reading through the comic many times) this is what I think was happening:
So far, this story starts out with a girl who is transported from her bed to a dream world/fairy tale land by some spirit thing. There, she meets a blonde chick, and hears a disembodied voice that tell her to go to 'the cages'. She then asks the blonde chick to take her to the cages. We learn that there is a crazy murderer at the cages. Then there are some random scenes that introduce characters with evil glowy eyes and who can read minds. There is a ball being held for a birthday of some noble, where a female character is looking to play matchmaker with her daughter? There's also this cinderella character whose evil stepmother is invited to the ball.

The first 30 pages are the MOST IMPORTANT pages of your comic. During this time, the reader is either going to throw the comic out or decide that your comic is worth reading. You need to introduce the reader to the main character, the world, and what the limitations of that world are. Think of it as a pilot of a TV show, in the fact that you are pitching an idea, a world, and a cast of characters that the reader will care about.

I understand that this comic is supposed to be a surreal comic, but here's the truth of it: After the first 30 pages, I have no idea if there's a main character. I have no idea what this world is like, I don't feel like I had a good intro to what is possible in this world. The characters are introduced shot gun style, leaving me clueless as to which character is which. I don't really know why I should care about this world yet, other than the fact that I haven't really been told or shown anything of substance.

To make this worse, there are lengthly descriptions of character backgrounds and plot information in the ALT TEXT.



The author is just shooting themselves in the foot with this introduction. In attempt to be deep and surreal, they got trapped in their own mind and did not realize that the audience does not know what's going on up there. In comics, it's fine if there is mystery and mind-fuckery, but there also needs to be some sort of hook that will make readers care about the story in the beginning. If it's only filled with vague, random happenings, readers will not stay until 'it all makes sense in the end'. What I, as a reader want, is a strong, clear, foundation to work off of that builds into an epic story that makes my mind explode.

I give the writing 1/5 stars.


Overall, Alucinari has lots of good things going on. The full color art and style choices lend to the fairy-tale experience well. I also like that the author experiments a bit with texture and color. I feel there is a lot of room to grow, especially in the writing of the story. I really suggest keeping the comic going, and working hard to improve both the art and story. I think the potential for it to turn into something epic is very high, but some fat needs to be trimmed in order to get there.

I give it 2/5 stars. The art itself is worth two stars, but the three lost are for lack of clarity and lack of consistency in both art and writing.
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Re: Alucinari

Postby mitchellbravo » February 26th, 2014, 7:48 pm

cebap, this is a very well-thought out review, and I've found a lot in it that I can take away myself. :)
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