Request for review: TGtaHR

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Request for review: TGtaHR

Postby Bloomer » November 2nd, 2017, 7:09 pm

Updated: 02 October 2018

Chapter 3 of my comic, 'The Guide to a Healthy Relationship', is finally done! As per tradition I would really like some feedback on it to see what can be improved before I jump into the next chapter.

Genre: Dark drama, slice of life.
Page Count: 122 (not including chapter covers)

What I'm asking for: Honest-to-god feedback on anything that can be improved. I'd prefer critique on story and characters, as well as presentation. Although if you don't want to legit read through all those pages I'm fine with feedback on superficial, visual stuff.

A heads up, TGtaHR is rated NC-17 with NSFW content such as nudity, profanity, and substance abuse. The comic also contains sensitive subjects such as mental illness, suicide, and abuse. Read at your own discretion.

Thank you so much for your time!

Last edited by Bloomer on October 2nd, 2018, 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Request for review: TGtaHR

Postby hogan29 » December 23rd, 2017, 9:58 pm

Hello! Just sharing Things I Liked / Suggestions!

Things I Liked

Story / Writing / Characters. I like the story. I'm pretty good for a nice Slice of Life any time - and it's nice to look at characters from a human level. I get a little worn out from characters who are always supernaturally perfect / infallible. Characters with humanity and flaws makes much more interesting. It also especially seems to pay off when the story seems to inspire or touch something in the readers without being too preachy even without the reader's awareness.

Coloring / Render. I like your coloring and choices! There's a nice variety of emotions and moods set through out the comic that I enjoyed looking through. You seem to recognize the power of using purples and blues to portray shadows - rather than trying to darken a scene by adding more black - which only muddies the scene. :)


Perhaps Try Digital Rendering of Color? Off the top of my head - the one thing that I would suggest (and it is only a suggestion, not a command, dictate, etc!) Is perhaps exploring rendering your work digitally and not with color pencils / traditional media. I understand that some artists are sticklers and swear by tradition means ("It's more authentic!!" or "Digital coloring is cheating!" I have heard some cry) ... It can give the page a more polished, clean look to it though. And once a rendering technique is perfected, a large number of pages can be colored / rendered very rapidly. Just a suggestion. :) Feel free to completely ignore that. Some digital methods make work flow much much faster!

All in all, I likes!
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Re: Request for review: TGtaHR

Postby knorq » December 25th, 2017, 4:59 am

It's 1AM on Christmas, but I'm experiencing feels and need to vent, even though your request is from well over a month ago. So, here's thought-blargggh, in no particular order.

1) Friend, I love your coloring. Your blending is beautiful. Your attention to the blending gets in your way sometimes, but I think you know that. Your recent pages -- the nighttime ones especially -- show a shift in how you're approaching the medium. Your color contrasts seem more intentional and the stark lighting contrasts are more thoughtful. And for what it's worth, I've never seen an amateur comic use pencil blending techniques like these [and i have read an embarrassing number of amateur comics o god don't ask]; it's something unique to you. I'd capitalize on it. Just stay aware that it can read "flat" on a screen a way it probably doesn't in person -- engage with highlights with the same love with which you approach shading.
2) You're already aware of things that need attention, which proves that you're genuinely invested in the craft and in mastering it. Some of the things you mentioned though -- esp. re: the environment/foreground-background things -- are already being addressed in your more recent work. In the last several pages of chapter 2, I literally only found one panel that caught me negatively in this regard: p. 28 panel three. And I could've handled that if the foreground line art had been thicker or the colors less similarly saturated front-to-back.
2a) So that's a thing, perhaps, to play with -- line weight. For instance, gain some fluidity, invest in some good pens, don't be afraid of thick ink in the foreground, use lines to your advantage the way you already use shading, etc.
3) Your comic is _not_ "just a bunch of drawings." Seriously. Don't talk about your work like that. I mean, of course that's what it is, because that's what every comic is. But no. It's got heft, weight, meaning, and the drawings themselves are not only competent but actually beautiful, in many cases. There is no need to diminish or invalidate your hard work. You're a storyteller and artist, full stop.
4) Your storytelling is improving in the second chapter. I already know that Apollo is an unreliable narrator; the question is, _how_ unreliable? That's going to be an interesting aspect to flirt with. Your ability to move the story without dialogue or exposition is improving, as well, with body language and facial expressions, etc.
5) Speaking of that body language, though, I'd personally love to see more consistently dynamic body lines. You've got such great dynamic perspectives even within the same scene, and much of the time your bodies do a lot of the heavy lifting communicating emotional state/nonverbal information (I'm thinking the first couple pages of chapter 2), so it's that much more jarring now when a pose is stiff now (a couple recent poses w/the mop in chapter 3). It's more a matter of consistency than anything: the reading experience should be immersive, and for the most part it is (that wash of colors setting up the world, though -- that does things to my brain)! But because that worldbuilding is so good, when something niggles me out of that world, I notice it even more than I would if the worldbuilding was meh.

Overall, a joy to look at, and fun to read. Thanks for posting your work! Best wishes.
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Re: Request for review: TGtaHR

Postby Bloomer » December 29th, 2017, 5:47 pm

Oh crap, sorry for the late response! I didn't think I'd get any hits on this thread.

hogan29 wrote:-snip-

Thank you for taking the time to type this!

Yeah, I've never been much of a fan of "flawless" characters, they're always so boring. Even the most amazing person ever can do/say bad things, or have problematic beliefs. If someone does happen to be perfect in one person's point of view, they could be a monster to someone else. Morality is subjective to culture, and personal upbringing. I just don't get the appeal of no, or insignificant character flaws.
Pff it'll be interesting if my comic touches someone. I never really thought about a message, or possible morals, so it would be a learning experience.

You know what's funny is I like traditional mediums for their lack of polish. While digital works can look AMAZING, there's something about traditional that feels organic, which you can't really replicate that feeling digitally. I used to dabble in digital for a couple years back in high school, it never felt very satisfying or enjoyable, so I went back to pencils and paper. Holding that work in your hands after taking AGES to finish it, trying your best to not destroy it with the use of your learned skills, just feel so good! Like doing well in a 5k even though you don't usually run much, or making a really delicious, well crafted dish despite not knowing much about cooking.
I wouldn't mind getting back into digital, maybe I'll hate doing it less now that I'm older. Lmao! Although the sterile nature of it would probably be more suited for sci-fi works, or environments that are supposed to look clean and crisp.

Thank you again for the comment and suggestion, I really appreciate it!

knorq wrote:-snip-

Aah, thank you for taking the time to type this!

1. Completely agree! Admittedly I tend to neglect how my work may look on a screen... especially mobile devices, I'm sooo bad at putting that stuff into consideration for page creation! My brain just defaults to "This looks like it'll work in a comic book", lol. Stepping out of my box with lighting also makes me nervous for some reason? Possibly due to it easier to mess up lighting.
I'll definitely put your suggestions into consideration! As the story develops there will be scenes demanding high contrast and bold lighting anyway, so it would be good to dip my toes before jumping in. Maybe practicing with disposable sketches would be beneficial.

2. Ah, you got me! I do get a little stingy with thick lines. A while back I read a few responses stating lines that are too thick are ugly. That, as well as wondering if the lines would be too jarring style-wise, tend to make me apprehensive. While I'm trying to play more with weight (using .02, .03, .05, and .08 micron and prismacolor pens), emboldening lines in the darkest areas and such, I haven't been going as bold as I could be.
Also I honestly don't know what good pens are given the nature of most reviews circling around one's personal preference. Heck, there's a pro-level realism artist who sells his work at my local street fair, and he just uses disposable ballpoint pens and a No. 2 pencil. There was a Japanese pen set with really good technical reviews, but they were crazy expensive! Like, "this hobby is too expensive to keep up" expensive. I've thought about using nib pens, but having no experience with the item I imagine I'd splotch up a lot of paper before getting the hang of it. Would you have any pen suggestions? What's your preference?

3. Lol, oh wow, you're so passionate! Thank you for the enthusiastic compliments.

4. Oh god, Apollo is such a lame character. It'll be fun seeing people's reactions once all the serious stuff starts, and he just tries so hard!... but keeps sucking. Actually I'll be surprised if readers even like him enough to care.

5. Yeah, that page was pretty awkward. I considered redrawing it once realizing it was off, after most of the page was done, but I was soooo happy about that floor! My gel pen may not have given me the same results with another go... I was weak.
Agreed, the anatomy has been a bit weird lately, haven't stayed brushing up on life sketching like I should be. Things also tend to get a little off when I'm lacking confidence too, doing new things. I'll be totally out in the open that there will probably be more immersion breaking things like that as the story progresses, as I push further out of my comfort zone. I don't really know how to fix this other than just tackling the problem, and learning from my mistakes? I've thought about doing livestreams to get feedback as I go, but it may spoil upcoming scenes, my drawing hours are inconsistent, and finishing a page can take up to a week depending on time and morale. Thought about posting progress sketches, but I still have the same concerns as with the stream, and by the time I get feedback I'll already be in the inking phase. Hmm...
Chapter 3 is definitely going to be the start of things being way awkward, not only is Julian a weird character for me, but I'm still trying to figure out how to visually portray certain events relating to them without things looking too cheesy. Wanting to try a lot of new stuff that may or may not work may also play a roll.

Maybe doing warm-up sketches will help keep my hand loose for more fluid motion? I really do need to get back into life and gesture drawings though.

Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm sorry my response is so long, I don't get to talk about anything relating to my comic, so I get really babbly and excitable. Also I over-think a lot. Most of this still is mainly me just thinking a lot, really.

Thank you both for the feedback, I really appreciate the time and effort you put into typing them up! I hope you have a Happy New Year!
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Re: Request for review: TGtaHR

Postby Bloomer » October 2nd, 2018, 6:33 pm

Bump for a new chapter!
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