Zephers Dream - 0

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Zephers Dream - 0

Postby Neil_Whitehorn » December 3rd, 2017, 12:19 am

here’s something i was working on
it’s about a girl and her journeys through life and how she inevitably ended up in the situation that she was in

i was inspired by things like nowhere girl, vitamin, life, oyasumi no pun pun, bitter virgin

theme of the story is basically when dealing with others it’s important to try to take into consideration the lives and circumstances of others
and … well …

again just worried about how far i can push this or where i can take it, worried about making something creepy or offensive or something

https://imgur.com/a/88DRB

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/88DRB"><a href="//imgur.com/88DRB">Zephers Dream - 0</a></blockquote>&lt;script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;

ps: don’t worry about being rude or mean; c’mon be honest now,
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Re: Zephers Dream - 0

Postby eishiya » December 3rd, 2017, 12:31 pm

Some art crits, as I go along reading it, I apologise for the length ahead of time, but hope it'll be useful. A lot of it is negative because it's my notes of problems I saw as I went along, but overall I feel the comic was clear and interesting. Most things that I didn't complain about worked well.


The text on pages 2+ is a bit hard to read, just a tad small. The font everywhere looks like it's condensed/squished, and it's uncomfortable to read in general. If you did that - please don't. If the font is like that, I highly recommend a less condensed font.

The body looks like it's hanging in a harness, rather than by the neck in a noose (I know it's not a classic noose, but I don't know what else to call it). Movies have that look because they have to use harnesses to avoid hurting the actors, but in a comic, we can do better. The jawbone is what stops the noose from slipping off, so the boundary between the neck and jaw is the main point of tension, the part being pulled on and squeezed by the noose, not the middle of the neck. Because the throat is being squeezed, it's also nigh impossible to raise one's head, meaning the chin should be pretty low (you got this right in some panels, but not others - the head appears to be moving).

On page 3, the noose appears to be heading straight up from her neck. Since it's tied to the door not very high behind her, and the head isn't right under the hook (because the body's in the way), it should be going up at an angle, towards the hook.

On the first page of the flashback, where she's looking at the school, the school doesn't feel "grounded" or "real". I don't expect you to make it super-detailed, but try adding some bushes, gutters, paths, etc around the school, so that it's not just in a void. Some stairs leading up to the entrance would also help, large buildings are rarely flush with the ground. You could also add some vague structures on the roof, there's often something (antennae, railings, a door leading to a stairwell, tool shed, etc).

In the classroom scenes, the students didn't read as people. Even if you want to keep them vague and faceless, you should give them more humanoid shapes, and, if appropriate, suggest some details about their clothing. Drawing them as spikes/rectangles just looks lazy.

On the page where Miss Raisa introduces herself, the lack of a background in the last panel makes her look more important and dramatic than the plot would suggest. A simple background would benefit that panel a lot, just a bit of blackboard or something.

Does the reader have to know all the students by name and personality so early? The page introducing them all feels unnecessary. That page is overwhelming, since we don't need that information yet. Save the introductions for when those characters become relevant to the story - you're already re-introducing the bullies later in the chapter anyway. In the first chapter, you could just show them all. The "Good morning, Miss Raisa" panel could be made bigger and show all the students in detail, and you could skip the introductions page (and then zoom in on Star Mica and continue the story with only minor changes to the text).

The transparent desk on Star Mica's introduction page feels unnecessary. Her pose would be pretty clear even if we couldn't see her hands, and you show her hands on the next page anyway.

The coloured sound effects look out of place with B&W art.

The pages where Star have some distractingly weird panelling. Try to keep your panels four-edged, otherwise it just tends to look messy. Other kinds of panels can be effective when used to show something very impactful, but that's not the case on these pages. It just looks like you're trying to draw panels around art that doesn't fit in rectangles. It sounds like instead you need to rework the layout of the pages and the panel sizes. It's possible that that scene should be re-paginated (given different page breaks).

On the page where the Main Character (already forgot her name, this would be a good moment to have the bullies mention her name to remind readers xP) interrupts the bullying, the panelling is hard to follow because panel 3 overlaps panel 5. Star overlapping panel 3 also looks strange.

The big fight page is just a mess. It's hard to follow, and because all the panels are about the same size, nothing feels important. I think this and the next couple of pages would work better with a few large panels of the MC punching each bully (perhaps with the remaining bully's reaction in the background, no need to devote separate panels to that), then an entire page devoted to her being overwhelmed, and then on the 3rd page she does whatever she does with Star and stands up to the bullies again. This would mean page 2 of the fight would end on a mini-cliffhanger and feel more dramatic.

"Vomit!" feels too comedic a sound effect for the situation. I think an actual sound effect would be more appropriate.

Colours on the worms and Star's face feel out of place in what is otherwise a B&W comic. If you want to do "spot colour", you need to be more consistent about it, and should probably limit your colour palette to 1-2 colours. Spot colour doesn't work with every kind of comic.

In the panel where the MC says "I have an idea", she looks almost identical to Miss Raisa, aside from the hair and clothing. You may want to vary your facial proportions. Also, eyelashes tend to be dark, so it might be good to fill them in instead of leaving them white, at least for people who don't have very light hair. As outlines, they tend to look like weirdly-shaped eyes. Also, MC's ears should be visible from the front. If you don't like drawing ears, just draw them as simple little curves on the sides of her head, there's no need to make them detailed.

Where MC and Star arrive dropping wet, they don't look wet. I see you tried to make MC's trousers look saggy, but I think they should be clingier, as should their shirts. I also can't tell if their hair is meant to be wet or not. It might convey the message more clearly if their hair is wet (=dark, clingy, and lacking volume).

On the page after that, where they leave, the clock panel looks strange, being entirely contained in another panel, and overlapped by Sophia. I feel like this and the previous page could be laid out and paginated better, e.g: Page 1: [establishing shot of the classroom] [Miss Raisa doing things] [Miss Raisa wondering where her students are, with the clock in the background rather than overlapping the panel] [big, wide panel of the wet feet] [big panel of Miss Raisa's reaction]. Page 2: [splash page of the two girls, dripping wet, allowing the reader to see their expressions better, with Miss Raisa's dialogue from off-panel]. Page 3: [Sophia explaining about the janitor's closet] [Miss Raisa telling them to sit], and then the first four panels of the next page, arranged the same way. Then, page 4 can start with a dedicated panel of the clock and then show Sophia heading out. Re-paginating this way would also fix the problem of this page reading in the wrong order due to how the bubbles are arranged.

On the last page, Sophia and Star look like giants. The road looks narrow, and the trees and houses look tiny. Just blowing up the background and making them smaller should fix the problem.
You can't hide that copypasta background in the last panel from me ;D

Is this the end of the chapter? It doesn't feel like it D:


Overall art crits:
Having objects break panel boundaries can be very dynamic and make objects look more important, but it's something that should be done sparingly. You're doing it so much that it becomes hard to follow the panel order, and a lot of the panel-escaping objects aren't even important. Be more judicious with this effect. If you overuse it, it loses its potency. If you're doing it because you're having a hard time fitting things into the panels, then you're treating the symptoms rather than the problem - you may need to work on your page layouts and framing.

Everyone has very large heads, and it doesn't feel intentional, because the rest of their proportions don't support it. If you want to have a large-headed style, consider making their hands and feet larger, and/or making their overall proportions more squat/chibi. If you want more realistic proportions, then the heads should be smaller.

I can't tell whether this is just a sketch phase of the pages, or the finished art. The characters generally look fine and it's all lettered neatly, but the lack of spot blacks or toning and the loose backgrounds suggest that the pages aren't done.

The art looks very pale and anaemic. In case these aren't just sketches: try using spot blacks! Even a little shadow under some chins and where objects cast shadows can help things feel more solid and interesting. You can also use areas of black and white to create interest in the panels to guide the reader's eye. You don't have to have lots of black everywhere, but some would really help. Similarly, having more line weight variation would also help the art look more interesting.


Miscellany:
On the second page of the flashback, in the first panel where she's waving at the breeze, you have "their" instead of "there".
On the page where they go to the bathroom, you have "when your at school" instead of "when you're at school".
The last line of wetting song doesn't really follow the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star melody xP Could be that I'm imagining it wrong though.


Writing:
I didn't feel the story was in any way offensive. You didn't glorify suicide, nor were you dismissive of people who are suicidal. I do feel you dwelt a bit too long on that scene, but rather than being offensive or discomforting, it just felt like unnecessarily slow writing.

I found the flashback interesting and fun to follow once I got into it, but I had a hard time getting into it because it didn't feel immediately relevant to explaining why Sophia committed suicide earlier in the story. The suicide is something you spent numerous pages on, so I think it's only natural to seek direct connections to it. I feel like some stronger hint as to the immediate reasons why would be really helpful there, so that the reader can start making connections between her immediate reason and the story with Star.

I think you could've shortened the first scene significantly. You spend several pages on essentially nothing happening, just her commenting on how suicide is unpleasant, without establishing her character or hinting at what caused it.
I think the page where she talks about herself at three different ages isn't necessary, that stuff doesn't help build interest in her story, and is probably stuff you'll show later in the comic. I think you could've skipped from "I wouldn't have believed you" to "You see that kid over there?" and had a tighter flow.

I found Sophia's lack of curiosity about the worms quite unlikely. She's surprised and then she just doesn't bring it up at all. I get that you might want to save it for another time, but I think having some obvious reason that she doesn't or can't ask would be good, as otherwise she seems either entirely uncaring or ridiculously polite.

Since I persevered despite my initial lack of interest, I was rewarded with an intriguing story about an odd friendship, and I hope to read more!
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Re: Zephers Dream - 0

Postby Neil_Whitehorn » December 8th, 2017, 5:23 pm

" I apologise for the length ahead of time"

:shock:

... yes ... wow, so much feedback, it's a bit of an understatement.
Thank you so much, I'm speechless. I'm certain this is the most amount of feedback I've received on anything ever and feedback is what I was searching for. They say that you can get too close to your work you can miss many flaws.

I think I have an issue with spelling, I'm using a word processor to spellcheck stuff but still occasionally mess stuff up like maybe "there" "their" and "they're" or I don't know what.

This is actually really good feedback and … also may reflect my poor writing skills. :/

I wanted to ask about something else.

This is old material, I have a bucket of other old material and esoteric plans to produce a bucket of new material.
My schedule is … not manageable, I’m basically just putting things off till I can deal with them later.
It can take me maybe … 5 hours to do a page and consider myself fortunate if I can squeeze in 2 hours to work on a page on any given day.

How much should you invest into revising old material and just forging ahead with new material?
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Re: Zephers Dream - 0

Postby eishiya » December 8th, 2017, 7:12 pm

Do you mean revising old parts of the same comic versus working on more chapters of the same story, or do you mean moving on to another story instead of trying to make older ones better? In most cases, I'd advocate forging on. Old stuff is only worth fixing if it hurts the readers' ability to enjoy the newer stuff (e.g. if the early parts are too confusing), or if it hurts your ability to continue the project (e.g. if you write yourself into a corner). In the case of old stories versus new ones, I'd make an exception for fixing up early stories you feel very strongly attached to, but in general, it's best to move on. Otherwise, it's easy to get stuck in a rewrite loop and never actually get things done.
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