Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

My comic art's improved a lot within a year! However...
Avarail at 9:28AM, Jan. 2, 2012
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joined: 12-31-2010
Hello, I'm Avarail and I write and draw the web comic Axis. You can find it here!Axis LatestTo get my topic started, here's the first page I made(which is the only colored page).Axis page 1I'm pleased with my progress being Axis is only one year old. I'm discovering real form and texture and creating a world defined in black and white. I'm pretty adamant about sticking with the ink medium.Still, there's a lot to learn! I'm having the most trouble trying to make rooms. I mean, how do you really make a room not boring when it's lighted? My only thought is make a lot of interesting things in the room…or use well placed panels. I'unno. Any cool tidbits to think about is always welcome.
ozoneocean at 10:09AM, Jan. 2, 2012
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Well done!
You have quite a fine looking comic there Avarail.
I have two small bits of advice for your style though:
 
1. Give your characters and their speech bubble stronger outlines than the background elements to make them stand out more.
 
2. Get rid of any extraneous internal lines on your figures. I know it feels better to put them in to better define muscles, tendons, cheekbones and stuff, but it can weaken the overall effect. You don't have to get rid of them all of course, but it's usually best to keep them down to a bare minimum.
 
Epico at 4:54PM, Jan. 2, 2012
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joined: 1-2-2012
     You've improved like crazy since your first page! Not much advice I can give you though since I've just started my first comic here. All I can say is that I hope I improve a lot in a year too!
     Keep it up, it looks great!  :D
Allyndn at 6:06AM, Jan. 10, 2012
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joined: 11-25-2007
You have improved tremendously. You got nothing to apologize for in terms of using black and white art. BW is awesome. I think if I were starting my web comic again, I would do black and white as well.

On rooms/backgrounds: My current thinking (I'm very much still learning myself) is that you don't need a huge amount of detail back there unless it is relevant to the story. One of the challenges of the comic medium is that you have all these small panels and you have to communicate in line what's important and what isn't to the reader. I've been rereading a bunch of comics from the 80's that I used to dig way back then. A reoccurring theme in my favorite artists (I have the skills to analyze it now) is that once a scene was established, the artist would often do very little with background detail. Some artists would just put in a few lines to remind you where the walls are; others would just have a gradient in the background. We're not talking indie artists here; this is Marvel and DC.

A recent page of yours is a perfect example: http://www.drunkduck.com/Axis/5372539/. You have five panels here. The first one nicely establishes the scene. Second and fifth panels have no backgrounds at all, just frames of the evil villain. These panels don't need any background; if you were photographing this scene, you would have used a focus which would have blurred the background out anyway. The remaining two panels (three and four) have your four guys competing with the background for attention. You could have gotten away with a lot less detail in the background… maybe just enough to define the street behind them. We know where this is taking place from panel 1. I had to look at panel 3 several times to see that there were three guys in uniform. Just something to experiment with, eh?
alexhatzia at 11:23PM, April 3, 2012
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joined: 3-5-2006
Hey Averail,
WOW! You're right, your artwork ability has increased exponentially based on those two examples given. Now I was reading through everyone else's comments and suggestions and I think that it all depends on what given effect you want out of each individual panel. Based on your work that you provided you have some close up shots, some long shots, action shots, and scenic shots, which is good, but what you should try to emphasize more is the kind of emotion and feel you want to evoke from each panel. 
Are you trying to be…
1. Dramatic? Generally if so I try to make the characters look more realistic. Add quick thin lines that define the characters features. If you are making a black and white comic this works great by adding cross hatching to the characters features, giving him/her more light and depth. 
2. Funny? Now before I get into this I want to stress that comedic can also have a lot of shading (hatching/cross-hatching) in your characters and background to give it that over-the-top feel that makes it even more funnier (watch/read “Golden-Boy” and you'll see what I mean). It really all depends on the scenerio between characters. Also being very goofy and simplistic can help you make this emotion shine through even stronger. Eliminate certain facial features, simplify body parts, funny faces. Etc.
3. Realistic? Here's where line quality really factors in. You want to try and get your “3 types of line” down, meaning you want to have different sizes of line that make distinctions between the foreground and background, and which also establish the lighting in a scene. I usually do this if there is a lot of light in a certain shot and I want to make the characters stand out from the background, usually giving off an overall shine to the surface of their skin.
Try and set your goals aside before you tackle a page with your artwork. PLAN AHEAD! It's important that you do this so that you have a sense of consistancy to your artwork. And remember to draw everyday. As the old saying goes “practice makes better…” ;P


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