Episode 321 - Cafecast

May 1, 2017

We titled this one “Cafecast” on the suggestion of Pitface! Instead of chatting about a subject, we took ourselves off to a metaphorical cafe and all started drawing, working on sketches, our latest comic pages, and chatting as we did. We're all comic artists after all and we talk about doing comic all the time, it's only fair that we actually WORK on them from time to time! Gotta “walk the walk”, not just “talk the talk”. We were also inspired by the video Pitface made of herself drawing her latest page of Putrid Meat for the 10th anniversary (vid linked in the notes). Watch it while you listen to this! So this is just a nice, informal chat from us as we draw. Next week we'll get back to more structured stuff when banes and I talk about how to do comedy and how to make comedic characters in comics. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Half Hearted Headache. The theme fits very well with the comic title! It brings to mind a desolate wasteland in a post apocalyptic techno future, haunted by cyborgs and the hulks of burnt out military battle robots… Which is not what the comic is about but that’s what it paints for me: Jean Michel Jarre, meets knight Rider!

Episode 305 - Chekhov's phaser

Jan 9, 2017

3 likes, 3 comments

Chekhov's gun is the principal (as I understand it), that if you have some item, fact or piece of information introduced into your story that you draw specific attention to, then you'd better use it some how later on in your story. The simplest example is a gun: if it appears as a prop lying around in your story AND you draw attention to it, then by the end of the tale it should have gone off. This is because you've set up the parameters for your story in the mind of your audience and they develop certain expectations, if you confound those then they'll be disappointed and think that your story was poor. Having a “gun” on stage isn't so important here, it's the fact that you drew attention to it somehow. It doesn't have to “go off” either, as long as it plays a role in the story somehow. You can trick the audience very easily with these sorts of devices, making them think one item or piece of information will be vitally important, only to make it important in a way they wouldn't expect or to use it to hide the fact that some other thing was important instead. So that's our topic of conversation today! All based off of Tantz's newspost on Saturday. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Grow Up. It's repetitive, relaxing, punk reggae instrumental, with fuzz guitar. A lazy evening on a warm summer beach.

Episode 304 - eeeeeevil!

Jan 2, 2017

5 likes, 1 comment

What defines evil in fiction? I say the simplest one is bad guys are selfish, good guys are selfless. That is massively over simplistic but it's a good easy template for basic hero's and villains. Basic ones I was just doing a quick thought experiment to work out an easy way to define “good” and “evil” characters in fiction. The more selfless someone is the more “good” they are: the more they think of others, want to help people, put the needs of the masses first, the more willing they are to reach across to their enemies etc. The more selfish a person is the more “evil” they are: if they don't consider the needs or feelings of others, help out their own small group and let others suffer, help themselves first. Of course there are many other more advanced aspects, especially if you consider the relative nature of these things: the idea that everyone thinks they're the good guy from their own perspective, being cruel to be kind, being too authoritarian and heavy handed in the use of power, NOT using power when you should, helping in a way that only SEEMS destructive and selfish, trying to help but causing destruction and chaos in the process, which brings us to the dreaded “unintended consequences”. BUT, the selfless/selfish equation is a nice simple starting point to build from. In the Quackcast we discuss these aspects as well as more advanced notions about what makes a good evil character, what makes a bad one, humanising evil, and weakening you evil character by humanising them too much. Gunwallace's musical theme was for The Cull: Dark, haunting, and compelling- Eastern European Jewish, country and rock, reminds me of Tracy Bonham’s later work.

Episode 291 - The philosophy and politics of comics

Oct 3, 2016

5 likes, 3 comments

This week's Quackcast is brought to us by Tantz Ariene! Tantz is a very political creature, seeing as she comes from Athens which is pretty much the birthplace of politics AND philosophy, that's hardly surprising. Clever Tantz in her tantzglasses, dudeman Banes, and me,Ozoneocean all talk about this interesting subject: what are the politics and philosophy involved in YOUR webcomic? Even though we don't realise it, there's ALWAYS politics of some sort in a comic, as well as philosophy. If your writing is pretty clever you might have multiple political view points in your comic and a whole range of different philosophies! Consider something as basic as Peanuts. Those characters have all sorts of political viewpoints! Peppermint Pattie is very forthright in her feminist views, but she's also pretty left wing, Lucy is rather domineering and and right off centre in the way she thinks, Charlie Brown is a bit of a fatalist blank slate for the audience to project themselves onto, Linus is a quiet intellectual… etc, I don't know, it's been years since I've read Peanuts! Gimmee a break! In superhero comics it's the same; most of them are pretty right wing, libertarian, individualist sorts of characters- Batman for example, Iron man, etc. There's a good argument for Superman being somewhat more Socialist since he's an ordinary man with an ordinary job most of the time and works out in the open for the good of all humanity, while Batman is a super rich guy most of the time and when he's doing hero stuff it's usually smaller scale vigilante type stuff against people who threaten his city, or commerce in his city like thieves and the Mafia. Try it yourself! Examining the politics and philosophy of your OWN characters as well as classic ones is pretty interesting. Gunwallace's theme this week is for Krasnosvit, a subtle, careful, fairytale theme, inducing you into the dark forest strangeness of Krasnosvit.

Episode 287 - Evoking emotion

Sep 5, 2016

4 likes, 1 comment

Evoking emotion in your readers/having emotion evoked from comics: How do you do it? what are some mistakes/ineffective methods? As a comic creator you use a whole bunch of different ways to evoke emotion than say a novelist or a film-maker- you don't have the text space of a novelist and you don't have the control, soundtrack and all the tools of a film maker. Comic creators have a different set of arrows in their quiver and in this Quackcast we try and talk about those. What do YOU use to evoke emotion from your characters and readers? Gunwallace's theme this week is for The Desperately Departed. It's atmospheric, heavy, threatening, revealing. Reminds me of the heat shimmer on a wide desert landscape vista.

Episode 286 - Offence, walking on eggshells

Aug 29, 2016

4 likes, 6 comments

Do you worry about offending specific people with your writing? Where's your line between honest expression and regard for other people's feelings? This was Bane's brilliant idea for a Quackcast. We touch a little on the idea of a “culture of offence”, where it seems that people look for things to be offended by, perhaps on behalf of others, but also about things that really CAN cause offence and how to avoid that. On one hand you have people complaining that everything is too “PC” these days, but on the other it's really not OK to be a dick to people just because you like to cling to the old days when it was fine to put down people on the basis of ethnicity, skin-colour, gender, or sexuality… But we can also cause offence accidentally, unintentionally, unknowingly… Should you compromise your vision to appease people, or should you forge ahead regardless? Keep in mind that some things that are fine for SOME audiences are offensive to others, so rather than fight with your audience or appease them perhaps it's better to try and actively direct your work at the CORRECT audience it's intended for? - speaking in terms of sex scenes, politics, etc. Listen to the theme Gunwallace concocted for us THIS time! Geminni: Get down to the bad sounds of this classic funk rock tune! Danceable!

Episode 285 - Ride the wave of the Anti-heroes

Aug 22, 2016

3 likes, 5 comments

Comedy anti-heroes are a great deal of fun. My faves are characters like Tankgirl and Flashman; they can be selfish, greedy, violent, lustful, out for their own needs first but they still manage to do the “right” thing and vanquish the bad guy along the way regardless, or a character like George Costanza from Seinfeld who's jealous, pathetic, cowardly and greedy but we still love him anyway because identify with him and root for him against the unloving forces of the universe. To be a GOOD comedy anti-hero you have to keep the audience on their side though and that can be a tricky balancing act, you have to surf a number of factors (especially in a long running project), since to actually BE an anti-hero they need to have things about them that an audience would normally despise, these need to be counteracted by things like sympathy and pathos, traits we strongly identify with, intelligence, luck, charm, humour, sexiness, coolness, allowing them to win sometimes, or even redeeming some of their anti-hero behaviours occasionally. Get that balance wrong and they can so easily completely lose audience favour and sour the rest of the story/show/film. Pitface, Tantz, and Banes weigh in on this with me. And there are more opinions in the forum thread from which this evolved. Gunwallace's musical theme this week was for Pestilent. It's thoughtful, haunting, reminds me a little of a classic horror film soundtrack. Pretty scary!

episode 282 - MOOD

Jul 31, 2016

4 likes, 10 comments

The topic of THIS particular Quackcast is MOOD! And for no particular reason I dressed as the Mad Hatter, as typified by Tom Petty in the film clip to Don't Come Around here No More... So that was the mood of this Quackast... We based it on Bane's Newspost about creating Mood in comics from the book “Framed Ink” by Marcos Mateu-Mestre. The idea of creating mood with imagery is key to my own art practise in Pinky TA, I use lighting, angles, eye-levels, perspective, colour and many other combinations of effects to manipulate the viewer to feel the correct emotions for the scene... and that's exactly what we're talking about here! The music by Gunwallace this week is for Mindmistress, it's sexy, atmospheric, light, sparkly music from a futuristic nightclub in Saturn’s rings.


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