Episode 628 - Cover me!
Mar 27, 2023
We're talking about the importance of a good cover in this cast. Another technical comicscast! I love making coves, they're one of my fave things because I get to stretch my artistic muscles and get a little more flashy and creative with my art and graphic design. They can also be pretty dread things to work on when you've used up all your creative powers on your actual comic and have nothing left over…
Topics and Show Notes
The art of creating covers is extremely important! It's the initial thing that attracts people to your work along with the title. I'm huge fan of all covers, it's one of the things that got me into art in the first place: books, albums, movies, games, posters etc, cover-art can be so cool! There are many different kinds of cover art, but number one fave is art that illustrates an exciting, evocative scene from the story it's promoting, something that makes you want to find out more about what's happening behind the scene you're looking at. Good covers not only attract your attention and get you to look at or buy something but they can be a part of the ACTUAL thing, just as much as the story itself, especially for book covers and album covers- covers ADD to the work, they're part of the experience.
Another great cover type is a sort of medley of story content as well as having a bit of story narrative on there. Josh Kirby was known for doing that with his Terry Pratchett covers, he'd have everything on there, all sorts of Easter-eggs for the reader to spot. The art was weird and bubbly but fun and it captured the flavour of Pratchett's writing so well. Indiana Jones and Star Wars movie posters are typical of this in a way too- their primary focus is the “pin-up” image of the main characters, but they also have little bits and pieces form the story there to reward you if you look for them.
Pin-up covers are when the main focus is a person or persons, usually the main protagonist in a story but not necessarily, especially with album covers. These can be hit or miss. They're very popular because they're so easy to make but can be really bland and chicle if done badly, or people just get carried away with the “sex sells” adage and don't go beyond that (I make all these mistakes!). A good pin-up doesn't just have a figure but it also expresses something unique and interesting about the story itself, this could be as simple as showcasing a really unique and interesting looking character that makes people want to find out more about them.
What I like to call the “graphic design focused” covers can be a mixed bag too. These can have really cool design elements that make you want to know more- with clever use of symbol or text. Or they can be just massively bland and tedious like those that use a generic symbol in a boring way or simply have a giant title and author name and nothing else. These are lazy and stupid. Lazier and stupider though are the designers who make covers using cropped copyright free art- typically they crop a portion from a classical painting that has nothing to do with the work they're promoting, and stick generic title and author credits on it. or they do the same thing with a licensed stock photo.
Photographic covers in general can be problematic, not because photography is bad but because it seems easy so people often create bad cover images with photos (especially author photos). They don't realise that you have to be just as artistic and creative with photographic images as you do with other kinds of artwork.
The bottom line with cover art is that regardless of the approach you take, the more unique it is to your work the better! The more generic and meaningless the cover the more crap it will be (though there are always exceptions… Penguin classics anyone?). Given that criteria, it's advisable not to use AI art!
What are your fave types of cover?
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Kingdom of Cats - An early morning start, sun streaming golden at a low angle, on the road, moving away, moving towards, making a start.
Topics and shownotes
Danse Macabre Danse Amour - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/mar/21/featured-comic-danse-macabre-danse-amour/
Kingdom of Cats - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Kingdom_of_Cats/ - by Rachel87, rated E.
* Theme music taken from Gunwallace's theme to Thrud Goddess of Thunder - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/THRUD_Goddess_Of_Thunder/
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
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Episode 626 - I didn't do nuthin'
Mar 13, 2023
Today we talk about an unusual type of villain, a secret type of bad guy and a particularly nasty one: the person who maliciously does nothing. This is a person who COULD intervene to resolve a dire situation or save someone, they could do it easily; they know how, they have the means, they're not scared or unsure, and it doesn't mean much risk to themselves, they just choose to sit back and watch the person die or the situation collapse… either because they know the result will benefit themselves or they're just curious to watch the person die or the everything turn to crap for the victim or whatever. Either way they COULD easily intervene but they choose not to.
Episode 625 - Designing Women
Mar 6, 2023
Character design is a fun process but not without its challenges. Do you design the character or their story first? I've followed both of those approaches, they have pluses and minuses. On one hand when you create the character first that can make it a real passion project, you make a cool character and then create a story for them to live in and be themselves. But that can also lead to Mary Sues, wish fulfillment and self inserts, which makes for a weak story. Creating characters to fit a story can sometimes lead to using a lot of stereotypes and ending up with fairly generic and bland characters, which can make for a dull story. So it's best to use a bit of balance and judgment.
Episode 623 - Arrogance vs humility
Feb 20, 2023
Arrogance is a fun subject. Related to cockiness, hubris, assertiveness, self confidence and pride. It's a fantastic trait for a villain and it's really fun to write. Heroes are often arrogant too when they need to learn a lesson in order to become a better person, it's super common in stories. We're all a bit arrogant ourselves about our skills, our knowledge, where we come from, what we look like etc. It's a universal trait! It often strikes when we think we know better or know it all on a subject: the human tendency to over-reach and to speak for others.
Episode 622 - Whaddaya take me for?
Feb 12, 2023
This is when the writer leads you to think something big has happened in the story, like a character dying or falling in love or winning a big prize or something, only to have the character alive in the next part, or the prize or love never mentioned or addressed- this is “schmuck bait”. The writer gets you invested and excited for something but cops out, leaving the audience frustrated and cynical. This was common in older episodic things where the episodes are intended to be seen in any order, so the writers couldn't have continuing arcs and development across a season. It's also common in bad writing where the writer builds things up a lot for an events but then loses their nerve or just doesn't posses the skills to properly resolve things.
Episode 621 - Live Laugh Love
Feb 6, 2023
Toxic positivity can take all sorts of forms, but I think it's most easily recognised by someone telling you to be happy about something when you just don't feel it. It's a really odd, nasty, weird feeling when a person tells you you're basically not allowed to be grumpy or even neutral, you MUST be happy. How many times have we all been told to “smile” by someone?
Episode 620 - losers are human too
Jan 30, 2023
My idea was to talk about social pariah characters, people who it's socially acceptable to laugh at, despise, or even hate. They can be the uncool people, the dorks, the dags, the idiots, the overweight, the ugly, the old, the out of touch, the over the hill… On the extreme end they could be monsters and criminals. Generally they're written pretty two dimensionally as a collection of cliches, but when the writing goes beyond that to lend them humanity is when it goes to the next level.
Episode 615 - Happy Christmas!
Dec 26, 2022
Happy Life Day! Hahaha! Merry Christmas for 2 days ago… This week we're talking about the “Christmas specials” that populate entertainment media this time of year. No particular reason for it, it's just because it's seasonal! It's not always Christmas focused there are the occasionally hanukkah things as well, and in the northern hemisphere this is the season for traditional winter festivals afterall.