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


Featured comic:
Danse Macabre Danse Amour - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/mar/21/featured-comic-danse-macabre-danse-amour/

Featured music:
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 623 - Arrogance vs humility

Feb 20, 2023

4 likes, 0 comments

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 612 - Comfort food for the brain

Dec 5, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

There are times when you need to give your brain a bit of a break, that's when comfort shows come in handy! Movies and TV shows you can watch again and again- you can appreciate them every time and they don't get old. The tension never gets too much for you because you already know what's going to happen. You can just relax and enjoy the familiar story, revelling in the company of characters you know and visiting their world once more. They're great for creating to as well because you don't have to worry about missing anything important.

Episode 600 - AI is bad at art

Sep 12, 2022

3 likes, 6 comments

here's a lot of buzz about so called AI generated art at the moment using programs like Dall-E, Neural blender, Dream studio lite and so on. People use text prompts, i.e. “flying clockwork fish balloon” and the AI generates “art” based upon that. It usually does this by using actual art and photography created by real people, and visually mixing them to create a new image. Some results are much better than others.

Episode 599 - Badaptations

Sep 5, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Source material is something that we can love and respect, but it's just as often disregarded, degenerated, and denigrated, especially these days where it seems like everything you see is an adaptation or even an adaptation OF an adaptation or worse. I think it's important to go back to the sources so you can see what was truly great about the original to begin with. It can help you see what was lost in the adaptations and to discover new and important meanings and ideas that you never would have guessed at.

Episode 598 - 2D or not 2D!

Aug 29, 2022

5 likes, 3 comments

What makes a character two dimensional? What makes them three dimensional? Does it matter that they only have two dimensions to them? This was an idea that GeekyGami posed and so we thought we'd explore it in the cast. My own theory is that a character that is purely archetypal, tropeish, or cliche, with everything about them flowing from that archetype, and they never go beyond their archetypal traits- that makes them 2D.

Episode 596 - Leadership!

Aug 15, 2022

5 likes, 2 comments

Leaders are not born, they're created… literally in the case of fiction, created by creators of comics, books, movies, and other media! For this Quackcast I was inspired by two things: a video on Leader Characters by the satirical YouTube channel Terrible Writing Advice, and the Disney movie Lightyear, in which the lone wolf classical hero figure learns how to lead.

Episode 590 - Fave Superhero Movies?

Jul 4, 2022

4 likes, 0 comments

I wanted to do an easy and fun one this week and just chat about our fave superhero movies, starting with our firsts! For me and Banes it was Superman with Christopher Reeve. It's a real classic, full of positivity, hope, and optimism, all with bright colours and classic iconic imagery… In that way it's a bit like many of the Marvel films and the more popular DC offerings like Aquaman and WonderWoman, but without the overbuilt and over-defined muscles!

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