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A Quick Critique of the Person Above's Comic
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Spencey



Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 640
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:51 pm    Post subject: A Quick Critique of the Person Above's Comic Reply with quote

So you want a quick critique of your comic? You can have one ...but you must earn it by first writing one for the comic of the previous critiquer.

Unlike the in-depth critique thread, the critiques in this thread are aimed at getting someone else's opinion on your last few (5-10) pages or strips. Trying out a new character design? Introducing a new character? Just want someone else's general first impression of your comic? The quick critique thread will give you a second opinion from a fellow webcomicker.


To participate, here are the rules:

1. To get a critique, you must give a critique of the person above you's comic
2. Anyone with a webcomic can participate
3. The critique must be at least 250 words
4. You must be able to give *helpful and supportive* constructive comments
5. You must be able to take criticism on the chin without getting bent out of shape
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Lo (Aquapunk)



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first impression is that your pages are really, and I mean really claustrophobic. The enormous gutters and word balloons that don't stay inside the panel borders really accentuate this. I feel like every panel is choked, and while I truly do appreciate your efforts to put backgrounds in every panel, doing this isn't helping you here because they're cluttering up your already tiny-looking panels.

Your pages are apparently only 500x~700px. Your comic is on the heavier side of the dialogue spectrum for how much space you have to work with, and I think that size is ideally suited to 4 or fewer panels. You appear to regularly divvy that up in to 5, 6, 7 panels... and those are the ones where I almost feel like I have to squint to see what's going on. I feel like you're designing your comic and page display with 800x600 monitors in mind still. I can safely say that those are, as far as anyone is concerned, obsolete. According to W3 Schools, 90% of internet users are viewing web content with screen resolutions higher than 1024x768. On my screen, your comic page takes up only 2/3rds of my browser window height. In other words-- you have nothing to lose by going bigger.

The other thing that struck me when I was flipping through your pages is the fact that everyone's face is drawn from 3/4 perspective and looking straight at the viewer, no matter the scene. This is... really creepy. They feel like cardboard cutouts, or like they're actors in a bad sitcom and are always having to face the camera. If it's just because you have trouble drawing faces from other perspectives, then take this opportunity to start practicing. Another personal quibble, but is, to my chagrin, a stylistic choice sometimes, is the fact that your characters suffer from sameface-- I can only tell them apart by their hair and clothes.

All in all, a solid style though, and you do make monochromatic toning look good. I can easily tell characters from their backgrounds, and from each other, even with the high density of details.
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Spencey



Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 640
Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before the next person jumps in to critique your comic, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to give such useful feedback. It's so interesting to get another webcomicker's thoughts. You've given me a lot to work with, especially your comments about the 3/4 view and the 'sameface' issue.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lo (Aquapunk)

Negatives:

* Your navigation is not very touch-screen friendly. Please make your buttons larger and easier to see, and if possible, make it so a person can visit the next page by clicking on the comic page(s).
* This is my personal preference, but you may want to keep this in mind because of the increasing number of mobile visitors. With metered smartphone internet access and/or low-quality rural/urban municipal broadband, having multiple large pages can be a huge pain in the butt, that could potentially end up being very expensive and time-consuming for your visitors. Plus, it's kind of overwhelming to keep track of several pages one a single section is multitasking and just peeking at comics between tasks. This may not seem like a big deal, until you consider that people may be reading your webcomic at work.
* Could you have a separate section for non-commentary blog posts?
* If it's under construction with no content, or if the page has missing content, it should not be linked to your site until it is ready.
* Make your CBRs a paid premium, so you can take my damn money! Lazy people like me with craptacular broadband love downloadable eComics and will gladly pay for them. Very Happy

Positives:
* Solid comic with interesting story.
* Fascinating art
* Distinctive character designd that makes it easy to differentiate them for your readers.
* Readable lettering.
* Nice clean site design.
* Easy to navigate

My webcomic is NSFW and it needs feedback: Rasputin Barxotka
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Lo (Aquapunk)



Joined: 09 Oct 2009
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

- No, it's seriously not. I've been meaning to talk to the plugin dev about this before giving it a go myself. As for clicking the comic page, I actually do have that (and that's a big reason why it's a pain to view on my phone; scrolling down has me clicking on the page and takes me to the next set). Not sure why it's not working for you... works to a fault for me. Razz

- I could find out, but I don't see the point if they're already all at the bottom of the page and easily skippable?

- I actually have to disagree here! :B

- I have no CBRs available currently...? Unless you mean the short stories; but those were never meant to be pay-fer material anyway.

Thanks for the review! Gotta get to work getting the site in shape~
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 2949
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lo (Aquapunk) wrote:
According to W3 Schools, 90% of internet users are viewing web content with screen resolutions higher than 1024x768. On my screen, your comic page takes up only 2/3rds of my browser window height. In other words-- you have nothing to lose by going bigger.


(Just wanted to say that you may want to use that statistic with some caution--a resolution higher than 1024x768 doesn't necessarily mean much more vertical resolution; for instance I use a 1080p screen, with minimal browser UI at the top, and his pages with nav buttons fit just about perfectly within that screen height.)
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lo (Aquapunk)

- That's weird. Clicking on the comic does not take me anywhere. If it helps, I am using Chrome.

- I used to have the same attitude about non-commentary blog entries under my comics until I learned that it does interrupt reading flow for a lot of people who feel obligated to read them. Also, a lot of people get very uncomfortable or annoyed when it comes to reading stuff unrelated to the comic page that they are on. I sadly learned that this tended to be the majority of readers for me. Just for your own edification, ask your readers about this. Maybe they are different, but it's worth checking.

- You may disagree with me on linking to non-existent content, but the reason I bring it up is because Google has a tendency to smack sites with link rot, plus it can be extremely disappointing for readers looking for specific content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_rot

- I was talking about the theoretical CBRs that you mention here: http://aquapunk.co/comic/146-150-2
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Traegorn



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lo (Aquapunk) - I attempted to read your comic, but every time I tried to on my iPad, it would start loading another page on your site.

Also, your design isn't very tablet friendly -- even when it wasn't reloading, I had to keep swiping/scrolling the page left and right even on maximum zoom out.
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Casual Notice
Spambot Extraordinaire


Joined: 18 Mar 2005
Posts: 2966
Location: Oh my God, It's full of stars!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, so since this isn't a thread for Public Reviews of a comic, can we make a rule that critiqued authors may not respond to critiques except to ask for clarification? That's generally a workshop standard.
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4137
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casual Notice wrote:
Okay, so since this isn't a thread for Public Reviews of a comic, can we make a rule that critiqued authors may not respond to critiques except to ask for clarification? That's generally a workshop standard.


That sounds reasonable. We don't want too much back and forth discussion going on otherwise the thread is just going to get messy and confusing.
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vaslittlecrow



Joined: 01 Aug 2005
Posts: 754

PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough.
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MindChimera



Joined: 03 Feb 2013
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vaslittlecrow - since I'm new to webcomics my review might not be the most helpful, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

Negatives:
* Your site seems really cluttered. There's a lot going on around the sides that, as a new visitor, I don't really care about. While they may be more useful for visitors more familiar with your site, all the text and images crammed onto the page are really uninviting to me. If there's some of that you could rearrange or ship off to a separate page, I think that would really help.
* The lineart bothers me a bit. There are times when it's both really thick and uneven, and I think it could be cleaned up a bit better. I'm mostly reffering to panels that are zoomed out, because it also makes it more difficult to see what's going on. For the most part it doesn't look that bad; it's mostly just those zoomed shots.
* I'm not a fan of mixing photos with illustration. I really like the backgrounds that are drawn in (like on the page where he comes out of the shower and finds the kids in a food fight) much more than the ones with photos. Drawing them in keeps the style consistent, and in my case, if I notice something is a photo I get very distracted.

Positives:
* The panels and dialogue are wonderful. I never had a problem following the frames to what I was supposed to read next even though some of the panels take unique shapes (which is a problem I see a lot in other comics). Every panel is interesting and earns its place: it's not just a shot of a guy's face talking, there's lots of change in expression, position, and angle.
* Lots of variety in the character design. I really love how some of the characters look. Very Happy
* The story's interesting and I think the pace is good.
* I really like the font choice.

All-in-all, I thought it was interesting and I'll have to check it out again when it's not 4AM here, haha.


Here's my comic: Gambit Tactics. I guess it's NSFW, but mostly for language at this point.
I'm really interested in hearing from someone who uses a smart phone or a tablet. I don't own any so I have no idea how my site comes up on those. But I'm happy to hear from anyone who wants to look at it.
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narwhalknight



Joined: 29 Mar 2013
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the first chapter on a tablet, as requested. It looked and worked great, so I don't think you will have any issues there.



When I began reading this I was trying to think of ways to tell you gently that I didn't like the artwork very much. But! As I continued to read my opinion changed. I can't say it's my favorite kind of artwork, but I feel like it does have it own unique style, and the characters are very expressive (and that's something I'm a little jealous over). Some of the glaring things I don't like is that I find the colors very bright and basic. Maybe try some more subtle shades? And the backgrounds, while some are detailed, others are really plain. Please don't take these artwork criticisms the wrong way though. It isn't my favorite style, but I'm warming up to it.

The writing is the comics greatest attribute. While at first I wasn't too interested, and it was a bit of a slow burn, after reading 5-6 pages I was pretty engrossed. I really liked the Dad character (spoiler: sad to see him go), and I thought the beginning dialogue with the mother and taxi driver was interesting, as she seems like a bad guy, but that conversation is kind of humanizing.

So lets break it down:
-While basic, the art style is very expressive and has it's own charm
-Good writing
-Works well on a Tablet, navigates great
-Interesting characters
-I like the first chapter cover.
-Font style and text balloons make it easy to read

I'm not great at reviews, so pls don't hate me Smile I will be reading on, I'm interested to see where it goes.

As for my comic, it can be found at http://narwhalknight.com/
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fluffy
is not a fish.


Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Posts: 107
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, why not.

re: Narwhal Knight:

I like your line-art style. Some of your body constructions don't feel quite natural but I think that stylistically it works out pretty well. It has a sort of "underground comix" feel to it which is a bit quaint but somewhat nicely done. Sometimes your shading is a bit inconsistent and odd-looking, though. Try not outlining the cross-hatched sections, and try avoiding a fully solid fill where it's darker (instead, try overlaying additional cross-hatching at a different angle).

Also, since you're using line-art cross-hatching shading, avoid gray fills like the plague! They stand out like a sore thumb.

That dialog doesn't look very appropriate for the line style, however. Is that Anime Ace? I think something like Blambot's Digital Strip would work well. Your dialog layout is pretty good in places, but sometimes it seems like you're not paying much attention to the placement of the words with respect to the bubble shapes (for example, in the bottom panel on page 10). Also, learn where to use apostrophes (page 7 - "wont" should be "won't"), and use an em-dash instead of two hyphens; it looks better. On a Mac, you can type an em-dash by pressing alt-dash. I have no idea how you do it on Windows.

The limited use of color in your dialog is an interesting choice. It definitely makes that speaker stand out.

Site layout wise, try centering the comic in its container, rather than having it flush left. Right now it all feels off-balance.

And now people can rake my comic over the coals, at http://beesbuzz.biz/d/ (please skip the recent sketchbook filler pages, as I only posted those because real life was in the way of updating and my hacked-together CMS requires an image post to make a news post work right).
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Traegorn



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 157

PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Busybee comics

Positives:
Your site is easy to navigate. That should be something I can say about any comic - but it's not. So good on you.

Your characters are visually distinct, which is good. I've got no problem telling them apart.

While your style isn't normally one I'm into, your characters are quite expressive, and communicate the emotion of the scene well.

Negatives:
I am not a big fan of the speech balloons you use - the translucent backgrounds with drop shadows just kind of irks me. Your panels can be a little crowded too with them -- to much information in that little space makes it easy to skip over.

Your use of bright, colorful backgrounds makes it so your characters never "pop" - which makes it harder to distinguish foreground from background.

Honestly, what I'd do is enlargen your canvas -- don't lock into the strip format if you don't have to. If you want that much text in a comic, make the strip/page bigger. Muting the colors in the backgrounds and thickening the lines around the characters would make a significant difference to the art too -- making the comic significantly more visually attractive and easier to read.


The comic of mine I'll toss onto the fire is The Chronicles of Crosarth http://www.crosarth.com/
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