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Sample Pages from my Graphic Novel

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  • #16
    Trenor Rules are at the top, if you don't like them, don't post work.

    Rule #10:
    • Don't whine - posting artwork here means you're explicitly asking for public comment and criticism; give and receive comments and criticism gracefully
    This is free art school, you're going to get crit and comments, subjective and objective, from people who could be your mentors/course leaders/teachers, or your peers. You don't have to act on them, you don't even have to agree with them, but you need to be appreciative of them, and thankful of them. If you want compliments, show your family.

    Subjectively speaking, I'm not keen on your artwork, it's stiff (I have the same problem myself) and the rendering is over polished and digital looking.

    Objectively speaking, your storytelling and panel progression is hard to follow, we're all struggling. You're not reinventing a genre here, you're telling a story.

    Sure, you don't want to be Marvel or DC, you're not showing fights and explosions and big splash pages of action. But that's where it gets *more* difficult – we need to see expression, subtlety, emotion – things that are much harder to sell than a guy getting pummelled.

    Look at Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes or American Splendour. The work of the Hernandez bros. Look at how they inform, flow panels, tell a story. We can get down with indie too, we're not a bunch of 90s Rob Liefeld heads trying to render muscle. We love stories, and we want to understand yours.
    HW W1/L2/KO0Behance

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    • #17
      "If you want compliments, show your family."

      Should be this sites tagline

      Deviant Art | Youtube

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      • #18
        I agree with the rest of the cartoonists: the panel to panel transitions are not good and confusing. You say you like ‘unusual’ but that doesn’t make confusing storytelling more acceptable. You might be able to get away with confusing in a movie (which also have dynamic visuals, I would point out) but in a comic if someone can’t follow what’s going on they’ll just quit reading.

        I also find it weird that you want to make a comic but have such a derisive view of it. Like the quote Smitty pulled. If you don’t want readers to value the ‘optics’ there’s literally no reason for it to be a comic then. They’re an integral part of the experience and storytelling, not superfluous.

        And that has nothing to do with being ‘Marvel or DC’ as you seem to be hung up on. There are millions of other comics out there, including self published. And in all of the ones worth reading, the images are used ALONGSIDE the words to tell the story and convey information.

        A long time ago I had a cartoonist named Klaus Jansen as a teacher. The greatest thing he taught me was this:

        You should be able to draw a 3 page comic with no words at all and hand it to someone who’s never read a comic before. If that person can’t get the jist of the story, you have failed as a storyteller. I’ll never forget that.

        My point is, you’ve got it backwards. In comics, the images come first not the words. The words aid the pictures not the other way around. Even if it’s a wordy comic, the images are still doing a hefty amount of the storytelling lift.

        When a person reads a comic, as their eyes move from one panel to the next, they look at the image first not a speech balloon. If the image to image doesn’t make sense, the whole thing falls apart.

        I would just say that if you as a writer have a forum full of cartoonists telling you something, maybe you should give it some heed instead of telling them they’re the ones who don’t know what they’re talking about.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Spiffychicken View Post

          A long time ago I had a cartoonist named Klaus Jansen as a teacher.
          Ooh very cool! I wish I had a comic artist as a teacher. The closest one I will ever get is this forum and Smitty.(Which I'm very grateful) Did he teach at a school?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by humble-tomato View Post

            Ooh very cool! I wish I had a comic artist as a teacher. The closest one I will ever get is this forum and Smitty.(Which I'm very grateful) Did he teach at a school?
            Yea it was at SVA. A storytelling class. Each week we had to do a 3 page silent comic (no dialogue, no text). Whole class would critique them. I was just a kid back then, literally right out of high school. I feel like I'd appreciate the class a LOT more now and take more from it now after a decade of actually drawing comics and 'studying' the craft. One of those things where you experience something before you know how to really take advantage of it and get the most out of it. I didn't really even know who he was at the time. I knew he was an inker at DC because that's how he introduced himself, but I didn't know how huge he was in comics.

            I don't know if he still teaches there.

            And yea this forum is really cool. Wish I'd known about this place back then. Still blows my mind that Smitty posts here all the time. I know a few famous cartoonists have YouTube/streaming channels but that's more of a 'watch me and I'll respond to questions while I draw' sort of thing rather than helping and critiquing others. This is a cool place.

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            • #21
              what program of study is it at SVA?

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              • #22
                [QUOTE=Spiffychicken;n992774] One of those things where you experience something before you know how to really take advantage of it and get the most out of it./QUOTE]

                My guy was a fellow named Stan Green, who had been Milt Kahl's assistant at Disney for years, to whom I was assigned during my time on Bakshi's Lord of the Rings. Ralph basically gave me to Stan as a dog, "just do whatever he says, kid." Had I been hipper to the situation I'd have gone after Stan with an arc lamp, rubber hose and a vial of Sodium Pentothal. Not that I'd need to, Stan was as generous as he was knowledgable.

                20 years later, I'm telling the story to a group of young artists in the North West (Portland? Seattle?) and half the table lit up. "You know STAN? That guy's great!" Seems he'd gone north and was working as a teacher. Thanks, Ralph. Seriously, thank you. And all thanks to Stan, too... and Dale Baer, Lil Evans, Karl Bell.
                PaulMartinSmith

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by humble-tomato View Post
                  what program of study is it at SVA?
                  I went for cartooning. It may be listed as 'cartooning and illustration.'

                  Had I been hipper to the situation I'd have gone after Stan with an arc lamp, rubber hose and a vial of Sodium Pentothal. Not that I'd need to, Stan was as generous as he was knowledgable.
                  I definitely learned plenty that I wouldn't have otherwise. I also had Gary Panter as a teacher and he taught me a lot too. Even had his phone number and still friends with him on Facebook. I haven't actually talked to him in a long time though, I know he retired from teaching a while ago. I feel like David Mazuchelli taught there too when I was there but I can't remember. Knowing what I know now, would've been great to constantly ask Klaus about inking.

                  I wasn't really one for names as a kid, so when I got there they were just teachers to me. Didn't realize the immense talent and knowledge I had at hand until wayyyyyy after I graduated. Still, really cool experience.

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                  • #24
                    While we are sharing...
                    I went to school for animation and one teacher was a blacklisted Disney animator and later worked on Anastasia and other none-Disney films. Another teacher in my character design class worked on King of the Hill and other animated shows. They were both pretty honest about how brutal and cutthroat the industry can be and both always said (among most my teachers) you can not take it personal. You cannot fall in love with your own work to the level that you become defensive and no longer hear the value in criticism. All in all it limits your progress. I am paraphrasing, but that is my take on their advice.
                    Deviant Art | Youtube

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                    • #25
                      Alright, I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I think the OP may be right. This might simply be the wrong audience for this work. Given what we know about the project, he doesn't have the skill, time, or interest in doing what most of the people here would consider a proper comic book narrative. Ok, so what does that mean? The idea that he has to EITHER do a novel OR conform to a certain narrative style strikes me as false. He's self-publishing, not trying to break into the industry. So my advice would be to make it more of an artbook or illustrated storybook. His graphic design work was pretty good--use it to jazz up some of those panels. If a section is boring or complicated, just put in connecting narrative blurbs. It could be an illustrated pastiche of all kinds of visual elements. I think there are a lot of people that like that sort of thing, but it's not what you usually see on PJ.

                      Show don't tell is great advice. It's something people should be able to do, but it shouldn't be elevated to a dogma. I went through that GI Joe Silent interlude piece. Masterfully done. Absolutely clear. I had no problem following the sequence of events. And I couldn't care less. Ninja abducts woman who escapes with the help of another ninja. Utterly forgettable. Ideas matter. Words are the gateway to complex ideas. I would rather read the OPs book, with all it's flaws, than 150 pages of stock, genre action shenanigans. Ghost in the Shell was one of my favorite mangas. Shirow would write footnotes in the gutters about microchips, or bullet ejection ports, or whatever. He might have little chibi versions of the characters commenting from the sidelines. Straight up telling people things-when it's appropriate-enriches the work.

                      Ironically, this work reminds me a lot of the French painter Henri Rousseau. Rousseau was a self taught painter who was derided by the mainstream for his work looking childish or primitive. Rousseau obviously did not listen to their critiques. One day Picasso found one of Rousseau's paintings in a bin of used canvasses for sale. He and the other early modernists thought Rousseau was a genius and celebrated his work, which is why people know who he is today in contrast to any number of accomplished French painters that have faded into obscurity.

                      "One of the problems that I have with some of the more visually dynamic comics is that it becomes difficult to get engrossed in the story itself. Because I am a writer I want the reader to concentrate on the story, dialogue, and characters and not get distracted by the optics."

                      Taking this statement at face value, as opposed to whining or some sort of excuse, maybe this guy legit doesn't respond to visual art the way I do. Maybe there are people like him that are turned off by typical comics for this reason--they could be out there and they could be the audience for this work. Good luck dude.
                      sketchbook thread

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                      • #26
                        Are these sample pages...just saying cause all in all it does not make sense...like random images...
                        Keep that Pencil Busy!

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                        • #27
                          It says sample pages in his original post. I think that was something that threw people off--usually when people post sample pages here they post samples of sequential pages. These are literal samples from different parts of his book.
                          sketchbook thread

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by battlewraith View Post
                            It says sample pages in his original post. I think that was something that threw people off--usually when people post sample pages here they post samples of sequential pages. These are literal samples from different parts of his book.
                            So they are random images...Thanks..
                            Keep that Pencil Busy!

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Maulsmash View Post
                              Another teacher in my character design class worked on King of the Hill and other animated shows.
                              I came across animator's notes for KOTH once. One of them was a note to never make Peggy sexy. I also saw some for Rick and Morty, about head and nose shapes. Thought those were pretty cool.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Spiffychicken View Post

                                I came across animator's notes for KOTH once. One of them was a note to never make Peggy sexy. I also saw some for Rick and Morty, about head and nose shapes. Thought those were pretty cool.
                                yeah, I used to have stacks of character sheets and notes from various shows from classes, notes like that are pretty common.

                                Deviant Art | Youtube

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