Monday, December 14, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
I like collaborations and crossovers. Sometimes. In fact, I have a positive hankering to find ones which are done well.
The problem is that they rarely are. Which is perfectly understandable. After all the more people you add to a project, the more ridiculously obfuscated and difficult to manage it gets.
At the present, my mental backburner can't seem to stop thinking about collaborative efforts on the web. You see, I really really want to make one.
However, having taken part in a collaborative efforts before, I KNOW how difficult they are. And I've been thinking about how to make one and how to make it better. And so far I've identified the main problems with them are:
A. Focus - This is part and parcel of the whole collaborative schtick, apparently. When you have 5 different people with different styles of writing, you cannot expect them all to be heading in the same direction without a plan. Or a script. For some, part of the charm of collaboration lies in the lack of planning and spontaneity of it all. So... is there a way to maintain this and yet overcome this obstacle? More on this later.
B. Overall consistency and the lack of it - This is the main problem with having N different artists with different art styles taking turns working alternating pages. The overall effect? Reader keeps having to adjust to different styles and learning to recognize character A when drawn by artist B and character A when drawn by artist C. This is still acceptable if you're only switching styles say, every chapter or story, but when it's done page to page with vastly different art styles and formats... It can be really distracting.
C. Maintaining creator enthusiasm, or having a means of continuing after it has waned - When these collaborative projects start out, usually it's all RAH RAH from the get go. After the first few weeks, the enthusiasm dies and more often then not, so does the comic.
D. Scheduling- Some creators have lives. Some have VERY busy lives. The problem is usually when Creator A is free, it's Creator B's turn and Creator B is Busy. So Creator A has to wait for Creator B to be free, but when that time comics around... NOW Creator A is busy. Oh dear. In programming there is a whole field dedicated to solving this problem. That's how much of a pain scheduling is.
E. The fear of editing someone else's work in a collaborative project. I always yak and yak about HOW I write this blog to learn about making better comics. I have come to terms with one truth, especially with the recent look at a few comics. If there's any story involved, you need to plan ahead. And edit and proofread your planned plots. No getting around that. Period.
F. No finishing line. This is indirectly tied to the first point. With no finishing line, there is no focus in the project. And with no end in sight, creators can lose enthusiasm quickly, because frankly, as fun as a collab is, no one wants to do it forever.
So looking at the above observations, what I can I gather from this?
1. Goal. What do I want out of the project? Is it a fun exercise only? Is it an experiment? Or a serious effort? I need to decide on what I want, and take the steps I need to ensure it gets there, everything else be damned.
2. Finish Line. I need to start with an end point in sight. It doesn't have to be set in stone, but I need to know the scale of the project, how long it will probably take and how it will end. All this needs to be decided before I even start.
3. Inertia. Keep it quick and keep it moving. If it takes a year to finish a story, that's too long. If it takes too long in-between turns, that's BAD. People WILL lose interest in that time and it will be nothing but another famous abandoned project. So there needs to be a scheduling system that allows for busy people to pass their turns to people who have time, all the while maintaining a fair amount of balance in the amount of work people end up doing.
4. Robustness. The attrition rate for collabs is high. I need to plan for this and make sure that when people do drop out, the structure of the project is such that it is robust enough to survive with a replacement. Short and modular stories is the way to go.
5. Map. Plan the story first. It doesn't have to scripting all the way, but we need to come out with a preview of sorts first and THEN commit to a final version. Perhaps a round-robin, spontaneous storyboard version where the different artists get to do their fun stuff, then when that is done, we do the edits and corrections so it all makes sense, and come out with the real thing?
6. Roles. Division of tasks. This might not sit well with some. I will have to think hard about this. Instead of doing the normal one page a person way, for the sake of keeping a consistent style, I can think of two solutions to this so far:
a. One creator does rough 'pencils', one creator does linework, one creator does colours, one creator does text and editing etc etc. Might cause problems since everyone wants to be the penciller, although it might be possible to avoid that if the stories are kept short (~10 pages each) and the roles are rotated every story so everyone gets a chance to do each job.
b. Each creator focuses on a particular section and character. For example if there were 3 characters A, B and C. Creator Z draws all instances of Character A. Creator Y draws all instances of character B. Creator X draws all instances of character C. This is similar to what they did for the Disney feature Pocahontas, but it could get messy. On the other hand, consistency is maintained throughout the series, but then creators might get bored of just drawing the same over and over.
Wow that was a LOT of text...
With all this in mind, it looks like I'm going to spend more brain backburner time thinking about what's needed in planning and executing a collaborative project and maybe try a real example with what I've thought of.
You're all free to poke holes in what I've thought of so far. ;)
Friday, October 30, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Stumbled on The Longest Sojourn lately and was rather surprised to
realize that it was by the same person doing this blog (which I'd been
following for a few months longer). I think I failed a spot check
there. At any rate, I'd love to have your thoughts on my comic, Sunset
Grill, whenever you have time or room in your queue.
Good luck with your Advanced, by the way, and I hope you chose
somewhere warmer for it than I did for mine. The wrecks were lovely,
mind, but Lake Superior in September might not have been the cleverest
Hi Kat,I finally got around to reading Sunset Grill. It took me a couple of days to get through the archive, and another few days to actually think about what I wanted to say in words.Firstly I have to say I really like your writing, there's a wry sense of humour and the dialogue is funny. The futuristic setting and class conflicts, underworld and characters are also well-developed and engaging.I have a problem with your speech bubbles though... more on that later.I have to admit when I started I wasn't really enthused because of the 3D art style. At first I couldn't quite put my finger on the concrete reason behind it, but after much contemplation I think I've managed to narrow it down to three points:
The uncanny valley hypothesis holds that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.
A similar problem exists in realistic 3D computer animation, such as...
Basically, if a 3D depiction of a human being is "almost real", but not quite, or does not quite act like what it is expected to be, psychologically it can creep out the viewer.
My opinion is this is because what they see is something almost "real" but part of their mind tells them something is not quite right with it... so DANGER! THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM! Which explains the discomfort.
To avoid this, one can either:
1. Make it so realistic that the viewer cannot differentiate it from the real thing (CG effects in movies)
2. Move away from making it realistic, but instead stylize it and keep it cartoony... but in 3D (pretty much what Pixar and Dreamworks do)
Bottomline is, having your stuff in between these two extremes is kind of a danger zone. You might get the Uncanny Valley effect... you might not, and it varies from person to person.
It's not a bad image, but it does not quite send across the full extent of the menace which a few minor changes would have helped do:
This is in terms of posturing only. There is another problem in the colour palette used in the comic... It's always the same range of colours, and they do not change to reflect the environment.
Here's an example. The setting for this is supposed to be a creepy street or backalley. I wouldn't really expect to see it lighted so well with soft, warm lights that show the colour of things so clearly!
A few seconds' work of levels adjustments throw deep shadows and take out some of the warmness, giving the feeling of harsh, fluorescent, street lighting in a god-forsaken part of town.
Overall, I think your writing's good, but your medium of presentation and execution needs more work to stand out.I'm still not convinced about using 3D art for comics yet, but I do respect your choice to use them and I hope the points here will help you improve them.Good luck, and happy comicking!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
One of the first things I drew with the tablet. A self portrait where I look like a deranged killer. You'd look like that too if you'd spent your whole day in a mall.
I still think my rough blues had more energy though.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Some good writers are bad at telling stories.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
It then struck me that such information would actually be really useful to some other authors in the same boat, more so than an actual review so... here we are. An anti-review Postcard.
The email sent to me from the creator of the comic is an extremely well-written and respectful email even if I didn't agree with some of the content. This was probably why I spent so much time replying it. For the sake of privacy I've blanked out some of the information.
Subject: A (Slightly Unusual) Review Request
Dear Ping Teo,
Do you review sprite comics?
I ask because the general opinion of the Internet seems to be that sprite comics are low-quality horse dung by default. I disagree- in my opinion it's not so much the quality of the medium itself as the quality of the people who make them. If intelligent writing were brought onto the scene, then in theory a sprite comic could be crafted that could stand up there with renowned hand-drawn webcomics.
So that's what I aim for. The question is, am I succeeding? I'd really like to know. Unfortunately, two problems have hindered my finding out. The first is the gut reaction most people have to sprite comics, so much so that they dismiss them on sight, rather than providing me with any insight I can work with.
The second is that the first hundred and fifty comics were written in 2004-2005, when I was thirteen. The writing there embarrasses me, and I know what I did wrong. What I'm interested in finding out is: how am I doing now? It's the recent comics I really need to focus on, ie: Storyline five and onward.
I know I'm asking too much of you. But I really need some good, solid feedback on what I need to do from here. Having followed your blog/column for some time now, I think that you're the best person for the job. I get the impression that you won't shoot the strip on sight because it's a sprite comic, but you won't be wishy-washy about it either. I'm really curious to know where the strip needs to go from here to stand on its own merit.
It can be found here:
As for the plot, it starts out with a semi-generic video game journey, but I've gradually been trying to turn into a philosophical speculation on the nature of fiction, sprite comic clichés, and reality.
My hope is that, even if you don't particularly enjoy the strip, you'll find something interesting to think about, and that I can get some useful feedback from your analysis. If you're not interested in reviewing a sprite comic, I understand and respect that.
Thank you for your time.
Will, or Mastercougar
P.S.: You may recognize the site layout.
I know what some will think... Sprite comics? There is as the author said, a tendency to dismiss work based on the category the comic belongs to. This is not the first sprite comic that has asked for a review, but this is the first one I've thought to write a comphrehensive reply to:
Well, as a rule of thumb, I generally only review comics that interest me.
I don't have any particular aversion towards sprite comics. I used to read a bit of 8-bit Theater, and before that Imanewbie (even though I never played UO I could follow it, and enjoy the absurd humour). I think the most recent one I read was a WOW sprite comic, albeit that one didn't last long and wasn't very good in all honesty.
Mind you, I do view sprite comics that are made by taking sprites from existing video games and sprite comics that use their own original homemade from scratch sprites differently. I class the former as something closer to fanfiction (or a fancomic, in this sense) and the latter as a comic with a highly stylized art style. (I believe the term they prefer to use for this kind of comic is "pixel art", and will shoot you if you call their work a sprite comic). For the purposes of lessening any confusion, when I say "sprite comic" after this I mean sprites taken for video games.
I am not saying that sprite comics can't be good and popular. They can be and are, sometimes even more so than original drawn comics because they already have a built-in fanbase to start with and they fulfill a very niche market. And yes, the not having the art chain slowing down the progression of plot and story does help. If you are looking for a fun hobby that can be enjoyed by many other people, yes, sprite comics are fine, just as fanfiction and doujinshi are fine and are even respected in their own ways.
If that's all you are after, you can stop reading at this point and ignore what I'm writing about below, and skip to the part about my feedback on your comic.
Anyway, back to what you said: If " a sprite comic could be crafted that could stand up there with renowned hand-drawn webcomics" is what you are hoping for, I'm sorry... No. Not if those comic had anything other than a brain dead zombie doing the writing.
I don't shoot down ideas based on the general opinion, but as everyone who reads my blog knows, I don't hold back when someone asks me for my honest opinion. I believe that to be nothing more than a pipe dream.
This is the part where I probably get flamed. Yes I know the arguments that have been made about sprite comics and how they are viewed. I disagree with with what has been said. Like it or not, comics are a combination, and partnership of art AND writing. You can't neglect one facet, focus on the other, and argue that is enough to compensate because of "highly intelligent writing". Think of it as a score based system. If the scores were seperated as 50:50, and even IF you scored a perfect 50 for the writing, the art is disqualified because it's not your original work, and by extension your entire score.
It's like someone wanting to be a seen on the same standing as a Michelin-starred chef because they can create recipes but they can't cook and use pre-made ingredients for everything.
Like I said, if you're not aiming for that, that's fine.
So much for my view of sprite comics in general. Moving on to something specific: your comic :)
Your letter was so charming and intelligently written, I have to say I was hoping to be proven wrong in my prior assessment of sprite comics. I love comics that surprise me.
But I found your comic really hard to get into. I tried. I really did. But the combination of the unappealing presentation and the overwhelming feeling that it was all a very big rant on sprite comics community stuff put me off. Not because of the fact it was a sprite comic, you understand, but just that as a comic it is not appealing to a reader, especially a new one.
I know you're interested in improving it, so I'll just try to keep it down to points on what could have made it better:
1. Website design:
I'm pretty sure the original Ocean Blue Template I designed for common use from CG comics didn't look like that, and while I applaud your attempt to customize the template, I really wouldn't recommend the background tile you are using. It is too garish, and it really distracts the attention of the reader away from the comic. Please consider something a bit more muted.
2. Subject content is a mystery
Your header says "A comic by MasterCougar". The daily news page looks like a rant about sprite comics. I have no idea what the comic is about in a glance, but from the point of view of a new reader, I'd assume this entire sprite comic is a rant about sprite comics. It could be wrong of course, but in this thing called web comics, first impressions are everything. A braver person than me would still feel the urge to hightail it out of there. It is highly unlikely a first time reader will hang around long enough to read your FAQ. And if your comic is hard to start reading, it doesn't matter how good your writing is, because no one will be reading it. At least consider a relevant tagline like "A sprite comic parody of sprite comics spanning different universes" or something like that.
3. Art and Layout:
Even sprite comics have to pay attention to their layouts. I am not criticizing this from the artistic point of view and saying something like it is just a mish-mash of sprites from different games. I don't really care about that, it's a sprite comic, that's what they do.
I'm talking instead, about readability. I see walls of texts squashed together and tiny, blocky fonts that are hard to read. There is no spacing between panels, and the bright colours make it even harder for the eye to isolate a region as a panel. Space it out more, and learn to use empty space in the page to denote time.
4. Dialogue and Infodumping
There's WAY too much dialogue per page, and too much of it is not necessary. No one likes being lectured at, and no one likes being overwhelmed with unnecessary information. Even if it IS a sprite comic, the rules of good comic storytelling apply: SHOW, don't TELL! And don't infodump like you're doing now.
5. Inconsistent style
The beauty of pixelated sprite art is it that it makes use of a very limited template of colours and shapes, sharp and precise positioning of pixels in ingenious ways such as dithering and patterning to replicate colours and textures. In your comic I see none of that. Some your sprites are "blurry", especially when you zoom in on them and others in the same panel are sharp, resulting in clashing styles. Your backgrounds look like photos run through a photoshop artistic filter. The over all effect is awkward and inconsistent, it feels like something cobbled together badly. You may have a reason for that, but whatever it is- it's not working aesthetically. It may be sprite art, but sprite art still requires attention to look good.
You can write. But your writing still suffers in terms of storytelling. They are two different things. Some good writers are bad at telling stories. The biggest flaw I see in your writing is you cram in too much information (like I said, infodumping) and you have a tendency to try over-explain everything to readers, instead of letting them come to the conclusion on their own.
The last thing that annoyed me is petty... I really really dislike the substitution of Z for S in "Reporterz". It's just... tacky. This is a personal preference thing, but I thought I'd just mention it because I know I'm not the only one with a problem with this kind of naming gimmick.
To sum it up: I really admire the effort you are putting into trying to make a good sprite comic, but in my opinion, your comic is suffering because it isn't being presented as a comic, but just a piece of writing interspersed with sprites and lot of text in bubbles.
The worst thing is that somewhere along the way, you've seem to have gotten the idea that the reason people don't like it is because it is a sprite comic, and it in turn might have made you overlook the fact that it may be due to some other things your comic is lacking in, and not the genre your comic falls in. I can tell you now that while for SOME of the people it may be true, a lot of other people are read other sprite comics like Bob and George, but they are not reading yours. And it is most likely due to the multiple reasons I have listed above.
I hope I haven't been too harsh, and that you won't give up on something that you obviously enjoy despite my observations. If sprite is what you still want to do because you love the style, go ahead, but do consider making it with a comic in mind, instead of a just making sprite comic in mind. Honestly, the best thing you could do with your sprite comic is make it a silent sprite comic. Now I WOULD read a sprite comic like that. Hell I would make one like that, just for the challenge.
Anyways, The best of luck, and Happy Comicking!
Lonely Panel: The Webcomics Travel-Blog
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
- A pun on Lonely Planet, a popular travel guide to exploring new destinations.
- A reference to a panel of people discussing a topic, in this case, comics.
- A reference to my intention of exploring the limits of single panel comic hybrids next.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
My comic, www.lukesurl.com, has been running for a little over eight months now, with 124 updates to date. I'm mostly doing single panals or short strips, roughly in the vein of SMBC or xkcd. I received a review from Jackson at webcomicweek a couple of months ago (http://webcomicweek.blogspot.com/2009/01/review-luke-surl.html) and found it very useful, I was wondering if you would be able to offer your perspective on the comic.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
A problem of character
But there is a hitch. Mr Lee’s most celebrated creations appeared at a time when comic books were widely read. The heroes were honed over many years by other writers and artists. As a result a great many people of diverse ages are familiar with them and will happily spend $10 to sit in a cool cinema and renew their acquaintance. Blockbuster audiences are built not of enthusiastic fans—there are never enough—but of people who are vaguely aware of a character or a story and want to see what a studio does with it.
These days it is extremely difficult to propel new characters or stories into broad public consciousness, and therefore hard to mobilise a mass audience for films based on them. Take Alan Moore, a revered writer of comic books. His works have inspired five ambitious films (the most recent is “Watchmen”), none of them hugely successful. And what goes for comic books also goes for television shows, computer games and other fodder for summer blockbusters. As audiences fragment, there is simply less mass content to throw into the Hollywood recycling machine... (read more)
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
"Eh... How is this different from what you usually do, Ping?"
That's probably what you're thinking. I should probably rephrase that better: Maybe my use of "web comic" is a bad choice. A digital comic is probably closer to the truth.
Hm... a Comp-mic? Pixelmic? Comixel? *cue groans*
Fine. For now... online comic.
In any case, I'm thinking about comics that are made solely to be showcased on a computer screen, and would not be able to be printed out without losing some or all of its impact.
Keep in mind that I am NOT talking about distribution methods. I'm not talking about a comic that happens to reach its readership through a website. Or the clandestine sort that gets forwarded around in office emails, or transferred through flash keys or even bit-torrented.
I'm talking about comics that break tradition by exclusively using digital technology as a format.
The recently reviewed Hero and the hovertext in place of speech bubbles being an example of a deviation. Of course, Hero was still strongly traditional in some other ways, and there were limitations to the hovertext approach. But it was still a refreshingly new way of doing things.
And there's then-pioneering background animations in Aargon Zark. Of course everyone knows Scott McCloud's infinite canvas.
But honestly up to now, a lot of experiments in digital comicism so far tend to feel... gimmicky. Even the best of them suffer from Marmite syndrome, they either are love or hated, and most of the time are only tolerated for being a novelty.
However, novelty is NOT what I am interested in. What I've been searching for is a stable, universal something that improves upon the old tried and tested way of presenting panels and speech bubbles in sequential order.
At the end of the day, what we associate as the fundamental parts of a comic are still methods that were designed and optimised to be presented on paper. When comics shifted to the web, the same mentality remained.
Back to the topic... I used to get annoyed whenever someone brought up Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud, mainly because of the stigma it gave online comics that we were just a bunch of geeks trying out gimmicky stuff with the comic format that would never work long term (though it wasn't his fault we were seen that way, really).
Ok, so now it still annoys me a little, but I understand a little bit of what Scott saw in the potential of the web now, although what he covered was but barely scratching the surface, and some of his ideas weren't exactly the most practical things ever.
But the point is in the experimenting. You don't experiment without failing. Fact. You don't find out new things if you don't try.
Talk to others. Try stuff. Fail. Explore, See other people's ideas, try something else. Fail. Research more.
This is what this blog is supposed to be about after all. Exploration of the online comic, not just exploration of online comics.
Heck I did my own experiments with the format myself, though by any standards what I tried was pretty conservative. And to be honest even I didn't think it worked that well.
But most of the experimental stuff we've seen in the last ten years or so art just that... experiments. Prototypes. When they fail, maybe we shouldn't just dismiss them as gimmicks, but give them a bit more thought on what when wrong, and what we could have done to make the new format and presentation better.
Or destroy it.
Or supersede it.
Maybe it's the right way to go.
But hey... I can live with that.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Today's postcard is notable in that this is the first Postcard I've been asked to do not by the creator of a comic, but an ardent reader of it instead.
As you probably have guessed, I'm emailing about a webcomic: Hero, by Hwei Lin Lim. I know that you are extremely busy and probably have a request list the length of an astronomical unit, but on the off chance that you have a bit of time...
If you haven't read it yet, well, I can recommend it at least as a personal favorite -- the art is beautiful, the story dreamishly meandering but well-told and meaningful. There's about 200 pages in the archive, and the narration/dialogue is done through hovertext, which I think is very liberating for both the visual and textual aspects. And if you have read it before, then I would be very interested in what you have to say about it, again given that you have the time.
And uh, I got some metaphorical weird looks last time I made this clear, but just so you know, I'm not Hwei -- I'm just a really, really invested fan. If that's a problem, then just say so and I'll disappear like a well-bleached stain. Thanks for taking the time to read this email!
How am I to refuse such a charming request?
The first thing that will strike anyone who reads this comic is the total absence of the usual text and narration bubbles. Instead Hero truly transcends from "comic" to "webcomic" by making use of hover text for the narration.
This is not the first time I've seen anyone experiment with the web format by making the reader interact with the comic (in fact every page of Dr. McNinja has bonus jokes hidden in the image text) .But this is the first one I've seen that actually seen that makes the hover text the focus of the delivery and succeeds because of its simplicity.
So the reading of Hero makes one feel more like they are reading an interactive picture-book, and oddly enough it makes one slow down to appreciate the beautifully watercolour-isque art and the enthralling, stylish story more.
Hero has a narrative style that is immensely distinct and endearing. Everything is narrated from the point of view of the protagonist, and by extension, every thing is described as a comparison based on the protagonist experiences.
For example the protagonist is so impressed with the memory of a wolf which is devoted to its human companion that he describes always having someone who will keep you company and wait for you as "having a wolf"
The odd speech bubble does make an appearance, but they are always pictorial "speech" bubbles.
I especially like how Hwei manages to sneak in bits of her local influences into his work. Subtle inside jokes like this one resonate with me :) (Yes yes, I did chuckle when I identified the cendol, sate and ang ku kuei!)
The story flow is interesting, although sometimes it feels like it jumps from one point to another, leaving the reader slightly bewildered at points.
In one chapter the format suddenly changed without warning, leaving me anxious that Hwei was abandoning her trademark speech hover thing only to have be relieved when she went back to it a chapter later. I'm still not clear on why she changed the format, my guess is that she was experimenting... but it did disrupt my reading for a bit.
All in all, Hero is something very special and unique out of the comics I have read, and in terms of webcomic finds, this is a motherlode of a Find! Finding comics like this totally makes writing blog worthwhile. I think I need to send Aoede a thank you email for this.
I actually did fine-art for my A-Levels, but I try not to talk about it too much lest I be mistaken for a "snotty fine artist". IMHO that fine art attainment is nothing if it doesn't help me improve my comics, and fortunately, something I learnt back then does actually help, even though I didn't figure out how to apply it until recently.
Because I'm lazy, I'm just going to repeat something I said in a discussion over at Bengo's blog about what I discovered about doing art black and white. It's mainly my observation, but:
The bottomline is: doing good black and white requires the artist understand very well the concept of positive and negative space, and how to use it.
So what is this positive and negative space anyway?
The easiest way to describe it is thus:
positive space = important parts of the picture that we want to focus on.
negative space = the parts that are not parts of the important parts.
A lot of people will mistake positive space as "white" and negative space as "black" or vice versa. This is NOT the case and it took me a while to break out of this kind of thinking as well. What I really needed to know is that it changes according to context. Take this example below:
In both cases, the lines and shapes that make up the mouse are the "positive spaces". The background, whether white or black is the negative... the key point is the positive space needs to be in a contrasting colour from the negative space.
So now that we've shattered that particular mental barrier, black and white art suddenly becomes easier to understand, because we know it's not about whether the object we are trying to depict IS black or white. It's about conveying the important information to the reader in the correct contrasting colour.
We're used to drawing black on white, so we naturally define our positive space lines and shapes by drawing in black. But if the background is supposed to be black, use white for the lines. It's that simple. Or if you want it put the other way, fill in the negative spaces with black, so that the white left over is the positive.
Sometimes the rules aren't so clear cut. When two objects that are black are drawn next to each other, what does one do? Colour the whole thing black with white lines in-between? Or keep them black? Or for the sake of visibility, we need to defy reality and pick one and turn it white to they they form a contrast?
For this there is no set answer. It comes back to what we want to communicate to the reader.
Let's look at this example of a shady-looking guy. For the sake of the setting we want his face shrouded in shadow and he wears dark glasses to boot.
If he's a regular member of the cast, maybe the sunglasses are his identifying feature. To make sure the reader is able to tell it is him, sometimes the artist is obliged to flip the colours to make it clear he has a pair of sunglasses on his eyes.
Like I said, it depends on what you want to convey.
Of course black and white art isn't just that simple, else anyone could just draw something and use and invert the colours to make it look cool.
So the few things I learned about black and white art:
1. It's not about picturing black as black and white as white.
2. The choice of whether you want to use black or white depends on what message you are trying to convey.
3. Having both large areas of black and white spaces provides a pleasing visual balance to an image.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
But I did drown in work when I came back.
In fact right now, I'm positively inundated with work which is being done in-between training sessions. It's seriously killing me. I need another diving trip already.
I'm putting finishing touches to the Black in Black Pinging Art entry, but in the meantime, allow me to distract you with diving comic stuff I did on my portable sketchpad (A very fancy name for two pieces of cardboard, ring binders and cheap printer paper I cobbled together)
All in all a good trip, the highlight of which was a pod of six wild dolphins showing up and swimming alongside the boat for a while. How can that NOT be awesome?!
Aaaand distraction over. Watch out for Back in Black maybe next week, and after that you'll be glad to hear I'll be getting on to another round of reviews again :) Happy webcomicking!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Well, I'm off for some Sun, Blue Ocean and living on a boat!
I've been preoccupied with getting ready for my upcoming dive trip this weekend, so you'll have to excuse my slowdown in posting.
Be "Back in Black" next week, so see you then!
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Most of you probably don't know it, but I have an art blog called "Ping Art" that I don't really update anymore. It focused more on art techniques and equipment, but I never could find enough time to divide between my comics, blogs and other projects to update it more than a few times.
Time of Death: Around the same time I went on my 3-year hiatus.