Intro Story / The Smile

Intro Story / The Smile

Intro Story — The Smile

by Heathen

Icon for The Smile
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Critiques & Comments
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# 10   Posted: May 22 2015, 01:45 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Kuro.  I agree with you.  While I guess some people can appreciate the grungy aesthetic these pages ended up with, I can't say that's quite what I'd like to achieve.  I kind of took a gamble on this one, because I honestly never upload anything without any post production, but was getting frustrated by the results I was getting here, and it didn't pay off.  I think between losing the tones to clean white pages and preserving them on muddy off-kilter ones, I should've opted for the former.

Your points about the camera placement are spot on.  I actually had a wide shot of the living room in my initial roughs, but changed the layout.  I should've worked with this more in the layout phase, but I think I got antsy to just get it in and get on with some battles.  Heck, I didn't even include dialogue placement in my layouts, which I've made a point to do in my next comic, and I'm much happier with how those pages are reading because of it.  

It's funny, I know my brain was registering the wonky scale in that first panel, but for some reason I couldn't put my finger on it.  Looking at it now, that fountain really is laughably oversized.  It's about knee-height in the closeup, which is the intention.  I drew the first panel last, and it's my first ever attempt at an establishing shot of a house, and the only thing I used reference for on these pages was the gun in panel three.  So yeah, woops lol.

Anyway, thanks so much for all your critiques, and I'm looking forward to showing you what I've got for my battle with Energy!

# 9   Posted: May 21 2015, 01:34 PM
It's a shame. The art's pretty sound, but the presentation really detracts from it. The problem on the site here much more often is someone killing their stuff in photoshop (elements, gimp, manga studio etc), but you really need at least SOME level of post production, even if it's minimal. Snapping a photo's one thing if you're in a pinch & against deadline, but you've got all the time in the world to get your intro pages right & it would've been better to see you get these scanned & clean them up properly vs grabbing snapshots with your tablet.

In the event of taking photos, make sure you've got the best possible even lighting, after all, that's what a scanner does. It's not so much that the copics that are tweaking your levels but a gradient light to dark that creeps across the page making everything muddy in general by darkening the brighter bits & vice versa. Sure, the copics might've still been a bit of an issue, but it would've mitigated a lot of problem. And page size shouldn't be an issue as all you really need is a clear spot on a sunny day. But it's not even just a matter of levels. What stopped you from cropping the bottom of the page? or trimming out the shadows underneath the exacto'ed lines of text in the balloons? Hell if you manually filled the gutter areas with white, it would at least be a little cleaner to look at, & might've helped with any even slight tonal tweaks. Do you not have some kind of editing software? Are you only only running weird tablet-y proprietary stuff? Gimp's free & Manga Studio's cheap so there's not a lot of excuses these days. It's a bummer since the art's nice.

Beyond that, the art's pretty solid. Watch your scale in some of your scenes, like how the fountain is huge vs the cars in the garage. Even if it's a big fountain, the base of it, that bottom tier, looks like it's taller than the garage door. I think you could've possibly optimized the layout a little better. Like less of an angle on that first shot so the whole panel sat a little more narrow & you could bring panels over from the second page. That way, it wouldn't feel so cramped with a bunch of tight shots, maybe even pace out a little better. Maybe we could then see the structure of the room & where the characters/tv are in relation to one another in the space (or at the very least an opportunity to show more carnage) versus a page of mostly talking heads. Just nitpicks like that. But for the love of god, figure something out for the technical aspect because it really detracts from the solid art.

# 8   Posted: May 21 2015, 08:52 AM
Heheh, nice, Fern!  Thanks for the impressions, and the tips.  

I guess I should clarify that my usual practice is to adjust the curves in Procreate, but it could just be that I'm not very good at it.  The issue is often that I don't get even lighting on an 11x17 board, so the photo goes light to dark from top to bottom, and that screws up the amount of curve bending I have to do to the point of degrading the line quality.

I had no idea there was a PS Touch app, I'm gonna check that out right now.

# 7   Posted: May 21 2015, 01:49 AM

1. amazing
love your art, it's so wholesome and like has some kinda grungy/punky feel to it? Like oldschool ziny I guess. But it is all so well rendered at the same time! Wowzer!

2. Taking photos with iPad and then slightly editing them is actually not a bad way to do it. Since you don't need mega resolutions as these are only posted online you can totally get away with it. Just make sure you have good, even light and get PS Touch (I think it was like £7 last time I looked and it's pretty good value). If you don't want to lose the grey try curves settings rather than levels.

Also I can't stop thinking about Watchmen, it's like he's the lovechild of Rorschach and Comedian. Hehe.

# 6   Posted: May 20 2015, 02:46 PM
Thanks, Shen.  Yeah, I photographed the pages with my iPad, and didn't adjust the b/w levels very much, if any, because it was washing out the Copic greys.  I'll be scanning my next comic, and doing some better cleanup, as that was a common point made by others.  What I'll probably do is clean black and white inks, then digital tones if I have time.  That way I work faster and don't have to worry about the greys getting lost in the scans.

Speaking of my next comic, it'll be up on the 27th, I believe.  Energy's Jessie Valley pursues a hot lead in the recent murder of crime boss Alonso Peña, but her night goes from bad to worse when she's forced to protect her only witness from a yellow-masked maniac hellbent on finishing the job.

# 5   Posted: May 20 2015, 02:08 PM
man I'm so excited to see you in, I can't wait to see how you use this character in battles!! Your black and white is amazing, though it kinda looks like you took a photo of the pages, or the scanner settings are maybe kinda weird? I just feel like theres some spots where the whites could be whiter so it doesn't look too drowned in gray. but thats a nitpick to the comparative awesomeness that is this comic, glad to have Smiley in Void!

# 4   Posted: May 20 2015, 01:23 AM
Thanks, guys!  I'm stoked to start finally having some fun around here!

Also, thanks to the Dark Shadow Council for your feedback in your acceptance email, I appreciate you taking the time.

Just a heads up, I've already got a challenger, but I'm studying their vulnerable points before hitting that accept button - so expect to see that listed tomorrow.

Cracking Skulls
# 3   Posted: May 19 2015, 09:38 PM
Remember to add critiques when commenting, folks! Happy to see you in, Dino

# 2   Posted: May 19 2015, 09:21 PM
SO stoked, I absolutely love this character since I saw him in the Incubator. Glad you submitted him and I am reeeeeally looking forward to your battles!

# 1   Posted: May 19 2015, 07:32 PM
Yesss he's in!

Comic Details -

Ended: May 26th, 2015
Votes Cast: 9
Page Views: 1527

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