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Philosophy-themed webcomic: Lump of Clay

 
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ichikawa



Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 11
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:44 am    Post subject: Philosophy-themed webcomic: Lump of Clay Reply with quote

Hi everybody, I'm completely new here. I'm interested to hear what people think of my strip, even though it's rather esoteric.

It's here:
http://lumpofclay.jollyutter.net/

I've been updating M-F since November, so there are some archives to peruse. (You'll see how I managed 5x per week when you see my 'art'.) The 'storyline' links in the sidebar point to natural places to start browsing.

Suggestions are extremely welcome.

Cheers,

Jonathan
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Thinking Ape



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm torn because I love the idea and think the writing is clever but I have a total hatred for clip art comics, more so this past week than ever before. Unfortunately, it seems it would be impossible for you to curry my favor ... it's basically Pavlovian for me: I see clip art, I want to kill.

I wish you would take a stab at drawing it yourself, however crude, or team up with an artists, because your ideas are funny and your voice should be heard.
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motty



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 24
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoying it so far. I wouldn't worry about people having a problem with it being clip art. That's what it is. That's what you decided to do. It's like making a black and white comic and having people say that they hate it because they think everything should be in colour. Don't worry about those people. Also, cheers. One thing I would say is that for a text heavy thing it's important that the text always be really clear to read. A couple of times so far it wasn't. Still legible but I did have to squint a bit with some of the smaller text and the stuff on the red background.
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GingerDead



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 230
Location: behind you

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ditto to thinking ape's sentiments. very good writing but the bad clip art makes me want to tear my eyes out. i'd rather see stick figures you drew yourself. if you must use the greyscale clipart, i beg you to cease and desist on the colored chat bubbles particularly the orange ones with gradient filter. bleh.

'married to the sea' uses clip art of old vintage illustrations and it works, so it's not like it can't be done without being an assault on the eyes. so maybe there's a way to improve your comic visually and still use clip art. i honestly don't know.

the writing really is strong enough to warrant an artist. you might want to put your feelers out on boards like this one and see if anyone wants to team up with you.

best of luck Smile
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ichikawa



Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 11
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the suggestions!

Unfortunately, I don't think that drawing my strips is a practical choice -- partially because I have very little talent in that particular artistic domain (did you see the picture in my banner? that's about as agood as it gets!), and partially because just writing is taking up enough of my limited time as it is. The idea of collaborating never occurred to me -- maybe it's worth further consideration.

Some of the tips are much more easily implemented, though, like the one about text being difficult to read in Michelle's orange-red gradient bubble. I've just lightened the color and removed the gradient, as a test -- can you tell me whether you think it looks better?

The original style:
http://lumpofclay.jollyutter.net/2006/12/01/breaking-the-news/

The prototype style:
http://lumpofclay.jollyutter.net/2007-03-12-modal-realism1.jpg

Thoughts?

One more question. Those of you who hate clip art -- is it the clip art yourself that you hate, or the fact that I'm not drawing each strip? Maybe I could draw one or two versions of each character just once, and cut and paste them around. Do you think that would represent an improvement?

Thanks again!

Jonathan
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GingerDead



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 230
Location: behind you

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes it looks better without the gradient Smile personally i wouldn't color in the chat bubbles at all, but losing the gradient is a big improvement.

i'm not a big fan of clipart but i understand that you dont feel up to drawing it. i guess what we were trying to point out is that you are actually a really good writer and with even a half way decent artist you could churn out a damn good comic. i'm not sure if a bad hand drawn image flipped back and forth would make it better. maybe. don't be so sure you can't do the art work yourself. i wasn't kidding when i said stick figures would be better, nor was i being sarcastic or anything.

are you familiar with any of these comics:
cyanide and happiness
toothpaste for dinner
natalie dee
married to the sea
white ninja

i'm too lazy to put in the links, but i think all of those are on my links page. they all use very minimalist simple artowrk except married to the sea which uses old timey clip art illustrations.

oh here is one for you! boy on a stick and slither . have you seen that one? it's fairly philosophical, uses pretty crappy drawings and has a damn big following.

i think the problem you will run into is people see the clip art, cringe and click off.

oh, hey you could do a photo comic. my favorite is www.asofterworld.com but recently i discovered tiny ghosts as well. aarin here on the forums does one too called aarin's desk. all of these just use images with no actual drawing.

there are ways around the lack of art skills/artist. i think if you wanted to you could find a better approach to this. not that you can't carry on as you are, but it would improve your chances of getting a larger reader base.

anyway, i sincerely wish you good luck whatever you decide to do. Smile
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Thinking Ape



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

motty wrote:
I wouldn't worry about people having a problem with it being clip art. That's what it is. That's what you decided to do. It's like making a black and white comic and having people say that they hate it because they think everything should be in colour. Don't worry about those people


Motty-

I beg to differ. It's not really like that at all. Adding color is a stylistic element to existing art ... I mean, would you call a manga fantasy comic, a PA style gamer comic and a sprite comic the same genre because they all use color? Clip art is a beat to death ugly genre that is currently suffering a huge backlash because people are sick to death of it. There are tons of played out art styles out there that various factions of the reading public are getting totally sick of, but clip art is the worst because it requires no effort or thought, really. It's like the creator is saying "I have no time or respect for 50% of the equation of a comic, so you the reader should just deal with it".

If the defense is that the writing is just so good, then fine, be comedy writer. These are comic strips and require 2 elements: writing, however good, and art, however good. I'd suggest that a clip art comic is not a comic at all but a marginally creative excercise, like whiting out the punchlines of a Family Circus cartoon and putting in your own non-sequitor. It might be funny once or twice, but it ain't a comic, it's an office prank you do to make a co-worker giggle for a second or 2. And it get's old real quick. Like back in 1999.

This guy writes good stuff and admits he's fairly consumed with the writing aspect and says he has no real drawing talent. I'd rather see his crude drawings than clip art, or even better, see him team up with an artist. And apparently I'm far from being alone, so maybe he should worry about "those people". No one has to be a fantastic illustrator and he doesn't "have" to do any of this, but I for one think his product would benefit greatly from having real art with it. As Ginger Dead said, his writing certainly warrants him finding an artist to give value to the other 50% of the equation. Y'know, using clip art is like saying "Hey, screw it, I'm a funny guy and I can't draw, but who needs to draw to do a comic? I'll just use some clip art, everyone's doing it, and besides, it's easy".

Well, it's easy for me to skip over yet another clip art comic. And alot more people than you might wanna admit feel the same way I do.
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Thinking Ape



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ichikawa wrote:
One more question. Those of you who hate clip art -- is it the clip art yourself that you hate, or the fact that I'm not drawing each strip?


Speaking strictly for myself, as a comic creator who's day job is an illustrator, I'm quite snobbish and loathe the laziness of a clip art comic. I'm obviously quite biased, since the use of clip art, to me, is like someone having a number one hit on the charts using karoake or something like that. I'm pretty old school and to me, a comic strip is drawings and writing. Writing over pre-existing images is an excercise. I love pop art and absurdism, but when I go to a museum, I'm gonna love a painting in any style far more than any collage or found art is. I enjoy the dada-esque aspect of a clip art comic, but only to a certain level, then it maxes out. And as I said, that plateau was reached years ago. It is only novel and interesting so much, and that point was about 6 months after Get Your War On/My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable became huge, and that was like 1999/2000.

So, I personally hate clip art comics almost across the board, even very good ones, which I consider yours to be. Sure, every once in awhile one will catch me off guard and make me laugh, but it's so won't a knock knock joke. And, being an illustrator, someone eliminating the need for actual art in a comic strip is on one level not only irritating, it's kinda offensive. Maybe this is how script writers feel about the proliferation of reality TV shows that require no writing.

That isn't to say no clip art is a valid artistic statement, it's just that I personally have had enough of them and voice my obnoxious opinion about them as often as I can in a one man war against the scourge of this crap. Becuase, UNLIKE your strip, most clip art comic suck total goat balls, so now you have no art AND crappy writing because, hey, any schmuck who thinks he's funny can crank out 10 strips a day using clip art.

The real point is, I think you are a very funny writer, so I'd love to see you reach a much higher level by finding an artist or cranking out a crude silly illo of your own (which has it's own dopey charms, too).

But maybe you just like the look of the clip art. That's fine, too, I just probably won't read any more of them, no offense.

Good luck with it, though, because, as I've said, I think your idea and writing are good.
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ichikawa



Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 11
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GingerDead:
Thank you very much for the strip recommendations and the advice! Looking at minimalist strips is opening my eyes to more possibilities; I will seriously consider whether I can draw this thing myself -- that's something I just never really considered before. I appreciate the advice, and the kind wishes.

Thinking Ape:
I certainly don't want to offend anybody's sensibilities of what a comic strip should be. I think that awesome art in comic strips is absolutely awesome. I would never suggest that it doesn't matter; I just hoped to be able to present my ideas without it, even though I know they'd be cooler with it. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as "if the defense is that the writing is just so good, then fine, be comedy writer". I'm looking for an easy way to make my fun accessible; if I were a standup comedian, or a writer for a TV show, I could do it that way. But I'm just a guy writing his dissertation and typing up silly dialogues in his free time. Comic form was the best way I could think of to get my stuff out there.

But I do appreciate the honest reaction and advice. Like I said above, I will think about different options, and toy around with the idea of trying to draw this thing myself. I'm not at all sure I'm up to it, and it'll time sime time experimenting, but I will give it serious thought.

Cheers,
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Thinking Ape



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ichikawa-

Oh, don't sweat it, you aren't offending anyone's sensilbilities. These boards sometime lead me to go off on tangents about larger issues than the comic at hand. Sorry this turned into a paper on "Critiquing the Clip Art Comic: The Horrible Cancer That Eats a Society's Underbelly Away".

What should have been my main point, simply put, is I really like your writing and think you could have a damn fine strip (or, I suppose, a damn finer strip) with original art, yours or another artist's. It would just put it in another league altogether. If you have no time/energy or simply aren't interested in doing that, that's cool. I think Ginger and I just wanted to encourage you in that direction if you were so inclined.

By the way, you might really like this comic .... I'm a huge fan of these guys, even though they're clearly insane:

Frederick The Great

It's bent philosophical and mathematical jaunt through time and space featuring Frederick, Sir Isaac Newton, Salvador Dali, Voltaire, Emily Dickinson ... just nutty crap. Plus, you can see how crude their art is, but it just sorta works.
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GingerDead



Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Posts: 230
Location: behind you

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

here's another that's self described as ' a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language'. definitely a smart comic using simple art.
http://xkcd.com/

if you like minimalism, (but by no means is the art 'simple") just a minimalistic approach with strong black and white artwork and smart, thoughtful writing often using very few words, check out Flowfield Unity:
http://www.flowfieldunity.transplantcomics.com/

you certainly take criticism well and seem like a really nice guy. i wish you well adn hope you'll stick around the forums here.
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