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Don't Cross the Tails
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:25 pm    Post subject: Don't Cross the Tails Reply with quote



This is just one of those basics of webcomics that everybody knows (or should know). When you have the first word bubble connected to the person on the right, things get confusing and those intersecting tails just don't look very good. I've seen comics where this happens in every single panel. Everything would have been so much better if the characters just swapped positions. But don't feel bad! I've done it at some point too. I think...

I know, for me, I can get half way through making a comic and realize that the characters aren't where they should be and I end up flipping everything. When I come up with a comic, usually the first thing I do is visualize how it looks in my head, and then work on the exact dialogue later. This burns an image of the comic in my head, and I fail to position the characters to match the dialogue. Weird huh? Happens to me all the time.

But anyway! Sometimes, in panel 1, person A talks first and person B talks second. But here comes panel 2, and person B talks first! You can't just have them suddenly swap spots, but there are some tricks you can use. Zoom out, zoom in, have only 1 character on screen, change the camera angle, and others! You just gotta be creative.

Word bubbles and the text within them probably don't seem all that important, especially compared to the art itself, but they're one of the most technical and essential pieces of any comic. If your word bubbles are hard to read in any way, your reader's eyes will stumble and get confused. You don't want that.

Here's a helpful (and very old) place of wisdom that helped me out with word bubbles when I started my webcomic: http://webcomictriage.blogspot.com/
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, yeah, there's plenty of tricks you can use if you have to have the person on the right talk first. I've done that one a couple of times. But that would have killed the joke : )
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Here's a good example that I found while looking through my archives. The guy on the left is walking, and he encounters another person. Because people read left to right, actions work best if they go from left to right too. So, I needed the encountered person on the right. By curving the tails around and smart positioning of the word bubbles, everything can still be easy to read.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3415
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooh ooh inspiration!



Okay so inspiration didn't get me that far. :P
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3415
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nothinghappenedtoday wrote:
smbhax: I don't know why, but I laughed my ass off at that one! Weird...

I embedded Joker gas in the image file.

;D
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lifes a Witch wrote:
Encifer: In your example, you could have rewritten the dialogue.

Left person: "Hey, aren't you Don Knotts from the Andy Griffith Show?"

Don: "Greetings, Traveler! Yes, That's me!" etc..

Wouldn't kill the joke at all.


Eh, that probably coulda worked too, haha.
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttallan wrote:
Encifer, that first strip you posted is a riot! Great visual gag.

Thanks! I came out better than I imagined haha.
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3415
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Metruis
Postpostpostpostpost!


Joined: 14 Oct 2008
Posts: 1019
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lifes a Witch wrote:
You know, this is why many pros suggest putting the text balloons/locations in first and drawing the panels around them. Artists don't like all their lovely work being covered with balloons and writers don't like the images confusing the text.

It's not a perfect technique, though... the bubbles need to be somewhat dependant on the art. I recommend doing a thumbnail sketch of your page first, including speech bubbles, but also a rough idea of the art. Now, this only works if you're doing all digital, but when you either 1) scan in 2) or just go to ink, make your speech bubble layer first. The thumbnails show where the characters are going, but aren't important or indisposable enough that when you inevitably must make changes, there's no major loss. Then once your speech bubbles are all done, do the art underneath.

Obviously if you're not digitally doing speech bubbles this isn't going to work, though. But as a digital creator I've definately found it's the best way about it.

And oy, that Alpha Beta Soup comic strip... the speech bubbles are awful, even if it weren't for the Comic Sans...
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smbhax.com
No! Don't post it there!


Joined: 10 Apr 2009
Posts: 3415
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lifes a Witch wrote:
You know, this is why many pros suggest putting the text balloons/locations in first and drawing the panels around them. Artists don't like all their lovely work being covered with balloons and writers don't like the images confusing the text.

Didn't know that! I guess the only sort of pro making of stuff I've followed is Marvel-comics-style production, and there it seems like the art goes down first, but they train their artists to leave loads of open space for balloons.
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Encifer



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guilty of drawing everything first and then trying to squeeze in the word bubbles afterwards. I can usually visualize approximately how much space the word bubbles will take up though.
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