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Critical cat is critical
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jdalton
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Joined: 01 Jun 2005
Posts: 2182
Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Critical cat is critical Reply with quote

Hello. My name is Jonathon Dalton. If you would like me to critique your webcomic, say so in this thread and I will do it. I promise to deliver a real critique, not just a "this sucks walnuts," or a "hey that's cool." Unless it is cool or sucks walnuts. You may choose from three levels of criticalness:
1.) Artschoolland
2.) Webcomicland
3.) Printqualityland
...And I will try to judge your work by comparison to your chosen peer group. If you don't pick a level I will pick one for you. If you would like me to post my response in a thread you've already started, just ask here and I will. This thread will continue until I get bored and stop, which is a highly likely event to occur.

Why am I starting my own thread instead of just participating in existing threads? Because too many people say they want critiques when they really don't, and everyone has different standards they want to compare themselves to (thus my invention of three levels).

Who the heck am I? Nobody, really. Just some guy on the internet. If you don't care what I think of your comic, please don't ask and I won't tell you.

EDIT: Changed the name of level 1. Just 'cause.
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Last edited by jdalton on Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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wendyw
The Bomb-diggity


Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 4126
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me be the first to say I think this is great.

Please critique Gilbert and Grim at Level 2.

Thank you very much Mr Dalton.
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Lifes a Witch



Joined: 28 Sep 2006
Posts: 681
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not only bunny-great.. it is witchy-great, too!

Please also sign me up at Level 2. I like how you have broken it down to level of experience/goal.

(Edited to add: Don't worry about the earliest stuff. If you would please evaluate from Jan2007 onward as that is how I am intending to go. It would take about 30-45 minutes to read through from there unless you have a really slow connex.)
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thestripedone
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Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 1604
Location: long beach california

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sweet. Can you sign me up for somewhere between level 2 and level 3? We are a webcomic (clearly), but I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on us as a "print-quality" comic. There isn't much up there to go on, but anything you can come up with would help dramatically. (if you don't feel there's enough to critique, that's fine too) And, please, don't hold back. I'm a big fan of "harsh critiquing". Laughing


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dpat57
Ich bin ein webcomicker


Joined: 11 Aug 2008
Posts: 2589
Location: Sunny/wet/windy Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally off-topic, I read your Foundation: Part One graphic novelette the other week, and enjoyed it lots.
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Dutch
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Joined: 30 Nov 1999
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll jump at this one too. You've been around the traps long enough and seem to measure your responses to just about everything, so I reckon I can take a decent amount of honesty from you.

I don't particularly mind which level you decide to critique it on. I don't really know what each level means anyway, so I'll let you choose what's best for your own criteria.

Have at it, eh?

When you get the chance.

Cheers.
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jdalton
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Joined: 01 Jun 2005
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Location: 1 hr east of Vancouver (currently)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wendyw wrote:
Gilbert and Grim at Level 2.

Mmkay here goes. This is a test as I'm not sure yet what I meant by the three levels I came up with.

First let me shout out a couple of things I like about G&G, that it has a lot of style and a lot of originality. These are not things to be discounted easily as I know of people who get paid to draw comics who lack both. Also, I think the internet could stand to have a few more funny cute comics considering the readership that's out there.

Next, on writing. I have to say that only a few of the pages actually made me lol. Though I didn't get bored enough to stop reading either. I'm not any sort of expert on writing comedy but I've got a friend who is and for him at least, comedy goes hand in hand with characterization. Most of his jokes serve a dual purpose- to make folks laugh, obviously, but also to either move the plot forward or cement the character's personalities in the mind of the reader. This is something I think you should work on. I can see that you have distinct characters, it's clear you know who they are and how they behave and they are not interchangeable shells, but the characters are having a hard time showing through. After 70 pages I still only have a vague sense of some of the characters and what they're like, and others not at all. My advice is to plan more of your gags around which characters you want to showcase and come up with funny stuff for them to do or say that will show off their personas in bright primary colours. Also, I'd lay off using too many TV show references. The Vikings were funny, but borrowing existing gags from popular culture is a slippery slope that usually doesn't end in a nice place. You can do just fine without it.

Next, the art. As I say, your art has style. That's half the battle (okay, maybe a third). I would not change your backgrounds much if at all, despite the wonky perspective. The colours neither, they suit this comic. But I think you've got a long way to go in the drafting skills department. Super-cartoony is a good direction to go in, but if you look at the folks who are best at that style, they really, really understand a couple of things- movement, and expression. Characters move in a way that feels authentic, even if the characters themselves are very simple, and their expressions feel real even if they've only got two dots and a line for a face. The only, only way to do this, I'm sorry, is to learn to draw from real life. Then take that innate knowledge you develop from years of study to winnow down reality to a few simple lines.

The circle arms and legs, for instance, I think are really holding you back. Right now your characters have only one position they can stand in and this severely limits the things you can have them do. But maybe easier to fix 70 pages into a story would be the expressions. Practice drawing your own face in various expressions in a mirror. Get good at it. You will find that all those shorthand tricks cartoonists use to draw simple faces are directly tied to things your face actually does- like eyes squinting up in a certain way when you smile. Humans are built to recognize these symbols on sight. The better you know how they work behind the scenes, the better you can trigger that recognition by drawing a few simple lines on a circle.

Hope that's helpful. You're obviously dedicated to drawing comics, so if you keep at it, good things will happen. Especially on the internet, where good ideas often trump how well they're executed.

Next critique whenever I get around to it.
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James Sawatsky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooooooooh level 2 please.
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thestripedone
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Joined: 12 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*applauds and votes five stars*
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strabo



Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are not bored of this idea by the time you get this far down the list, I would certainly appreciate any critique you could give me.

Your first review seems very thoughtful and helpful.
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wendyw
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Joined: 10 Jul 2008
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Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you.
That was a really interesting read and you made a lot of really good points. You've definitely given me some stuff to think about.

Again, thank you.

Very Happy
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Beertycoon
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Joined: 19 Feb 2008
Posts: 1382

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice critiques J, if you have time feel free to crit my comic too

jdalton wrote:
Practice drawing your own face in various expressions in a mirror. Get good at it. You will find that all those shorthand tricks cartoonists use to draw simple faces are directly tied to things your face actually does- like eyes squinting up in a certain way when you smile. Humans are built to recognize these symbols on sight. The better you know how they work behind the scenes, the better you can trigger that recognition by drawing a few simple lines on a circle.


I suggest making a reference sheet for expressions, I drew one for Maskerman a while ago and I must say that it's a great help to easily find the right expression when stuck.



Please excuse the bad scan, it's not inked
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wendyw
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Posts: 4126
Location: North-East England

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's pretty cool.
I think I will do one or two of those.
Thanks. = )
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mirz



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 524
Location: Near Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have to say, while I never really sought out "public" critiques before, I do feel it's time to get a once over. Anyhow, I would like to sign up for level 2. However...

Put me at the end of the list. If you get around to it, great. If not, that's fine too. Again, I'll readily admit mine is more hobby (even though I do care about how good it is and my readership), and I don't want to preclude anyone who wants the critique because they are trying to do something more professional.

Oh, and please keep in mind my comic is family-friendly. I've gotten comments before which are issues only in a more adult-oriented strip.
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thirtyseven



Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 177
Location: Dortmund, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Jonathon!
I would like you to critique Union of Heroes. Because you do not have a "Photocomicland" level I choose the "2) Webcomicland" one instead. Maybe you can judge my work by comparison to other photocomics but you do not have to, just a suggestion. Feel free to compare it with whatever webcomic you want. I'm looking forward to read it.
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Psst... Did you visit the "Union of Heroes" today?
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