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Things to Avoid When Making Comics

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 1, 2011, 9:50 AM
Or, Things That Really Annoy Crowbar

Edit April 16: Given recent comments, it's come to my attention that the tone I've used is too derogatory and using others' work as examples was a huge mistake. I've rewritten it to be what I hope is more constructive, and removed the examples (since half were missing anyway). My intention with the examples was only to provide example of that one element, not to completely defame the authors or insinuate their entire comic is shit. All the examples had good and bad to them, but the focus of this write-up is the bad. [/edit]

The majority of these issues are things I see in OCT entries and could be easily avoided and/or improved on. Please be aware that these are things I find issue in, and some points may be more subjective than others. For most points, I've explained why I think it's wrong, what can be done to fix it, and how it can be made to work well. Above all, think about how each element of your comic impacts the narrative and use them to achieve a purposeful effect.


Same-Size Panels

In comics, panel size equals panel time. If they're all the same size, it has an even rhythm and your eye glances from panel to panel at an even rate. It also ends up looking more like a storyboard. Changing it up alters the flow of time and the viewer's eye. Use small panels for quick action and large ones for when there's an image you really want your viewers to dwell on.
On the other hand, using a storyboard-esque layout can be a powerful way to control pacing, such as in Watchmen. Carefully consider what actions to show and how much space to devote to them, and don't be afraid to toss up the layout if need be.


Packed Panels

This is a very subjective one. It refers to comics that place many panels per row (say, 4, 5, or more), and rows are stacked horizontally, unlike a strip. I find it works fine in monochrome works, such as Lackadaisy Cats, but when in colour looks really crowded and cramped. Dresken Codak is a comic enjoyed by many of my friends, but I can't get into it because I actually find the packed layouts disturbing. Still, I can appreciate the artist's very useful words on advanced layouts.


Uneven Panels

Especially when it comes to the outside borders of the panel group (which should all be in the live area if you're doing a conventional page-by-page comic), the panels edges should line up. It'll keep them looking neat and tidy, otherwise it might seem like you've just pasted panels in willy-nilly. It is common to have panels extend beyond the live area, but it's generally done by bringing the edges out to a consistent measurement or right to the bleed.
Unevenness is easier to get away with if you use hand drawn panels, but you still gotta watch that they look neat. Of, if they're wild, make sure it's for a wild scene.


Art & Panel Style Discrepancies

Unless your art style consists of chicken scratches, your panel border style shouldn't be chicken scratches, either. Same goes for the straightness/smoothness of the edges, they should match the qualities of your style. So, an art style that's very bouncy, energetic, and uses clean lines won't go well with edges that are pinched in (this fits), but are a mess of many marks. If all else fails, use a ruler with the most common drawing tool used.
Hanna Is Not A Boys' Name and Ratfit are good examples of having the panel edges match the style.


Mile Wide Gutters

Guters are the spaces between panels. If you make them too large, they needlessly inflate the size of your comic and overwhelm the content of the panels. It's also a sign of poor planning, as it looks like the panels were made independent of each other and pasted together without much consideration. Panels should fit like a puzzle, not like pictures floating in space.
Mile-wide gutters might work if you want to create a scene that's loose and disjointed, like a dream. Or, to signify a large gap in time between panels.


Non Gutters

Mile Wide Gutter's polar opposite, but still almost as bad. Also possibly a result of over-correcting Art & Panel Style Discrepancies. Non-Gutters occur when panels touch each other and are separated the same way everything else is drawn. This makes panels hard to distinguish, and panels may be inferred where they shouldn't be if any verticals or horizontals are present.
Non-Gutters work well with simple styles that leave a lot of negative space around the characters and other objects.

There's a sweet spot for gutter size that varies with style. It can even vary from panel-to-panel-to-panel. Try to think of gutters as the time between panels. You may find a time where having a huge gutter and/or floating panels will benefit your narrative. Overlapping or insetting panels may create non-gutters, but can be used to affect the flow of time.


Gutter Talk

This occurs when normal dialogue is placed in the gutters, and often accompanies Mile-Wide Gutters. It's bad because it separates the words from the speaker and context of which it's said. It's also representative of poor planning, that not enough space in the panel was left for word bubbles. Remedying this simply involves planning: leave space for bubbles when you draw the panels. It's made easier when doing comics completely digitally because you can place text & bubbles before drawing.
Gutter Talk works when you do want separation of dialogue and speaker, such as for narration, or maybe an omniscient character is watching the scene unfold and commenting on it from another location.


Badly Drawn Bubbles

Done poorly, hand-drawn bubbles are clonky, unattractive, and very distracting. Bubbles should be something you just glance over for the sake of reading. When you notice them, they interfere with the art.
Hand-drawn bubbles CAN work, and plenty of comics use them. It just takes practice. But, until your skills are up to snuff, practice should perhaps be left to scraps. Remember to draw them around text blocks so they'll fit. If you just can't draw bubbles - like me - use vector tools.


Misshapen Bubbles

Even though hand-drawn bubbles will invariably have variations in them, all bubbles should be simple shapes that fit the text. Making the text and/or bubble misshapen to fit the art is another sign of poor planning, and good planning is all that it takes to remedy it. It's okay to have bubbles cut off my panel borders, and having them be cut off by objects can insinuate that the speaker is behind something.

My general rule is that one bubble = one breathe. The tails of speech bubbles should go from the centre of the bubble and point at the source of the speech/sound, generally someone's mouth.


Bad Flow of Dialogue

The Flow of Dialogue is an imaginary line that connects all word bubbles. Ideally, this will be a smooth line that hits all important text and art elements and spans the entire page. If your dialogue flow is too jagged, or doubles over on itself, it will make reading conversations confusing to readers.

The flow of dialogue is a great tool to direct the viewer's gaze. If the source of sound is off the panel, the tails can be used to direct the viewer to where it is (say, placing a new character in an environment), or lead into the next panel.


Square Text, Round Bubble

It's like trying to put a square block through a round hole, it ain't gonna fit. You should alter your text block to fit the shape of the bubble to be used, which may have to be done manually depending on how you place text. I sometimes end up fiddling with text blocks for a good while just to make them fit. If you just can't do it, use rectangles or rounded rectangles for bubbles.


Coloured Bubbles

This one is also very subjective. Colour draws attention (especially in a grayscale comic), makes the bubbles noticeable, distracts from the art. If you're colouring the bubbles for the sake of giving each character an identifying colour, STOP. Any alterations to the bubbles or text, even colour should be for the sake of expressing something about the character's voice or speech patterns. Kukuburi does it well. I think it's also alright to make all bubbles a bit off-coloured (like cream or light, pale blue) to lessen contrast.


Identifier Tags

If your readers can't tell who's speaking without you writing the name of the character in the bubble, you're not planning well enough. Stop and think for a moment: are there any other ways to show who's speaking? Is it absolutely imperative for the speaker to be known? Connecting a bubble to something the character previously said may work.


Bad Handwritten Dialogue

Don't do this unless you have a very neat printing style, can write levelly, and don't use frills. I often find handwritten text hard to read and the letter might have some uncharacteristically loopy letters (E's tend to be a big offender) that really grate on me. If you can't find good comic book fonts, check out BlamBot, they have a bunch of good free ones.


Comic Sans MS

Just because it has comic in its name, doesn't mean it's good for comics.


Picking Colours from Reference Sheets

This one happens a lot in OCTs, given that you have to use others' characters. Never use the colours off someone's ref sheet. Chances are, you and the other artist have different conceptions of what colours are light and dark, and when the characters are together using reference colours, they'll clash and/or the others' character won't fit. Generally, I make a new set of swatches for each scene, because colours will also be altered by the environment they're in. If you're really stuck, use the reference colours and alter them with filters such as Hue & Saturation and Colour Balance. Ideally, you should read up on colour theory.


Telepathic Speech

This occurs when a speaking character has his/her mouth closed. Solution: draw the mouths open. I find that having their mouths closed while they're speaking makes a panel sterile. The mouth can express better when it's open than when it's closed. Also keep in mind that the mouth takes on different shapes for different sounds and expressions. Sounds like "mmmm" do leave the mouth closed.


Gaping Maws

Kinda the opposite of Telepathic Speech, when a character's mouth is constantly open and unchanging. It makes the character seem static, when otherwise they may be talking animately. To fix it, study the different shapes made by the mouth, even just by making faces in a mirror.
Gaping Maws could work for things like prolonged yawns and screams.


Meme & Texticon Faces

Trollface, Raegface, etc etc. These face may be funny, but they cross the fourth wall and take the reader out of the story. Same goes for texticon faces - they don't properly reflect emotions. It's fine to use exaggerated expressions, but make sure they have root in proper facial movements. Study how people react in cinema, TV, and real life. This guide is a very helpful resource.

Add a Comment:
 
:icongrumpy-old-snake:
Grumpy-Old-Snake Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Student
I am currently participating in a 'practice' OCT, and recently made a second attempt at doing a few comic pages. I feel that I made a big improvement between my first try [link] and my most recent [link] [link] , especially in my panel layout and pacing. Is this feeling unfounded, or am I moving in a good direction?
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:iconkillerspiderwebs:
killerspiderwebs Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011
0.o lots of hates... oh well i thought this was very useful thank you for your information after reading this i am going to go fix all my comics XD i just do em by hand though! lol
Reply
:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I was aiming more for snark than hate, but oh well. it's old and in the past. |D
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:iconkillerspiderwebs:
killerspiderwebs Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011
haha its ok it helped me though im trying to get in a tournament with my characters but idk if i have found the right one yet.. or one that i can actually audition for XD
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hah, well, you can always make comics on your own. :) Best way to learn is to just keep at it, find a practice that works for you, and keep reading other comics, to see what they do right and wrong.
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:iconkillerspiderwebs:
killerspiderwebs Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2011
haha yea i hope that will help.. my mother never lets me read them though she sas my brain will melt and they are a waste of my time.. so i go to the library and read them! XD and thatnks for the advice! :iconshaplz:
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:iconartic-blue:
Artic-Blue Featured By Owner May 28, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oooh, I'm guilty of some of these. :iconotlplz:
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well, now you know what to improve on. =P
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:iconangry-paradox:
Angry-Paradox Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I don't see why people have to hate on this, there good suggestions and people don't necessarily have to follow them. It doesn't make you wrong, it probably looks good the way you're doing it right now. So keep doing that and stop hating please because your making me cry lol :iconcryplz:
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner May 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Ah, if you hadn't seen the old written version, it was written in a harsher tone, and that's where the complaints come from. Thanks for your support, though.
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:iconalgy:
algy Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011
My comment won't at all sound rude since you put yourself in that position first. However, Celesse and I spend a lot of time on paneling and layout for Strays, what we are not lazy about it at all. Our pages are not comic strips so why make the panels perfectly even? The panel example you provided only shows a dialogue between characters, so nothing super special needs to be done to "enhance" the effect. Do you even read published comics and manga? Even some of the more popular books have uneven paneling.
I know you're trying to point out things that bother you or seem helpful to others, but you shouldn't make it sound disrspectful with the examples you provided.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
If nothing needs to be done to enhance it, why bother making it jittery in the first place? I mostly read webcomics over print, and most I know of either only have their panels extend to the edges of the live area, or that plus some going to the bleed. The print comics I have on hand (only a few, I'll admit), bring their panels to different extents but they're consistent with it. I know the amount of effort required to make a good layout, and yours are good - except for the weird jitteriness. I still enjoy Strays, so, yeah.

I suppose a rewrite of this is in order given recent comments. :I
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:iconkokoniko:
KokoNiko Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011
Hello. I have never spoken to you and I really don't care to, honestly, but this was brought to my attention (although I realize this journal was posted quite a while ago) and it has nothing to do with comic making and I really don't care to read it. Flat out, I just have to say you're incredibly rude and disrespectful to make this so called 'journal' pointing out mistakes in comics without the consent of the artists.

First off, if you want to make comments on comic paneling styles, why don't you make a REAL tutorial and do your own work and make your own right and wrong examples with helpful instructive explanations rather than your bias opinions. To just pick up the artwork of others and make comments just shows that you are arrogant with no class. All I see is someone complaining about the art style of others because in most cases paneling is a stylistic choice, there is no right or wrong way, otherwise there would be a set guideline. Some people do well with whatever paneling they choose to do, and for you to tell people what's wrong with the way they present their comics is INCREDIBLY arrogant. Please get off your high horse.

In short, you are being disrespectful not only as an artist to other artists, but as a human being. A DECENT human being.

I would really be ashamed if I were you. Constructive criticism is one thing, if you were doing it to HELP the person which would be done in a RESPECTFUL manner and PRIVATELY noted to them, not blatantly put on public display specifically to point out their flaws without their knowledge or consent to everyone like some sort of show that has the sole purpose of poking fun at others.

On top of that, it sure seems funny that there aren't any comic panels that YOU'VE done to show an example of. Am I to assume your comics are perfect without any mistakes or flaws? I highly doubt this. If you were even half as much, or even a quarter as much of an exemplary artist than anyone that you just ridiculed and put up for show without so much as a word to them except in this thoroughly disrespectful public manner (which proves you are doing it to inflate your ego, not to help anyone but yourself) then you would be critiquing yourself and making your own observations in your own HAND MADE TUTORIAL with your OWN MATERIAL instead of being so incredibly LAZY and DISRESPECTFUL that all you can do is cut out panels from the works that people put their heart into for FUN and to geniunely improve, not to be ridiculed by some pompous windbag such as yourself. If anything, you could learn from the people you just showcased how to be a REAL artist.

In short, the best way to title this journal is to remove everything and simply put 'I dislike any comic done in any way except my own.' It would have saved everyone so much time and maybe you could have saved even a sliver of your own dignity.

Really, if it bothers you so much and you are too 'lazy,' in other words, unable to be a decent, respectful human being and only care to ridicule others in what can only be seen as an attempt to inflate your ego that has already reached a size larger than that of the Hindenburg, I suggest you either just STOP reading the comics of those who upset you or get that under control before you find yourself to have a similar fate, metaphorically, of course.

My last thoughts to you are that I would not have ever cared to say a word and wasted my time here to even glance at your journal, but you really need to be told how disrespectful and terrible you look by doing this. I wouldn't be surprised if most of your friends and associates here on this website would have lost most, if not all respect for you after you had posted this journal. Learn to have humility and realize that art is a form of expression, not just a mix of media slapped onto a canvas or scribbled into photoshop through a tablet, it's also reflected in your personality and I doubt anyone can or would even care to see the beauty in the art of someone who can only see the flaws in the art of others.
Reply
:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I didn't make a real tutorial because I didn't, and still don't, have the time. I do have the plans to turn it into a tutorial, saying more precisely what's wrong with each thing, how to fix it, and how it can work. Which is only expanding on what's already written here. Whenever that does get made, I will definitely be taking the time to make examples, and the the examples here will be removed. The journal itself will not be removed for the sake of record keeping. Whether it's good or bad, I have to live up to what I've said.

Comics are all about stylistic choices, but they have to be good choices. If I thought these were good choices, I wouldn't have complained. Claiming it's OK because it's your style and there are no set guidelines is the wrong attitude to have as an artist. And, if you're a hobbyist, realise that you are posting to a community with artists, you always run the risk of critique.

Ah, actually, that's a good point about not using my own comics as examples. However, this journal was more about personal pet peeves, so, obvi, I can avoid all those in my own work. If you look at all the points made in the journal, they're technical issues, and don't deal with artistic skill or writing quality. My comics are not flawless, but I believe they are good technically.

I also believe you're taking this WAY too poorly and seriously. Did you look at any of the comments? People have found it helpful, even ones used as examples. The examples that were removed were because of events unrelated to the posting of this journal. There was an instance of someone disagreeing with me on a valid point, and I edited the journal based on what she said.

On further consultation, with a friend, apparently it was douchey of me to use others' works as examples. I did not think of it that way. As the top of the journal says, most were used simply because I was familiar with them, not for being outrageously bad. But, yeah. Long comment has been noted.
Reply
:iconkokoniko:
KokoNiko Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011
It just shows how lazy and disrespectful you are and it doesn't really matter who found it 'helpful' or not, it just shows they share your views on how comics should be done, which there is, again, NO SINGLE WAY TO DO IT.


And, once again, the point of my comment was not about your 'pet peeves' it's about your disrespect for other artists and I think you should remove the example immediately. For those who are fine with it, you can leave them up since you have THEIR PERMISSION, but I know for a fact you did not have permission from Dark-Velox and you should remove it and send her apology for your inappropriate behavior.

The POINT was that you were being disrespectful to the people you are showcasing to poke fun at. You are familiar with their work, you aren't familiar with the person and have no right to post their things up here without their permission and again you are helping OTHER people who SHARE THE SAME VIEWS AS YOU so it's really a no brainer they would feel this helps them. You are still being terribly inappropriate to those who you do not know and you are basically saying 'hey everyone, this person comics wrong and I'll point it out without saying anything to them, but post a journal about it publicly so we can all agree how wrong it is instead of talking to that person in a respectful manner and giving them constructive criticism.'

I feel you are just one of the most disrespectful people here on a DA and you are far too arrogant to see it.

I don't really care how you feel about how I am taking it, but you should apologize who you featured up here in a negative manner and remove these examples and if you have pet peeves, then keep the journal but there is no reason to point fingers and call people out specifically.

I could have noted you and asked you in a more appropriate manner, I admit this, but I was upset at how you were basically making judgment on people you do not know and you are basically breaking them down publicly, you are not helping them. You are just pointing out to people who does things wrong, or really just what you so arrogantly think is wrong in YOUR eyes.

I feel you owe them an apology and should remove the examples and not point fingers at people. If you want to complain, fine. If it bothers you, don't read their comics. If you think people are doing it wrong, then make a tutorial with YOUR OWN MATERIALS and then people can waste their time there, but this journal was completely inappropriate.

I'm pretty much done here and it's redundant, but I just feel you owe them an apology and should take the examples down NOW not say you will and continue to leave them up.
Reply
:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
lol notes. It's the internet, there's no such thing as privacy. If D-V wants her bit removed, she can ask me.
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:iconkokoniko:
KokoNiko Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011
lol illiteracy. Not once was the subject of privacy ever an issue.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, I'm not reading waves of small font.
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:icondark-velox:
dark-velox Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Student General Artist
hello i would like my bits removed
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Sure thing!
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:iconkokoniko:
KokoNiko Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
You missed one, genius.

Oh, wait sorry.

You missed one.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I did, sorry.
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:iconhipster-coyote:
Hipster-Coyote Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011  Student General Artist
Hurr, commenting almost a month later.

I'm incredibly guilty of the Uneven Paneling. I DO use guides and stuff when making my panels, but sometimes I end up making the panel smaller when a part of the drawing just won't come out right. (CHEATING, I KNOW.)

Occasionally done the Mile-Wide Gutter, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. Gutter Talk is usually connected to a previous text balloon, or its not actually in a text balloon. Haha. (GOSH I SUCK AT COMICS)

I never thought about the 'breath per balloon' thing, though. DEFINITELY will keep that in mind. And when I pick from ref sheets I usually do that as a base, and then change the color a bit to suit me better.

Even when I was little I knew Comic Sans was a bad font hahaha...
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:icongattlin:
Gattlin Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2011
These are great tips, it will defenantly help on a web comic collaberation I'm working on and brings quite a bit on insite for writing a script for a comic format.
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:iconluciddreampop:
LucidDreamPop Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011  Student Digital Artist
8I...-tries to remember to read this later-
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:iconkalkie:
kalkie Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Filmographer
*bookmarked under Art Learning folder*

There's a lot of great points here for remembering and learning from.

and i just discovered some new webcomics to keep an eye on, yay!

I'd love to hear your critique on my comics in the future, provided I ever upload a decent page and not my RL doodle ramblings.
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:iconblyu-dono:
Blyu-dono Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Student General Artist
DONT HATE ON MY BUBBLES YOU BITCH 8U

those were the best bubbles I EVER DID EVER. lol- no even I knew those bubbles were shit when i posted them 8u i was like "damn- oh well not like i want to do it again" Im lazy :B

some of these i agree with other things i think connect alot to style (artistic expression?) and i feel its alittle creative. :B Like I don't mind them at all- then again this is your take on what annoys you lol. Im jus waiting for some innovative comic style. XD i guess HiNaBN defines that.

i like uneven panels when they're done smoothly at least (like in your example) :B and i like wobbly ones too. XD

meh, I guess I'm lax, Hullos a comic military general.
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:iconblyu-dono:
Blyu-dono Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Student General Artist
:B buck teeth in a diagonal row intended
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:iconorange-castle:
Orange-Castle Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011
This journal entry is helpful, thanks for the guide! I recognize some of these from my earlier comics and some mistakes I sometimes do should improve on. I'll probably refer to this journal now and then.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
No problem. :> I'll be keeping a link to it in the sidebar of my journal until a deviation-based version is made. That should be easier to keep track of.
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:iconnannairb:
Nannairb Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
>Telepathic speech

Can be good for deadpan statements, or characters without a lot of expression. I find I like to use it on 'serious' characters in contrast to the really obnoxious ones who are being silly. Thoughthat'sjustme.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I still think even a Flat What should have the mouth open. It doesn't have to be by a lot, and it can still be expressionless (see: Dull Surprise).
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:iconnannairb:
Nannairb Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I just hate the idea of a bunch of panels describing a conversation, and having the characters never, ever close their mouths. It gives me the feeling that a fly could buzz in there and they wouldn't notice 'cause their mouths have dried out.

In a conversation, most of the panels should have open mouths. A few should be closed as a 'rest.' Or just barely open. Like barelybarely.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
If the shapes of the mouths change enough - and they should - the fly-in-the-mouth issue shouldn't present itself. But, I'll agree that I also dislike like seeing a string of gaping mouths. The mouth changes shape for various vowels and consonants, that should be reflected in the art. If a rest is needed, show a character silent in a panel.
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:iconnannairb:
Nannairb Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
'Aight



Baring teeth is fine, right? Like "Eeeeeeeeeeeeew"
So long as lips are parted, I'm thinking
Though I try to match expression to the most important part of the dialogue in the panel. I find it disjointed when a character says a bunch of things and changes mood, but the picture doesn't match up by the end.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, so long as the lips are parted. F and V are made from contact between the upper teeth and lower lip, so it works. Exceptions to open-mouth would be sounds like "mmmmm." Labials...? I totally forget the proper terminology.
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:iconnannairb:
Nannairb Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I will keep this in mind.

Labia is lips, but be careful with it, hurr.
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:icondigidaydreamer:
DigiDayDreamer Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
Pretty sweet entry there. Wish there was a way to fave journals. XD

To be honest, the more I saw that majority of your examples are from the Rise OCT, the more I half-expected that my comics (or rather Inzekkt's and mine) would end up being eventually used. XD So I guess we did a decent job in your eyes?

You should probably show this to the OCT-Followers group, they got a page for OCT-related advice: [link]
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Maybe, after this goes through some revisions, I'll make a deviation-based version of it. I was going to do that initially, but I figured getting permission from everyone would have been too convoluted and time consuming. I'll have to wait until I get time to make my own examples.

I used examples that I'm familiar with, so that's why most are form Rise and by *someguy0203 (no slight against the guy, he still makes good entries).
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:iconthedemonsurfer:
TheDemonSurfer Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
Somehow, judging by a few of your comments.... I think this was my fault XDD
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Nah, it's actually something I've been meaning to do since like... round 6 of Rise, haha.
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:iconnightmargin:
NightMargin Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Whoaa half of the stuff in here I never even noticed before.

And I agreeee, a lot of the oct comic problems stem from poor layout planning. I am so guilty of that you don't even know...it's not even poor planning, it's no planning at all. I usually just go "ohgod I gotta finish the story and pictures before deadline" and just wing everything else...even the dialogue...

I AM SUCH AN ORGANIZED PERSON :iconwalleyedplz:
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
There just isn't enough time for OCTs to properly devote to planning layouts, but there are some simple things - rulers and guides - that can be used to at least tighten them up. I have the feeling that mile-wide gutters arise from making panels, then placing them willy-nilly in a large canvas.

The best thing to do is make thumbnails of the layouts, and experiment with them. Sometimes 1 is enough, other times I'll make thumbnails upon thumbnails... and change the layout once again when it comes to pencilling the page. XD
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:iconnightmargin:
NightMargin Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
"I have the feeling that mile-wide gutters arise from making panels, then placing them willy-nilly in a large canvas."
You are a psychic :iconooohplz:


And believe me, if I didn't make thumbnails they would look about 10 times worse ;n;
Must...take...layout...lessons...
*proceeds to read a million comics*
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:iconizuma:
Izuma Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man, I remember the days when the really old OCTs were only 2 weeks long. Kinda makes you wonder how they do it all. I remember having to scribble out something on my sketch book and scan it in to at least paste onto the canvas. I'd, at least, manuveur the picture so that the gutters aren't ginormous but it's still painful.

I could never layout very well.
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:iconpowflip:
PowFlip Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011
I mostly agree, but you make some careless generalizations.

Similiar sized panels? What about The Watchmen or From Hell for instance?

Yes panel sizes play a part in how the read perceives time - but when you go for lots of same sized panels - the one big one has a much larger impact. Used cleverly, there's nothing wrong with using lots of similar sized panels.

On the other hand - gutter space also serves a function relating to the perception of time - ie how much between what is going on in panels. So it's really hard to fault a comic for uneven panels. While you state that it's a sign of laziness, obviously that's not always true. You might have tried to find an example of how to properly utilize uneven gutters and panel sizes to demonstrate what it looks like when done well, instead of just generalizing that it's something to avoid.

Related to the above, there are situations where it can be justified to run without gutter space between panels. Although, I admit that usually when you see people drawing comics without gutters they're doing it wrong.

Wobbly panel borders... I might be a A LITTLE BIASED ( xD ) - but I don't think they're a problem so long as they fit the mood and the art.

Otherwise I pretty much have to agree. Although I think it would have been worth mentioning also that people should learn how to draw action lines - since it seems even pros these days have forgotten - and how to draw sound effects, since most people just do them by computer, even when they clash with the style of the comic.
Or that colors aren't a substitute for spot blacks, or... well I could write a book if I wanted. Some of these problems are just way too common amongst amateurs, and even pros lately.
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:iconnessperez:
nessperez Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011
owo/) Same size panels are why i couldnt get through watchmen! Which is a shame.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I've made a few edits based on your comments. Hopefully, the bits about panel and gutter sizes are more balanced now.
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:iconcrowbartk-hullo:
CrowbarTK-Hullo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
As I said at the top, I realise that all these items can be done well. But, in most examples I find among the OCT crowd, they don't work.

Watchmen still changed up the layout fairly often, using 1x3, 3x1, 2xwhatever panels a few times a chapter. I guess I should specify on the same-size panels one... I only had misuses in mind, since I'm helping someone else with comics and can't help but think the proportions of the panels should be a lot more varied. A lot of wide shots are quite small, and I don't think it works.

I can easily fault a comic for uneven panels. Look at that example from Strays. The top borders of the bottom two panels are off by a pixel. I can't imagine that being done for any purpose other than not using guides. All the outside margins are also varied by small amounts. They just don't amount to anything, and the feel of the comic wouldn't be changed any if they were snapped into order. I don't mind uneven panels if they're done in a way that makes sense.

I'll admit that wobbly borders are a huge pet peeve of mine. I like order, and chicken scratch and bendy borders are just disgusting to me. If chicken scratches are going to be used, they should, as you said, fit with the mood and art. Hanna is the only comic I've read using them where it doesn't grate on me.

This thing could go on and on and on and on. xD I wanted to stick mainly to purely comic matters, since action lines and colour theory are independent of that. It would end up being Things to Avoid In All Kinds of Art. Like you said, you could write a book on it.

Sound effects... I could use my own comics as example images, I suck at them so much. If you know any resources about making them, please, send me a link. |D
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:iconjaebirdy:
Jaebirdy Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been considering making a comic, so this was very useful. Thanks for sharing.
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