It shocks the reader, drawing into immediate focus how fragile life is. A person, one cherished and loved and depended on by all who knew him, gone in an instant.
an excerpt from Chapter 21 of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: the narrator is speaking at Tod Clifton's funeral.
"Can I say in twenty minutes what was building
twenty-one years and ended in twenty seconds? What are you waiting for,
when all I can tell you is his name? And when I tell you, what will you
know that you didn't know already, except perhaps, his name?...
... His name was Tod Clifton and he was full of illusions. He thought
he was a man when he was only Tod Clifton. He was shot for a simple
mistake of judgment and he bled and his blood dried and shortly
the crowd trampled out the stains."
(btw, you should read the rest of the speech. It's fantastic)
Whatever we build can be finished in an instant with the cutting of our thin mortal threads. What he built with twenty-one years of wisdom and sacrifice was finished in twenty seconds of poor judgement.
Purposeless death makes a story seem real. It makes a reader feel anger or sorrow, and if a story can make a reader feel anything, that's a story worth reading.
There's no bravery in danger, no sacrifice in war, no badassery in the time of darkest peril without permanent death.
There's one webcomic I read, Slightly Damned, and it explored both sides of the coin. There's Heaven, Hell, and Median (consider it equivalent to earth)
Medians died and went to heaven or hell, and there are ways to get back to median from heaven or hell.
For Angels and Daemons, however, death was permanent. No souls. No nothing. When they die, there is nothing.
One of the supporting characters, a Daemon, died about 100 pages into the comic. The median character had already died. There was a deep sense of wrongness that for her, death was reversible, and it was just the irreversible End for the Daemon.
That's essentially what convinced me of the importance of permanent death. It makes courage and cowardice mean something, when the price of failure is the oblivion of eternity.
Oh and there is a distinct reason for the mammalian traits, but telling it would ruin a lot. Besides spoiler background story, I found it really difficult to make her face look distinctly feminine: what we see as feminine doesn't translate well to a face with a snout. Little quirks like the eye and jaw shape transfer ok, but the boobs very easily remove ambiguity.
Gray backgrounds: unfortunately, they're there for the next couple pages. Good news, they'll be outside next. So that means actual backgrounds.
I have just figured out (ie yesterday) how to center text in GIMP, so that's part of the solution.
Lettering can be easily changed, I'm glad there's something that doesn't take a ton of effort and practice to fix :D
So, I've switched mediums from physical lineart/digital everything else to all digital, and I haven't been able to post since: I don't think I'm good enough yet, though I'm posting this sunday for sure. Gotta send out something, or I'm afraid I'll stall out.
Anyways, feedback would be appreciated, but one thing:
Page 2 is godawful, I know. It's before I realized gutters, or any sort of decent layout was necessary, and I thought gradients were an acceptable substitute for actual backgrounds (not that others have it) I looked at it the next week, and it's become part of my motivation to be better: if it looks like page 2, it's time to start over.
GigaNerd17:Many thanks for the thoughts, Wilson and Schizo. I suppose I'll have to take some time figuring out what I exactly want to be doing with these character designs.
Then again, perhaps I just introduced the Pokémon aspect the wrong way. I sort of envisioned it like Arthur -- mostly anthropomorphic, not aware of their drastic racial differences, and essentially human. Does this change anything?
[spoiler]Image Image Image[/spoiler]
Either way, I'm currently seeing what I can do artistically to make the comic work with humans.
Whoah hey I like those last three! I agree with Ranger: you could so easily make them human, but drawing on the pokemon's defining physical quirks: so the charizard character wouldn't have wings, but he would have kind of a long, square face, with harsh eyes.
Essentially, when you look at a pokemon, what defines it? Not just the massive mushroom head and tail, but things like the chin shape, the build, where they're thin and where they have muscle.
You could even make how they dress a nod to the pokemon they're based on, like having the breloom character wear a yoga top and sweatpants, and kind of a thing for large green sunbonnets.
Raichu is cool too: see, you can make lots unique character designs, you just need inspiration, like any mortal. For you, that inspiration is pokemon.
(you may notice from my comic, however, that I have nothing against non-human characters :D)
I'm glad this is being talked about, I've have to think about this recently.
I just switched to using only digital art: previously I'd been doing the linework on paper. I thought I'd transition fairly quickly, it can't be that different, right?
Holy crap no. I've had to stop updating entirely as I've been trying to figure out how to do linework digitally as comfortably as I do it on paper.
I haven't updated in 3 weeks, and it's killing me. I think this week I'll just put the next one up, no matter how much I don't like it. I can't just stop telling the story, I've worked too hard making this world to stall out now.
So for now, I'll be giving up some art for story. If I don't buckle down and actually do it, I'll never get better. It's better to make something I consider subpar, and keep moving, than stop entirely until I get to an unrealistically high standard I consider "good enough."
I've been using a standard mechanical pencil, then india inking pens, then a scanner and GIMP to color it, but I just got a shiny new bamboo tablet. I've been fiddling with it, trying out different pressure sensitivity/response/input setups, and hopefully I can cut out everything but GIMP!
I didn't have time to do more than skim through your archives. Your lineart is good, and there is a lot of potential, I'm looking forwards to what you'll be capable of in a few years.
If I could make a suggestion (though I honestly am in no place to critique: remove the plank from thine own eye and all that): while pure traditional art has its charms, doing the coloring digitally makes a comic look surprisingly more professional and eye-pleasing: colored pencil tends to look pale if careful attention is paid to the tone, and too dark if an attempt is made to make the colors look rich. Digital coloring largely circumvents these disadvantages.
I will make the effort to read through your archives, though, the effort of posting regularly ought not be ignored!
My own comic is Shadow of the Primus, a fantasy adventure graphic novel. I have decided not to use humans, and my characters cannot be properly classified as furries either. I update sundays.
My most recent page is the one I'm most proud of: I'd claim that each is better than the last, in fact. There's a plot twist and some action: the next couple have some brief exposition, and then a chapter change soon after.
If you're at all interested in this sort of thing, I encourage you to bookmark it.