Just to be sure: it has a video connection and a USB connection. The USB is for control (pen). The video needs to be a video connection, not a USB connection, because the computer needs to deal with it as if it were another monitor.
Plugging it into the VGA port should work, or if you have a docking station, you could probably hijack a video connection from that.
Probably the best use of this is with Thieves and Kings. Rather than clumsily put paragraphs between images, it will instead go either "full comic" or "full novel" for pages at a time.
If you've never read it, it's worth picking up. Since it's print-focused, the web site is really bad, and the sample shows pretty much the worst part of that particular book. If you see it in a comic shop or library, stop and read a bit.
HolyLancer:You see it in various stages, yes, but that's part of what makes it a great creature, and what the whole "Xenomorph" moniker comes from. However, it isn't the same as hiding the end result, and showing it in lower lighting, or from a manipulated angle. The multiple forms just keep you guessing as to what it is going to look like next/"how much more dangerous is it now?"
We're talking at cross-purposes - I agree with you, and I also think that putting the alien on screen in its various stages, in the shadows or partly hidden, was important to making the audience pay attention.
HolyLancer:The Alien in Alien really wasn't shown often. And even when it was, it was a quick shot of it attacking. You don't really see it very well until the end.
Except that you saw it as eggs, as facehugger, as chestburster - it's a villain with multiple forms. Even in its final form, you see it in the shadows or just around the corner dozens of times, which counts as on-screen action even if the alien isn't actually on display like a museum piece.
Also, the Alien series really hit popularity with the Aliens movie, in which the aliens were far, far more visible. Similarly, many villains from breakout series such as Star Wars became more popular when they were shown in greater detail in expanded stories, such as everyone's favorite bounty hunter.
The real challenge is showing the villain (or their traces) without derailing the story and pacing.
I think the biggest tip is to simply spend time with them. The audience will feel more strongly about characters they spend time with.
Talking them up, making them compelling, and designing them to have a striking appearance is all valuable, but in the end they have to appear in your comic.
Take a look at Vader. He appears quite a lot, over and over. Sometimes he does evil things, sometimes it's just a hallucination of him, and sometimes he just twiddles his life support. He appears a LOT. And, as such, he became popular long before anyone realized he was complex.
It's not sexy advice, but just giving the villain screen time is a huge, overlooked part of doing villains right.
ilayas:If you are trading art for money why not just open your self up for commissions?
While it may not seem like a difference to the author, to a fan there is a difference between commissions and donations that get you a bonus.
The system Craybest originally mentioned is a lot like a commission system, so perhaps commissions would be a good idea. However, if he wants to go the donation route, I would reframe it. Something like:
Any donation: Get to see the monthly extra
$10+: Get to see the sketches and process for this month's comics, maybe before the comic comes out
$20+: Get a quick sketch of a character of your choice
$30+: Appear in the comic as a background character
This way, the "commissiony" part is not the core bonus. You can reduce your workload by restricting yourself to things that the fans actually value, but that aren't a huge amount of work for you.
I've taken the saturation down, and also changed the hue to draw the bricks and pepperoni off of true red. This allows the true red on the characters to stand out.
Another thing you may want to look into is being a lot more aggressive about making sure the characters have different line weight from background objects. Panel 4 is good, but panels 1, 2, and 3 have the same weight for characters and background objects.
Boring layouts are best in nearly every situation, because panels are intended to be easy to read. The variation in size should mostly happen because you want to make a moment feel longer (bigger panel) or shorter (smaller panel) or punchier (bigger gutters).
UltimateB:Even though you only have one light source that casts a shadow over his right side, the light travels and then bounces back and highlights his right cheek and ear. Also there would be places on him that would cast darker shadows then other places. I drew up an overlay on my ipad to illustrate what I'm saying. Hope it helps
This is exactly what edge lighting or rim lighting is.
Again, it's not precisely "correct", but that's okay.
In addition to thinking about what looks realistic, also think about what helps the art.
For example, in most cel shading, the neck is always shaded more or less completely. This is because it highlights the face and makes the image read clearer. In your image, there is a line of pink that runs straight from his forehead to his collar, which makes it hard to "read" his face.
Similarly, the direct sideways light you're using is normally used specifically to make a character seem sinister or two-faced. This is because the line of shadow divides the face in half. This is why most cel shading is done assuming a forward light source of some kind.
To soften the shading, a lot of cel shading uses an edge light on the dark side of the image, to make the image easier to read. See Persona 4 characters to see that in full force.
Basically, cel shading is not real shading. The way the shadow falls creates what is basically a line, and you have to consider whether that line helps or hurts your composition.
I think most of your concerns would benefit from you trying out some full-page comics with more complex panel layouts than the four-panel. Not really complex, just a few different sizes and shapes. It might give you a much stronger grasp on how "comic time" moves, which would help with most of your concerns. You're already pushing the "strip" format in terms of breaking up the panels, might as well try expanding your range even further.
As to conversations, there are two things that collide to make them annoying to write. The first is comic time. Especially in four-panel strips, comic time is particularly chunky, so conversations can be quite difficult. Even experienced comic artists get awkward conversation in four-panel comics.
The other thing is, as you mentioned, holding the reader's visual attention even with the text.
This is quite hard with four-panel because of your restricted panel format, but rather than thinking in terms of "switching up the angles", I recommend you think in terms of "showing the reader another facet of the situation".
For example, showing that the bar is especially grungy, or crowded. Showing that a character is suspicious, or agonized. Showing that someone has a slovenly unbuttoned shirt, or primly crossed legs.
You have a basic grip on this already. Panels 1, 3, and 4 in the first conversation comic already do this to some extent. However, I think you're considering them to be establishing shots. "Establish the seedy bar. Establish the ordering of a drink. Establish a neighbor. Establish the face of the neighbor..."
I don't think you have to play it quite so on the nose. For example, you could have put the dialog to panel 2 in panel 1 (as "headless" dialog), and then spent panel 2 on him pouring himself a drink - a much more expressive action than handing over ID.
Tweening has ease parameters these days, so you can make it move more naturally.
That said, if you are liking tweening, you should try full rigged 3D. It's much more powerful and not that much harder to do. Hand-drawn 2D has some allure, but if you're starting to rely on tweening, just try 3D.