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"Also need advice with a character. Or six.", 22nd May 2019, 2:55 AM #1
MissElaney

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OKAY SO

I'm -- honestly not actually sure whether I'm going to replace my existing pages, add to them, or what but

I'm trying to streamline my comic making process by doing a shitload of prep work and shit and I also kind of hate my character designs because there was no character design process I just drew things and the one character whose design I like isn't even supposed to show up very much in the first place, pfah.

I'm going to post a bunch of different character designs.

What I want to know is what kind of impression you get from these characters and what I could do to improve them. Underneath the image in spoiler text is the 'what kind of person this is' kind of thing, but, like, I don't wanna write that into the image, like, I wanna know if the shit speaks for itself or what. So yeah, uhh. Look at the image, then look at the text associated, tell me if I got what I was going for?

Starting with Aleks:

And as for his quick leetle writeup,



And now Danila:


Danila's writeup,


I'll add moar later.
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22nd May 2019, 4:02 AM #2
BMR

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Hmm, well, going into it blind (as I think you want us to), or pal Aleksandr comes off to me as being a rather hard little individual. He looks the type that has seen a lot of shit in life, and has come out the other end being bitter, jaded, and cynical. Just by the design alone, he looks like the sort of chap who never laughs, never cracks a smile, and is fairly doom and gloom. Definitely seems like a military man of some sort. He also looks like the sort of person who had to grow up really quickly, as I would put his age somewhere in the early to mid twenties, and for someone to look that jaded at that age, well, he must have really seen some shit. Not sure why, but that one side-view image makes it seem as if there's a bit of a romantic (in the poetic, waxing lyrical sense, not the wuvvy-duvvy sense) hiding underneath all the scar tissue. Very, very deep under the scar tissue.

And now to read the blurb.

Huh, ex-military, seems it was spot on. If he's supposed to be standoffish, then yeah, I feel the character design works well. As ex-military though, I'm not entirely sure about that belt of his? Seems a bit fancier than what I'd imagine a rather utilitarian military man might wear. Then again, you do say he would dress punk if he could get away with it, so that does work in that context. Perhaps serves as a little hint into his character, so it's cool.

As for suggestions... It seems like a lot of the scar tissue is on his side, around his ribs. Now, I have absolutely no idea how explosions work, and the extent of my military experience is some ROTC in college, so take what any suggestions I make with a whole barrel full of salt. I'm guessing that (A) the explosion was powerful enough to damage his hearing, and (B) He received that damage while on duty. In the case of (B), it seems to me that he would definitely have had some clothes on, perhaps some armor or a heavy jacket. If the explosion was powerful enough to go through his clothes and burn him (which should be fairly easy for a self-respecting explosive) then it seems to me that the side of his face would have even more scarring and damage. The fact that there is damage on his face and around the ear suggests that he wasn't wearing any head protection, so it seems to me like that area would have at least as much visible damage as his side. Of course, I have no idea just how big the explosion was, or where it was in relation to him. I'm just imagining a relatively big explosion that would have hit a couple meters or so away from him, at roughly chest height. Again, I have no idea what I'm talking about from a technical, explodey sense, so feel free to ignore everything I've said.

Hope that helps, cheers!
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22nd May 2019, 4:16 AM #3
MissElaney

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Thank you for your time and input BMR!

Yeah, I should play with his scars (if I keep the pages I have, which, I'm like, very strongly on "keep", I will just backpaint scars onto his face more prominently). I don't want him to look like TWO FACE or some shit but, yanno. He should have Protagonist!Scars and not Villain!Scars so I steered to the pretty side and could stand to iterate on it. I did look at a few peeps who were around explosives and they ranged from Harvey Dent to about as scuffed up as Aleks looks, where it's mostly in pockmarks and deformed skin from burns... But yes I should iterate on it.

I'm glad he comes off military, whoop whoop!

Yeah, I was going to reflect his closet-punk in belts and like, he would probably wear some very simple but black-and-steel rings.

"I've seen some shit" is an unintentional thing that I am nevertheless happy to hear, since, well, the dude was conscripted and sent to (probably) Kandahar somewhere in his late teenage years. I'm waffling on where precisely because it's not actually important where specifically he was so much that he did go. Re: the explosion scars placed where they are, some people were standing in front of him, hence it's on one side of him but not the other. It's on the front of his hand because he lifted it to hide his face in reaction. I might fuck up his hand a little more, tbch.

The belt buckle has a star on it because it's from his army uniform. He's stripped the buckle and put it on a studded belt. Because why not D: It's a cool belt buckle.
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22nd May 2019, 5:28 AM #4
swamp
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deleted because it didn't seem useful
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22nd May 2019, 12:48 PM #5
Microraptor
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My first impression was that he is a rather serious guy, who was either in a war or had some accident.

(Turns out of course that the "was in a war" part was correct. In any case, it's clear that he has gone through something that was potentially traumatic, possibly thus shaping his present day personality.)
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23rd May 2019, 12:48 AM #6
MissElaney

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Swamp, I read what you had and I found it enjoyable and a good insight, I don't think it was not useful. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

Microraptor, thank you, I'm glad that I got the military thing down with Aleks's vibe.

I just threw Daniel up there, here's a duplicate of what I edited into the original post -

And now Danila:


Danila's writeup,
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23rd May 2019, 1:23 AM #7
BMR

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Hmm, righto then, going in blind once more.

First glance, he looks to be a kind, gentle sort of dude. He also looks like the kind of person who's comfortable with who he is and with what his place in life is. That said, there's something about his eyes (I'm probably reading too much into this) that suggests he wasn't always like that. Not a dark and mysterious past, but more like, he used to be a not-very-happy individual, for any of a number of reasons, until he eventually came to be at peace with himself, again for any number of reasons.

His clothes suggest again to me, that he's quite comfortable with himself. He doesn't look the type to dress to impress, and while not exactly sloppy, he doesn't put over much thought into how he looks beyond whether or not the clothes are comfy.

That last image though, seems like he's run into some trouble (though that's to be expected, I suppose) and has lost a lot of that positivity I previously mentioned. Comes off as a, "Bloody hell, things were finally ok, and now this? FML..."

note: I love the "adidhash" shirt


And now to read the blurb!


Huh, "been around a while". I guess that might be part of what I'm seeing. The bit about him just wanting to live a normal(ish) life does fit with the image, methinks, as the feeling I got from him was that he was just trying to chill for the most part.

I'm not sure about suggestions, as everything seems to be pretty spot on, thus far. If I had to say something then... That shovel doesn't have a handle on the end? Sure, there are shovels that don't have that handle, but having it there makes the job so much easier, allowing you better leverage. I dunno, it was the only thing I could really find to nitpick, heh.
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23rd May 2019, 1:33 AM #8
Eaton Pye

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So, Aleks looks like either ex-mil or gay biker from the bloused boots alone. The headshots make him look serious and reserved, but in the full figures his eyes look tiny and a bit piggish, like he's perhaps not to be trusted. I think if you want to come down solid on the ex-mil side, you want to be careful to avoid anything too fashionable, and you might want to go ahead and make his pants BDUs or the equivalent wherever he's from. Does that give you a good color base for your symbolism? Unless there's a reason not too, I'd have a definite bit of shabby to his outer layer, but maybe keep him crisper underneath. All depends, of course, on what kind of ex-mil he is, what his current attitude about his service is, and so on.

Daniel seems like ordinary nebbish-guy dialed up to 11. What's his difficulty with staying dead? Does it imply that he's been around for a long time? Because he reads very contemporary in the particular way he doesn't care about his appearance.
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23rd May 2019, 12:27 PM #9
Microraptor
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My first impression of Danila: Hairy and hardworking. He is possibly not very rich. This amulet may hint at him being a member of some religion or other idealogical group.

After taking a look at his writeup: It seems the parts about him being hardworking and poor were correct - and I guess being a friggin' actual god counts as "being a member of a religion"?
If I had been sure beforehand that he is not a normal human, I would have guessed that he is a werewolf, because of his hairiness. Judging from your description of his real appearance, this is at least not entirely of the mark, as he seems indeed to be rather "beastly".
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23rd May 2019, 1:09 PM #10
Kev

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No helpful feedback, sorry, but I think they are both great characters! :)
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23rd May 2019, 6:59 PM #11
MissElaney

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@Kev: Thank you!

@BMR:
Thank you once again for your feedback. I'd like Daniel to stand out a little more but then he literally doesn't want to stand out so it makes more sense to me to make him more low-key...So I'm glad it fits.

@Microraptor:
Whoo! He actually ... I mean, Veles, the God he's modeled after but is not necessarily actually that God (I'm undecided) is like this shapeshifting hairy-ass fucking wolf-bear-dragon thing and the priests for slavic paganism like to ah, use wolf imagery so I'm glad for that! RE: the werewolf thing.

@Eaton Pye:
Thank you for your input! I'm gonna wall-of-text at you and no need to really read it, but, it helps me to think the character through and maybe you are interested, who knows.

Re: color symbolism -
I think so! I should look into giving him some like ah, cargo pants n stuff.


Re: shabbiness and his attitudes -
He's a little vain, closeted gay, and he hates the military, tbch. So, I will work on lookin' at like, cargo pants and stuff like that, but I think I'mma keep his looks crisp in the wake of vanity and that secretly hopeful chance that maybe one day he'll run into someone who he actually can pursue and HE BETTER LOOK GOOD.


Re: Daniel and 'staying dead' -
I do ought to look at some more like uh, historical clothing and play with incorporating it into his look, for now his contemporariness was a choice to try to reflect that he is trying to just be Joe Normal despite everything and does not want to stand out.

I'mma use mythology terms as shorthand but the scaffolding for the world building is the proto-indo european pantheon.
TL'DR: His soul is in a phylactery and he has a healing factor that interrupts the process that would otherwise allow him to die.
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23rd May 2019, 8:11 PM #12
Eaton Pye

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MissElaney:

Re: shabbiness and his attitudes -
He's a little vain, closeted gay, and he hates the military, tbch.


Well, I think you've got the look down, then. I am not familiar with the color symbolism schema you're using, but how does gray work?


Re: Daniel and 'staying dead' -
I do ought to look at some more like uh, historical clothing and play with incorporating it into his look, for now his contemporariness was a choice to try to reflect that he is trying to just be Joe Normal despite everything and does not want to stand out.


So... he's consciously trying to blend in, but in a sense failing because he's overdoing it? I'm not sure just what your intentions are here, but he comes off as a complete slob, which doesn't feel quite compatible with the idea of blending in. What kinds of people is he likely to interact with? If he's trying to blend, a low key version of them, or something nearby in the social hierarchy, is the way to go. Being really sloppy calls attention to you in most settings.



I'm definitely going to look into putting my soul in a philactery now...
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23rd May 2019, 8:37 PM #13
MissElaney

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Besides the last one with the Adidhash shirt, does the first and second image of him look sloppy? I'm not personally like, seeing it, so I want you to point it out for me so I can efficiently re-work it. I just literally don't see it. The last one, yes, I definitely see it, that's a uh, "fresh out of the grave" look that I had planned for him and images 1 and 2 are more his everyday kinda vibe.

Re: symbolism, it's byzantine iconography symbolism and I'll lay out what the symbols are below but gray isn't used typically because it is a contradiction of two opposed colors and there's not really room for ambiguity in iconography. I'm personally willing to use it because I'm dealing with pagan themes which are not like uh, ... Subject to moral duality, bu that is the answer.

Red - Life, both in Slavic paganism and in iconography, due to blood. Also the color of triumph over death, eternall ife and resurrection, not limited to the resurrection of Christ. You'll see martyrs in red, for example.

Gold - explicitly the color of the light of God and divinity so it's generally off-limits IMHO becuase I don't want to connote something unintentional

Purple - royalty and extreme wealth

Green - Life in the positive sense of the green earth, growth and potential

Brown - Life in the more fatalistic sense of its fragility, like the dirt we eventually end up in, a reminder of mortality

Blue and dark blue - the celestial realm/other world, heaven

White - The color of angels, innocence, purity, righteousness, etc., also sometimes death due to burial shrouds being white

Black - Demons, evil, inequity, etc., also sometimes mystery and asceticism.
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23rd May 2019, 8:56 PM #14
Eaton Pye

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MissElaney:Besides the last one with the Adidhash shirt, does the first and second image of him look sloppy? I'm not personally like, seeing it, so I want you to point it out for me so I can efficiently re-work it. I just literally don't see it. The last one, yes, I definitely see it, that's a uh, "fresh out of the grave" look that I had planned for him and images 1 and 2 are more his everyday kinda vibe.



Well, I get that you used the same base for all three, so perhaps that's it, but the pants always don't fit and he's been walking on the ends for a long time. The shirt in 1 is half-tucked, suggesting he isn't paying much attention to whether it's in or out. #2, I'm not sure what's going on with the coat at the bottom front, but it looks odd. The survival-parka with ratty jeans look seems like someone that just picks up whatever, so again, that is kind of conspicuous. It's not an outfit, but not unobtrusive, the belt and unbuttoned button seem sloppier than necessary, with a t-shirt it seems like something a bum picked out of a donation bin because he was cold. So, overall, it seems like an ordinary, contemporary guy that doesn't care at all about his appearance, rather than someone who is consciously trying not to stand out. Especially as anyone very old is likely to go for something a bit more shirt-and-suit like for both comfort and blending as these, with changes in tailoring, were standard male uniform for a couple of centuries in the west. I would think a guy who is a couple of hundred years old would feel very conspicuous in any of these rigs, if he was thinking about it at all.

Edit: Again- who does he interact with? Who is he around? If they all dress like this, then it's no big deal.
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23rd May 2019, 9:51 PM #15
MissElaney

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He is basically associating with a number of 20-to-30 year olds who are mostly military, mechanics, and petty criminals in the 90s...So it's all about dem tracksuits and grunge and punk. You do have a point about the lasting power of the suit in its various iterations and I'll look at that.
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23rd May 2019, 11:47 PM #16
Eaton Pye

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I managed to get through the 90s without personally knowing anyone who sported a track suit, but then, I wasn't in eastern Europe. Definitely the OMG of 90s fashion, though. I do have this image in my mind of Russians in the US in track suits, but even more in a particular kind of sports coat I don't know the name for and can't really describe except that it strongly combined the Used Car Salesman vibe with the Track Suit vibe.

Since I know next to nothing about the setting of your comic, I'll refrain from further input, except to say that you have a strong sense of style. I like it- but it is also very 'contemporary' in my eye, which might be why I am seeing things differently than you intend.
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24th May 2019, 12:08 AM #17
MissElaney

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Oh no they were fucking everywhere over there holy shit. They didn't necessarily need to be ADIDAS 3 STRIPES BLYAT but they were goddamn, jesus, like, that parachute material tracksuit? God

Nothing but tracksuits and black leather jackets

and like weird denim

And I know what you mean! Like, the fucking, the stiff red jackets? Like blazers but not?

Please don't refrain! I want input period. The input that it's very contemporary, for instance, is useful input. I don't expect anybody except like a small handful of people to know anything about the setting in the first place, and the intended audience is just, American and/or English-first audiences since the shit's in English in the first place.

If you really want like an easy-access window into what the setting looks like here you go.
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24th May 2019, 1:48 AM #18
Eaton Pye

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Nice looking movie. I notice everything is desaturated brown, which fits the mood but makes a lot of that sports stuff easier on the eye than it was in reality. And yeah, that sounds like the jackets I'm talking about.

I'm probably a lot more sensitive to stylistic issues than most people. A miss-match between style and content can really grate on me, and I can't claim that there's any real definite rule to what's okay and what's not. I've ditched any number of projects because I couldn't make the style/technique match the content properly, although most people who saw the stuff had no idea what I was talking about.

I struggle with comics in an overtly anime style about 18th century France, for instance. I know for a lot of the audience, it's a complete non-issue, but it's a socks-with-sandals kinda thing for me.

So, there's a digital painting style that is just very contemporary, very digital to me, and I have a really hard time not seeing it and getting to the content if the content is not contemporary. I'm sure most people don't notice this at all. It's like- cool painting, man! and, really, it is. It just does that Roman Legionnaire with Glasses thing to me.

Spoilered for completely uncalled for opinionatian:



My recollection of L.A. punk from the 90s was that it wasn't all that black- lots of military gear, lots of plaid, lots of white wifebeaters with Sharpie designs on them. Not so Hot Topic. I don't know if that translated outside of L.A. though.
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24th May 2019, 6:29 AM #19
he_xie

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Aleks, I thought he's more like a petty criminal (selling illegally imported alcohol and cigarettes sort of) but ex military works too. He has this hardened I Don't Show My emotions look, but at the same time he looks like someone who would be fun to talk to if he was willing to actually talk. My only proposition would be to maybe add some of his scars in place where they are more visible? I love his scars but my only issue is that he looks very basic? Like, imagine someone drew a fanart of him but didn't tag you or anything. Could you 100% tell "hey that's my boy"? If you could add a scar on his face or something I feel it would add a lot. But it's not something very important, just my opinion.
Danila looks like a sweet nerdy boy who is either very into fantasy or Linux. He reminds me of those characters "artsy dude who probably reads some books that are prohibited in soviet union" (that's a very specific trope I hope you'll understand what I mean). Also the fact that you made such a soft boy Veles makes me so happy for some reason, he's my fav god and it's not even because I'm edgy.
Generally, I think those characters are average enough to be just ordinary people but original enough to be characters in a story, which I think suits your need? I like them, anyway.
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12th Jun 2019, 1:59 AM #20
MissElaney

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I totally plumb-ass forgot to respond to this thread, shit. Here I am posting willy nilly everywhere else and just pffhfhth not even responding to your inputs, I'm sorry!!

@Eaton
Thank you for your input. I"m fried r/n due to bay area heatwave, but i'm taking the input into account. I'm afraid the style test thread I'm about to post is probably going to fall short of your expectation because I didn't ... Think through like uh, you know, I didn't consciously develop a style to this end, but, you know. We'll get there. I'll try, lordy.

@HeXie
Thank you for your input! I could stand to re-work his scars, yes. I gotta look into how old they are vs what they should look like for their age since I do know they should probably have started out more purple-red, but it has been some time.

Re: Danila, yay, sweet nerdy boy! And I know what you mean with that trope, awesome. It is a weird sort of take with Veles, but there's so much like, STERN MAN STERN OLD MAN veles shit I've seen that I just, idk, I didn't jive with it. So I'm glad you like them! and thank you for taking the time to comment, I am sorry I totally forgot to respond.
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