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Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

So I've been really thinking lately of getting a comic going for a story I've had in my mind for quite some time. I have actually tried, on two previous occasions, to create a comic from this story, but I failed to take into consideration the work required-- didn't think things through well-- and also went for a style that I found hard to replicate. So both attempts did not last long.
But I think that I have the style all worked out (all but for backgrounds, which I am currently practicing on in preparation), so I may just give this another-- much more thought-out shot.

Summary:

The story essentially follows a female protagonist, Maple Hare, who In place of her ill mother, the leader of their village, must travel towards a central meeting grounds where the realms blend.

Their world as a whole is divided into six segments, five of which are large realms of varying resources. The sixth segment is the world's center, a place where a mysterious being known as the Phoenix resides, a creature who is thought to have formed the world's structure long ago. Every ten years, important figures from each realm meet to discuss affairs there. The prominent leaders are to attend-- and with them, the god of their realm.

The gods have been a staple of the realms for as long as anyone can remember. In body, they are no more interesting than the next person, yet they hold immense power. They are a physical manifestation of the land's life. Their emotions alter the weather-- their health can determine the wellness of the land. They have lived through centuries upon centuries, treated truly as gods by any that wish for their realm to prosper.

Yet Maple's realm, the mountainous region known as Silex, has fallen upon hard times. Many years prior to her birth, the god of Silex, Gaia, grew disdain for his eternal life. The god began to search for ways to end his life and, fearful of their realm's demise, the people of Silex locked him away. During this time, things became worse than ever. The rain would never fall, the sky was dark, crops failed, and illness ran rampant. After some time, the people of Silex were forced to allow Gaia to leave. Shortly after, Gaia disappeared. Since then, he has not been seen by a single person of Silex. All that they know of Gaia is that he is still influencing a negative state on their land, wherever he is. Droughts and high winds have made life in Silex difficult ever since. Many have even fled Silex, seeking refuge in the nearest lands.

Maple is accompanied to the meeting place by Ciel, an overlarge hyacinth macaw gryphon that is somewhat of a mix between a teddy bear and a rude cat as far as personality goes. While both could fly and find the journey less strenuous, the high winds and scarcity of water make travel much more difficult. On foot much of the time, they find many intriguing points of interest-- including a peculiar boy named Liam with a large scar running through his right eye.


--


As far as art goes, so far I've only drawn out several of the characters (and derped a few background practices), but plan to start sketching out page ideas very soon.

Character art thus far:




Protagonist, Maple Hare

User Image

Companion, Ciel

User Image

Liam

User Image

Hart

User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.

Haruspex and her rat, Scio

User Image




Any comments on the characters and vague story description would be lovely.
More importantly, I'd love if anyone could give me advice on how to plan out and create nice comic pages, as well as speech bubbles. Not just in a conceptual way, but how to go about creating them neatly in an art program such as Photoshop Elements, SAI, or Fire Alpaca (the art programs that I have to work with; SAI is my program of choice and the one which I drew each of the characters on.)
I have basic understanding on how to create them, but only in a very amateur, self-taught fashion that I know could be vastly improved upon.
General advice on how to go about hosting a comic in general would also be much appreciated.
The Drunken Jester's avatar

Tipsy Man-Lover

Well.... you haven't told us much about the story so I don't know what to say.... but the art is alright. Except that I thought your protagonist was a guy at first clance. You need to make her face more feminine.

I can't give much good advice since I'm just a beginner myself.
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

The Drunken Jester
Well.... you haven't told us much about the story so I don't know what to say.... but the art is alright. Except that I thought your protagonist was a guy at first clance. You need to make her face more feminine.

I can't give much good advice since I'm just a beginner myself.


That is precisely why I'm seeking technical assistance most predominately. The brief description was more or less to tie something vague to a couple of the pictures, not give large insight into the story.

I'll try messing around with her features a bit perhaps (trying to diversify with the faces more anyway as I practice getting more into this style), but I honestly don't see a problem with making a female character look more masculine? I get kind of sick of seeing full lips and lots of lashes and I don't want this character in particular to be seen as feminine.
The Drunken Jester's avatar

Tipsy Man-Lover

Quiris
The Drunken Jester
Well.... you haven't told us much about the story so I don't know what to say.... but the art is alright. Except that I thought your protagonist was a guy at first clance. You need to make her face more feminine.

I can't give much good advice since I'm just a beginner myself.


That is precisely why I'm seeking technical assistance most predominately. The brief description was more or less to tie something vague to a couple of the pictures, not give large insight into the story.

I'll try messing around with her features a bit perhaps (trying to diversify with the faces more anyway as I practice getting more into the style), but I honestly don't see a problem with making a female character look more masculine? I get kind of sick of seeing full lips and lots of lashes and I don't want this character in particular to be seen as feminine.


She doesn't need eyelashes or full lips to look more like a girl in the face.
Give her a less square jawline and a smaller nose and that would probably take care of it. She doesn't have any cheekbones either. Tbh you made Liam girlier looking.
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

The Drunken Jester
Quiris
The Drunken Jester
Well.... you haven't told us much about the story so I don't know what to say.... but the art is alright. Except that I thought your protagonist was a guy at first clance. You need to make her face more feminine.

I can't give much good advice since I'm just a beginner myself.


That is precisely why I'm seeking technical assistance most predominately. The brief description was more or less to tie something vague to a couple of the pictures, not give large insight into the story.

I'll try messing around with her features a bit perhaps (trying to diversify with the faces more anyway as I practice getting more into the style), but I honestly don't see a problem with making a female character look more masculine? I get kind of sick of seeing full lips and lots of lashes and I don't want this character in particular to be seen as feminine.


She doesn't need eyelashes or full lips to look more like a girl in the face.
Give her a less square jawline and a smaller nose and that would probably take care of it. She doesn't have any cheekbones either. Tbh you made Liam girlier looking.


Perhaps I'll try changing her jaw some-- cheekbones as well, since I know I need to give more attention to those on faces that I draw-- but I have no intentions of changing the nose (girls can have large noses too; frankly, I find noses most fun to draw on a face, particularly larger ones, both on men and women.)
And that would be part of Liam's character design
The Drunken Jester's avatar

Tipsy Man-Lover

As a girl with a big nose I'm fully aware of the possibility, but if you're have trouble differentiating the facial structures of males and females then that probably won't help you.
But since you did it with Liam I'll just write it off as a concious choice and leave it as that.

So how about this.
Why does Harspex, clearly based off of a four legged animal, have a cane for her back? Why isn't she walking on all fours?
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

The Drunken Jester
As a girl with a big nose I'm fully aware of the possibility, but if you're have trouble differentiating the facial structures of males and females then that probably won't help you.
But since you did it with Liam I'll just write it off as a concious choice and leave it as that.

So how about this.
Why does Harspex, clearly based off of a four legged animal, have a cane for her back? Why isn't she walking on all fours?


I'll certainly take your comment into consideration and practice around with the cheekbones and jaw some more if anything. I have several more female characters to create for this, so I'll take your advice into mind while doing them-- particularly reminding me about the cheekbones.

Haruspex is based upon a quadruped animal, but the species she is of is bipedal. They normally stand up much more erect on their hind legs, however, Haruspex has a nasty twist in her back and poor eye sight.
Piperita's avatar

Fashionable Explorer

Yeah, I thought the main character was a boy at first glance too.

I mean, it's a misunderstanding that's probably going to get resolved preeeettty quickly (either via pronouns in the dialogue, or by virtue of the fact that her body is clearly female though it's not the first thing the eye is drawn to), but I think it might still be really jarring/distracting to anyone who first starts reading the comic. I think it should be fine if you just narrow her jawline a bit - maybe, about 2/3 of what it is now? that way she'll still be a masculine/androgynous woman (with the large nose/still kinda-wide jaw and the lack of eyelashes/poofy lips), but it'll be more obvious that she's got more estrogen. A wide, heavy jaw on a humanoid face is a pretty solid indicator of maleness to the human eye, and tends to be the one feature that symbolizes "this is a man" in cartoons/comics. (Trust me, I totally understand your pain... I have a 6'1" buff super soldier woman that needs to be the perfect balance of masculine features and raw strength yet still be distinctly female when compared her 5 male normal human teammates)

I really like your style and the colours you choose, they're very attractive - simple, but detailed enough to keep the viewer interested. smile Are you going to create distinct fashions/cultures/symbols for the 5 different segments so that the readers would be able to learn how to quickly visually identify them?

As for writing comics and constructing pages - Making Comics" by Scott McCloud is a great, great book. It'll give you all of the introduction you'll need - on paneling, speech bubble orientation, etc.
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

Piperita
Yeah, I thought the main character was a boy at first glance too.

I mean, it's a misunderstanding that's probably going to get resolved preeeettty quickly (either via pronouns in the dialogue, or by virtue of the fact that her body is clearly female though it's not the first thing the eye is drawn to), but I think it might still be really jarring/distracting to anyone who first starts reading the comic. I think it should be fine if you just narrow her jawline a bit - maybe, about 2/3 of what it is now? that way she'll still be a masculine/androgynous woman (with the large nose/still kinda-wide jaw and the lack of eyelashes/poofy lips), but it'll be more obvious that she's got more estrogen. A wide, heavy jaw on a humanoid face is a pretty solid indicator of maleness to the human eye, and tends to be the one feature that symbolizes "this is a man" in cartoons/comics. (Trust me, I totally understand your pain... I have a 6'1" buff super soldier woman that needs to be the perfect balance of masculine features and raw strength yet still be distinctly female when compared her 5 male normal human teammates)

I really like your style and the colours you choose, they're very attractive - simple, but detailed enough to keep the viewer interested. smile Are you going to create distinct fashions/cultures/symbols for the 5 different segments so that the readers would be able to learn how to quickly visually identify them?

As for writing comics and constructing pages - Making Comics" by Scott McCloud is a great, great book. It'll give you all of the introduction you'll need - on paneling, speech bubble orientation, etc.


Alright, I think I really will do that. Thank you very much for the more specific advice regarding the jaw, that's very helpful! The more I look at it, I definitely am seeing that the jaw really is too wide if anything. x'D -- If that really like the solid popular indicator for comics? I don't think that I ever noticed it

Thanks so much. Mhmm, I'm hoping to really create a division between them all particularly since there's a strong difference in the landscapes for each area-- arid desert, rocky tundra-- so clothing will definitely vary, as will the customs of the more heavily talked about people and species. I'm thinking of particularly studying cultures before I kick this off so that I can have something more grounded to work with that I could mix with fictional symbols and characteristics.

Oh my you've been helpful, thanks so much for the book name, I'll have to look into that one. : D
I guess I'll be playing Devil's advocate when I say that I had no trouble identifying Maple Hare as female in your design. I have read plenty of comics where characters are not immediately identifiable as male or female, because they do not follow the traditional comic form, and it has never harmed the story - and if you Google women with square jaws, you'll find a lot.

Basically, I love the character designs as they are.

I'm intrigued by the story idea. Have you figured out a reason for them to travel to the meet?
Nathaniel Mea's avatar

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As a woman with a rather square jaw and big nose I can say she looks fine. Not everyone have round "feminine" features. And I had no problem seeing that it was a girl at first glance either.

I actually quite like the style. Simple but detailed.

I would love to know more about the story. And writing it down in a simple basic "this happens then this and then this" is a great way to see if you have the story down and if it will flow together properly. Figure out their reasons and even personality quirks. So it helps us give you tips and help yourself with getting the story in order.
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

A River in Egypt
I guess I'll be playing Devil's advocate when I say that I had no trouble identifying Maple Hare as female in your design. I have read plenty of comics where characters are not immediately identifiable as male or female, because they do not follow the traditional comic form, and it has never harmed the story - and if you Google women with square jaws, you'll find a lot.

Basically, I love the character designs as they are.

I'm intrigued by the story idea. Have you figured out a reason for them to travel to the meet?


Mhmm that's my thoughts exactly, but the previous commenters do have a point that, for the sake of easily identifying the characters, I may want to try and make her slightly less ambiguous. I don't draw female characters nearly as much as males, and that may also be a leading factor in that-- so some practice on both ends could do me well. :3

But thank you very much C:

Mhmm, I just edited the description to include more detail, including that in particular
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

Nathaniel Mea
As a woman with a rather square jaw and big nose I can say she looks fine. Not everyone have round "feminine" features. And I had no problem seeing that it was a girl at first glance either.

I actually quite like the style. Simple but detailed.

I would love to know more about the story. And writing it down in a simple basic "this happens then this and then this" is a great way to see if you have the story down and if it will flow together properly. Figure out their reasons and even personality quirks. So it helps us give you tips and help yourself with getting the story in order.


Thank you. c:

I did edit the summary just now to include more detail, but I'm reluctant to include TOO much detail. I have a very bad habit of throwing out too much information regarding story ideas right off the bat. I like concealing things so that if I do go full into this comic, if anyone who read this forum becomes a potential reader, it won't have been spoiled too much. Just throwing out the entire story, point for point without the solid content, makes me uncomfortable.
Nathaniel Mea's avatar

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Quiris
Nathaniel Mea
As a woman with a rather square jaw and big nose I can say she looks fine. Not everyone have round "feminine" features. And I had no problem seeing that it was a girl at first glance either.

I actually quite like the style. Simple but detailed.

I would love to know more about the story. And writing it down in a simple basic "this happens then this and then this" is a great way to see if you have the story down and if it will flow together properly. Figure out their reasons and even personality quirks. So it helps us give you tips and help yourself with getting the story in order.


Thank you. c:

I did edit the summary just now to include more detail, but I'm reluctant to include TOO much detail. I have a very bad habit of throwing out too much information regarding story ideas right off the bat. I like concealing things so that if I do go full into this comic, if anyone who read this forum becomes a potential reader, it won't have been spoiled too much. Just throwing out the entire story, point for point without the solid content, makes me uncomfortable.


Oh no, I wasn't saying to do the whole thing for us, but for yourself. Then you can share what you need help with. Or you know, the basics.
Quiris's avatar

Tipsy Shapeshifter

Nathaniel Mea
Quiris
Nathaniel Mea
As a woman with a rather square jaw and big nose I can say she looks fine. Not everyone have round "feminine" features. And I had no problem seeing that it was a girl at first glance either.

I actually quite like the style. Simple but detailed.

I would love to know more about the story. And writing it down in a simple basic "this happens then this and then this" is a great way to see if you have the story down and if it will flow together properly. Figure out their reasons and even personality quirks. So it helps us give you tips and help yourself with getting the story in order.


Thank you. c:

I did edit the summary just now to include more detail, but I'm reluctant to include TOO much detail. I have a very bad habit of throwing out too much information regarding story ideas right off the bat. I like concealing things so that if I do go full into this comic, if anyone who read this forum becomes a potential reader, it won't have been spoiled too much. Just throwing out the entire story, point for point without the solid content, makes me uncomfortable.


Oh no, I wasn't saying to do the whole thing for us, but for yourself. Then you can share what you need help with. Or you know, the basics.


AHHH, alright, that makes more sense yes xD
I did start doing that the other night to refresh myself on the story and makes sure I have everything planned in order, mhmmm.

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