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I would really like some feedback on this webcomic of mine.
I love the actual plot for it, but as I've progressed with writing it and drawing it out...it came out completely different from what I imagined.
I feel like the story may be too slow--that it won't engage my readers and keep them coming back for the good parts. If I am right about this I will probably come back to the story later and rewrite it (once I figure out how to rework it in a more interesting way).

So my big concern:
Is it engaging/interesting enough to keep the reader coming back for more?

Here's the link:
http://www.smackjeeves.com/comicprofile.php?id=123924

*Side note: it's about 5 pages away from the chapter end, those pages will be released Thursday (April 25th) for those would like to finish the chapter before making any comments about it

Also please excuse the art XD I've been playing around trying to figure out a good way to add in screentones. I have found trying to buy physical ones a challenge, so I've been messing around with Photoshop, trying to import screentones and messing with its built in tools to try and accomplish the look I want (still struggling with it). However, I've found out about Manga Studio so if I do continue this comic the next chapter will probably be made using that instead (Hurrah!).
Catanaition N. D.'s avatar

Fashionable Ladykiller

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Without actually reading everything and just looking at the thumbnail images on the page linked... you need to work on backgrounds.

They are hard but they will never become easier unless you actually draw them. I can see you making the effort here and there but sooo many pages have just blank white space in them.
Catanaition N. D.
Without actually reading everything and just looking at the thumbnail images on the page linked... you need to work on backgrounds.

They are hard but they will never become easier unless you actually draw them. I can see you making the effort here and there but sooo many pages have just blank white space in them.


Thank you. I have been trying to add more backgrounds. My big challenge is coming up with backgrounds in a school setting. I don't know about other people's schools, but my school had blank white walls with very few boards or pictures. What I think may be a good idea for me is to find some reference material, some comics that have school settings and see what kind of things they did with the backgrounds. (Although I will admit, when it came to the cafeteria scene I was just lazy, I regret it but after hours of inking and editing in photoshop, going back to fix that seemed so tedious)
Kyousouka's avatar

Shadowy Phantom

A setting doesn't have to be interesting on its own to make an interesting background. Play with angles and prop positions (chairs, desks, the relative positions of the characters, etc) in order to improve the composition of each panel and the page as a whole.

Almost all of your panels are from an eye level point of view, but they don't have to be :] You can use difefrent angles to establish relationships between characters, and between characters and their environment, as well as their mood, and the significance of their actions. I highly recommend reading Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics", and looking at good comics and trying to understand why they use the kinds of panel layouts and compositions they do. There's much more to it than just showing what's happening xP In particular, Inoue Takehiko's comics are great to study (Vagabond, Real, etc), but you can probably learn something from any comic with strong art (just don't mistake "detailed" for "strong").
Thank you for the comments so far. I have been working on using different angles and adding backgrounds. I finished this comic back in December, so I've improved since then.

Please if I can get critiquing on the storyline, the interactions between characters, the flow of the story. Is the story engaging enough to keep readings coming back, would you read it?
I have apologized for the quality of the artwork, what I'm looking for is comments on the quality of the story.

I'm looking to find out if it is a story worth continuing, or something I need to get distance from and come back to later.
Kenny Cappuchino's avatar

Anxious Lunatic

The dialogue seems a little fast paced, but it gets better in the later pages. It'd probably be smoother as well if you broke up the text into more speech bubbles for longer portions. The writing itself feels a little awkward. Almost... too formal. It's like an adult trying to imitate a teenager kind of awkwardness. Assuming you're a teenager, listen to how you normally talk with your own friends to learn how conversation naturally flows and how one topic is moved onto another.

One of the most confusing parts for me was that it follows Dublin and, even though he can hear other people's thoughts, I didn't actually read the summary and it was rather confusing until I read it xD Clearing up where the black thought boxes are coming from would help tons, as well as perhaps adding an effect to clear up that it is different from speech and Dublin's own thoughts (that's what I originally assumed they were). Even just adding something as simple as warping the text to make it appear wavy gives that kind of dream like, this is a thought effect. Does that make sense? Hopefully?

Otherwise, when you're writing out your scripts, go to someone you know/the internet and ask if what you wrote sounds like a normal conversation. Even just reading aloud to yourself, you'd be able to feel 'welp, that's kinda moving too quickly, let's add some more teasing here and a few more pauses here' and so on.

Oh! And on that site in particular, banners do wonders for attracting fans. Anything except the default title lettering is basically a safe bet to interest readers xD

.... I hope this was sorta helpful? ;3;
Thank you Kenny Cappuchino! That was very helpful!

I think I should definitly redraw this chapter before moving on. Tweak the dialogue a little to make it smoother, more believable, add in different/new backgrounds, redo the screentones, etc

Also big time thank you for the suggestion about how to portray other people's thoughts. I had been struggling for the longest time (when I was working on the storyboards and even well into this chapter) on the best way to do it. I haven't been able to find a good reference for it, so I just tried to make them as different from the normal speech/thoughts/narration as I could, while having it remain legible.

I also wasn't sure if this was a good place to start it. I've been wondering for a while if I just should have started it at the party with some flash backs splashed in and a little narration from Dublin to fill in the blanks.
One big thing that I noticed... the screen tones on that couch! gonk

The story is alright. I won't lie and say I wasn't engaged at least a little bit by it. However as mentioned by others, the execution is a little shady. I too was not able to tell that Dublin was reading minds until he outright said it. It made the beginning bits a little confusing.

And since the story is what you want critique on, I'll be a little brutal:
You have this mind-reading/thought seeing ability gifted kid, but how does this set him apart from any other story that has this same concept? Now maybe this is just a completely personal opinion, but I feel that the storyline is rather dull. You have a school setting where this kid can read other peoples minds!!! (crazy stuff man!) There are dozens of interesting interactions and humorous moments you can interject and mingle into your story to spice it up/make it more engaging. Although I do acknowledge that this is your first chapter and there could be amazing things brewing in the plotline just beyond the horizon!
But at this point, it feels just a teensy bit lack luster.

This is not to say it's terrible! The scenes where Dublin is literally seeing people's thoughts/imagination are beautiful! I really enjoy those parts, and I can see that you put a TON of effort into making this. So for the future; if you spend more time working on those backgrounds, take a moment to develop Dublin's unique ability and make it his own. Because like I said earlier, I've seen the whole mind reading thing before, so do something that makes this comic stand out from those. That way, whenever I think of a character with super awesome mind reading abilities, I'll think of yours.
kittiko
One big thing that I noticed... the screen tones on that couch! gonk

Lol I know. I was really just messing around. I think it was because that screentone was so bad that I decided to keep it. However, when I redraw the story I'll probably change it to something a little subtler.

This story has been really hard for me to hash out properly. I do have lots of big things planned for it. A deeper storyline with a lot more adventure, different characters, new abilities. The original focus of the story was supposed to be the devolpment of multiple personalities within him as a result of using his powers. Somehow, I got away from that a bit I think. I still bring it into play in the next chapter, but I've found that I've lost moment with it. Perhaps because I don't have him outright trying to use his powers.

I figured that 44 pages(49 when the next 5 are posted on Thursday) would be enough to make a call on whether or not I chose the right starting point.
Unfortunatly, I can't help but agree that it is a tad dull, but I really wanted to give a strong understanding of where he was and how he interacts with the people he knows.
I actually wanted Dublin to be a much harsher character, with a true disgust of humans, because if you heard EVERYTHING everyone thought with no filter, no way to stop it, I'm pretty sure anyone would become cynical and hate life. This of course would make it hard to incorperate shennanigans, exciting adventures or make things interesting, even humorous. Which is probably why he came out much softer. Unless of course I have him torment people. I suppose that could work, but messing up the life of a prankster isn't quite as dramatic or significant. Or rather, with where the story is going to go, it would make the line much harder to draw between him and his other selves.
SansotsuCross

Lol I know. I was really just messing around. I think it was because that screentone was so bad that I decided to keep it. However, when I redraw the story I'll probably change it to something a little subtler.



Awesome! I figured as much since you're only a chapter in that I'm yet to see the full picture.
I do like that you spent the time to develop him and his relations. It was especially nice to see his home life, that he has a sister and what appears to be a single mom.
I guess I find it more boring because nothing major happens except a pool party.
So for a bunch of pages I read about this guy with this unique ability who is debating attending a pool party. (I'm used to reading action comics, so my judgements are a little unbalanced.) But pleaseeee take my critique with a grain of salt. I am no expert on comics, and I'm a little biased since I only truly 'know' one genre.

I really do like what you've got here. Although I cannot connect completely to the story yet, I too am a novice comic artist and can see and respect all the work you've put into this. I'm definitely going to hang around and see whatever updates you put out!
Honestly, going in, I was pretty interested in the premise. It's been done before but I think it's a fascinating question: how is somebody going to handle the weight of being involuntarily psychically connected to others around them?

The execution, however...I lost interest about ten pages in. I kept reading for the purpose of being able to give feedback.

I know you don't want feedback on the art, but yes, the art is a big part of it. With little in the way of backgrounds and interesting visual details, it's easy for the reader to lose interest quickly. It is visually unappealing a lot of the time and you rely on cheap gimmicks like chibis and other artistic shorthand tricks which cheapen the overall storytelling. And so much white space! I do appreciate the attempts you make at backgrounds and breaking up all that glaring white space with grey tones, but keep pushing at it. Like it or not, art is a big part of storytelling in comics. If you don't think the quality of the art matters, stick to prose.

You asked about the interactions of the characters and flow/engagement of the story, which are excellent questions.

Truth be told, high school drama stories can fall flat for a couple of reasons. One, unless they are really well done they tend to be relevant to a limited group of people, and two, they have been done so many times in much the same way by so many people that you really have to have something that's going to stand out. Your characters are...well...I don't really know much about Dublin other than that he's angsty and dull, with a bit of vague misanthropy that we're supposed to just take at face value without having much of a reason other than...high schoolers are vapid. Well, no, actually, they're not. That's just weak character writing. Every person is complex and interesting if you really look. If he's going to be misanthropic and cynical, really give him a reason and show us, don't just tell us, and don't vaguely inform the audience that he should be this way because listening to boob thoughts all day is tiring. Let your art and your character development do the work. Don't tell the audience anything you should be showing them.

I don't know. So far you've got things going really slowly with no real tension. His friends rib him. The girl he likes likes him back. No real mystery there because we know her thoughts. He feels alone and alienated. His school mates don't get him. There's really nothing here to make me connect to him or to the story or to the setting or anything.

The first sign of real tension is his seeing the girl's memory. I'd really like to see more of that, and more depth of character. Everyone right now seems like this really stereotyped, flat version of what a person who hates people and hides in a cave must imagine high schoolers are really like. There's no real people moments here. It just comes off as a bunch of awkward one liners. If he were really hearing people's thoughts, he would know how absolutely fascinating and complex they are. Being able to access the most intimate part of a person shows you how complicated and deep we can be, not at all like the masks we put on for others. That would be a great dimension of this whole thing to explore.

If you do decide to take this concept and push his character in a harsher direction, have you considered maybe changing the setting? Does he need to be in high school? Is this a story about being a teenager specifically? If he is in high school, what else is going on? Is he looking to get into college or does he have any school activities going on? What is the background setting to his overall life, and how could this help make the story more effective?

I'm not saying all this as a heartless critic. I'm saying this as a passing reader, and you asked some very good questions about whether your comic is on the right track in terms of storytelling and such. I would say that what you have right now is rather weak. I like the premise and think there's a lot of potential for tension and character growth and development. And I'm not saying give up. The fact that you're asking these questions show you care about telling a good story, and sometimes we really do just need some perspective. Don't be afraid to explore different elements in the setting or the characters or whatever, too, if it'll help make a better story. Good luck!
Thank you Zeo. I really appriciate the time and thoroughness you put into that critique.

I don't want anyone to think that I don't care about the art, but it's quite obvious at this point that it needs to be redrawn. If my artworks already improved, and I already know that I need to lose the empty white backgrounds, change up the angles, and improve the way I visualize other peoples thoughts. Looking back on it I can already see how I'd change it, improve it, so it's not somthing I'm unsure about. Whereas the story had me baffled.

I'll definitly take some time and rework the characters. After reading what you have to say about them, I realize that you're quite right, they don't have a lot of depth. Or rather I'm not showing enough of it.

As for the setting I've contemplated changing it; however, it would really affect the timeline of events I have planned. Essentially I'd have to change major components of the story as well as characters. It's not going to be a strictly high school setting, that's just how it starts--where the story starts. Though I wish I could haha I hate drawing school life.

Again thank you very much!

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