Friday, January 9, 2009

Sad Girl is doing alright

Click for post-apocalyptic size.



This is the girl from this one, later on. She's doing alright. She's reading about the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. She's taking care of herself. Her foot itches.

Come monday I'll go to the printers to get my Asides-Bsides book self-published. Vavel Festival starts at 20 of this month, I intend to have it there for people to buy and enjoy. After that I'll put ordering details up here in the case some of you international readers, say it possesses you to buy something in a crazy moon language and not english, want to have one.

Comics again soon.

-Helm

17 comments:

Lackey said...

Well its a charming image, Helm, and gorgeous art.

Helm said...

Thank you Graham. I imagine a sage dinosaur giving me praise.

madart84 said...

happy printing! :D

Markus Rosse said...

I like this picture. The mood is exactly like you intended and your technique really supports the theme.

I'm looking forward to more information about your book.

jspade said...

hehe, love the tags on it. hey, you're drawing them girls way way better and better! and in such a problematic pose!
already in printing? fantastic, looking forward to hearing more too! oh, and welcome back! :)

Davy Malay said...

It looks even better now it's inked! Quality work.

Anonymous said...

Maybe lose the toupe by her arm ... and the black puddle between her legs ... add black around her hand more (get rid of that circle, is it a speaker box?) and some more black by the neck and hint at eyes looking at her feet ... otherwise attention isn't properly directed and it makes people feel uncomfortable.

in theory it would then work that people look at hand, armpit, eyes, neck book and feet, then they notice the rest. It took me ages to realize she was scratching her feet. cos i dont know where to look because you didn't use your black areas effectively.
Fiddle with her left foot's toe cos it looks like a carrot.

Helm said...

Thanks for the critique and feedback, anonymous. I'm sorry to say I won't be changing this image in the future but I'll keep the points you make in mind for further work.

Solar said...

Been away for a few days. Like this one. Don't think I can be as pedantic as anonymous either, artistically it looks good to me.

She looks very relaxed (rather than sad) for someone in a potential warzone, or is she on her way to a historical re-enactment/uprising convention? Guess you can't be on-edge all the time.

Also, persuaded by the idea of owning printed material but my consumer preference is in translation to english (although I'd love to understand crazy moon language)

Anonymous said...

It takes five minutes to fix in painter/manga studio ...

If u found the critique helpful then here is the source:

"Always remember-the placement of your black areas creates a definite pattern in every picture. This pattern must never be too complicated, or too busy, lest it confuse the reader. Whenever an illustration causes confusion in a reader's mind, it also causes the reader's attention to be diverted, thus breaking the dramatic mood ... keep it simple - and keep it clear!"

Helm said...

Solar, well she's still sad over what happened in the original comic but she's not tormented. That's the idea of the picture. Small moment of solace, life goes on.

Anonymous, it's not a matter of how long it would take. I won't change this picture because I do not agree with your critique. On the abstract, guiding the eye with contrasts is a useful idea and in practice I feel I've accomplished that even though you do not. I am pleased with the end result and fully aware that I can't please everybody with my art nor is it its purpose to do so.

I do however keep in mind all the comments people (especially those with names) make on my art and if I get recurring complaints about something, I try to address it. Let's see if anyone else thinks toupes and puddles and carrots are the problem with this image.

If you're interested in contrasts and how to guide the reader's eye you should also know that white also leads the eye, as does a juxtaposition between more detail/less detail. I find it odd that your eye didn't wander on the girl's legs because that's where the image diffuses it's detail and that would be where the reader's eye would relax. Optimally the viewer starts with the head, which is crowned in black color, feels for the expression and moves downwards.

I'm sorry it didn't work for you, anonymous, but as I said, can't please everybody.

Anonymous said...

You're right, you don't have to listen to other people.

I was just looking at your art forum and it seems 3 accomplished artists took issue with this piece also. Does "I can't please everyone" mean "I can ignore everyone"?

Here is an edit. Please post it in your art forum to see if it helps at all.

http://i551.photobucket.com/albums/ii453/bishopslikepawn/helm2.gif

Helm said...

Thanks for the edit, I agree the shadow under the arm helps.

I'm not ignoring you or anyone else (other people, regardless of whether they were accomplished artists or not, had different issues with my rendering style, amount of obfuscation and so on - there was no consensus). I listen to what people say and I filter what I agree with, as anyone should when they receive feedback.

If you want people to take your critique better you should perhaps consider the following: Adopt a name. Be more careful how you phrase your critique so disdain isn't pouring out of every word. Nothing more beautiful than helpful critique, nothing uglier than critique used as a weapon.

But alright, let's be done with this dialog for now.

Anonymous said...

Groan - yes I could say:

"the large hole on the wall behind her looks like an object next to the lamp - perhaps a hairy object - and then this coupled with the gap between her body resembleing a coat with buttons (rather than bullet hole strewn wall) creates an unecessary object in an already complicated picture. Also the black shape between her legs look like the shadow created by the coat.

Her toe on her left foot has cross hatching which may be due to shadow or dirt but a more recognisable clean white toe would help the picture.

You really need to emphasise the elevation of her foot. A white space between the legs might help direct attention. Also, her eyes looking in that direction could help too. If the viewer doesn't recognise that she is scratching her foot you lose the contradiction of her satisfying her mind via book and the earthly satisfaction from scratching the foot. Then it becomes 'female soldier reads book' which has no interest. The fact that you mention she scratches her foot in the description indicates you recognise this flaw yourself.

I think you could use black more effectively. Black around the hand would focus viewer attention on it. Then the idea 'she is relaxed' is noted. Then they look at the head (show her eyes looking at foot), 'what is she looking at?', then book 'she could be reading', then foot 'ahh shes scratching herself'. I'm not sure if this 'pictures are a set of information that forms and answers a question' idea is valid though.

Hinting at eyes (even if its not correct to show them at that angle) could make the piece more likeable."

But that takes more time and adds little to 'take a look at the toe and how you use black' message my other comment delivered. Perhaps you handle less flowery critique poorly because you think too highly of yourself?

That previous sentence/question has disdain in it, but I don't think the others did.

Why would someone critique a piece they had disdain for? Surely you would only critique pieces that had minor problems that could be fixed because you wanted to see if you were right about the source of problems and solutions so you could use that trick later on for your own pieces. In short critique is a source of education - its never beutiful or ugly. When someone draws a picture that achieves the same effect but is executed with better skill and posts it in a non education setting then that's wielding a 'weapon'. Contradicting statements made by other people is also also wielding a weapon. But calling a toe that reads poorly a carrot (it really looks like a carrot, check out a carrot, your lines imply the texture of a carrot and the nobbly shape at the end) is just plain informative.

I'm done: you said the edit helped so my idea shows promise. Note I didn't add shadow to the arm, only to the neck. I did adjust contrast and brightness settings. Any further comments by 'anonymous' will not be from me so don't expect a reply.

Helm said...

"the large hole on the wall behind her looks like an object next to the lamp - perhaps a hairy object

That is some piece of miscellaneous cloth, not a hole. Furthermore behind her arm there rests a pair of pants she has taken off, to show she's relaxing. The necessity of the object is relative to one's concerns about propping a scene. Some like less, some like more. The black shape between her feet is the edge of the pants. I'm not saying that your misconceptions are your own problem, as a visual artist it is a priority to convey information clearly, and I should try to do better if the amount of ambiguity going on is this much. However it is an interesting thing to take your reading of a picture as the intended one and disassemble from there.

The fact that you mention she scratches her foot in the description indicates you recognise this flaw yourself.

Not at all. Generally this air of assumption about your statements, all concerning art which is highly interpretative is what makes me wonder what you want to gain from your comments. Intention, I feel, is what marks the tool of critique as either a boon or a weapon.

I'm not sure if this 'pictures are a set of information that forms and answers a question' idea is valid though.

This concern is an interesting one and there's a lot of academia about if you're willing to look into it. I'd also be interested to discuss this with a person who has a name and isn't hiding.

But that takes more time and adds little to 'take a look at the toe and how you use black' message my other comment delivered. Perhaps you handle less flowery critique poorly because you think too highly of yourself?

Are you short on time? Is this why you've eventually re-written your critique and replied to me so extensively? Is time only warranted when it is in a locked opposition with an imagined internet adversary?

I have a high opinion of myself as should any human being that desires their happiness. I try to hold my own art to some regard to be able to function as an artist. Projected humility for the benefit of the reader's insecurity does not help me live meaningfully. Pride and responsibility help me live meaningfully. Whether other people find my such opinions on myself and my art unwarranted is a point of interest but not a priority in my selecting them. I have no shame for you or the beliefs you might represent. I am interested in human communication even if I have to cut through half-talk with with which you obfuscate your own person. My name is Telemachus Stavropoulos, this is what I do and it is here for your enjoyment and critical assessment. I am here to take time out of my day to reply to your queries and to get to know you. If you have a name, an interesting agenda, a desire, state it. As I understand it you're some disgruntled Pixelation user who didn't like some edit or critique I gave to you or someone else and you've decided to educate me on the premises of intentionality, critique and decorum. Please tell me if I've misunderstood. I'm also very interested, if I am correct in my assumptions, on how you feel about your own person and your intention at coming to my blog to educate me.

Why would someone critique a piece they had disdain for?

You are hiding your person behind your ideas and opinions again. You don't hold disdain for the art, you seem to hold disdain for me as you've understood me through my critique practices, I take it. Don't be afraid, say your name and what you desire and perhaps there'll be some meaningful middle ground where our opinions can coexist. Perhaps also not, but it's best to explore these things instead of running away from them.

In short critique is a source of education - its never beutiful or ugly.

If you are interested in education you should concern yourself much more with what ethos is and what the responsibilities of an instructor as a human being are. There is no education when there is no humanity. Exercising your insecurities and baser desires upon another through any sort of weapon is not education. There is pride in being an educator only where there is an existential humbleness in how you approach the mysteries of another person with due respect and wonderment. This is why I am interested in who you are, because you are not 'anonymous'. You have a name and a desire. I'd love to know both.

Contradicting statements made by other people is also also wielding a weapon.

Depends on the intention for the contradiction, Anonymous. When I contradict your statements it is because I find them fallacious or unfounded, it is not to wound you. I have no ill desire for you, whoever you are. Read the rest of the blog and you will know enough to be able to tell at least that much.

Any further comments by 'anonymous' will not be from me so don't expect a reply.

I'd be happy if you adopted a name and took responsibility for your sayings, replied as you desired and carried the dialogue to a more reasonable end than just 'I'm leaving!'. Perhaps I was also quick to suggest an end to the dialogue above, clearly there's something to be explored here. I'll be very glad to have this conversation in its entirety on this blog once so I don't have to have it in smaller doses more times in the future.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think a man can smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and still say "smoking is bad for your health" - it does not invalidate the statement. Likewise for art. It's not who did the edit, does he have a grudge, can he explain himself and argue using large blocks of text, is he educated, what are his beliefs, its only the edit itself that matters.

I saw a problem and I thought I had a solution. Perhaps I should not have insisted there was a problem or kept the solution to myself. I am not an accomplished comic artist - merely someone trying to test ideas I am learning. The edit makes the piece more appealing to me, but that may be a question of taste and not drawing fundamentals. Perhaps by trying to make the piece clearer I have removed something which I cannot appreciate.

However, I do think you unfairly use pop pschology and a claim to have "refined taste" to wall off your pieces from criticism. These tricks don't work on the anonymous critic. You should welcome anonymous criticism then.

Helm said...

its only the edit itself that matters.

Our opinions differ. I am much more interested in the human behind the edit than I am interested in the edit. My artistic growth is not an end in itself. In fact I feel I am at a stage where sharpening my draftsmanship to the expense of actual human interaction and experience would be a significant step backwards as a comic artist, even if it would make my art look superficially cooler/get me jobs/whatever.

It is perfectly alright to disagree on this matter. It doesn't excuse dubious intention though.

These tricks don't work on the anonymous critic. You should welcome anonymous criticism then.

I'm not interested in anonymous anything, really. This is an exception because it is leading to something. I think words said without courage to stand up for them aren't worth considering but in passing.

I saw a problem and I thought I had a solution. [...] Perhaps by trying to make the piece clearer I have removed something which I cannot appreciate.

I don't think any such thing happened. Your edit did not hurt the piece in any way. The edit would be quite welcome in itself. Your manners were not. I take it your above paragraph will be the closest you'll get to acknowledging that, so we might as well move on to the final point:

My requests for disclosure and humanity can be deflected in any way you like. Pop psychology, sure. I don't have a degree. Tricks to win the argument, I can see that point of view as well, antagonism is about winning and losing in the end. Pretentious claims of "refined taste", there's nothing easier on the internet to mock than pretension, right? Because everybody's pretending to be something they're not and only the jester, anonymous and featureless sees the play for what it is. The point of view of the mind trained in cynicism and suspicion.

But I am trying to be sincere and candid in the best way that I can here, in this blog. Are you also doing your best? Was your coming to this blog in your best intentions? If you don't want to answer me, give me your name, tell me what you were trying to do, fine, at least consider what I'm trying to say on your own time.

Next time you reply, if you reply, do it under a registered name. That's was the last anonymous comment on this blog.