Monday, August 17, 2009

ZX page 11: Unfair

A routine is a comfortable mindspace. Divisions of time are even, the rote almost practiced, feels like it's been done before a million times.

I really like the last panel, I'd talk about negative space and gestalt effects in composition but I'm kinda apprehensive now that a reader told me in the comments my negative space doesn't work, heh.

Do you have such a routine, video-games on mute well after midnight, a bottle of wine, feeling like a child?

Things are going alright back on page 18, a bit slow really, this page took a week by itself and it's not completely done yet, but it'll have to be, today. Leaving for a couple of days in Thursday, don't be alarmed if some comments don't get validated until then.


rnd1 said...

heh don't act like a hurt school girl. The last panel is very nice (eg. the hair, and the position of the robot's fingers). It is only the shading on the chest and maybe on the robot that detracts from it. Don't you think it is decorative and unnecessary? Don't details make things slower to draw and read (and hence should be saved for panels depicting say an important weapon or a new location)? Or maybe these comics aren't for people with ADHD.

You should share you thoughts on negative space. I don't pretend to be an expert.

I might not be using the term correctly. When I say negative space, I meant on the 'wins' panel on the previous page you could color over those characters in black and still tell what is going on (though maybe her second sword should be extended so you can see it). But say in the second panel on this page, couldn't you have separated the guy's fingers, put some white space in there, to make it a more recognizable hand and show some pain (or is that cliche)? Also, you can't tell he has a axe from the silhouette so perhaps that is why it looks out of place in that position. Couldn't you have put a curve on the back of his head to make it more recognizable in silhouette form?

I don't know if this is a self imposed restriction because you are depicting a game but the poses in the fight scenes are stiff. Maybe looking over some punches in tintin comics to see what I mean by way of contrast.

Don't ask me what is happening in panel 5. Panel 6 could have drawn invisible arms (or maybe just out of the way) so we can focus on the jiggling of her boobs. Jiggling is very important in visual communication.

Panel 7 is very good. Let me know if you want more of these commentaries.

Helm said...

"Don't you think it is decorative and unnecessary? Don't details make things slower to draw and read (and hence should be saved for panels depicting say an important weapon or a new location)? Or maybe these comics aren't for people with ADHD."

I obviously don't think it's unnecessary. I make the rendering lighter than the usual to attach a sense of unreality or emotional elation to the panel or sequence in question, actually. My default rendering depth isn't Herge's 'clean line' (it never was).

And yeah the comic has a calm pace. When I want you to read faster I cut it up to smaller, less rendered panels, usually. You won't see any 'important weapon reveal' panels in this comic, sorry!

As for negative space: yeah, disambiguation with the silhouette forms is a part of it, but it's not the only concern. Perhaps I'll write about this at some future point. A lot of your suggestions are theoretically valid (and I've had variations of them hammered into my brain by a teacher of mine when I was in comic school -- you can check him at ) and if you do look at his art you'll see that these suggestions lead to a streamlined, exaggerated and very *intense* style, no room for ambiguity of emotion. My goal is very very far from this American mainstream type of visuals, I'm making a human story in a pretty calm pace, where attention to detail is rewarded for the viewer and not *everything* is as it should be. I want you to spend some time with each page/panel and figure a few things out for yourself. Of course this doesn't excuse errors on my part, but a lot of the grey area in construction and figure drawing has more to do with presenting 'human' captures of movement than these perfect, stylized renditions that are common in a lot of mainstream comics. So yeah, I'd never move an arm out of the way to show boobs juggling more fully, if you get my drift.

Your critique is always welcome just as long as you realize that some of your concerns pertaining to how comics should be, as you've explained them to me, have been internalized for some time now, well before I started this comic and are never going to change. If you find yourself frustrated with my artistic choices a lot perhaps you should consider what this says for the theme of the comic?

Also, a minor point if you'll allow me, school girls should be proud of their feelings, let's not propagate negative cliches :)

rnd1 said...

If you know the rules already (but choose not to follow them) then there is no point pointing them out. I'm not sure what the theme of the comic is. I'm hoping things pick up once ZX gets jealous of the girl and turns into a murderous robot.

Helm said...

Oh wow. Perhaps this isn't the comic for you. By all means, keep reading, but I think you're probably going to be disappointed.

Markus Rosse said...

Hmm, interesting. I never thought about these comics here in such a way like rnd1. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with (at least american) comics.
As far as I understand the story, the visuals works quite well I think. For that reason the 8th panel is my favorite. When I saw the panel the first time, I overlooked ZX. As if Stephan was the only person on the panel (I don't elaborate more). I think therefore the negative space is mastered quite nicely.
Maybe I'm not a big fan of this over-emphasized ballet-disney-style, but I think the story works so far - visually and with regards to content. It depends probably on your own life experience too.

Helm said...

Thanks, Marcus. As always very keen eye. I'm glad you're reading this.