Hitch It / Ditch It: 3 Feet Under and Merunga’s Menagerie
This is the first installment in the current Hot Seat series. If you’d like to have your work considered, there’s still time. Here are the instructions .
This one’s a Hitch it / Ditch it critique. In short: I go to participants’ sites and list something they could improve (and offer my thoughts on how they could do that), and then I talk about something they’re doing well.
As always, this is only the beginning of the discussion. Members are encouraged to share their thoughts on the matter in the comments below.
Hitch It: Geez, Joel… would you take a second and marvel at how far you’ve come? Here’s a screen grab of where you were one year ago.
…And here’s your comic today…
Take a minute and pat yourself on the back. Your art has made tremendous strides! Your drawing is more confident, your camera angles and your composition choices are smarter. Your use of gesture to help convey the story is used to much greater effect. You have every right to be proud of the artist you’re becoming.
(Just throttle back a little on that shading, OK… it’s looking a little overdone.)
Ditch It: Dagnabbit, Joel…
…it’s one of the cardinal rules of lettering… you don’t cover up balloon tails! And I’m seeing that happen repeatedly in your recent archive. Worse yet — you have tons of space up there! You don’t even remotely need to do that.
It’s a very confusing visual. I can’t encourage you strongly enough to stop.
Hitch It: This is what I wrote about Merunga earlier this year:
This is a longform comic. It doesn’t stand very well as a strip. In fact, as a strip, it suffers. Instead of each strip reading as small, satisfying bites of story, we have somewhat awkward starts and stops. I wrote about a new approach that I’d like to see longform comics take quite a while ago. But it seems most longform comics creators can’t stop trying to present themselves as comic strips — even though there’s never been a better time for the digital-publishing of graphic novels! Tablets are a huge market.
What if you approached this more like Table Titans — with digital updates of one-half pages that are later assembled into a book? What if you used the approach I talk about in that link? The comic strip approach isn’t working so well. But we’re not living in a work that a webcomic has to be a comic strip any more.
That’s a tremendous opportunity — if you can break out of the old mindset.
Just take a look at today’s update:
Whoa nelly! Now THAT’S an update! Visually appealing… strong plot beats… mystery… intrigue!
Sit back and marvel at that. Well done!
Ditch It: Your lettering gets a little too close to the word-balloon border at times. (“He will stay hidden…” in the first panel above, for example.) It’s a rookie move, and it brings the quality of your work down. Pay attention to those details and your work will shine.