Hitch It / Ditch It: Al One
This is the latest installment of the current round of Hitch It / Ditch it HotSeat critiques. The rules are simple. I go to your site and list one thing I think you’re doing very well, and then I talk about one thing you might be able to do better. As always, this serves merely as the starting-off point for a larger discussion among the members.
Ditch It: This is another one of those situations in which a little “Comics 101” will make this webcomic look significantly better overnight.
First off, the lettering. Getting a decent comics-lettering font is not difficult — and it doesn’t have to be expensive. ComicCraft has many good ones, and so does Blambot. If you find one you like at ComicCraft but it’s too expensive, remember they have a massive sale every year on January 1.
Secondly: Word balloons. Word balloons that don’t point to a speaker are frustrating.
Frankly, I think they’re death from a storytelling aspect. I can think of one or two instances in which I’d use that approach — over the course of a lifetime. Aside from that, you need to indicate who is talking. And if they’re off camera, it’s a good idea to point to where they are. For example, a word balloon that eminates from behind a door is a better storytelling device than a balloon that just floats in space.
Also: Always keep a consistent border inside the word balloons. The letters should never touch the border of a word balloon. They shouldn’t come close.
Allow me a quick aside… check out the example above. Who is talking? The people in the police car at the far left? The people in the truck with the arrow painted on it? Is the conversation happening in the black floating ball thing? No word-balloon tails means we’ve been left with an ambiguous, confusing scene. If you’re trying to get readers hooked into a story, you may have lost quite a few of them with a panel like this.
Thirdly: Gutters. If you’re going to have a solid color behind your panels — in this case, it’s a medium gray, it’s going to create a very confusing visual if the backgrounds in the panels are flat areas of the same (or similar) gray hue.
This is easily addressed by either avoiding that color in your backgrounds and/or adding some shading/texture/etc. to the backgrounds so they differ visually from the flat color behind the panels.
Finally, the colors themselves. Each hue seems to be at maximum intensity. The blues, the violets, the greens… every single color is as strong as it could possibly be. That’s fatiguing to look at for very long. You want a primer in controlling color intensity? Check out Steve Hamacker’s work on Table Titans (or his creator-owned series, Plox).
Compare the scene below to the one above. Same basic colors, right? Blues, blue-greens and purples. But the one below chooses to mute some of the hues and let others play a little more strongly.