Hitch It / Ditch It: Kiwi Blitz, BlueStar Blues, Pomophobia
Same rules as always. I look at the recent offering of participating members and I choose to highlight one thing I think they’re doing really well and mention one thing they could improve. Then I open up the conversation to the members at large. Links are in the headers.
Hitch It: Geez. Pick one. We always talk about Mary’s coloring, but take a second to see how she sets up a scene. Or draws human figures. Or incorporates backgrounds and chading techniques to express mood. Mary’s craftsmanship is superb. The site runs well. She has excellent community-building on her site. I think Mary’s doing an excellent webcomic.
Ditch It: If I had to pick one thing to discuss, I think it would be the storytelling. Right now, Kiwi Blitz is a very nice comic that has a storyline with ups and downs, but there’s not a whole lot of dramatic swings. In other words, it feels very soap-opera-y to me when I read it. The updates are measured bites that deliver a section of story. It’s regular and consistent — and those are good things. But I think it’s going to take some really exaggerrated highs and crushing lows to make this story really grab people. You know that old saying about writing being like chasing your characters up a tree and then throwing rocks at them? I’d like you to throw harder. And aim for their heads.
Hitch It: This “Hitch It” as an asterisk. Joshua is doing an amazing job with his site in terms of encouraging his readers to stay on-site for a while. Although that promo box at the top is far too big (it overpowers the comic), it’s a great concept. It promotes previous blog posts from the site. Unfortunately, the subject matter is all over the map. Currently, the promoted topics include a Kirby Krackle album review, a report from a trip to a Renaissence Faire, a report from San Diego Comic Con, and a movie review. I know, you could file all of this under “geek culture,” but it doesn’t fit.
This is a question of priorities. What’s the most important thing on the site? The comic. The comic is a sci-fi space adventure.
If the blog is being aimed at building a community around the comic, then the blog should reflect a sci-fi/space adventure theme.
Right now, it seems as if there are two site sharing the same domain — a webcomic and a geek-culture review site.
One of those has to change to fit the other.
Ditch It: I think the art has improved since the last time I critiqued this comic, but it has a ways to go. One big help would be to vary the line weight. All of the lines are drawn at the same line weight. So as soon as two characters overlap (or a charcter overlaps a background item) it becomes difficult to interpret where one shape ends and another shape begins. Look at the difference:
All I did was draw a heavier line around the outside shape of each character — allowing the thinner lines to describe details inside that shape. Throw in a little shading to make the foreground character “pop” out from the background character, and there’s a noticeable difference in the legibility of the scene.
The are other ways of using line weight (and shading) to help differentiate overlapping items, but this one seem to fir the overall drawing style the best. Feel free to experiment with others.
Hitch It: I like that this is kind of a brain dump for ideas that have nowhere else to go.
Ditch It: Moiré patterns in the greys. If you’re using a halftone-bitmap gray, you need to either loosen up the line screen or convert to bitmap gray after you’ve resized the final art for the Web.