Font Overhaul Finished

December 14, 2011

This really should have been finished last week but as usual I was far too optimistic about my schedule.  Anyhow, I’ve applied the new font to all my old pages while taking greater consideration of the medium’s rules in this area; it’s certainly subtler this way and presents more variation thanks to the increased emphasis on bold/italic type:

I’ve updated everything on The Duck and ComicFury accordingly and have temporarily replaced the pages under my ‘Read it!’ page. Still, what I really need to be doing is getting onto ComicPress and setting up a more accessible archive there. It remains to be seen how well that will go as I’ve never used the site before but I’ll definitely give it a try before the end of the week.


Page 14

December 5, 2011

As of now with this page I’ll be making updates on Mondays  or not at all. Ideally that will mean weekly updates though the main reason is to lock down a consistent release day which people can check in on – if I don’t have a page ready at the start of the week I’ll at least upload concept work to keep things rolling.

On the page itself; I’ve been straining the tension for a while here since – as I explained last time – the dramatic pause seemed right. Things get quite kinetic a few scenes on and the pace picks up considerably, so with that in mind a slightly slower (albeit tense) moment struck me as a suitable cushion to stop the follow-up feeling rushed. Quite obviously the next page is the “it’s behind you!” moment to break the aforementioned tension, something I considered having in the last panel of this one but seemed cramped and ineffective. Moving it a page ahead of the vocal shock may test reader patience a bit (sorry!) but it also makes the most of the intense atmosphere and should provide a stronger payoff.

Additionally, our mysterious stalker here is really the central protagonist. Curt serves as something of a sub-protagonist with his own important role in the plot but the real heart of the story lies with Scratch. Excluding the opening page this is her introduction not to mention the first meeting between these two characters. I won’t be making a habit of stretching thirty seconds over four pages – or I’ll be grey before I’m done – but with the rest of the graphic being fixed upon these two a little indulgence may be for the better.

Art wise I’ve tried to support the atmosphere with more close-ups than usual, plus the requisite noir shadowing. I did do more with colours here as the overpowering greens were in danger of becoming monotonous; note the slightly blue hue on Scratch’s prosthetics and the cyan highlights from the light source.  Essentially, I’m still experimenting a bit to find a mix I’m happy with, but hopefully it’s going in the right direction.

You may also have noted that I’ve used the new font here which appears to be a considerably improvement over the old one, it may be a little understated but I’ll take that over the EVERYONE’S SHOUTING look I had before. What I’ll be doing now is going back over the earlier pages and replacing the lettering accordingly, once that’s done I can reupload and should be set to startup a new archive on ComicPress!

It may take a couple of days but with that sorted out I should be all systems go again, stay tuned…


New Font

November 29, 2011

Following on from Matt Hemsworth’s criticism of my current font I’ve revamped it to create something more aesthetically appealing and hopefully closer to industry standard.

The old font was far too bold compared to typical comic text so the thinner design for the new one should be welcome. I dare say my lack of skill in this area is readily apparent and there were a few quirks I was unable to correct, still for now at least I’m happy with it. I may well consider professional options around completion but as a stopgap I think it does the job.

In addition to my work on the font itself I also carried out a little research. Of particular note was an essay I discovered on Blambot by Nate Piekos giving a rundown on the typical rules of comic grammar, speech bubbles and other important conventions; most of which I was already aware of to some degree, however I found a few points I formerly knew nothing about. Embarrassing certainly, but better corrected now than 100 pages down the line, anyone looking for advice on how to use text in their comics would do well to look there.

So, with that sorted it’s onto the somewhat arduous task of relettering and redrawing balloons in my backlog. All the same I’ll see to it I have a new page together for next week as I start making routine updates.


Feedback from Mattruss

November 22, 2011

Time to change a few things around here.

Being completely open I’ve got to admit that my recent endeavours in connecting with the web community have, shall we say not been wildly successful. I’ve never been much of an attention hog and I’ve always been at my happiest in a niche middle ground, but with the exception of a few kind-hearted regulars – thankyou! – as a webcomic, feedback and readership on my graphic has been more than a little underwhelming.

To make a useless analogy: It feels like I’m at one of those friend of a friend‘ parties, where there’s only one person you know and everyone else is so firmly locked into their cliques you’d need a crowbar to pry them free. Time passes and you slide to the back of the room, drink at a half consumed event horizon, eyes glazed over, sending inane texts to people who’ve turned off their phones…

It all boils down to one thing: what am I doing wrong?

Not at the parties I mean, but with this whole webcomic thing. Back in Summer Paul Gravett placed huge importance upon becoming involved with relevant communities as a part of the context behind my work. Having tried this on my own terms for three months it’s time to accept that my current strategies simply aren’t working.

I contacted Matt Hemsworth on recommendation of my tutor since besides being a former student of my own Hull School of Art and Design he’s someone with a much keener understanding of illustration and comics, with a great deal more direct experience of promoting his work over the internet and elsewhere for that matter. E-mailing him over the weekend I honestly expected little more than a paragraph of advice on my comic, blog and methods but he was back to me within hours with a whole page of feedback and suggestions – so first and foremost hats off to Matt for being so awesome!

There was plenty of food for thought in what he wrote but to keep things reasonably succinct I’ll summarise the most important points he made along with my planned response:

- Lettering:

This will likely be the first thing I tackle as it affects pretty much all of my graphic. While fine with my art itself he thought that my speech bubble text detracted from the overall quality, being oversized and inconsistent. Looking at it with fresh eyes I see what he means so an overhaul of the font itself and edit of all existing pages is imminent. It might be worth having it done professionally at some point to get the best results, but with so much currently in flux it would be something I’d leave for nearer completion of a collected volume.    

- ComicPress:

Excluding my uploads to ComicFury and The Duck the way I’ve archived pages under the ‘Read it!’ menu of my blog is haphazard at best. While reasonably accessible it doesn’t make for easy reading in sequence and gives an unprofessional impression. Matt’s recommendation of ComicPress as an alternative place to upload and archive in conjunction with my blog definitely sounds like a good idea as it makes for a much more inviting reading experience. In relation to this it may also be worth forking out for a proper domain name at some point too.

- Printing:

A matter I’ve only given fleeting thought to as a distant prospect. Besides pointing me in the direction of one of Hull’s more reasonably priced printers, he suggested I start printing promotional material as soon as possible to drum up interest, even a preview booklet or small poster might be worthwhile.

- Promotion:

Leading on from the last point another strong recommendation made was to get a table at a convention. Again, even if its only a teaser item or something given away for free it can only help draw interest. He had a high opinion of the Leeds Thought Bubble Festival in particular which I’ve just missed but would do well to plan ahead for next year.

- Updates:

A pretty obvious point which I ignored at my peril; it’s worth setting a specific day(s) for updates in order to build up a buzz of interest and ensure people know when more will appear. Even if I can’t make weekly uploads every time, keeping them on a fixed day no matter what would almost certainly be for the better in terms of consistency.

Lots to think about and lots to get on with then!


Font Upgrade!

June 8, 2011

Having finally got my hands on a workable program, I’ve been able to convert my font into a TrueType file and spare myself the hassle of cutting and pasting letters in one by one. Naturally this will save me a lot of time making pages but I also took the opportunity to refine my text into something a little tidier.

As the before and after hopefully shows I’ve cleaned up the lettering and resized it for an altogether more even appearance while keeping the slightly rough edged, hand-drawn look of the original scrawl which I desired. It strikes me as an improvement since it’s more legible now, while the old version seemed a little too broad giving the unfortunate impression characters were shouting at each other.

Thanks to Havi once again for helping me out on this one :)


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