Friday, February 13, 2009

As the Webcomic Turns...

As I am hopelessly obsessive about things, I've done a *lot* of reading and analysis on webcomics. The goal was to expedite my improvement and skip over some of the common shortfalls. Good idea, in theory. In practice, I've learned there's no teacher like experience. I think back to my time at the garden center. By the end of my run I knew every plant there and how they should be kept. I could dispense advice to grateful customers. When I got home, I found I still couldn't garden to save my life. Basically, I'm an example of a fool I've been mocking since high school. Intelligence and maturity are not related since high school, yet I still set out thinking, "I could be the exception!" Yeah, look at my early strips. I might understand the concepts involved, but I had zero skill in using them. (Still don't really, but I am getting better.)

One thing I really wanted to do was sort out my character proportions. This was where I was the most inconsistent, and I wasn't even sure what I liked best. I went in trying to anticipate how my style would evolve. The lines would get cleaner and more precise. Characters would probably get more steamlined. Proportions would settle themselves. Oh then, so I tried to push myself in that direction. I actively shrunk my characters to Peanuts-level proportions. They were cute! Then I tried to draw them sitting in chairs - or worse, hugging. Uh oh. Have I shrunk my characters too much? Is it time for the yo-yo to go the other way? With many upcoming strips featuring the parents, the proportion contrast needs to be settled before it gets silly!

Well, one lesson is learned. I'm just going to run with it. I'm going to try and draw what's natural and not freak out too much. Look at the Dionnes above. One I just drew while sketching; the other I *tried* to draw. I think you can figure out which is which, and which looks better.

The Roddy and Bud also representing one I tried to draw and one I just drew. In this case, Bud was a random sketch. Roddy was drawn as a response the scrunched Dionne. He's supposed to be a comfortably-sized sketch, representing a gentle heightening so I could lengthen the arms again. (I really hate drawing arms that reach below the knees, and that is chimpily wrong!)

I do believe if I just let go, my pencil will be kind to me. (Famous last words?) Looking back through the blog archives, I see pics where I note that I am trying the big head thing. They look like... the Roddy sketch! Clearly, I am moving in the right direction, but I might be pushing too hard.

If I let it go, I think most will come out around the Bud proportion, which is good enough. He does tend to have a larger head, mostly due to the lack of hair or ears to enhance his height and cranial bulk. Something has to be done to balance out that big-eared, point-haired Autumn!

Also, I'm glad I didn't post this entry last night. Today was supposed to be a work day on the comic, but it instead turned into a comic work day. Instead of making strips, I was working on the website. Lots of stuff got done. The linking page was altered, the cast page was completely redone and I bit the bullet and signed up with Project Wonderful for advertising. I've given myself $10 to play with as I place buttons on lots of minor comics with hope in my heart. A few hours in... I have one hit. And I think it was me. Oh well, it's progress! In time I'll ad my own buttons and the cycle will continue.

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