Saturday, December 9, 2017

Marilyn Critique

Marilyn sent in this page for review;

There is something nice to Marilyn's choice of shots-- I like the compositions and the way she keeps elements off balance.  It's almost like a hand held camera type of film.

But now getting to the critique;

Like I discussed in class-- we're not going to get much into lettering because honestly we could fill six weeks with just lettering.  Does that surprise you?   It surprises most cartoonists because lettering is the afterthought and that's the biggest mistake creators make.

When you are composing your panel you should factor in where the balloons are going to go because they then balance out the panel.  They should never look like they are squeezed in and that's the problem here.

What do we do when we've not given enough space for the lettering?  Sometimes we have to crop, edit or move things in a panel to fit our balloons in.  Factoring what dialogue is going to be said in a panel during the composition stage will ensure that you don't have to worry about moving things around after it's drawn.

You also shouldn't be afraid to cover artwork, because the words are just as important as the pictures.  Remember a commandment I once wrote;


Here is where I would place balloons-- there are plenty of areas in the panel where they could go.

Same thing here-- move the words coming out of the TV up-- when it sits between the TV and the bed on the floor like it is in the original take it looks like a carpet with dialogue on it.

Move it up, have it start midway at the door mark and over the window-- but notice it doesn't fit inside the door or the window-- it breaks the plains of both-- that's important.  Dialogue coming from any electronic device is traditionally held in a square balloon with a lightning bolt pointer.  It gives the impression that the "sound" is tinny.

All right-- this is not about balloons though, so back to the storytelling of the page.

The flow from panel 1 to panel 2 is fine because the dialogue brings in the subject of the dog, so as a reader we get that we're now looking at the dog locked in the bedroom.

The storytelling problem comes with panel 2 to panel 3.  While the story itself makes sense, the dog is happy about a vegan Thanksgiving after hearing bout the Korean dog farm, we as a reader are confused as to how the dog got into the kitchen.

It goes back to Jim's page I showed earlier in the week, if time passes we need to have some kind of break from the scene or a narration box in the bottom panel that says "LATER".

You could also alter the second panel to have someone poking their head in the door asking if the dog wants to come out and that would work if the dialogue they delivered was something like "Hey boy, dinner's over do you want to come out now?" (and maybe a LATER in the top left of that middle panel.

It's critically important that we think through our pages before we take them to final.  

1- Does my reader understand the location?
2- Does my dialogue and the images move the story forward?
3- Is the transition from panel to panel smooth?  Think of it like a film.  Each panel is a shot in the film, if we treat this sequence like a film we begin by a family happy to see Vegan Thanksgiving (must be California ;) ) then we cut to the dog and then we cut back to the kitchen and the dog is there too.  If you were watching that you'd wonder who let the dog out (insert rap song here).
4- Did I leave enough room for my balloons and they not appear as afterthoughts?

There's a lot of hard work in this page, and it shows. 
The storytelling is almost there.

Marilyn also mentioned that she's struggling with scanning her pages in two parts.  I don't think there is anything worse than scanning in pieces and then trying to join them together.

In the past I've recommended the Mustek 1200 ED Scanner and a few of you have bought it.  It's out of production now but you can still find them used for around $100.

Staples also offers some 11x17 scanners, also known as Tabloid scanners, and price wise you should be able to find one for under $200-- the time you save buying one of these will be well worth the investment.