Preproduction Page; please give feedback!


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Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:44 pm



This is a pre-production page test for the upcoming 'The Legend Of Ika Takozushi', the story I will immediately start after completing 'To Save Her' in a few months from now.

What I would like you to do is to look over this test page and provide what feedback you can. Nothing is set in concrete yet, so your input could have an enormous impact on the eventual work that will be created.

Consider the overall look, and layout, the method of illustration and coloration, the linework especially; also consider the text, the way it is placed, and the overall style, look, and feel.

For instance, I am definitely not happy with the font on the page - I think we can agree that is not the font to use. Perhaps you can select a better font, or suggest what kind of font might best suit a story of a very Zen Samurai Squidopus with an earnest boar as a disciple?

The most basic style that I have decided on is that the backgrounds will all be made of fine and exotic unryu paper - indeed the look of the forums is a direct outgrowth of the Ika Takozushi project as it develops. The same backgrounds that make the forum are a small sample of my collection of imported paper which I intend to use more or less in the manner seen here. In this page I have experimented with two new aspects; special effect lighting on the paper background, and deep contrast in the line art. This is rather different than the much lighter, more watercolor-like Takozushi images I have tried, and previously presented to you. Any thoughts?

I am also concerned about overall composition. Should the characters be larger? Take up more of the page, should the camera angles be much closer, or is a wide background a good idea? Are there other comics that you think offer hints as to how I should do Takozushi? What could make this basic concept truly shine?

Your ideas and thoughts and feedback can help me make the best possible Takozushi I can make.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby marinschild » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:04 am

My thoughts on the pre-production page:
  • The text looks fine. It reads very well, and there is no problem distinguishing it from the background.
  • The character design is fine. Dynamic angles for the characters may not be the best thing if you want to stay with the woodblock print art style.
  • I like the vivid colors. Compared to the front page, the image looks less washed out.
  • The textured paper for the backgrounds looks wonderful. The lighting is great too.
  • I'm not sure what is happening with the black areas in the background. Does this signify night? I can't really tell what the general time of day is in this image. Also, the black areas in the background make the overall image just a bit bland (and darker).
  • I like the prose-style text compared to dialogue bubbles. It gives the page a slight literary flair.

Those are pretty much all my thoughts about the page. I hope that thing turn out great.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby draque » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:01 am

Honestly the only thing I can say is that I'm looking forward to seeing more stuff in that style... you know that I'm not shy about contributing constructive criticisms, but that looks really cool to me. ^^
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby strange_person » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:05 am

I initially mistook the thicker stalks of bamboo in the central background for negative space, a gap between two black buildings or something.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Alfador » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:41 pm

Isn't that part of the story where Ika temporarily has no arms?

I mean, that's the whole reason WHY they want him as a replacement cock.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Monthenor » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:56 pm

I preferred the earlier watercolor style. Also, I know this is just a test page and don't kill yourself working on it, but the characters aren't very dynamic here. Ika has his tentacles raised like he's asking his question, but that monk is not nearly furious.

I don't know from woodblock prints, though. To the wiki!
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Plasman » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:30 pm

Very, very nice pre-production!

A thought on the typeface - why not DIY? Something nice and scripty would be good. You don't even have to faff around with making your own True Type font; you could just write directly on the artwork. (Well, I mean write the text out by hand and place it on the image in post-production, of course.)
If that sounds like a fantastically complicated and terrible idea, why not have a look at some examples of the stuff you're trying to emulate? Is there anything out there that has the look that you're trying to achieve? Have a look at what they've done, and work from there...

I'm guessing that each panel will have a formal wood-print look, in terms of structure and arrangement? That is, figures arranged in a strict "artwork" style, as opposed to the action shots found in Manga and your other comics. If so, this will be a very interesting direction for you to take... (interesting = 8) , not :? )

The colours look fine, though I also had the figure/ground problem strange_person had. :oops: No big problem there, though, 'cos you're only at the prelim. stages anyway, just something to look out for, I guess.

I know you really like the paper texture effect, so stick with it! It makes the comic look a million bucks! Do you want any texture samples, by the way? I'm sure I have some fancy papers somewhere, and if I can get my scanner working it would be no trouble at all.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Ashes » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:21 pm

The intense purple of the fox's clothes pulls your eyes straight to it, and doesn't want to let go.

The softer watercolor look from the (much) earlier previews was so nice.

The abstract-ish background is stylish and effective, but I wouldn't use pure black. Pure black should be used sparingly. The same goes for pure white, but that isn't a problem here.

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I recolored the fox's coat with a less intense purple, and filled the space between the bamboo with a less absolute black.

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:For instance, I am definitely not happy with the font on the page - I think we can agree that is not the font to use.

I agree. Vehemently.

MY EYES! x_x

Maybe a nice sans-serif?
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Wizard CaT » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:54 pm

My advice is to not start it right after you finish TSH.

Also I think the font was fine, but if you don't like it maybe you can have each character have a unique font if you find some -readable- that you like.

The fox does look a bit stiff.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Mitsukara » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:32 pm

The look of this preproduction page is fine, but I was curious, comparatively; how hard to draw was the Kamishibai version? I believe it was done in DPaint, but pixel versus paper aside, the aesthetic look of the thing; the airy, bright... "cute" look of it was kind of nice, and it might be interesting to see that look intertwined with this one, at least in places. (I recall how the art style changed with the emotional tone in PDH; perhaps you could use that experience here, having sillier moments in watercolor style and something like this for starker moments?)

Or, perhaps, you could keep the deep, richly detailed backgrounds- which is the most beautiful and awesome feature of this sample page, by the way- exactly like in the picture here, but toy around with brighter, watercolor-y characters? It might make an interesting, surreal contrast. Also... is there any easy way to perhaps apply a texture layer over the characters? Maybe if the characters themselves had a paper-looking slightly-crinkly texture to them, as if they were literally paper cutouts on top of a painting? Alternatively, a wood grain texture on the characters to similar effect, if that's more what you had in mind? Of course, I probably just suggested a bunch of stuff that was hard to do, so I apologize if so.

Also, I have to heartily agree about the prose-style text on the page versus word bubbles. It's very appropriate for this story, I believe.

As for font lettering... perhaps this one is a bit too English in tone? Something with more of an oriental script look would probably be ideal, though I have no specific recommendations on something fitting that description.

I look forward to seeing it in any case. However, I do have to say Wizard CaT has a good point that you shouldn't push yourself to do this right after TSH unless you really feel ready right away. I know you want to get out all your stories as quick as you can, which is understandable and respectable, but don't pressure yourself out of pacing yourself.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Sun Apr 12, 2009 4:12 am

After reading all of the responses, I am convinced to go back to a more watercolor style, more brushy, less line-y. Maybe leaning towards the look of the original Kamishibai, or at least the more painterly images I have done before.

I don't think the bold black paint experiment worked out, at least for this story.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Anna » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:10 am

Maybe you should try one or two pages in your prefered style as an example, so that we can make a better "picture" of your intentions.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Mitsukara » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:22 am

I agree with Anna on that- I think playing around with both ideas a little more is worthwhile. The experimentation in PDH seemed to work out pretty well, after all.
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Re: Preproduction Page; please give feedback!

Postby Iustinus » Sun May 03, 2009 7:52 pm

I'm kind of late to the party here (as you know I almost never read the forum anymore, too busy with school >.< ), but I just wanted to weigh in:

The test image is beautiful, no doubt about it, but I was really looking forward to the watercolor style. So I'm glad that seem to be where you're headed.
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