Tuesday, October 11, 2011

From the Frontline: Hayley @ Group Critique Night #1

The Cartoonist Alliance's campaign in the fight for spectacular comics has been a long and thrilling adventure. In From the Frontline, officers put the spotlight on notable events and meetings our club has organized or been a part of. Be sure to check out our last article, Kou @ SPX2011. 

Group Critique Night: Stories & Storytelling

September 30th's meeting focused on storytelling critique, from the pitch to the page. Our dedicated members came in with pages and scripts they were working on, from fully colored pages to thumbnails. We split into three groups, with each sitting in a circle to discuss each others' work. Everyone chipped in, giving helpful ideas to their fellow cartoonists and kicking off our group critique series with a fabulous start.

One storytelling problem that came up often in my group was clarity. Sometimes the content of a panel or even the border were hard to grasp, and with discussion, ideas were brought out to create a stronger composition. Variation in viewpoints was also a big item, as many people seemed to be fond of shots cut off at the chest or waist. Together, we worked to come up with more dynamic angles. At times, we veered off into drawing critique, though if a drawing is distracting or unclear, it can lead to a muddled story, so it all goes hand in hand. The majority of pages brought in were in pencil, making it easier to fix errors quickly. The stories people brought in were very interesting, ranging from sci-fi and fantasy (or, in one case, a parody crossover of the two) to stories grounded in real life. Some even managed to add supernatural or science fiction elements to ordinary events, such as a bike ride or going to a comic book convention.

Ideas were presented in many different ways. Some people brought in messy thumbnails and jotted down scripts, having little more than passion and determination toward their stories to show. Most showed penciled or inked pages, which gave more to talk about. With the inked pages, as well as fully colored ones, people gave suggestions to how they could make the suggested changes despite the somewhat permanent stage of their comic. One person even showed their work on an iPad, which led us in a similar conversation about how Photoshop can help with adjusting a comic page. The iPad was also a great way to show off the work, as it can blow up small thumbnails and it's easier to view final pages in this way than crowding around them.

All in all, it seems that everyone not only got a lot of help, but also got to know their fellow club members better. Hopefully, future critiques will be as fruitful!

Hayley Weber is a junior cartooning major who hails from the most boring part of New Jersey. To distract herself from this sad fate, she reads and draws girly comic books, watches weird British TV shows, and stalks her favorite bands.


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