Jan 15 2009

Please give me some stylistic feedback

Published by at 11:57 am under Art,Book Covers,Comic Book Art

Let’s see.  Right now I’m working on the cover of our first issue and a series logo.

Cover Draft

  • Agent Orange (the reptile) is too cartoony.  I’m fond of the expression, but high school and college students wouldn’t give this another look.  RB said he looked too much like a Flintstones dinosaur and I can definitely see that.
  • Right now, Agent Black (the human) is focused more on a bobblehead than the reptile himself.  But the bobbleheads are just props meant to develop how wacky the reptile is.  So I’d like the human to interact more with the reptile rather than the dolls.
  • I plan to move the poster a bit up and to the left so that we can see it more clearly.
  • Instead of folding his hands, Agent Orange could be holding the employment contract that Black signs at the end of the first issue.  If we did this, we would probably give the reptile a speech bubble that doesn’t include any words but is just a picture of the human in a decidedly super Rambo pose, maybe blazing into a building with a submachine gun.  (This would suggest what’s at stake; if he joins he could be a superagent).

Series Logos

Some observations…

#1

  • I definitely need spaces inside the P and the Rs.
  • If I use this, I will probably get rid of the stars.
  • I was pretty sure that a double-fonted logo would look bad, but I like the way the word NATION intrudes on SUPERHERO.
  • I’m not sure about the glasses on the letter O.

#2

  • The font and color for the word NATION do not work here.  Black doesn’t fit into this logo well.
  • I like the white-to-grey gradient on the letters in SUPERHERO.

#3

  • I really like the way the letters arc in SUPERHERO.
  • Surrounding the letters in SUPERHERO with two gradients is probably too much.
  • The top-to-down red-to-blue gradient on NATION does not work.

#4

  • This would probably look better if it were all on one line.
  • If NATION is on a separate line from SUPERHERO, I think the letters in NATION have to be tweaked to make them go farther.  Otherwise it won’t look symmetrical enough.
  • The glasses look better here than on #1.  I think it’s because #4 is a plainer logo.

What do you think?

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Please give me some stylistic feedback”

  1. Daveon 15 Jan 2009 at 1:13 pm

    When I first read about this cover design, I imagined something slightly different which might work out nicely: an office desk covered with Presidential bobble-heads, with Agent Orange and Black bobble-heads guarding their flanks. I think that would be both easier to layout and more focussed.

    Just a thought.

  2. Holliequon 15 Jan 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I agree that Agent Orange seems too cartoony. I’m also not sure about the poster – what does car-pooling have to do with the story? What does Hitler have to do with the story? I think that might be misleading.

    Hmm. A minor tweak could be to have the bobblehead Agent Black is holding being one of Agent Orange, in a much different pose (I guess the opposite of what sort of vibes the pose is supposed to give off here). I think that could be a nice contrast. Also, I’d probably be asking “What sort of person [alligator] has a bobble head of himself amongst the American Presidents?”

    I like #1 of the logos, but without the glasses. My second favourite is probably #2, but I agree that the black writing needs to go. On the other hand, I think any of them could work with the changes you’ve suggested.

  3. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Hmm. I agree that Hitler could be a red-herring, given that so many comic series are set in World War II. I suppose I could change Hitler to Osama.

  4. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Maybe the bobblehead is a decapitated Osama bin Laden, and Agent Black is confused because the head has been severed from the body and is resting at Madison’s feet. We could change Agent Orange’s pose so that he’s shrugging sheepishly and we could add a speech bubble from Agent Orange that says “Umm… it came that way?”

    For the poster, we could do “Take a bite out of crime” (or “Take a bite out of criminals” if it’s legally complicated to appropriate a government slogan).

  5. Holliequon 15 Jan 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I like those changes. I think the idea of the poster is a good one, too. Haha. :)

  6. Megson 15 Jan 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I prefer the second one. It makes a bold statement. You’re right about the white-to-gray gradient–that looks great. I actually like the black of “Nation,” but a good alternative would be a dark blue.

    Honestly, I think the blue-to-red gradient of all the logos needs work. I would get rid of the purple color, it seems too “soft” and takes away from the strength of the title. It also seems very girly–nothing wrong with girly, but this isn’t going to be an issue of Sailor Moon. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I don’t think the purple really matches up to your core audience. I also think that the blue should start out being a darker blue on the right and that the final red color on the right should be a bit darker and deeper. The colors as they are are nice, but they don’t seem to make that strong of a statement.

  7. Ragged Boyon 15 Jan 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I laugh when I saw Orange, he looks like a dinosaur-man. Like he belongs with the Flintstones.

  8. sonic3535on 15 Jan 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I really like the strong, short gradient of “Nation” in #3. My favorite, though, is #2. Also, I agree that Agent Orange is WAY too cartoony.

  9. Bretton 15 Jan 2009 at 5:36 pm

    My main concern is that there’s just too much pink and purple, especially in # 3. Ick. I agree that agent Orange looks to cartoony. He needs teeth, claws, and maybe horns (please?).

  10. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 6:50 pm

    This is the first time I’ve had Agent Orange done by Banu at a comic-grade level of detail. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, but I’m kind of hoping I can get the level of cartooniness played down. I think this crocodile cartoon is pretty good.
    The eyes would probably be slightly larger, but generally I find it workable. Also, the tongue would be more snake-like.

  11. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Jan 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I like the 2nd logo, and agree that Agent Orange looks a little cartoony. He needs claws and sharper teeth.

  12. B. Macon 15 Jan 2009 at 10:18 pm

    OK, it seems like most people like the second logo the best. My main problem with it is that the NATION does not fit in very well with SUPERHERO. What could I do to make it look smoother?

  13. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 15 Jan 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Perhaps put a blue and red bar beneath it, too? The same as above, but blue on top and red beneath, so it’s:

    Red bar

    Blue bar

    Nation

    Blue bar

    Red bar

    I won’t be back here for a week, maybe two. We’re switching internet providers.

  14. B. Macon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:19 am

    Ack! Well, we’ll be waiting for you when you get back.

  15. Ragged Boyon 16 Jan 2009 at 8:16 am

    Bye, Whovian!

  16. sonic3535on 16 Jan 2009 at 9:01 am

    I agree with TRW as an answer for #2. Another thing to fix on that “Superhero”, too, is to take the small purple area between “supe” and “rhero” and move between “super” and “hero.” Right now it looks like you are trying to seperate the word in a very strange way.

  17. B. Macon 16 Jan 2009 at 9:22 am

    Yeah, I think it’d be easy to adjust the gradient so that it makes the purple transition between SUPER and HERO rather than between SUPE and RHERO.

  18. B. Macon 16 Jan 2009 at 11:30 am

    OK, I just sent my list of requested revisions to Banu.

    One of the things that has really struck me about the writer-artist relationship is how long takes it takes to get the art finalized, particularly if the writer is nitpicky (I am) or the team has a particularly eccentric style (we do). In contrast, if we were doing a more photorealistic comic, I think it’d be pretty easy for Banu to come up with an Agent Orange that looked good. But our comic book is a bit less detailed and slightly cartoony, so I think that’s throwing Banu off a bit.

    So how long does this take? Well, I can only speak for myself, but it took me about a week to come up with an initial idea for the cover, and I figure it will be another two weeks before we get the final, fully-edited color version. That’s 3 weeks for one page, and we only have two people involved. We’re going to have to increase the pace dramatically, particularly if we get published. We’ll probably have an issue (24 pages) due a month. Ick. I hope that adding two more members to our team (the editor and a letterer) will not slow us down very much.

  19. Ragged Boyon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Same here, My first draft and a considerable portion of my revised draft of my script should be done by now.

  20. Holliequon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Maybe you’ll find that the artiest will be faster when they know how the characters are done? It might help if you sketched out an outline of the page (positioning, etc.). It doesn’t need to be brilliant artistry, just as a sort of guide. You could ask Banu if that would help?

  21. B. Macon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Yeah, I expect that it’ll get a lot faster as soon as we have a better idea for what the comic-book Orange looks like. We’ve already completed a page with Agent Black on it, so it doesn’t surprise me that Agent Black was ready-to-go here. I actually did a storyboard for the page, but it would have been useful only for orientation and not the character-design. I know enough about Photoshop to adapt a drawing to show what I’d like to see, but I don’t know enough to actually make a sketch of my own.


    I like what Banu did with the layout of the bobbleheads. I had actually specified that they’d be in a row, but he laid them out a little bit more naturally and said it would be pretty easy to get them back into a line.

  22. B. Macon 17 Jan 2009 at 1:40 am

    OK, I think we’re getting kind of close to the right concept for the logo. I have three similar ideas, each drawing on #2 and #4.

    IDEA 1.
    –SUPERHERO would mostly appear as it does in #2, with a few minor adjustments (the purple transition comes between SUPER and HERO).
    –We would get rid of the stripes in #2.
    –NATION would use the same font as the word SUPERHERO does. It would have the same navy-crimson gradient that #2 uses, and the same vertical white-grey gradient that #2 uses.
    –NATION would be “centered” on the space between SUPER and HERO. That’s not actually the center, but it’s close enough that it won’t look poorly centered, I think.

    IDEA 2.
    –Same as idea 1, but this time SUPERHERO and NATION would both use the font from #4. (The S and O in SUPERHERO would still be the tallest letters, though. I like the way that looks).
    –For the font from #4, we’d add spaces to the letters that should have chunks cut out (P, E, R and O). That should make it easier to read. I’d also like to make the letters a bit more distinct rather than blending into each other.

    IDEA 3.
    –Same as idea 1, but this time SUPERHERO uses the font from #2 and NATION uses the font from #4. That would look something like this.

  23. Holliequon 17 Jan 2009 at 6:49 am

    I think I like Idea 3 the best (I’m assuming the centre of the letters would be done more neatly in the actual logo?). My only concerns are that it might look odd for it to have the same white-to-grey gradient as “superhero” when it surrounded by grey. Try it anyway, but it may look better entirely white/grey. I also think it might look a little strange if the blue-to-red gradient is the same. I think “nation” looks better in the opposite approach of red-to-blue.

    Those are things that you can pretty easily tweak, though.

  24. Holliequon 17 Jan 2009 at 6:52 am

    Actually, when I look again, I think Idea #3 would benefit from the “nation” being smaller and thinner than “superhero”.

  25. B. Macon 17 Jan 2009 at 11:19 am

    I also sent my requests for the cover as well.

    1. Agent Orange needs to be less cartoony. I was thinking more like American Dragon, so I’d like the edges on his face to be harder and less round.

    2. Instead of holding George Washington, the human (Agent Black) is holding the decapitated heads of Osama bin Laden and Hitler. In addition to being decapitated, these heads have been obviously defiled– maybe a US flag is stabbing out of an eye, or there are bite marks, etc. The bodies of Hitler and OBL are lying in a heap on the table. Agent Black is staring accusingly at the reptile, as if to say “what the hell?”

    3. Agent Orange looks like he’s trying to deny that he mangled his own Hitler and OBL bobbleheads, but not convincingly. For humor, he gets a line of dialogue here. He says “Umm… they came that way?” or something similar like “Umm… manufacturer defect?”

    4. The poster should be up and to the left.

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