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Old 12-19-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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TPG Week 208: Wordiness Is Next To Confusion-ness


Hello, all, and welcome back to The Proving Grounds! This week, we have a new Brave One in Rin Kiyoko. I'm alone this week, so there's no one else to blame for missing stuff. It's all on me. Rin and I, locked in mortal(ish) combat of right vs crazy, good vs lazy, badass vs no-ass... Enough, let's see how Rin handles



Eblis OíShaughnessy # 1 Ė Cap and Boot



Okay, folks. First things first. Usually, I'm not one to disparage the use of a particular font. Most of the time, fonts don't bother me. Font size will drive me crazy, but fonts generally won't. However, since becoming an editor and learning things about lettering, I've come to become disparaging of one font in particular. It's the same font that Rin used: comic sans. Comic sans is terrible for a variety of reasons: horrible kerning, some letters are just badly formed, some letters lean left and others lean right, leaving gaps within words that will turn anyone's brain who's into calligraphy into mush.



When you are doing your practice lettering of comics, never, ever, ever EVER use comic sans. Not if you're going to show it to people. There are tons of free fonts out there. Nate Piekos of Blambot gives out free fonts (as well as paid ones). Go check them out, download to your heart's content, and pay for some. (For those of you who don't know, Nate has lettered more than his fair share of comics from Marvel to DC to Dark Horse and more. Unless the letterer has created their own fonts, you're probably seeing his work in Image books, and most self-published work. Nate knows his stuff. He's also a member of Digital Webbing.)



Enough font-shaming. Let's get into it.



Page 1 (5 panels)



1.1 (See this numbering? I like it. It instantly tells the entire team where they're at: page 1, panel 1. Do I use it myself? No. But it isn't wrong in any way.)

Long shot of the burnt-out ruins of a cobbled, stone building. The roof is missing and the walls at their highest only reach knee-high. It could house thirty plus people, but only six figures are present, spaced far apart from each other. Weíre too far away for precise details, but from their postures: a 7í tall menhir is being carried on a stooped-over golemís back, being moved towards panel right; the two teens slump exhausted against the walls; the woman sits on a box in the centre, calling towards panel left. Thereís a silver glow between her hands, which are held in front of her chest. The undertakerís hands are clasped at the small of his back as he stares into the background where yellow paths wind, meet and diverge across a scorched black lawn, and smoke rises from the embers and coals of what once was a hedge maze. The Fiínull encroaches off the right of the panel. It is daytime. The sky is grey. NOTE: Iím deliberately not naming 5/6s of these characters and Iíd like the art reflect that ďmysteryĒ Ė avoid full facial reveals, choose angles that hide as much of their faces as they reveal, use shadow, glare, perspective and other characters to obscure and hide things. This does not apply to the Fiínull. (Long-winded. Okay, I have no real problem with this being long-winded, because everything given is useful. However, there are some things I'd change. The first thing is to place the time of day much closer to the beginning of the description. The reason for that is simple: it sets the time of day right away, so the mind is properly set. The second thing I'd do is change it from day to night. The reason for that is simple, too: calling for a long shot doesn't do much to hide shapes during the daytime, especially when there's nothing to cast shadows. Because the time of day came so late, I was seeing everything in shadow already because nothing was distinct. Third, I absolutely hate hate HATE lens flare. I hate it with a passion, because it is very often overused by new colorists. When editing The Standard, I had to tell the colorist to kill all the lens flares because they were unnecessary. They quite often are. Calling for flares will only cause my blood pressure to rise. The last time I saw a good lens flare was in JJ Abrams' Star Trek. Take that as you will. Lastly, I don't recommend keeping the artist in the dark. They have to know who they're drawing, even if they're only going to be in silhouette. Let's say these were superheroes in silhouette. Captain America has a much different body shape than Spider-Man, who has a much different shape from Luke Cage. Mystery is for the reader, not for the creative team.)


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Old 12-19-2014, 03:35 PM   #2
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Thank you for this, Mr Forbes, it was informative and very, very useful. Iím guessing my extreme wordiness was why no one commented on the monkey / creamed corn script I posted a while back Ė too many words put too many people off so they didnít read it. (Or, they read it and were offended by its implied bestialityÖ)

Iíll start editing Eblis for brevity: Iím off to kill my darlings!!!
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiyoko, Rin View Post
Thank you for this, Mr Forbes, it was informative and very, very useful. Iím guessing my extreme wordiness was why no one commented on the monkey / creamed corn script I posted a while back Ė too many words put too many people off so they didnít read it. (Or, they read it and were offended by its implied bestialityÖ)

Iíll start editing Eblis for brevity: Iím off to kill my darlings!!!
I have not read this script yet but I did read your cream corned script. The punchline left me a little angry and so I didn't comment. Since you brought it up...

It wasn't funny. I'm sorry. The thing that I found interesting was the main characters eating disorder. I wanted to know more about that. There, I said it.
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:26 AM   #4
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Wow. There's a lot of words. I have to read each panel description a few times to make sure I don't miss anything. I was planning on a quick read before hitting the sack, but after the first two pages, I think I'll have to leave it until tomorrow.

It inspired me to work on my panel descriptions, however. The scripts I write for my current project have lazy, short-hand panel descriptions.
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Old 12-21-2014, 09:45 PM   #5
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Very good stuff Rin. I think I didn't like the plot itself, but then I don't like all the Gaiman Sandman plots. It seemed to be a story of book-keeping, without a protagonist to have an emotional connection to.

However, that's absolutely a question of taste and not a criticism of your abilities. I think Steven is right about cutting some of the descriptive excess. Other than that it's assured and feels like part of the world of the Endless.

Well done.

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Captions take less space than balloons for two reasons.

a.) Captions are generally made of lines of equal length, whereas balloons require hanging words top and bottom, leading to them using more vertical space.
b.) Balloons need tails, and need to be placed in certain spaces so that they make sense given the speakers' locations. This makes them use up a lot of negative space - by denying the possibility of other balloons being in certain positions. By contrast, captions can pretty much float wherever.
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