This Star Wars webcomic of mine (from a comic I drew as a kid) kind of disgraces me as a designer! But it’s such a hard style to get right, for the particular, unusual content which it carries. I’d love to get your input.
Ordinarily, I prefer not to ask people for their opinions on my work, but I’m just too close to this thing and… it’s also complicated.
The webcomic is built around a comic book adaption that I did as a kid between early 1978 and about 1983. So between the ages of 9 and about 14 or 15 years old.
The current look is my CSS-tweaked version of a very plain and basic off-the-shelf Comic Press skeleton template. It’s difficult to get much more creative with it in terms of layout etc., so what I’ve done is mainly adjust the typography, colours and forms of the various widgets and content boxes, like rounding off their corners.
The Design Problem to be Solved
The problems as I see them from a webdesign point of view are mainly all about the fact that what’s being displayed/presented/exhibited in the website is pretty rough looking, at times very tatty, stained, and even partially eaten by Silverfish insects! The paper is nearly 4 decades old. But most of the drawings lack finesse. What this means is that:
- A ‘clean’ minimalist gallery-style website isn’t really going to fit the tatty looking content. It’ll make the content look even tattier by contrast.
- When I do a slightly tatty looking site design (like my other alienage11.com webcomic) it just makes everything look like crap 😀
My feelings about the current Dark version
As part of their artists’ profiles TV series, I spoke about Art, Illustration, Making Comics and the inspiration that we can get from our younger selves. Because our childhood interests and passions, can be the key to what we’ll enjoy doing when we grow up – if only we’ll listen!
Star Wars gets a very big look-in as a major inspiration and life-changer, to me, when I was a creative youngster. So, if you’re a creative person and you love Star Wars and comics; this is for you. I spoke a bit about 2 of my comics, the young Star Wars one: Star Wars age 9 – and my current grown-up 1970s nostalgia one: Between * Wars. Please check them out and follow them after you watch the video and read this article.
Above: My Artist Profile video feature on RTE TV’s Two Tube
In a Nutshell…
What the producers of the 2 minute piece took from it went like this,
“Two Tube went behind the doors of Illustrator John White’s Dublin studio and explored his diverse and colourful world of fine art, comics, illustration, and design; the secret is to always remain a big kid at heart!“
It was a fun thing to do at the very end of last summer, but it also focused my mind about a few things; particularly about us spending our life – and we only get one of those – working at what we enjoy.
Finding Our Own Voice – and the Web
I also spoke a bit about how we should try to find our own voice, creatively, and not be too intimidated by what other brilliant people are doing. Continue reading
When I started to draw some new comic pages a couple of years ago, it gave me a bit of a shock. How hard it was to do!
When I was a kid, bashing out comics on folded-over A4 sheets in my bedroom – it was just so easy.
Bish – bash – bosh: 30minutes [or less probably] Job Done!
It wasn’t just the fact that my critical faculties were childish, or that I didn’t plan it in thumbnail form – figure out the layout – the action – the text – the placement of the text – the flow of the action and panels; didn’t care what type of pen I used; didn’t bother with a ruler for the panel frames; no.
It was just that I was happy in myself about the quality of the work. It was all fun, no pressure. Just for me and a few friends.
Wind forward 30+ years! Now, there’s the whole world that must be impressed! Especially with the internet, there’s more competition. You can’t really try to look like a big fish in a small pond anymore. And you’re a proper artist. Which means: Continue reading
I’m now hoping to use the main site as a vehicle for trying out some Flash Animation things. The Blog site will be for giving updates in a form that will allow easy interaction and comment.
I’m also using the whole thing as an exercise in creating many different web-channels if you like and making them work together. For example via: WordPress blogging, Flickr uploads, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and perhaps RSS Feeds and Twitter.
I was off work again with a chest infection the last two days and feeling restless, I opened the old suitcase I’d brought up from mum and dad’s, and the plastic Penney’s bag dad’d given me last time I was there. Both are full of my old drawings – mainly of Star Wars. Handing me the bag he said: “I remember you said ‘oh just throw them out’, but I kept them.” So he did, and I’m glad he did. My mum also kept some stuff I think. “No, don’t throw those out…” she pleaded.
One of the most fascinating things is the comic strip adaptation of Star Wars that I started aged nine and a half. I have most of the first version, but some was sadly culled as my drawing improved. I’d remove pages no longer deemed up to scratch and replace them with better versions. These were the pages my mum wanted me to keep safe. Between dad and mum as I said, I have most of them. The odd thing is, the earliest, poorest ones are my favourites. The dawing is so poor, so out of proportion, so in need of a ruler at times! – but it brings me back immediately to that happy time, immersed in my drawing and the imaginary escapist alternate universe of Star Wars. It was also executed very quickly so has a wonderful immediacy and freshness.
To close, I must apologise to all the people that I bored senseless with my youthful Star Wars obsession! And I’ll also finish with a great quote I discovered in my comic adaptation. A few lines that Star Wars Director & Writer George Lucas hadn’t thought to add to one of Obi Wan Kenobi’s snippets of wisdom:
Kenobi: (Emits an animal wail to scare off the Sandpeople)
Luke: “Wow, that’s amazing. A Krag Dragon Call!”
Kenobi: “Easy with a set of well trained vocol cords (sic). After all: a duck can quack.”
Luke: (Without pausing to ponder this nugget exclaims, wide eyed) “What’s a duck?”
Classic stuff. Kenobi has seen more things in the universe than poor Luke could ever dream of. You know, ducks for instance. See it here on Star Wars age 9!