PDA

View Full Version : Zatswan: Multiversal Guardian


Neil Allen
06-01-2017, 11:00 PM
Hello,

I just recently launched a comic book project called Zatswan: Multiversal Guardian.

https://www.greenlantern.co/news/zatswan-news-01.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Sales pitch:

"Zatswan: Multiversal Guardian is a science fantasy adventure featuring fantastic settings, larger than life threats, affecting characters, and cosmic romance. While living an ordinary life in Southern California, A.C. Cooperís world is turned upside down when he is offered a tesseract; a strange object from the fourth dimension that grants amazing powers. A.C. and a young woman he just met, Marlene Ja lee, are inducted into an organization of cosmic peace keepers called the Zatswan. Utilizing the power of tesseracts, these guardians defend all known realities from the greatest dangers imaginable. A.C.ís loyalty and morality are challenged when his new duty as a Zatswan pits him against a mysterious young lady who is literally the girl of his dreams, with all existence hanging in the balance."

Promo video (with music by me) :

0PRI6EZRbmE

Here are some pages from the actual comic:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-00.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-01.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-02.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-03.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-04.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-05.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-06.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-07.jpg

All comments, critiques (if any), or whatever else welcome and appreciated.
Thanks a lot for checking it out!

Neil Allen
06-05-2017, 07:33 AM
The story continues:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-08.jpg

Again, more at http://zatswan.com/

Here is some other art I have for the project. The following three images are from my characters page (http://zatswan.com/characters/). There is more information on these characters over there.

A.C. Cooper

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ac-cooper-char-00.jpg

Allecka Xona
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/allecka-char-00.jpg

Marlene Ja Lee
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/marlene-char-00.jpg

This is a fuller image of my banner:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/trio-00.jpg

And a pin-up featuring a full body shot of the main character:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7tzuYiVsAA1cvM.jpg

Neil Allen
06-07-2017, 10:25 AM
Continued...

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-09.jpg

More at: http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
06-11-2017, 05:25 PM
Latest posted page:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-10.jpg

More at:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
06-14-2017, 02:38 PM
Need more ZATSWAN in your life? Well, guess what? I'm your hook up! Latest posted page:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-11-1.jpg

Don't forget to visit http://zatswan.com/ for more Zatswan content! This is just the beginning.

Neil Allen
06-19-2017, 10:22 AM
More Zatswan!

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-12.jpg

As usual, more at my website: http://zatswan.com/

sevans
06-20-2017, 12:30 AM
The drawing and proportions aren't perfect, BUT the area that really bugs me.... the lettering.

Everything is done by hand, lines, colours etc...but the precise computer lettering and balloons doesn't fit well. Very Jarring.

Neil Allen
06-21-2017, 05:01 PM
Next page up!

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-13.jpg

More at my website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
06-26-2017, 12:04 PM
On and on it goes:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-14.jpg

Website with more content about the project:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
06-28-2017, 03:58 PM
More Zatswan:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-15.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-04-2017, 04:29 PM
Finally, A.C. Cooper becomes a superhero. Next page:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/01-16.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-05-2017, 06:56 PM
Another update:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/01-17.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-09-2017, 09:49 AM
More adventure!
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/01-18.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-12-2017, 11:46 AM
Next page:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/01-19.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-16-2017, 11:42 AM
Next page:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/01-20.jpg

End Chapter 1.

Website:
http://zatswan.com

Charles
07-18-2017, 07:44 AM
Your work is awash in color to the point of its own detriment. As I scroll down the page and just browse the imagery, what I find is that the range of color in play grabs my eye, only to continually turn me off. Any particular instance of color usage, even where it seems to be a visual delight in its own right, is in constant visual competition with a whole host of other contenders. The end result is a stunted, muted effect.

Rather than assail the eye with color for particular panels or particular moments, you've gone color wild every step of the way. It's not something that I would buy, and it's not something that facilitates making it easier to persuade the reader to actually invest the time to read what is on display. That's how I feel, anyway.

Not content with beating the eyeball with color splashes non-stop in the panels, you continue the visual assault down in the gutters, also. Granted, white space doesn't have to be the color white, and it is to the work's good credit that you at least made use of the color white in your speech balloons. Otherwise, you don't seem to have much use for the color white. Such a pity, for it indicates that you don't value that color nearly so much as other colors in the color spectrum.

This, in turn, is obliterating contrast on your pages.

Part of what is visually appealing about your work is your manipulation of color. You value color. You love it! And this is nothing to be ashamed of, particularly in light of the fact that you're aiming for something "different." At what point, though, does one reach am artistically viable stopping point?

Imagine the human eye as a runner, and anytime that it sees color, it has to run. Your chosen approach gives the eye little room to rest. Your color taken to excess wears the eye out. The eye tires from color fatigue. This matters for the very simple reason that it negatively impacts the ability of the viewer to more fully appreciate what it is that you are striving so very hard to achieve.

It reminds me of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, particular the point where the poem says, "Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink." With your work on display, here, I would paraphrase that poem by saying, "Color, color, everywhere, nor any drop to drink (as in, visually drink). Your forte is color, but at the risk of artistic blasphemy, I feel that you visually poison your own work because you treat color as a mere plaything to do with as you will.

Or to put it another way, your greatest artistic gift is simultaneously your worst artistic curse. Some of your coloring is really genuinely lovely, whereas other of it simply leaves me smacking myself in the head and asking, "Why?"

I get that each panel is a visual scene, and that you want to populate it with color, much as the real world around us is populated by many different colors, no matter where we tend to find ourselves. What I don't get is why you utilize non-scene elements (such as narration boxes and gutters) to add color insult (color for the sake of color) to color injury (the non-stop visual assault by color run amok across every panel on every page).

By taking the artistic route that you have taken, what happens is that your visual apex moments yield a reduced level of visual color. So, your visual "whoa moments" take on a quality of visual "ho hum." How very quaint, more color. How very.....typical.

Or, in a literary sense, if you prefer, you are undermining the visual story telling, by cutting off at the knees what should rightly be the most visually impactful moments of your story.

Just as I begin to love what I am seeing, I immediately begin to hate it.

What you are trying to pull off successfully with this chosen approach of a full embrace of color in your handiwork is, indeed, commendable, but I question whether you have the necessary mastery of supporting elements to enable you to actually pull it off. Take human anatomy, for one. Take human expressions, for another.

You are very gifted at teasing the human eye with color. You are substantially less skilled, however, in complex manipulation of color. Your characters, for instance, tend to blend in with their backgrounds, if concentrate on the coloring conventions utilized for them and the backgrounds against which they compete for visual attention. Thus, the real star of your story is color, itself, and not the characters - and as I try to digest your work, I find that to be particularly problematic.

And to make matters even worse, where your narrative boxes are concerned, it simply wasn't sufficient for you to color them, also. No, you also had to poke the eye with the sharp visual stick of a transition effect from color to white. Never miss an opportunity to visually distract from what's going on in the panels, eh? How very non-clever of you!

That said, your work has a certain visual lure to it. Like bait, it attracts the eye's attention. Some of your panels have a captivating quality to them. These are indications of artistic greatness bubbling beneath the surface.

Which makes it all the more difficult for me to grasp why in God's name do you squander it? How can a person be so gifted in the art of color, yet simultaneously so careless with the same? You're pushing the visual envelope with color, but you're pushing it in a sloppy manner. And to make matters worse, other areas of your artistic skills are so far behind your pending mastery with color manipulation that it is acting as an anchor around the neck of your colorful undertakings.

Improve your human anatomy skills, your facial expressions skills, and your line weight skills. Your characters, colorful though they may be, have a tendency to be visually stiff. So, improve your skills as they relate to capturing and depicting poses, also. Additionally, more focus on light and shadow could help you to improve the visual transitions between your many different applications of color within a given panel.

Your work is different - and that is a plus. It's part of what makes your work unique and stand out more from other artists' work on display, here.

Oh, and one other thing - work on your speech balloons. They are plain Jane simplistic visual blobs that detract from your work.

Neil Allen
07-20-2017, 10:06 AM
Continuing. Cover for Chapter 2:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/02-00.jpg

Website!
http://zatswan.com

Neil Allen
07-20-2017, 01:01 PM
Just as I begin to love what I am seeing, I immediately begin to hate it.

For these love and hate statements you make to be at all helpful to me, or even clear, you will need to point out a specific example of what you love and a specific example of what you hate. Otherwise ... it's an interesting sentiment that I can't do anything at all with. Maybe you're content to leave it at that, which is fine, and if you are, then ... okay. I can't say anything about that, other than it's interesting.

And to make matters even worse, where your narrative boxes are concerned, it simply wasn't sufficient for you to color them, also. No, you also had to poke the eye with the sharp visual stick of a transition effect from color to white. Never miss an opportunity to visually distract from what's going on in the panels, eh? How very non-clever of you!

Well, since you said something about this, I will explain it. The gradient, or transition effect as you call it, signals that the main character is thinking to himself. A fully colored box is used by another character in the story when it speaks. If I did what you're suggesting, I may confuse the reader. See page this page for an example.

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-03.jpg

A white box is used for a character to speak while another scene is playing out. See how this page acts with the first panel in the following page. This is a common comic book convention, so it's nothing I invented:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-10.jpg

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/01-11-1.jpg

In short, the gradient is not there just to be there, because I do things willy-nilly as you're implying. It's serving a practical function.

That said, your work has a certain visual lure to it. Like bait, it attracts the eye's attention. Some of your panels have a captivating quality to them. These are indications of artistic greatness bubbling beneath the surface.

Thank you.

Which makes it all the more difficult for me to grasp why in God's name do you squander it? How can a person be so gifted in the art of color, yet simultaneously so careless with the same? You're pushing the visual envelope with color, but you're pushing it in a sloppy manner. And to make matters worse, other areas of your artistic skills are so far behind your pending mastery with color manipulation that it is acting as an anchor around the neck of your colorful undertakings.

I personally do not feel that my coloring is leaps and bounds above the other aspects of my art. Though, I will say it is the aspect of my whole process that tends to be the most time consuming for me, sometimes even by a good margin.

Improve your human anatomy skills, your facial expressions skills, and your line weight skills.

Concerning my anatomy, I admit there are certainly things I could have done better (I've been over these pages probably more than anyone, and sometimes even with completely neutral people to get their takes), but I don't feel I did things so horribly that they will get in the way of the story for most readers. Actually, I don't think most people who aren't intentionally trying to pick the thing apart would even pick up on some of the things I could have done better. That said, there's certainly nothing wrong with fixing things if there are issues, and there are in places. I mean, when you're literally drawing hundreds and hundreds of pictures, and who knows how many figures, things are going to happen here and there. However, I don't feel the anatomy I did in these pages is so glaringly bad that the artwork falls apart, things don't make sense, messages aren't being conveyed clearly, and this artist has no idea whatsoever of what he's doing. I mean, I've seen A LOT worse.

Additionally, more focus on light and shadow could help you to improve the visual transitions between your many different applications of color within a given panel.

Yes, that's something I take into consideration.

Your work is different - and that is a plus. It's part of what makes your work unique and stand out more from other artists' work on display, here.

Thank you. Not to sound contentious, but I get the feeling you believe I'm striving to go for something mondo different with my art. I'm not. It just is what it is. This is what would come out of me when I'm just doing 'regular' art for me. And yeah, it does look ... distinctive compared to most comic art I see. I'm happy you appreciate that. That said, I'm also not trying to look generic or like anyone else. I'm indie comics and I embrace that. If someone wants to see Marvel and DC or something like them, those publishers are there for them. I'm not them, I have little interest in them, and no interest in being like them or working for them.

Oh, and one other thing - work on your speech balloons. They are plain Jane simplistic visual blobs that detract from your work.

I'm fine with the balloons. They're neat, they're clean, they're easy to read, and in a comic with so much going on with the artwork, maybe plain jane isn't such a bad thing. Though I do appreciate the opinion and understand where it's coming from, and one of these days I may experiment with something else.

sevans
07-20-2017, 06:29 PM
Hi Neil.

Charles raised a few very valid points. Your work is very colourful, sometimes distracting. He put a lot of effort into his crit.

NOW, you can disagree and defend yourself against whatever you like, BUT you need to listen to constructive crits too. Many of his crits were well explained and are valid points.

Good artists always take on crits and work though the valid ones to improve their artwork.

Neil Allen
07-20-2017, 10:07 PM
Hi Neil.

Charles raised a few very valid points. Your work is very colourful, sometimes distracting. He put a lot of effort into his crit.

NOW, you can disagree and defend yourself against whatever you like, BUT you need to listen to constructive crits too. Many of his crits were well explained and are valid points.

Good artists always take on crits and work though the valid ones to improve their artwork.

I listened to Charles.

sevans
07-21-2017, 02:01 AM
then I stand corrected good sir.
(tip of the hat)

Neil Allen
07-22-2017, 11:29 AM
I listen to feedback, but just because someone has an opinion or offers a suggestion doesn't mean I'm going to change course.

About the coloring, I could have done some things better, and the book's coloring gets better as it goes on, I think. Part of the reason it looks the way it does is because visually, one of my main inspirations is Sega arcade games from the '80s, with the prime one being Fantasy Zone II:

FHHjMlBRMP8

Heck, even Sonic the Hedgehog from the '90s is a big influence on me:

N6tSowlt7E4

NorthWindComics
07-25-2017, 07:36 PM
Dude! You keep getting better as the pages go by. I love your commitment too. And I think your colors are really working! They're working for me. It's like a visual feast of hues.

Charles
07-27-2017, 02:15 PM
I personally do not feel that my coloring is leaps and bounds above the other aspects of my art. Though, I will say it is the aspect of my whole process that tends to be the most time consuming for me, sometimes even by a good margin.

I isolate this quote out quite intentionally, because it is especially deserving of highlighting.

More so that coloring, per se, your handiwork on display here denotes a rather advanced appreciation understanding the mysteries of color. In layman's terms, you're like Harry Potter just starting out. Your words aside, your use of color betrays a demonstrated appreciation magnitudes of order ahead of your demonstrated appreciation for anatomical precision or discipline of the lettering variety.

Your own words evidence a lack of appreciation for the gift which has been bestowed upon you. There's more than a bit of magic in your coloring methodology. It shines through, whether you see it or not.

That is not to say that I like all instances of your coloring equally, for I don't. But, even with imperfections in various areas included, what you have on display here is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

To borrow a word used by another, here, but in a different context, your deficiencies in anatomical precision are nothing short of jarring. Yes, you can draw well enough to move the story along, but not nearly well enough to avoid saddling you work with the visual baggage of a litany of distractions.

NorthWindComics stated it very well when he described it as a visual feast of hues. Your work has hues to it. You don't cripple your work with a slave mentality towards base colors, and neither do you worship at the altar of coloring in swath. Your skills with coloring are as diverse as the hues on your pages present here.

In a nutshell, your use of color is interesting. It grabs the eye. In instances, it captivates. The artistic universe is full of examples of coloring that can't make a valid claim to those statements.

Neil Allen
07-28-2017, 10:17 AM
I redid the cover for Chapter 1. There's a chance I could use the image as a cover for my graphic novel (that's the plan, unless I think of a better idea along the way), so I wanted to do a better version:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-00-c-flattened.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
07-29-2017, 08:05 AM
Dude! You keep getting better as the pages go by. I love your commitment too. And I think your colors are really working! They're working for me. It's like a visual feast of hues.

Thanks a lot for the encouraging words. I am happy you are enjoying this comic. And yeah, I'm always looking to improve, and the best way to do that is to keep doing pages. I've learned A LOT working on this project and have gotten quite a bit better along the way. At least I think so.

And yes, I am very committed to this story. At this point, I know very well what it takes to make a fully colored comic series all by yourself and I'm willing to go through that because I think that I just NEED to tell this story, and if I don't, I could see it depressing me to some degree.

Sometimes after hours upon hours of drawing, coloring, and so on, I do think to myself, "What the heck am I doing?" But then I consider that if I don't do this, I'm going to look back two, three, four, ten, twenty, or however many years later, and be upset at myself. So, in a sense, I feel I have to do this and make the most of it, and I suppose that's a good thing. It definitely keeps me going on, and I'm having a lot of fun doing it, and it's been very enriching considering how much I have learned along the way : )

The comic is just one part, I plan to grow the brand with an indie video game as well, which I'll begin development on pretty soon, but it likely won't be done for a while, and I'll see where else I can take things. But one step at a time!

Neil Allen
08-10-2017, 11:33 PM
A small look at some of the art in the upcoming chapter of Zatswan, the cosmic fantasy multiverse adventure. This is just one panel, it's just at a really large size in this image. There are other pages ready, but I'll release in accordance with my schedule:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DG6jVPpUIAE10qw.jpg:large

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
08-23-2017, 05:43 AM
It's time for more Zatswan: Multiversal Guardian! Chapter 2, page 1:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/02-01.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
08-30-2017, 07:35 AM
Next page:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/02-02.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
09-06-2017, 06:31 PM
The story continues...

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/02-03.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com

Neil Allen
09-13-2017, 06:59 AM
The story continues ...

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/02-04.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
09-26-2017, 03:26 AM
Continued...

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/02-05.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
09-30-2017, 04:25 PM
I went through all my earlier work (the chapter 1 stuff you will find on page 1 of this thread) and revised all the pages, which was a big job. I've been working on it off and on for the past... maybe two weeks.

I de-saturated the colors, so they're not blaring, and changed some of the coloring on the physical original pages. I changed the gutters on the pages. Many of them are still colored, but I learned that to do colored gutters well (in my opinion, at least), it's best to do either very light colors or very dark. The comic is still colorful, I think it always will be, but the colors are a lot softer and less offensive.

I fixed anatomy issues. At least the ones I found. Of course, I redid the cover for chapter 1, which I did a while ago. I uploaded all the files again and overwrote the old ones, so the new ones are the ones that will be there in this thread ... unless the old ones are still appearing in your browser's cache, in which case you'd need to delete your history.

Just to give a visual idea of what went on, here's a back to back comparison of the old version versus the new version of an especially colorful page:

Old:
http://greenlantern.co/news/page-03-old.jpg


New:
http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/01-03.jpg


As I was going through the thread again, I don't think I came across as grateful for the feedback some left as I should have. It was good feedback, and I do listen to it, and it's helpful and informative. I might not act on ALL of it, but it's good to hear other perspectives. Speaking of which...

As for the lettering, I did not do anything to that, because, I ... honestly don't really have a problem with it. I approached three other people and asked them if they had an issue with it, and they didn't. I understand where some are coming from, though. I mean, maybe I could get it to look better, but I'm okay with it as it is. As for hand lettering the whole comic... I would have to experiment and see how much more time that would take, and what it would look like. Maybe I will see one of these days.

Neil Allen
10-17-2017, 04:44 AM
More Zatswan, more power!

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/02-06.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com

Neil Allen
11-03-2017, 05:01 AM
A new era of sentimentality is emerging. Never miss Zatswan. Next page:

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/02-07.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/

Neil Allen
11-17-2017, 06:09 AM
The Dimension Warriors return in another page of Zatswan: Multiversal Guardian.

http://zatswan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/02-08.jpg

Website:
http://zatswan.com/