Friday, May 19, 2006

Fuzzy Friday

Despite the perhaps misleading title, this post isn't actually about Sam and Fuzzy...

Though, now that I think about it, I feel the need to mention that I really like where the current storyline went. I wasn't feeling much attachment to the band cast, but the last few strips have really pulled things together nicely.

So I guess my first sentence was a lie.

Anyway, moving on.

What I really wanted to comment on - emphasize, even, if I may be so strong - is for artists to do their best to make comics viewable. The goal of a comic is to communicate with the reader. Regardless of how or why it goes about this, if the communication fails, the comic fails.

I've seen blurry, fuzzy images that have been poorly scanned or rendered. I've seen strips with confounding directories that make it impossible to actually go through the archives. The latest offender is a recent Deathworld strip, which decides to use a painful lack of contrast in a font choice.

(As a note, I actually like Deathworld quite a bit, and like, in that strip, the ghostly Allison, even if she does look uncannily like a startled castmember from the Botmaker.)

Choose your colors wisely. Choose your fonts wisely. And this isn't just about art - lay out your webpage well. Avoid browsing systems and subscription directories that actively impede the ability to browse the comic.

Make it easy, in every way, for the reader to enjoy your comic.

Because if you make it so people have to work at it, have to spend significant effort to decipher your comic... they'll take their time elsewhere.

And that's all I've got to say for today.

4 comments:

—J said...

My comic uses dark colors on a white background for text. I've been doing that ever since my first comic, which I edited in MS Paint. I'm also into graphic design, so I know about readability. I also try and get my strips as small(in filesize) as possible without damaging the image quality.

As for navigation, I use Blogger's system. I plan to move onto an independant site at some point, and I've been planning the navigation already. Sort of like a PA-style blog system, only with thumbnails and post catagories.

Mr Myth said...

And I don't think there is one perfect design each webpage has to use. I think there are myriad and countless different ones that can each work well.

It is mainly awareness of those elements that I sometimes wish I would see more of - hence why it is always a good thing to see artists paying attention to such things.

RiESC said...

hey there, i just wanted to thank you for your recent comments on my webcomic. You're not the only one who critiqued my choice in font color for the other half of the conversation. :|
i guess the problem was is that i was trying to convey that the creatures were whispering to Alison, and thusly the words were supposed to be hard to make out.
Maybe i should just crank up the brightness of the text for the archived comix so i don't get more complaints... :|

Mr Myth said...

Well, in your defense it is certainly a difficult task to make something appear hard to understand without also making it hard to understand.

However, I'd err on the side of legibility, and aim for brightening it up. But then - it isn't my comic. If you want to preserve that sense of difficult communication, by all means, go for it.

I just personally think you might be best served by trying to find a way to capture that sense without immersing the reader in it - but again, that's hardly an easy task!

Anyway - it's a good thing to listen to reader complaints and feedback, but don't feel 100% bound by them. Take a look at the strip, and decide whether you are happy with it, and that should be the basis for whether to make the change or not.