Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Revue March 26: Torus Link

Ladies And Gentlemen, Prepare Yourselves

For The Unexpected

Worlds intertwining like lovers, stories waiting to be told. Adventures waiting to be had. In the 'Torus Link', all things are connected by threads as thin as spiderweb and as deep as human desire. The creation of Yasmine Pirouz, Torus Link can be found here. 
In two worlds, two lives are subtly and slowly intertwining; a girl in our world is drawn back again and again to the glimpses in the corner of her eye and  the messages from someone she knows in her heart. In another world, another woman is facing the tragedy of her life. And everything is changing.

The Rating

A lucid dream made real.

The Raves

Done in the style of  urban sketchbooks, 'Torus' is an evocative exploration of places both strange and familiar. The art borrows some manga conventions for facial expression, but it shares stylistic kinship with French sketchbook art pieces such as 'The Rabbi's Cat', ' and illustrated tales like 'Clueless In Tokyo' Sketchbook renderings with loose linework and  color washes give this work the feel of a lucid dream.  The work's greatest skill is in the capturing emotions and reactions, while still telling a cogent and well paced tale. It manages this through a great ability to create atmosphere, a good design of characters and very realistic use of body language.

In story, 'Torus' has much in common with tales like 'Neverwhere' and 'Fables', with intersecting storylines and thematic changeups.  It carries a lot of thematic balls: urban fantasy, high fantasy, travel story and vingette. But 'Torus' keeps them nicely in the air throughout the tale, partly by the clever trick of beginning the two stories as separate sections of a comic. Clicking on the main link takes you to a landing page, and there you get a choice.  The real-world section of the story is dubbed 1 A and will tell you Hazel's tale. Clicking 1B will immerse you in Azalea's world and its rhythms of life at a convent for telepaths. Equally fascinating, these worlds are bound to converge, though the reader can't be sure when.
The characters themselves also allow this story to hold together; they're people with problems you can relate to. Personable, sweet, relatable and well rounded, the characters are probably the strongest thing about the work. You regularly want to give them a hug.

The Razzes

The biggest thing this comic is missing is time. Don't get me wrong, Pirouz is skilled, but you can tell when they rushed a bit. Sometimes you'll get pages that will make your jaw drop, like the one below. But the very next page will be underwhelming. I'd like to see the artist put equal focus into all their pages, because the heights they are capable of reaching are, if they were hit consistently, enough to fall in love with.
Specifically to be worked on: 


Oftentimes, the fine line work disappears, possibly when you color, and this can give a grainy quality to the work and make the eye boggle when it can't figure out where the line for, say, the jaw is. There's several fixes to this really common issue.
1. If you're scanning work in, knock the contrast as far up as you can, and then lower the brightness until you arrive at a place that gives you bright, clean lines.
2. Duplicate your linework layer and stack them one on top of the other, then make the top layer transparent. In GIMP, my program of choice, you do this  by changing the layer's mode to Multiply. Every program is different, but I'm sure there's a way to do this in all cases. Doing this means you can color and shade to your heart's content without EVER erasing your lines, because they'll be on the pristine transparent layer floating above!


Often the creator goes for an extreme version of the human face when displaying emotion, and that's not necessarily a problem...but the jarring dissonance in style is. When you've done detailed faces and then proceed to simplify without warning, the reader is left with the impression that corners were cut. I'd really like to see consistently detailed faces as a reader. A little more patience and attention to detail in the anatomy of the face and body both will be well worth it if you want to up your viewership.


This comic is hand lettered, and that's okay....but not when the handwriting grows too small to read! I suggest either resizing digitally, lettering digitally or just keeping a LOT more conscious of how small your writing gets; take pity on your poor squinting readers!

The Revue

A great comic to curl up with on a rainy day when you want to be somewhere else.

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