Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Revue May 30th: Xibalba

Hurry, Hurry, Come See The Show!
Come Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Gods, dreams and visions. An epic unfolding. A fascinating tale. That is Xibalba, a tale of fates intertwining.
Penned by a creator by the nom de plume of Xibalbansleeper, the comic can be found here.

The Rating

Some clever ideas, but this traveler still has a long way to go.

The Raves

The first thing that impressed me was the site design. I would LOVE to be this good at site design. And design is the strongest point of this comic; a good sense of layout and page design helps move the story along.

There's also some interesting experiments with  intersecting storylines. Oh, and experiments with drugs by the characters; make of that what you will.

 The story delves into Mayan mythology, and takes it in several interesting directions; I always enjoy seeing people try out new things with myth, including poking fun at it. In this case, it's a rain god admitting that he keeps certain areas in drought to ensure worship, which tweaked my sick funny bone just a bit.
There's a good sense of momentum to the layout of this story, keeping it moving at a nice jog. It feels a lot like a movie, in fact; clean, simple and direct. The color palette keeps things moving as well, with a nice change in hues keeping clarity between the two intersecting storylines; a nice touch.

The Razzes

I can sum up my complaints about this comic in one unpleasant word: FLAT. FLAT, in both storytelling and art.
In storytelling, it's an issue of depth: we have two intersecting storylines, one about a girl lost in a desert and one about a hunter. But aside from a few action scenes in one and delusions in the other, we're honestly not given much of a reason as readers to care. I have a feeling strips to come will solve this issue, but as of yet, the story isn't doing much.
The flatness issue in the art is rather worse. The creator has great ideas, but they have yet to discover how to add depth and contrast to their art, and as a result, you get strips like these.

You get the feeling in these  strips that there SHOULD be movement. There SHOULD be a lot of emotion conveyed in these strips. But what you're getting is essentially flat still life's, impossible to connect with emotionally or humanistically. The drawing style lacks humanity, and it lacks movement.

BUT! Take heart, readers and creators, if that's the problem, there is a solution!

To the optical center of the eye, the whole world is shapes. What makes those shapes dynamic and full of depth is a two fold quality: movement, and depth. Movement and depth are what visually distinguish something like a concrete road from something like a flowing stream. Now, as comic artists, we can't directly capture movement, but we can convey it through two techniques; shading and gesture line.


Shading is to the comic artist what a chisel is to the stone mason. It's the difference between a living, dynamic object and a flat line.  Shade more, and you get a greater sense of depth. Shade in the center of two lines, add highlights on top, and you have a sense of deep water. Use shading to make your world pop.


To create more realistic and mobile figures, begin a drawing with gesture lines.
Every pose of every animal with a spine can be described as a series of curving lines, usually the line of the spine. A good rule of thumb is, rather than beginning with the 'pose', to begin with these gesture lines and build the pose around them. The lines help make sure that your poses seem alive and fluid rather than stiff.
The last thing I'd suggest is some serious study of human facial anatomy. Expressions lose a lot of their power when the underlying bone and muscle structure of the face is wrong.
I've attached links below for pages that I drew the above tutorials from along with a few extras; I hope they're useful.

The Revue

Xibalba has a long way to go artistically, but hang in, it'll get there!

The Resources

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