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15 December 2010 @ 08:37 pm
Uh oh  
Sorry in advance. Usually I like to keep things sort of light but I have to put my foot down on something...

A word on crits:

In general, I do appreciate crits. I like to know when I get something wrong, or when things look off or whatever. It's good to have that info in order to improve. Believe me, I am the #1 fan of improving my work.

That being said, I am getting a little bit tired of the increased stream of nit-picking in the site comments or in emails. I think there's a difference between telling me that I forgot to shade something in or that the hand is backwards and telling me that the quality of the page is not as good as it used to be. Or that the shading looks weird or stuff like that. I mean... I'm all for improvement, but I'm not really posting my stuff so it can be immediately torn apart. And I'm definitely not posting it for the sole reason of receiving crits. I used to do that for the rough draft, but this is not it. The comments should be used to discuss the comic, not the art.

The reason I make this comic is to share the story with you. I realize my art is not perfect, and I don't know any serious artist who thinks theirs is. But please keep in mind that I did not go to art school. I did not get trained to make comics. The secret reason I can get jobs in comics/ have my work published and get this kind of recognition without formal training is because I am already super critical of myself. I'm already analyzing my stuff as soon as I post it, and I continue to go back and modify pages either on site or for print.

I've been putting on my happy face for a while because I don't want to come off as an asshole who can't take a little bit of criticism. But like I said, it's getting old, and I don't want you to have to feel like you need to look for everything that's wrong. I will probably see it or have already seen it. I am where I am today because I am really good at doing that kind of thing on my own: if I was not, I would not be able to draw comics at all. And believe me, none of my work goes to print without being proofed several times. I care very much about putting out a quality product!

In summary: if you want to comment with a crit, I won't stop you, but I'd really prefer if you kept comments limited to discussion topics, or predictions, or just comic related stuff! I am behind the wheel of the art bus and I promise you that I am not falling asleep :)

Okay, thanks for listening and for reading! If you have any questions, or even if you want to tell me that I'm a dick or something you can comment here :B

(ps: new page up in a few hours)
becjasketchbecjasketch on December 16th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
I do go to school for art (although, it's animation and not comics) and I'd like to say that I think your art is fantastic! Especially if you haven't gone to school for it.

Everyone makes mistakes when making art, especially when it's on a deadline (because there's always room for improvement, but only enough time for so many revisions) and the work you're putting out is beautiful and the story is compelling.

I'm jealous of how good you are, keep creating. Those of us who are quiet are the ones rooting for you. Sorry if the nit-picky people are louder than us sometimes.

Cheers. <3
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for your understanding XD And yeah, the deadline is another big part of it... I can only work on a page so long before I start to get worried about when I can find time to work on the next one.

Anyways, I appreciate it! Good luck with your animation :)
Michael Rosefieldrosyatrandom on December 16th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Perhaps part of it is that your artistic style is time-intensive, unlike, say, Andrew Hussie (MS Paint Adventures). So not only do you feel like you need to be a perfectionist, but you focus on pages more than a regular schedule can handle.
veshy on December 16th, 2010 04:57 am (UTC)
Anyone who makes a supercritical crit ought to be able to make the fixes themselves, I'd think. ;) Otherwise, I can totally commiserate on being one's own worst critic, and it's unfair of perfect strangers to be so pointy with their fingers. Anyway, I think your work is wonderful and amazing, especially for someone who's as busy as you are...! Your effort is always worth it, so gan batte! :D
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Haha, thank you XD I appreciate it!
Elizabethsmiley_cow on December 16th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
There's a small group of people who I swear read webcomics simply to criticize the art. I belong to a forum for a different webcomic where we regularly get members coming in just to make a small critique on the art. They don't post anywhere else or about anything else; they joined just to say something inane like 'her head's too big for her body,' or 'you forgot his glasses in panel two.'

It's especially ridiculous because this comic isn't a comic you read for the art. Not to say it's badly drawn, because it's not, it's just not very polished or professionally done. Really, this comic exists for the writing (which is quite good).

For what it's worth, I think the art for The Meek is excellent. Even more so now that I know you've never gone to art school. And most people I've shown your comic to agree with me. Don't let people like that get you down, most of them are just trying to show off.
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Haha, that's annoying. Every webcomic gets that. Sometimes people will write me essays about why they think something I've drawn is wrong and it's like okayyy, haha.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm also feeling kind of down this week due to politics, I think everything is hitting me at once.
Invaderk: Sokkableghhinvaderk on December 16th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC)
Haters gonna hate. When people start to feel entitled and mighty, they forget that reading your comic is a privilege. The majority of them probably can't draw a circle without stabbing themselves in the eye, so... don't worry, you are fabulous. :D
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
Even if they can it's fine just like... It's like they have no faith in my abilities T__T I don't like people assuming I won't be able to draw something just because I haven't done it before.
Prosecutor Weird: NEIN!redvelvetaddict on December 16th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
You forget that one time I was on the bus and you purposefully closed your eyes and we ran over that small animal >:I
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:03 am (UTC)
We vowed never to speak of that day
GlassShardgoodbyebartleby on December 16th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
One problem with page-at-a-time serialized webcomics is readers just have too much effing time to stare at a single page. A comic - like animation - isn't supposed to be about single drawings but about the synergy of the whole thing. People bitching about individual panels just ain't right.

That said, if you'd gone to art school you might have a thicker skin against criticism. I had an illustration professor who handed out McDonald's applications during critiques. The tears, they flowed.

Anyway, next time someone pisses you off with an unasked for Meek critique, ask them if they'd like their money back.
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Haha, yeah. I figure if you are either reading or making webcomics, you're just going to have to deal with page at a time updates. Very rarely do people update with chapters, and even then you end up waiting months between issues.

And I swear to god I am not a whiner. I made an account with the sketch version of this comic for the sole purpose of receiving crits, and I've been getting them regularly with every page for the last 2 years of the real version. It's cool! But the comments on the last page were like half nit-picking, and that's just not normal. It's just like, dudes at some point enough is enough, this is a webcomic, not my submission to some art school class.
alacricityalacricity on December 16th, 2010 12:04 pm (UTC)
"That said, if you'd gone to art school you might have a thicker skin against criticism. I had an illustration professor who handed out McDonald's applications during critiques. The tears, they flowed."

GOD IT SOUNDS SO CRUEL BUT IT GETS THE POINT ACROSS. Meanwhile, I get lots of really positive constructive criticism where I'm at, haha.

(Though a friend of mine had a director once who's revisions most often read "this fucking sucks, what were you thinking? Make it better.")
Rachel Papillae MacKinnonRachel Papillae MacKinnon on December 16th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
I agree that people who spend all their time criticizing other people's work really need something to do. A lot of them probably wouldn't be able to draw this themselves, and they really just think everyone owes them something. Which they don't.
I think you take the critiques really well, for someone who gets so many. As for myself, I'm usually wowed by both the story and the writing.
On the topic of rough crits, I'm taking a minor in Latin at university, and my Latin professor next year was from Oxford. He used to photocopy our assignments after marking them, give them back, and spend the whole class pointing out how stupid our mistakes were - not even anonymously. I learned fast.
keito_jo: donttouchkeito_jo on December 16th, 2010 06:25 am (UTC)
Everyone's already said what I wanted to say, but I'll chime in with: your art's da bomb, and don't listen to those nit-pickers. Thoughtful critiques are usually a good thing, but nit-picking's just annoying!
heysawbones: dignifiedheysawbones on December 16th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
Typhoid Mary.


No, but seriously, this kind of thing betrays a total misunderstanding of what sharing art with others is about. It gets intensely frustrating and grating after a while. It doesn't matter how good with receiving crit you are - sometimes that's just not what you're after. It's troubling when people can't tell a situation that calls for critique from one that doesn't.
theradicalradtheradicalrad on December 16th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear about the nitpicking.

I've been religiously following your comic for about a year now and this is the first time I'm commenting. Your comic is amazing. I love the art. I love hearing on DA about the work and effort you put into each new challenge (horses, how do they work? =P). Most of all though I'm grateful for the amazingness that is your story and the fact that you are putting in so much work to share it with us.

Although it may seem like a lot of negative nit-picking, know that there are twice as many who love your art and story but might not necessarily say anything.
tingirltingirl on December 16th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC)
I'm gonna disagree with Smiley Cow up above, just enough to say: This is totally a comic I read for the art. The art is amazing. Half the time I don't see what you're criticizing yourself for even when I squint real hard and twist my head.

Honestly, you could draw a shopping list and I'd think it was awesome.

I do wish you could somehow magically come up with like eleventy billion pages a week, but then I probably couldn't read it all and also you'd be dead of exhaustion. So, you know. I'm willing to take the compromise (you're alive, comic stays awesome, and I can take my time studying it).
Julieta Colás: zuzu is my BFFengelen on December 16th, 2010 08:12 am (UTC)
1) pft, I believe my art is perfect. Q_ù

2) I seriously expected to read "I did not go to art school to put up with all your crap" or something along the lines of "I'm too old for this! Now get out of my sight!"

3) *seaweed and hugs*
alacricityalacricity on December 16th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)
Honestly, although your comic is at this point a consumer product, that does not mean that it is not your baby. YOU have created this and YOU have the end say in what it is to look like. I agree with the change you decided to make, trying to go back to the older style, simply because it gives even more life to your already lively drawings. (Not to mention seeing your understanding of light, shading, form and color theory in action!) It's a great plan. However, were you to choose to simply do it in greyscale with limeted cel shading, I would still be reading, because the one thing people do not realize is... it isn't always just about the art.

There needs to be a balance in art and story, and yours already has it- both, I feel as a comics fan and aspiring comic author and artist- are top notch. You don't see things like The Meek every day, and it surpasses many comics which were originally done in print.

It is good to have criticism, most certainly. However, there is a difference between constructive criticism and "I liked it better when...". The latter is simply a complaint. Do not feel bad about saying "stop, please." It is your work, and it's top notch when compared to other comics in the industry, especially seen as one done by someone "off the street". Most comics that I see done by people with no animation or sequential training have horrible pacing, even from frame to frame, and very little understanding of what I believe to be one of the most important rule of comics, that being "the bigger the panel the longer your audience is intended to look at it / the more time passes within it".

So yeah, bravo, on your good job, and on being very concise regarding criticisms.
Merc: interestingmercurysblood on December 16th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
An assistant/secretary would be nice. He will filter through all communication regarding your projects and only forward the constructive ones. He will also wear a home-made sweater and carve pipes during lunch break.
D Helmer: uli = ilu ??!?alexds1 on December 16th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, this is the ideal solution!
Prosecutor Weird: ulyer: starstruckredvelvetaddict on December 16th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
D Helmer: Siskel what are you wearingalexds1 on December 16th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
I think this can be arranged
C. McRuthless: Comics rot your brain!mcruthless on December 16th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
To be honest, reading the comments on your comic was one of the major factors of my decision to never allow comments on my own comic. (A separate forum away from the actual pages, sure, but a bunch of people nitpicking art on the actual page? No thank you!) One of the major differences between webcomics and print comics is how long people look at the pages and I think that ends up giving the people with too much time on their hands a chance to see every little thing they don't like about something.

Anywho, hang in there. You are awesome, your art is awesome, and I appreciate all the work you put in to providing your art and story for FREE.
copper_on_marscopper_on_mars on December 16th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
Hi! I've been reading this comic since more than a year now, and I have to say, it's very well-done in the technical aspect of drawing. I'm enjoying immensely the story behind the art, too, it's nothing like I ever seen done before.

I come from a family where drawing, with pencils, or watercolors, or oil was almost a tradition, and from what I've seen of your art, I gathered you know exactly what you're doing. You work very hard, and the result is stunning.
Erratica: Getouttaroseembolism on December 16th, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, my partner is an artist who is very critical and demanding about the art on webcomics. She refuses to read otherwise excellent webcomics because the art is up to snuff, or will simply comment on a webcomic I show her "The artist doesn't know how to draw very well."

She follows your comic and I've never, EVER heard her say anything that wasn't positive about your art. Take that for what you will.

As for me, I think that having comment sections are a double-edged sword. On the one hand it's nice to know one has readers and fans, and te attention and praise is very zazzing. On the other hand, fans can quickly become a distraction or active problem. I think any artist who pays too much attention to fans ends up in an adversarial relationship with them.
D Helmeralexds1 on December 16th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I do appreciate comments. Even the negative ones are usually well-intended. After 2 years of taking it though, I'm just getting a little tired I guess. I'll never take out my comments section though, so hopefully just communicating where I'm coming from will reduce the unnecessary nitpicking in the future? haha

Thanks to both of you for reading, btw! :3
raddishh: JOHN CLEESE FFFFFFFFUUUUUUraddishh on December 16th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
I never posted more critiques on other peoples art than I did when I was just learning how to draw. (In retrospect, I was an asshole.)
I'd presume a lot of the critiques you're getting are going to be from similar people.
sabinae_sagasabinae_saga on December 16th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)

I appreciate the effort you have been putting into your work. As a reader, I love seeing how the written and visual narratives evolve and co-exist. So, thank you for posting your rough drafts ages ago and continuing with your project.

Everyone has an opinion. Some people don't realize how much time and effort goes into the creative process. Others do but they don't understand how to give constructive criticism (maybe because they don't know that they're negativity isn't constructive). Ignore'em, tell them to take an adult art course perhaps, and keep doing what you're doing. :3

(P.S. Your colors are amazing. I'm a sucker for saturated and contrasting hues along with light and shadow play. I wish more webcomics took the time to explore color and shading in constructing their panels.)
hinodesantoke on December 16th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
I am currently a student of art as well, and although I do go to art school, it's become apparent to me that it doesn't really matter, hard work is the common element of success. An artist is always a student of art, and always looking to improve. I have been following your comic for a while, and it always motives me to work harder. I think it's amazing how informative your drawing is in the comic. It's simplified in such an effective way, it works so well to convey the story and emotion simultaneously, and you don't feel a loss of either. Not to mention there is such an appealing fascination with human anatomy that helps distinguish each of your characters, something I think is lacking in many webcomics today.

However, I think that people need to realize that nothing will ever be /perfect/, and quite frankly, if a page of a comic has a shadow that is SLIGHTLY LESS DARK than it should be, if it doesn't obscure the clarity of anything, does it truly matter? Just as the artist needs to have discretion for what should be included in their page, I think commentors need to have discretion with what they "critique."

I think that some commentors sort of candidly spill their thoughts without filter onto these types of open forums, and while that can sometimes be constructive, more often it can be just sort of unnecessary and sometimes cruel. I would urge people to assess their ideas and feelings just a wee bit more before posting.

ANYWAYYYYYS I think you're doing a great job. Your story has a beautiful pace and story, the artwork conveys it extremely well, and you keep getting better! Yay!

Acrosticjecomdmoy on December 17th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
I think that most are well-intentioned ... my theory is that people love the comic, so they want it to be perfect. Problem is, that means perfect for them. For people like me who can't draw, the comic is the one and only chance to see a favorite scene or character, so the posted art is as good as it ever gets.

Maybe someone complains the horse's eyes are glassy and need expression because they are thinking about warhorses and want to see ferocity in the eyes. Your horses, however, may be glassy-eyed because they're thinking about eating clover at pasture later, not about fighting outlaws right now. It doesn't reflect on your abilities to draw horse eyes.

In the end, it's not my comic. It's yours. So I keep my mouth shut. ;)
(Deleted comment)
Delphina: genkidel_chan on December 17th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Not to say that it's taboo to talk about your process, but you do so more than most webcomic artists I read. I find it fascinating, educational, and a good reassurance that you're not some comic robot or arrogant ass who thinks he's God's gift to self-taught artists. But I think when you make dissatisfied comments about your own artwork, some people interpret that as a sign that that's what you want to talk about, and they should chime in.

So I guess my best advice is: try to steer the conversation the way you want it to go in your initial post, and most people will pick up the lead. If there are people who continue to nitpick, be more arrogant! Tell them "ADOBART'S EARS ARE NOT A BUG, THEY'RE A FEATURE!" }=(
Shmitz: Thoughtfulshmitz on December 17th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
This is a good point. The update news post is as much if not moreso a focal point for reader discussion than the page posted. If you want to say something but don't want people responding to it, then disabling comments or putting it in a personal blog are probably better options. If you want people talking about the story and characters, then as del_chan says, talk about the story yourself. =)
D Helmeralexds1 on December 18th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
Whoops, saw this a little late. I came to the exact same conclusion the day after I posted this :) With the most recent posts and the posts following this I'm going to start veering away from that. I like talking process, but not so much if it means I have to put up with unwanted consequences XD
seraravi: Dr. Horribleseraravi on December 17th, 2010 12:35 pm (UTC)
Some people really seem to feel validated by criticizing things, and seem to believe that pretentiously pointing out every potential flaw proves that they are knowledgeable and discerning and special. They lose sight of any big picture perspective and exaggerate every possible negative in a totally unhelpful way because they like wearing the critic hat. And then they feel like they're doing you a favor. There were always a few "Critics" in every creative writing course I took, and it was maddening because they just don't get it. For what it's worth, I mostly just wonder how your art is so consistently detailed and beautiful, and how you constructed such a full and layered world for the story. Keep up the good work, and don't let 'em grind you down.
pfmoi on December 21st, 2010 08:12 am (UTC)
ILU for saying that.
pfmoi on December 21st, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
I don't know why anybody is taking jabs at your art, but they need to get their heads out of their asses and make their OWN damn comic if it bothers them so much. I happen to like your art and your stories, so the only time I'm gonna complain is when someone's FACE is inside-out and upside down when it's not supposed to be. Otherwise, I'm going to assume that you're going to look at your art at LEAST as much as I do and wait for you to handle it.
joshhowellart on January 5th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
Being someone who just recently graduated from art school, I felt as though I should tell you I agree with your attitude towards crits completely. Critiques can be the most helpful thing in the world, when they are handled with the proper amount of tact and respect. When they are used as a way to jab at someone for doing something in a way in which they wouldn't, or just to be a dick, they serve no purpose. Critiques should be something that are to be dreaded in the sense that they mean more work is needed, not that someone is just going to be a prick and insult you.

By the way, I just recently stumbled upon The Meek, and I cannot stop reading it. Your art is incredible, and is seriously inspiring me to push myself as an artist.