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Submitted on
June 9, 2011
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1. The font is too small, too dark, or so crowded I can’t freaking read it.

2. Spelling “hee hee” as “hehe”.  “He” is a pronoun; “hee” and “heh” are bits of laughter; so are “ho”, “ha", and “mwa”.  I cannot read “hehe” as anything but two pronouns stuttering.  Edit: And you know what?  Finnish and all those other languages that do it AREN'T ENGLISH.

3. The comics are too dark to tell what’s going on.  Whether because this person’s working screen is too dark, or because they think it’ll add to their comic’s feel of “dark mystery,” I can’t say.

4. Inconsistent narration.  Figure it the freak out before you start investing your time!  Research POV in comics and why they’re important.  I hate it when one page reads in First Person and then switches to some omniscient narrator that we never meet and don’t know where the hell they came from. (Double points if it's the hero narrating his OWN BIRTH.  That's right, I'm looking at YOU, wolf comic people!)

5.  Unreadable font styles.  You know who’s your friend?  Anyone but that Bleeding God emo script done by an amateur graphic designer that you thought looked cool.

6. Inconsistent font.  The font style changes, or the color does, or the color of the speech bubbles does, because it’s not well-designed enough to handle scenes at night and during the day.

7. Word bubbles the crowd each other and every character on the page.  This is what storyboarding is for, people, so you can treat the speech bubbles as the compositional element it is!  You don’t draw a panel and then hope that lecture you have to convey is gonna fit in there.  And making speech bubbles transparent doesn’t make them not eclipse a face, a character, or an action!

8.  The knock-off styles that “aren’t” knock-offs.  It’s one thing to draw a comic in the Lion King style.  It is something else entirely to draw it in the Lion King style and say “I don’t draw like Lion King anymore!”  Or Spirit, Balto, or Blackblood Alliance.  If the average soccer mom can’t tell the difference between your work and the work of Disney/Dreamworks/Amblin, you draw in that style, mister/miss denialism.  That is your measuring stick.  I don’t make the rules of artistic education among middle-class suburbia, so deal with it.

9.  People who don’t know what punctuation is.  Especially commas.  Did you know that when a character says “Er” in hesitation, a comma is supposed to follow that?  No?  I bet you don’t know how many periods are in an ellipses, either.

10.  People who get tired of drawing so their pacing screws up.  They cram a bunch of stuff into one page, or even one panel, so they don’t have to redraw anything.  And then in the artist’s comments they bitch about how much they hate this page.  I have two responses to that: 1) Why are you doing a comic if you didn’t want to draw? And 2) If you’d storyboarded in the first place you wouldn’t have had to problem solve on your final, would you?

11. Characters without speech bubbles.  Do you know what this reads like when a whole bunch of single sentences are stuck right below each other?  A conversation in a fast-forwarded chipmunk voice.

12. Dialogue that doesn’t flow in a visual way.  I hate it when I get an answer to a question I haven’t even seen a character ask.  And then oh wait!  There’s the question!  But I read it backwards, because your dialogue flows wrong and you just forgot or didn’t care.  Do you know that master comic artists regard a page as an entire piece by itself?  Providing visual cues for the eye to move to the next panel and next action in order, whether dialogue is there or not?  You didn’t?  Why are you doing comics without doing your research, then?

13.  Comics that read right to left in the “manga style.”  You know who’s allowed to do this?  The Japanese.  The Chinese.  In fact, anyone from the Eastern world whose culture dictates that’s how you read, or that’s how you’ve been taught to read since preschool.  You know who doesn’t read this way?  The Western world.  So if you’re not a professional manga artist yet, knock it off.  No one is impressed with your Wapanese kawaii-desu posing, and I bet even the real Japanese would say the same thing.  I also hate seeing disclaimers that say “Read left to right!”  DUH. That’s how I’m going to read by default, because I DON’T LIVE IN JAPAN.  You know those mangas you read? THEY WERE DRAWN IN JAPAN.  Know why you read them right to left? BECAUSE THEY WERE DRAWN IN JAPAN.  

14. Thinking that your art justifies any plot hole.  Or lack of plot.  Or lack of coherent explanation on your part.  Or fridge logic.  Or the artist's comments that explain everything that's happening because the page itself isn't capable of doing that on its own. If not bothering to tell a story, why are you  drawing a comic?  You know, sequential visual STORYTELLING.

15.  Horrible grammar.  You’re excused if English is your second language.  If not, figure out how to type a sentence properly.  You learn that in English class, not through chatspeak. Characters with “WTF!?” and “growlplzkthx” as their reactions and sound effects will have me, in a sense, rotflmao.

16. Overuse of the Dodge and Burn tool.  Instant light and shadow is not Dodge and Burn. Dodge and Burn are instant white dust and instant black, ashy smudges, respectively.

17.  Regarding any and all criticism as invalid by its very nature.  Believe it or not, the people that tell you your anatomy needs work or your characters are wall-eyed have a point.  You can either admit your mistake and try and fix it, or keep typing up those bleeding heart blogs about how everyone hates you.  One way leads to being a professional artist.  I’ll give you two guesses, and the first doesn’t count.

18.  Wanting to do things “your way” instead of the professional way.  Yeah, there are standards.  I know you think that since comics are “lowbrow” art that means you can do whatever you want, but that’s just not true.  If you disobey the generally accepted rules of visual storytelling, be prepared to get some flak for it.  Expecting otherwise is like saying you’re allowed to kick a field goal in basketball.  Even if you’re doing art for fun, it’s like offering an opinion on the Internet: everyone’s gonna take aim whether you want them to or not. You have to learn the rules before you’re allowed to break them.

19. Refusing to educate yourself for fear of failure.  “I think I’m doing things wrong anyway, so I don’t want to know if I am.” “My poor self-ego is fragile enough without all you haters and nitpickers!”  “I don’t like being told what to do!  It’s my art!”  Somebody call the whaaaambulance, because most ignorance is willful!

20.  Drawing from anime instead of drawing from life.  I’ve said it before, and I”ll say it again: anime is a simplified set of drawing motifs.  Real artists develop their style by drawing from life.  I don’t care that you can draw the most sensual yaoi Sephiroth evar if you can’t draw me that dog over there, or those pots over there.  You do not draw good anime by drawing anime; you draw good anime by drawing from life.  Trust me on this.
  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Two Steps From Hell - To Glory
  • Reading: Some of lame high fantasy dragon book
  • Watching: That He-Man Reboot?
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:iconqwexthexeccentric:
QweXTheXEccentric Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You person! I just want to thank you for making this and you are absolutely X1000 right on this. Especially on the part of drawing manga in the west. I am a manga purist; I will refuse to read any 'manga' that was created in America, I just rename them as a graphic novel because they are not japanese nor they made it from there. You are wonderful.
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:iconbunni89:
Bunni89 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
o.o "Hehe" is not "hee hee"
I've.. never even imagined anyone could read it that way. It's meant to be like two syllables of "heh" quickly, like a sort of dry laugh under your breath. Exactly the opposite of "hee hee" :XD:
Sort of the kind of laugh you might imagine in the context of "Hehe, so you think you've won?" Suitable for sarcastic, smug, stoic and any other situation where someone is laughing in a not very friendly way. Most laughter is inherantly jovial and it's hard to add the nuance of a situation where it has more meaning to it.. unless you use "hehe".
I'm starting to think this is probably some sort of dialect difference, since this is always how I've understood "hehe" to be used from my experience as a British citizen..
(sorry for the criticism, this is just the only point I disagreed with)
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:iconsio64:
Sio64 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2011  Professional Artist
You should post this in the comics and books forum =D

It's certainly a useful checklist! I think the earliest pages of my comic fall afoul of a few of these, whoops. :x

But then the whole thing is a massive learning process anyway =D Thanks for this list!
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:icongodeyes:
godeyes Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
lol i remember when i used to think like this (except for 17 and 19 i still dont understand why people cant take criticism when its helping them) lawl i wanna go back in time and shake myself sometimes :iconhurrplz:
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:icona-veyz:
A-VeyZ Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Student Digital Artist
This made me laugh.

But I love this. It shows me what to watch out for when I make a comic. Thanks for putting these up.
Bookmarked.
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:iconakeli:
akeli Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011   General Artist
This times a thousand.

The word bubble one gets to me the most. Why do people love insane amounts of transparency on their bubbles? Do you -not- want me to be able to read your comic? Aghh. Worse is when the lettering begins right on top of the edge of the bubble.

I once re-lettered one of my pages with everything that makes a comic tacky. I only showed it to a friend, but perhaps it's time to upload it.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011
As my sarcasm and anger proves, you can sometimes teach people more by showing what they did wrong than what they did right.
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:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011  Professional Filmographer
21. Coloring characters in afternoon lighting when the scene takes place at night.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2011
Dare 1 do Top 20 Most Annoying Artwork?
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:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Perhaps :D Include in that sucky tutorials maybe? Or would that be a different subject?
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