Today’s Art ( 30th August 2018)

Well, today’s art is a monochrome piece of “Blade Runner” fan art. If you’re interested in the reasons why I made this piece of fan art (and the creative decisions I took whilst making it), then check out this article of mine.

Since this is fan art, this drawing is NOT released under any kind of Creative Commons licence.

“Fan Art – Blade Runner – But, Then Again, Who Does?” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (8th May 2017)

Woo hoo! I am very proud to present the eighth, and final, ‘episode’ of “Damania Regenerated”. Don’t worry if you missed any of it though, since I’ll post a full retrospective later tonight.

This mini series features the characters from my long-running occasional “Damania” webcomic (you can find links to many more comics featuring these characters in the ‘2016’ and ‘2017’ parts of this page).

As well as being an “Army Of Darkness” reference, if you’re wondering why Derek is calling himself a king, then just read this other mini series.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Regenerated - Battle" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Regenerated – Battle” By C. A. Brown

Three Causes Of Weak Endings In Comics, Webcomics etc…

2017 Artwork Weak Endings In Webcomics article sketch

Although this problem will affect some of the comics that I’ll be posting here over the next few months, I thought that I’d talk about weak endings in comics.

This seems to be a problem that I run into whenever I try to make a webcomic mini series that tells any kind of story. The story itself will be interesting, but the ending will sometimes just be dull and anticlimactic.

So, I thought that I’d list some of the reasons why weak endings can happen when you’re making comics.

1)The status quo: When I was making my “time travel trilogy” of comics (that can be read here, here and here), the endings to the first two were a lot better than the ending to the final one. And I think I know why.

With both of the first two mini series, the endings led directly to the beginning of the next mini series. At the end of these parts of the story, the characters were somewhere new. Something was different. The dynamics between the characters had been affected by everything that had happened before.

In other words, the events of the story had a noticeable effect on it’s outcome.

However, at the end of the final mini series, everything (mostly) returns to normal. After all, I was going to use these characters in many other self-contained mini series. Even when I attempted to add dramatic changes to the end of other mini series that I’ll be posting in the future, they often had very little effect on any mini series I made afterwards.

Returning to the status quo at the end of a comic is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes future comics easier to write and it means that the audience can read many of your comics in any order that they want to. On the other hand, it also means that your story ends with a dull return to normality. It means that your characters have done nothing more than go around in circles.

2) Creative exhaustion: Although it may look easy, even making shorter comics can take quite a bit of effort. By the time that you reach the ending of a comic, you might even feel slightly glad that it’s going to be over (even if you’ve had a lot of fun making it). This is especially true if, like me, you often can’t just stop and start a comic once you’ve started making it.

Regardless of how fun the rest of the comic has been to make, there’s often a very strong instinct to just finish the damn thing and to either take a break or move on to the next excitingly new project. This can, of course, affect the quality of the ending.

After all, if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed about the endings of a few of my comics that have (or will) be posted here this year, it’s that the art in the final “page” is noticeably more rushed than the art during the middle of the comic.

3) Planning: Even though I tend to plan my comics a lot more than I did a few years ago, one thing that I’ve noticed is that the ending will often have less planning than the rest of the comic.

Often, when I’ve planned the beginning and the middle of a comic, I’m really eager to get started on making these parts and I often have a general feeling of “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” with regards to the ending. Sometimes, this works – sometimes, it doesn’t.

So, I guess that lacklustre endings can sometimes be part of the trade-off between starting a comic when you are still filled with enthusiasm about it or waiting until you have slightly less enthusiasm and a better plan.

——

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art (10th March 2017)

This is the twelfth and final comic in “Damania Repressed”. If you missed any of this mini series, then don’t worry – I’ll post a full retrospective here later tonight. This mini series also follows on from the events of this mini series (which, in turn, follows on from this one). Links to more mini series can also be found on this page.

If you’re puzzled by the second panel, here’s a rather damning piece of evidence that might help you work out who was responsible for the death of Jack The Ripper. Likewise, if you’re wondering why Harvey has a magic pocket-watch in the second panel, this comic might give you a clue.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE ] "Damania Repressed - All Good Things" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE ] “Damania Repressed – All Good Things” By C. A. Brown

Some Thoughts On Mysterious “WTF?” Endings – A Ramble

2015 Artwork Mysterious endings article sketch

Although this is an article about writing, comics and storytelling, I’m going to have to start by talking about films and TV shows for a while. There’s a good reason for this that I hope will become obvious later.

However, I should warn you that this article will contain SPOILERS for both “Battlestar Galactica” and “A Field In England”. It’ll also contain spoilers for my “The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall” comic too (or, at least an explanation for the second half of it).

Anyway, a while before I wrote this article, I finally watched the last few episodes of “Battlestar Galactica“. Although I’d accidentally heard about some of the ending to this show before I actually watched the last episode, some parts of the ending still left me absolutely baffled.

In the ending, one of the main characters (who seemingly returned from the dead earlier in the series, without any real explanation) just suddenly disappears. There’s also a whole sub-plot about “god” and “angels”, which is only barely foreshadowed in earlier episodes. Although it’s a very dramatic ending to a spectacular series, some parts of the ending just make no sense.

This then made me think of a rather surreal film that I watched in 2013 called “A Field In England“. Although a lot of this film doesn’t quite make sense, the ending is especially puzzling.

About the only logical explanation for it is that the main character is trapped in some kind of bizarre time loop… in the 17th century. Either that, or he hallucinated some of the events of the film. Or he died on the battlefield and is possibly in some kind of old-fashioned purgatory. It’s a very puzzling ending to a very puzzling film

For writers and comic creators, mysterious and puzzling endings are a real double-edged sword. One the one hand, they force your audience to think about the ending of the story and to spend quite a while working out what really happened. Because the ending isn’t fully explained, these kinds of endings can make your audience feel curious about your work and more interested in re-reading it to try to understand the ending.

On the other hand, there’s also a good chance that your audience will feel cheated by an ending that doesn’t quite make sense. If your audience have invested quite a few hours of their time in reading your story or comic, then a puzzling ending can make them feel like that time has been wasted.

A good compromise if you plan to include a “WTF?” kind of ending in your story or comic is to logically resolve at least a few parts of the story, before you include something bizarre. This way, your audience still has something to feel curious about – but, because there’s some resolution, your audience won’t feel completely cheated.

For example, although the ending to “Battlestar Galactica” had some really bizarre scenes in it, the main plot of the series was still resolved in a fairly logical way. The main characters defeat the bad guys and finally find a planet to settle on (our planet, no less)… and then a few weird things happen a bit later.

However, if you’re going to include a mysterious ending in your story or comic, you should know what it means. In other words, even the most bizarre ending must have a meaning of some kind that your audience actually has a chance of working out for themselves if they think about it for long enough.

In other words, you shouldn’t use these kinds of endings as a way to finish your story abruptly because you don’t know how to end it. And, yes, it can be very tempting to do this when you have writer’s block at the end of your story. In fact, I almost did this with my “The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall” comic, which was posted here in late October.

Basically, in the second half of the comic, a lot of strange stuff happens. At the time, I thought that this was a way of including a lot of interesting drawings and vague parodies of various things in my comic.

The last page also contains a tiny bit of lazy writing too (eg: the laws of physics are conveniently suspended for a few seconds, although it is foreshadowed by other strange stuff happening earlier in the comic). But, a while after I finished this comic, I suddenly realised that the second half of the comic did have a meaning.

Roz and Rox are excited about it – and they discover lots of cool stuff in the mansion (Roz discovers more cool stuff, since she’s more excited). Derek is indifferent to the news and has a rather boring (and mildly crappy) time in the mansion. Harvey, on the other hand, is shocked and terrified – and he’s the only one to find anything genuinely terrifying in the mansion. In other words, the mansion is a reflection of each character’s emotions. It’s a strange mirror of some kind.

So, yes, make sure that your strange endings have at least some kind of meaning and try to resolve at least some of the plot before you bewilder your audience.

——–
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Today’s Art ( 31st October 2015)

em> Plot twists! Contrivances! More treasure! Yes, what else could it be but the shocking conclusion of eight of “The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall”? Despite a couple of bouts of writer’s block, this comic was an absolute joy to make and I hope that it was as enjoyable for you too 🙂

Don’t worry if you missed any of it, I’ll post a re-cap of the entire comic on here shortly before midnight (GMT). My usual daily paintings will also resume tomorrow.

As usual, this comic page is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall - Page 9 " By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall – Page 9 ” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (5th August 2015)

Means! Motive! Opportunity! What else could it be, but the shocking conclusion of “Diabolical Sigil”? I hope that this comic has been as fun for you to read as it has been for me to make. In case you missed any pages of it, I’ll post the whole thing in a single post later tonight.

Anyway, I’ll probably go back to making “ordinary” daily paintings/drawings – for a while at least. I’m not sure when I’ll make my next comic (it could be a few days, weeks or even months. I’m not sure).

As usual, this comic page is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Diabolical Sigil - Page 8" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Diabolical Sigil – Page 8” By C. A. Brown