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Wired Covers Sprite Webcomics

In this Wired News story on sprite comics, Lore Sjöberg namechecks Comixpedia.

Oh yeah, he also talked to two of the biggest spriters around: David Anez and Brian Clevinger. He also talked with Fred Gallagher and Mike "Tycho" Krahulik. Good coverage of the entire sprite webcomic story.

Re: Wired Covers Sprite Webcomics

"It's nice to see that people lacking the ability to draw are still able to tell their stories and their jokes by using sprites,"

Wait... it is?

Re: Wired Covers Sprite Webcomics

If anything, it's a start. I don't really like sprite comics, but I don't want to put an end to them either.

"I Can't Draw" is not a valid excuse.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

People seem to act like there's some sort of mystical element to drawing. Drawing is a skill, just like playing the piano. It is something anyone can learn if they take the time to learn and practice. People will be able to learn the skill of drawing depending on the strength of their ability to learn any new task.

Where drawing (and music) transcend skill and become art is in the arena of composition and arrangement. That's where talent lies. Being able to compose an image and arrange the elements of an image is where the artist vision lies. Anyone can buy a "Learn to draw Manga" book and in a very short while be able to compitently reproduce the images in the book. If they're able to move past that and compose images of their own creation then they're displaying talent and not mere skill.

It's the same way in music. I know musicians who have their grade 10 from the Royal Conservatory. You set a book of sheetmusic infront of them and they will flawlessly reproduce every not and nuance written on that paper on their instrument. They've mastered the skill of musicianship. But of them I know many who simply have no talent. They simply lack a single original musical thought in their heads. They're the musical equivalent of a photocopier. They have no creativity.

Art is exactly the same way. Hell, dangerously skirting Godwin's Law take a look at Hitler. He had a pretty good grip on the skills of art. He could sit down in front of a building and reproduce it (although he couldn't draw figures and animals worth a damn) he could sit down in front of someone else's work and reproduce it (which he often did). He had the skills but the guy was still a talentless hack. Why? Because he simply lacked the ability to express himself creatively through his artwork. That's what talent is and that's why talent is something that can't be taught. You either have it or you don't. If you don't have it you're going to have to do a lot of internal searching until you find it within yourself.

Now if you are a creative person once you learn the skill of drawing you'll be able to express your talent through art. If you're a creative writer you'll be able to be a creative artist once you've learned the skills of drawing.

Learning the skills comes down to how baddly you want to learn them. We're all progressing in this arena. Even the best comic artists are always learning new skills and improving on their art, their advancements may not be as dramatic as the advancements made by those of us who have only been drawing a couple of years but they are advancing too.

The beauty of the webcomic is you're under no pressure to be a good artist "right now". As long as you possess a rudimentary compitence in drawing you can take a leisurely stroll towards aquiring your art skills. Learn at your own pace depending on what your ambition and free time will allow. As long as your writing skills are solid you'll still be able to produce a quality work. It'll also be fun (in a painful sort of way) to look back through your archives in a few years time and see how much your work has progressed.

Sprite comics are not about not being able to draw. They're about not being ambitious enough to learn the basic skills of drawing. The reason why Sprite Comics are looked down upon is because generally (and I'm speaking in broad terms since there are talented and creative Sprite comic artists but they are far and away the exception not the typical) the people who lack the ambition to learn the basic skills tend to lack creative talent to begin with. The vast majority of sprite comics rely solely on the gimick of being a sprite comic. They rely on the gimick of nostalgia and pop culture references.

The typical sprite comic humour tends to be a sprite of Megaman standing beside a sprite of Super Mario shouting out "Ass sex!" and the artist seems to think this is funny for some reason.

"Don't you see, it's Megaman. And he's shouting "ass sex". To Super Mario. That's funny... because it's Megaman shouting "ass sex". That's so something Megaman wouldn't do. Shout "ass sex"... to Super Mario... funny...

.... look at my PayPal Donate button!"

This, more than the fact these comics rely upon copyright violation, is why sprite comics are probably one of the least respected forms of webcomic out there, bellow clip art, photo comics and poser comics even. It's not because they're using sprites, it's because the type of people attracted to the concept of creating sprite comics tend to be completely and utterly talentless.

I strongly recommend to anyone with writing talent not to go for the sprite comic, especially if you're doing a strip styled comic. Most strip comics tend to be drawn by people who have a limited grasp on the skills of drawing to begin with which is why they employ a simplified, cartoony style. It makes it easier to draw with limited skills yet will allow for the development of drawing skills. This is the way it is with a lot of syndicated comicstrip artists too, not just webcomic artists. They start by creating a style that matches their rudimentary drawing skills and as their skills build their style begins to modify itself and slowly evolve into a more complex form. Sometimes the change can be so dramatic that when you examine the earliest works of an artist compared to their current works you can hardly believe they were drawn by the same person.

So if you are a writer, do yourself a favour. Don't go for the sprite comic. Go by a couple of books on basic art techinque, spend a few hours a week for a couple of months going throught them, practicing, and creating an artist style that is within the the margins of your drawing skills. Years down the road when your drawing skills have vastly improved and you're able to look back upon a body of your work which is in it's entirety a testiment to your own originality and creativeness and not merely relying on a gimick and someone else's pilfered artwork you will thank yourself that you took the time give you your work the creative effort it deserved. You'll thank yourself that you're not lumped in with several thousand comics that feature Megaman shouting "ass sex".

Re: "I Can't Draw" is not a valid excuse.

Agreed 100%. Maybe even 150%. I wouldn't mind sprite comics at all if people drew their own sprites -- just once! before the first strip and never again!! -- and then used those.

Sprites generally aren't employed by people whose only problem is that they can't draw, unless they're just unable to draw Mega Man or Final Fantasy characters. And I doubt it's because that many people have Mega Man stories bursting out of them -- it's just that the characters are pre-drawn, so why not do Mega Man saying "ass sex?"

Kristofer Straub www.starslip.com

But "I Have a Good Idea" is a decent excuse.

When you go read something like Captain SNES or SoM Theater, you can find writing that's better than what a lot of "drawn" comics create. The problem with sprite comics is not that the sprites prevent them from getting respect from their community or that sprites are a crutch that prevent the creator from developing skill. The problem is just that... sprite comics tend to suck. It's nothing to do with the medium itself. It has to do with the fact that creating a sprite comic is simple. It's something that almost anyone can do. And thus, anyone will do it, including people with no real creativity, drive, or interest.

If you look at Bob & George, 8-Bit Theater, or any of a handful of the better sprite comics out there, they do draw their own sprites. Even when they don't draw their own sprites, they don't just cut/paste the stuff onto the page. They enlarge, distort, edit, they work with perspective, they manage backgrounds. They put a lot of work into creating the thing. And the writing is decent. Even if it had been a drawn comic rather than sprites, it still would have been good material. A good sprite comic is not about "not being ambitious enough to learn the basic skills of drawing." It's about using an intentionally low-grade artform to accentuate parody. I love reading through drawn comics that have a sprite parody day. They paste a bunch of Megaman sprites together and say "LOL WE DREW A SPRITE COMIC WE ARE COOL!!!" Ironic that almost everyone does the exact same parody. If you were drawing a sprite comic, could you put in the effort to make it work? What do you think of non-sprite copy/paste comics like Red Meat or Dinosaur Comics? Would Partially Clips be considered a sprite comic since he doesn't draw his own art? Do you consider Diesel Sweeties to be a sprite comic? Where's the line?

If you're a decent writer, and you have an idea for a storyline that the sprite-style art could work with, and you're willing to put in the time to work on the comic, then go for it. Give it a shot. But if you're not going to put any work into the thing, it doesn't matter whether you're going to use sprites or a tablet or a 3D modelling program for your art. Sprites themselves are not the problem. The problem is that a crappy comic is crap no matter how it's put together. The popular sprite comics are popular for a reason, because they're worth it.

Y'know, the original article wasn't about the quality of the sprite comics, but just acknowledging that they exist. How is it that any mention of the stuff immediately draws people who feel like they're on a holy crusade from Zeus to warn everyone about how the sprite comic is going to infect our souls and destroy us all? To those of you who do think every sprite comic is about "ass sex," then... I dunno. Maybe every comic that uses "adult humor" is just a bunch of pornography, too.

Re: Wired Covers Sprite Webcomics

GODAMMIT!!! Frikkin sprite comics

Re: Wired Covers Sprite Webcomics

Stories?

Re: "I Can't Draw" is not a valid excuse.

Ghastly, why don't you start writing for Comixpedia? Your comments are often more in-depth than the articles that trigger them. That, and much bigger as well...

And how about those fairies?

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You are right ofcourse... But...

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