Casey & Scotty

What Did I Learn?

webcomic reviews by Delos Woodruff

(this is a repost that has been added to.)

How do I summarize what I like about Casey and Scotty by Scott and Casey Tapp? Taking my cue from the diamond marketers, I’ll harp on Consistency, Clarity and Color.

I’ll start with Casey and Scotty’s Consistency. That’s a good thing for all of us to focus on. There’s a reason why this comic is so consistently rendered but it’s not as important as what being consistent is all about. Well rendered characters should look the same every time they are shown from the same point of view. To not do so is distracting at best. And yes, I still have to work on that as well.

But it’s not just consistency in the artwork. The writing and dialogue is handled in such a way that you understand that different people are speaking. And you know who is who.

This is a nice segue into Clarity. It’s very clear what is going on, even when the ‘action’ is just a word effect like “plickity.” If that confuses you (and by itself, it should,) just check out the plickity plickity. The point is that there is very good storytelling and there’s a very solid clarity here. There’s never any confusion about what is happening (unless there’s supposed to be.) [Note: This concept of clarity is discussed in the book Making Comics by Scott McCloud.]

Finally, I wanted to mention Color. The colors and textures are somewhat muted but they have a nice amount of life to them. The brighter colors of the characters pop right off the much more muted backgrounds. This forces the viewer to pay attention to the action. It takes good judgment to find the right colors for a given comic and I think it’s worth talking about.

Take a look at the comic above from April 2007 and the comic below from October 2008. Compare them. What is different?

See the differences? Everything is sharper and brighter. The Tapps have taken their strengths and improved upon them. The backgrounds properly fade into the background with the suggestion of detail. Further, the storytelling is also even clearer with standout beats and pauses for effect. There is much less in the way of distracting detail, though you can clearly see the same sorts of details in both comics.

I ask you, how does one successfully draw chewed and vomited grass in a comic? If, by some chance you fancy yourself an artist, then see if you can give it that sense of steaming freshness like you see in the comic above. You can practically smell that grass, can’t you? Normally, vomited grass would not inspire me to take my own artistic efforts to the next level but this batch did.

Finally, I know the Comic Press theme is all the rage for webcomics these days but take a look at how the Casey & Scotty site. It absolutely refuses to do anything but feature the comic. The extras and links fade appropriately into the background until you want to look for them. That is a well designed site and I’m taking notes on that too.

What did I learn?

Be consistent in your art and the writing. Tell your story clearly. Use color to focus your audience’s attention and build on your strengths. Of course, it is overall a solidly done strip and you will want to see Casey and Scotty for yourself.

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