Dr. Sheep and the Aardvark

What Did I Learn?

weekly webcomic reviews by Delos

(this is a repost)

This review is on Dr. Sheep and the Aardvark by James Spence. I was immediately struck by the successful use of black and white artwork. I mused on it for awhile as I read the archives, and it seems to me that it has a lot to do with the 60%-30%-10% ratio of values. This webcomic is about 60% grey, 30% white and 10% black. I’ve also seen a successful guideline mentioned as 25% white, 25% black and 50% mid-tones. It makes the art very engaging.

If you look back through the archives, you can see how he came to have this style. It took some time to get a finished and polished look. That is very encouraging to note because I can see a clear improvement over time. It gives me hope that I might see definite improvement when I look back over my own work.

Likewise, the stories are crisper in their storytelling. You can also see an improvement in the dialgoue as well. This reinforces the need to continue practicing your craft. Dr Sheep and the Aardvark is a perfect example of what hard work can accomplish. If you read some of the comments, you can see what adjustments James made. It’s very instructive.

The strips are somewhat meandering in content with most not grouped in storylines, especially the early ones. This kind of worked against the strip due to the odd nature of the characters. But later, after a hiatus, the strip was back with more of a guiding vision.

Your audience wants to be entertained, right? They want to be amused and to laugh and have something fun to share with their friends. So what is your guiding vision? What are you offering your audience? Are you consistently guiding their experience as they read your comic day in and day out? If it’s just meant to be a daily gag, that’s fine. It’s something to consider. Think about how chapters serve to highlight special aspects of a book’s contents…are your strips building chapters? Are they moving towards a crescendo? It’s important for any work to be thematically linked.

What did I learn?


You might not realize that you’re improving but you probably are. It will probably hurt due to the time and effort you’ll need to expend, but it is worth it. Also, what is it that your strip is building towards? What sort of experience do you want to provide your audience? As always, I have much to work on. Lastly, Dr. Sheep and the Aardvark proves that a black and white comic can be interesting and successful.

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