I used to really tick people off during critique days at college graphic design classes.

I wasn’t trying to.  I thought we were supposed to talk about where we and others could have improved, and what we and others did well, and what lettering looked like it belonged on the side of a hotdog vendor’s cart instead of a can of coffee.  You know.  Critique.

But some folks in college weren’t old enough or experienced enough to take constructive criticism, and felt that calling their coffee logo ‘hotdog cart lettering’ was going over the line.  Fine. It’s also possible I wasn’t old enough or experienced enough or normal enough to know what people were going to take as personal insult just because they’d poured their heart and soul into a coffee label design.  Fair’s fair.

Troy, on the other hand, is going well out of his way to become a functioning cartoonist. (I know this ’cause of how we met) He’s also old enough to recognize constructive criticism for what it is, and recognize a socially inept dingbat for what I am…

Having said that, I’m going to offer up a critique of last week’s cartoon.  Cartoonist to cartoonist, and you guys get to be privy to it.  Or not, if you stop reading now.

So. Overall, it flows well.  Left to right. Pace. no worries.  I think the action of the first two panels could be reduced to one panel- The old man walking from a rumpled bed, the room dark on the left and brighter on the right hand side toward and open door.  Old man scratching with one hand, yawning, and stretching the other hand?  That leaves a second panel for the Old Man to be teetering on his toes, feet together, as though he’s stopped his step suddenly at his bedroom door and his upper body might be leaned out from its own momentum.  The body angle would give dynamic tension and a sense of unbalance.  The word balloon over him… Hmmm.  Is “Oh… Crap.” too rude?  He’s looking at crap, after all.  Judgement call.  His Dog could be pressed against the wall, also staring goggle-eyed into the room (that we can’t see, same as Troy has it in this version). He’s thinking “You were the one who fed me week old Bratwurst…”  Then there’d be the third panel that’d have to be the final note.  I’m not sure Old Man should look so calm and collected as in this version.  I think it might be funnier and more engaging if he’s outside in his garfield PJs hammering a sign into the yard “HOUSE FOR SALE- CHEAP. NOW.” next to a box with a plastic bag tied in it.  It’s got “ROBOT VACCUUM_ FREE   USED ONCE.” on it.  That’s my 2 cents.  Might not work.  I’d have to sketch it out and see what it looks like.  And Troy might not like the pace of a three panel instead of a four.  It’s pretty subjective, after all.

There you go.  Critique.