Author of Existential Terror and Breakfast Rev. Fitz wrote a first impressions piece on the first chapter of my web serial, Entirely Presenting You.
Click here to check it out and read what he has to say.
On to my own brief thoughts about his own brief thoughts.
For me, the most important aspect of a web serial is its writing. Bad web design can be forgiven, bad art can be overlooked, if the writing and quality of the story can surpass those limitations. And that seems to be the case for Rev. Fitz. The writing worked (really happy about that) but the chapter one’s cover threw him off (which I completely understand).
At least he liked the banner image, that’s my favorite piece I’ve done for the site.
But, regarding bad design, bad art, that is not the case with everybody.
This wasn’t the first time this issue was brought up to me. And I get it, I really do. It betrays the tone of the chapter, the supposed ‘light’ nature of it doesn’t quite convey what happens later in the story, much less what happens later in that very same chapter.
I wonder how many people I’ve turned off from reading my serial because of one image? They scrolled down, saw her face, and scrunched theirs, and immediately left the page. Probably more than I think.
To (briefly) defend the art, I have to say I like it for the very same reasons Rev. Fitz said it might turn others away. It’s bright, off-kilter. It doesn’t quite convey what happens later in the story, much less what happens later in that very same chapter. I like contrast, how things don’t quite add up. How they clash, rather than work together. Maybe I’m just that type of person. As for the Japanese tropey-ness, well, that’s ingrained me, a part of my artistic identity. Nothing can be done about that.
Also, regarding her expression, the pointing to her mouth. She was drinking at the beginning of the story, and pointing… well, it’s to convey she wants to drink something else.
It’s blood, by the way.
Other details of the art hint at other events to come in that chapter. Take a look at red line that comes out of her left arm, and compare it with the very first piece of promotional art for Entirely Presenting You.
The left arm, the blood, the Morse code.
I dare not point out anything else.
So the cover art, for me, has an artistic purpose. It doesn’t mean it has to be good. I could drop the art down to the bottom, and do the same with all the other cover arts that precede the first chapter of their respective arcs. Maybe, I might remove the art entirely, if it has done more damage turning people away than I expected. And I expect a lot. There’s still a home for the art, in the gallery page.
If anything, my only qualm about the art is that it could be better. I’m generally not a fan of my own art, and I recognize the flaws that plague my attempts at drawing. As it stands, it’s fine, but if it’s stopping people from making it to even the first sentence, then it’s unacceptable.
I’m not quite sure what to do about it, myself.
All in all, I appreciate Rev. Fitz for powering through the cover art, and reading the first chapter. And I highly appreciate Rev. Fitz for having a good impression of the writing itself, which is the more important matter.
I’m an artist, first and foremost, so I’ll continue to pursue drawing, and I’ll probably continue to make cover art for the coming arcs of Entirely Presenting You. Just know that I’m aware of the impact they’ve had on potential readers, and that I totally understand why people say what they say about it. I can take critique, it’s a part of being an artist. I guess it’s just a case of, ‘oh well, shoulda done it right the first time.’
Or never tried at all.