Online Art – Website Review – Cucumber Quest

While this is still a blog, there is also going to be some work displayed here for the class where this blog came from. This post is going to be focused on a website I’ve found. I’ll be doing my review on the entire site as well as various outside elements related to it. It has to be related to my own website, and I’ll be going over both design principles as well as visual choices in my criticism.

The website I’ll be putting up for critique is for the webcomic “Cucumber Quest” by Gigi D.G.. This is a comic where a new page of a story is uploaded three days of the week for people to follow along with. The front page gives you two links to the first page story, or to the most recent page. My original inspiration from Gigi’s site was from the background since the pattern is easy on the eyes. From here, exploring further led me to believe that I could inspire my entire website on this layout.

The most prominent layout are those for a comic page. Everything on the page is laid out to the width of the comic page, which is the centerpiece of each web page. On the top and bottom of each page are four arrows. The one on the far left takes you to the first page in the story, then the next button takes you to the page before the one you’re currently on. On the right, the closest arrow to the center takes you to the next page. The furtherest arrow on the right takes you to the latest page in the story. This is a staple of webcomic sites, and most people keep these arrows to help people continue a story, go back to the home page, or even have a dropdown menu in the middle letting you choose a page to load. As the web has evolved, webcomics become easier to navigate as you can click the image to continue loading the next page in the comic.

I thought I would keep the simple design throughout each page on Cucumber Quest on my own website, but let the layout stay basic enough for a portfolio. I was not making a layout meant for a webcomic, but principles from Gigi’s site come into play often. The navigation bar is on each page, and each image can be clicked to go to the next. Images are the centerpiece, and laid out accordingly to keep the width of all pages on the site the same size.

This website by Gigi still has problems, though. The simplicity behind the layout makes things somewhat difficult. If she wants more things on the navigation bar, she’ll have to make it taller in order to fit in the width laid out by the comic page, otherwise it would be wider than the rest of the page. There are also some distinct choices by the author that do not make any sense. The archive page has links to each page of the comic, but it is updated manually. It’s not very consistent most of the time, and each link does not show a picture of the page you’re looking for. Each page just has a number, or chapter. It’s confusing and does not help people figure out where they left their place in the story. However, the author does acknowledge readers who want to continue. A webcomic is pretty easy to breeze through the past pages in a few hours, but the author has implemented an RSS feed for new pages.

Overall, the site is simple in design and style, but clunky in navigational space when the comic is not the focus of the page.

Unwritten

Right now, it’s midnight after Sunday. Today, I went to the comic store and “The Unwritten: Dead Man’s Knock” was out, and there was only one copy. I snatched it, along with the new issue of the series (#23), and the very first issue, which I was surprised they carried. Doing research now, it’s cool to see that Dead Man’s Knock came out on my birthday, and that this month’s issue is #23. After this, my family and I went to see more of my family for a birthday dinner. It was also a going-away party for my sister, who is moving to France!

I was pretty quiet around my family, but I also couldn’t put down Dead Man’s Knock.  My sister and others wanted me to socialize, but I just didn’t want to. Was I being socially awkward? Maybe, but I didn’t feel like thinking for myself while everyone else were on subjects very foreign to me, with small wiggle room to interrupt and lots of chances for someone to playfully criticize you. So, I pre-occupied myself with drawing and reading, occasionally joining the conversation with expected, and confirmed, results, and also trying to keep a smile on my face. Yes, I am happy to see my family, and I love them very much if it wasn’t obvious to the average bear, but I’m not going to limit how I feel and what I feel like doing based on the expectations of others.

After the long conversations, we had dinner and it was delicious! Then, there were the presents. I got a Roger Waters shirt for The Wall, and back issues of Sonic the Hedgehog from ‘98, ’07, and ’08! I got a lot of books this year, and I’m very glad. Not only did I get this, but I also got a hardcover collection of the Chronicles of Narnia, and the Wrinkle in Time Quintet. I want to reread the Narnia series, but I want to read through the latter because A Wrinkle In Time is one of the only books that I find is both entertaining and also /makes sense/ to me. Either way, I’m glad for all of the schwag I got this year.

Flight

Hi there. This has been a pretty uneventful couple of weeks. I had my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and that was a lot of fun, but after things have been a blur. This morning, I woke up from a dream very abruptly, but in that weird transitional daze. I had to get up from my bed quickly, since my alarm is across the room.  After doing so, I was aware of my environment, but also the conflicting feelings. I felt that both my dreams and this life are not too different from each other. So, why is it that this place is so definite than the other? My dreams are mostly set in linear timelines, but I believe dreams are outside of time itself. Real life, though, wakes me up at a specific time so that I have to trudge through the rest of the day trying to get back to having new, timeless experiences.

Anyways, you can tell I’ve been doing some thinking, but that’s not really the point of this journal. I’m going to be leaving tomorrow afternoon for the island of Maui to see my aunt and some friends of hers. I’m excited, yes, but for more than one reason. I’m excited for the fun I’m going to be having with them, doing whatever they so please, but I’m also excited for whatever is going to happen. This year has been interesting, and when I was given the chance to come back to Maui (I’ve been there before), I knew I had to take the offer, rather than going to New York in the summer.

Final-Ly

Wednesday, I ditched school to go to Disneyland. My best friend was only going to make it there until after 4:30, so I had most of the day there to myself. I ended up writing a sign saying that I was alone, asking if I could join a group “(I do tricks)”. On the back of the sign, I put “I also have no shame!” The sign worked! I joined two different families, and we both had conversations about different subjects and also went on many rides. I also gave them some of my sister’s homemade cookies. “They’re not poisonous. Don’t worry!” They were very nice people, and I hope they had a fun day!

At 4:30, my best friend, her niece, and I hung out for a little while before dinner. I bought a copy of Peter Pan for no reason at all, and then we ate at the House of Blues. It was quite loud, I had steak, and my best friend had the theory that some pieces of artwork on the walls were painted by a schizophrenic. After dinner, my family left my best friend and her niece with me to spend the rest of the night around the park by ourselves. There were thrilling rides, long talks, pointless debates, rain, and color! I’m glad we’re going back soon!

Friday, a good friend of mine was having a breakdown of sorts. I wish I could have been there more to help them, but I have realized that I cannot be Superman for everything sometimes. This was one of those times. I do know that some experiences help you develop a thick skin, and I do know that some people can be very foolish saying immature things to other people. Both of these things are true, but sometimes comfort can come in different ways, or you may grow to be less foolish in the future. While some people never change, I hope- or at least believe- that everyone has some capacity in their lives to change into the best person they want to be.

… And Fair Skys

We went on a whale watch on one part of this spring break, and this is the one event out of the others that sticks out the most. They were really close, but I also threw up. A friend of mine has this “problem” where many people at once may really care about them. I felt sort of overwhelmed when I knew that I was going to throw up, but people kept wanting to help me, when I already knew what to do. Yeah, it’s sort of egotistical, but sometimes it’s just you and your vomit. You gotta wait it out, and then up-chunk.

Spiritually, or I guess mentally, this trip was a good stepping-stone to… things? I really needed a change of scenery, and not only that, a time to relax and just let things take their course without any sort of nuisances bugging me. Nothing bad seemed to be happening with my friends. My best friend is in a new relationship, which makes me happy, but she said that she has had a crappy week. Another friend is getting used to the responsibilities of being an adult, and others are either stuck or just annoyed by the little things. At least they’re still little.

Coming home, after the last night was spent looking at the stars, we watched Tron Legacy on the plane. Pretty flat movie, but it is technically scenery porn. A kid next to me still had Stranger Anxiety, and was frightened of me. I had In-n-Out on the way home. I couldn’t really sleep, but I did. The next day, I went to a Renaissance Fair with some friends. I managed to get in for free, which was a plus, but I got lost on my way to and from the fair because of crappy directions. At one point, I played Super Jenga with a crowd of people.

The Week Without

When was the last time I wrote in here? At the start of the month? I think so. These days have been stagnant in ways of progress. There’s different sorts of progress that make me proud, but certain things I do deeply care about are not moving forward and I am idle in waiting. These other sorts of progress have been with the arts. I am both soaking up new information, and also trying to develop my own sense of self within the different mediums available. The Wrinkle in Time Quintet, Brave New World, Scott McCloud, fairy tales, comic books, reference, etc. Lots of new perspectives have been introduced to me. Some make sense, and- for now- some don’t. I could look for new ways to implement these lessons into my own actions, but my actions now mainly consist of creating new things and trying to find a way to watch Mister Rogers Neighborhood.

Then there’s all of the imagination-time. That takes up a good portion of my day, but if we take away reality (or practically, time), time stands still in these scenes playing within my mind. Some are already on paper, and you can see them right now. A lot of them are still flying around, and very ethereal. While I do not like to do work, I do really enjoy presenting an idea or two to others, and seeing something invisible turn into something clear and tangible. There’s a story I’ve been thinking about, for maybe even a year or two now, that I am finally thinking about getting off of the ground. I want to do it in two different formats. One would be as a webcomic, and the other as “storyboard series”. More like a long movie. There would be voice actors, a soundtrack, some animation, and maybe even songs written for others to sing. It all seems to work well with the plot. I think I would like to do the comic first, then the movie. I care about the future of comics, and I hope that I am able to bring forward a great story to help boost morale for other creators, but I really want this to be something that I can look back on and say “Wow!” I would like to do animation, and the “movie”, while made as efficiently as possible with the tools I can acquire, would be a technical resume. The comic would be a playground, but since I respect the medium, I will take it seriously and also help to keep it moving forward.

Cherry Cream Cool

Today was the best! I was first carving some root beer, and went to that “Bev-Mo” place to go get some gourmet root beer, along with “BubbleUp,” a pretty good lemon-lime soda. Then, the evening came, and I picked up Archie. We went to Wahoo’s for burritos, and then went to our event: Mary Poppins! I hoped to surprise her, but through my excitement for the play last year, and all of the ads appearing around town, she eventually figured it out. It was all so wonderful, and I was eventually able to surprise with a special gift. Seeing my best friend be not only surprised, but shocked, is a complete spectacle! They sold some special drinks, and I tried a Shirley Temple with cream, called “Cherry Cream Lane.” It’s a SUPER drink! Above all, I loved the play, and all of the characters are great. Bert is one of my most favorites. He’s the character I can relate to the most. =D!

Overall, we both loved tonight, and it was wonderful! Even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! I hope everyone is having a great summer, and that you’re having tons of fun doing what you do. For me, I do what I likes, and I likes what I do, so I hope you’re trying your best to do the same!

Fructose

It’s not too late at night yet, so I feel comfortable writing a journal entry without feeling that I may be saying too much or too little. More events have happened since I graduated, and it’s all been lots of fun.

I’ve been writing “Boy & Girl on a Boat” for a while now, and chapter three is done while chapter four is being written AS I TYPE THIS, but I’ve been feeling somewhat burnt out on the story. Thankfully, AS I’VE TYPED IT, ideas have been storming anew within my mind that have expanded the universe of this small story I have. Hopefully I know when to cut down on unnecessary details, though, because these next chapters are much longer than their successors. Even then, I am going back to those previous chapters and proofreading once again to finally leave them be on both Singleforest and dA for people to read. I hope that whomever has read what I’ve released so far has enjoyed it.

When I wake up these days, the sun has already risen a moderate distance above the mountains. Sleeping in is wonderful, and so have been the journeys I’ve made within my dreams. There are some days where I don’t remember what had happened in the hours before waking up, but I always have the notion that I dreamt that night, and that I went off to a new place with some heroes, villains, and the delightful people within the shades of grey.

I’m reading a lot more right now, and while I have piles of books lying around, I am still making time to get through them. A few of them are around 700+ pages long, while others are short and sweet. I got a 1$ reprint of Usagi Yojimbo #1 and the newest #138 of the same series in order to “get into it.” It’s very good, even though each issue was part of a longer story. It’s written very nicely, the characters are identifiable and interesting, and the factual truth to the fiction makes it very educational. I also picked up #226 of Sonic the Hedgehog, and I don’t know what to say over the changes. It’s nice, but I hope it’s not long-lasting. If it is, then in a way, it’s for the best. I know a writer has got to save people in some way, regardless of how drastic their changes may be to the rest of that world. I’m sorry- rambling, just mythology stuff. I’m also really liking the Scourge arc in SU so far.

A Message on Callout Culture

Serious moment on this blog right now, okay.

A couple years ago, I started noticing on various networks- twitter, tumblr whatever- that people would share awareness about a specific person with unabashed disgust. A common post would be exclaiming that a person was a piece of shit, and that you should not support them whatsoever. Curious, I would explore further context. Usually I would get information. Sometimes it would be helpful. Other times the information would be vague! Sometimes I would get diddly-squat! Almost all of the time, these posts with a lot of information about a terrible person would be written by a victim (in discontent).

It’s been more recent- of the last year or so- that on this website and others, I would see posts that were double-edged. A content creator posts some exciting news about their book being published, and I see it in a reblog with an attachment about how you shouldn’t support this person. My general reaction would be “wow, that’s cool” to an immediate shift of “wait, what the fuck?”

Sometimes it wouldn’t even be public, but privately too. This is more common, obviously, but bringing up anything directly or indirectly related to a specific person has caused a couple people in private conversations to give me “the lowdown” on someone awful- sometimes without even asking for it. These people who talked to me in private conversations, some were just passing along information. A couple had some bad experiences. Others just loved to gossip.

There’s a part of internet culture where there is absolute judgment. If someone has given you a bad experience, legitimate or otherwise, you can share a post specifically for spreading hatred. Writing about hate must be easy for most people, but now it’s also easy to share with everyone.

Now here’s where I’ll talk personally. Yes, I’ve seen some crummy people on the web. I once totally lost respect for an artist when they banned a friend over a simple joke, and then ridiculed them publicly. This post is specifically on ignominy, or rather, public shaming. Situations where this occurs are almost always unique, but it’s really the most common when someone says something really stupid.

It doesn’t really baffle me that people can be hurtful, but moreso that principles from years ago have stuck around. Yes, of course the internet doesn’t forget or forgive. The former is definitely true. The latter, on the other hand, is not the same in real life. The internet is one of the only places I know where I expect no forgiveness for my actions, ever. Being flamed on a message board is rough, and I’ve experienced that in a whole community once. I cannot believe that, as I’m older, I fear for much worse if I end up offending someone.

Now, I know whatcha’ thinkin’…

Dude, Sot, just don’t say anything stupid. Simple.

And yeah, you’re right! I guess i don’t want people to be assholes in return. If someone makes a really dumb remark, and they get the hate, that’s pretty justified to an extent. If that person publicly apologizes, and they still get the hate, that is awful. A person may keep publicly bashing someone until a friend comes in and explains that they’ve apologized. Saying “oh, I didn’t know” is not an excuse anymore. We’re on the internet. 

Anyways, this post is not personal, but I’ve wanted to talk about it for a while. Of course people are not going to change their minds on those that they really hate, but even as someone goes back through someone’s posts to find dirt, I wish they could realize to move on. A person probably already feels awful about their mistake, but having people tell you you’re awful on a regular basis is not healthy. Self respect and forgiveness are two things I wish for in everyone, even for the terrible person to their victim. And if a person is still consistently shitty? Ignore them and make others do the same. Mute, block, hashtag, ban, blacklist, strawberry, I dunno. Ignore. Save the stress.

Is this post totally overshadowing stuff and may offend someone? Probably. Do I care? Kinda, but I want to express myself on this issue in my genuine way. Do you care? Pffbt- probably not. I’m just very passionate about this, that’s all.

 

New Selected Art Works

I got some. Some hipster cred, I mean. I am hip with the kids in that I know a lot about stuff that they also “don’t” know about, if you catch my drift. I’m not putting a “Read More” button on this, because I assume the people who read my blog are not wussies who don’t like to read. LETS GO.

Forbidden Zone

This movie was one of Danny Elfman’s first works past Oingo Boingo, eventually doing film scores. A lot of the band is a part of it. His brother directed it. It’s a movie very inspired by Max Fleischer cartoons. It’s offensive, and very stupid. It is also one of the best “so bad it’s good” movies ever made, in my opinion.

Minesweeper Suite

This is one of DJ /rupture’s first releases, a mixtape of really great tunes. This wasn’t really considered mashup music or anything. Songs are put together to give a new quality that adds to the overall aesthetic. From there, it seamlessly flows together like a narrative. One song will be a mix of tribal with Jamaican riddim, and the next could be gangster hip hop with glitch electronic by Kid606. Still amazing to hear from beginning to end.

The Wizard of Speed and Time

This movie is a LOT of fun. Mike Jittlov did a lot of the effects of this movie himself. I wish I could show this movie to everybody. A dude wants to get his short film on TV for the world to see. He must go through the trials and tribulations of Hollywood movie making, while also hiding the fact that he is, practically, the demigod of special effects. This piece of work has put a lot of inspiration into my own stories involving the Sots. It’s super charming and fun!

Airiel

This band is tremendous. They output very little, but almost everything they’ve released is momentous. Dreamy guitars, ethereal vocals, simple melodies. You can dance to it, if you want, but it’s music to get lost in. If you like their work, go buy their EPs on iTunes. I would not lie to you saying that their work is some of the most inspiring stuff in my life.

Diverse

This is sort of a one-off that I always go back to. This guy is very well thought-out in his work, and created this very fun album that I find still very hard to top. What really solidifies the album are all of the production credits. Some of the best beats by producers in their hey-day are here. Prefuse 73 has a lot of them, and he is my favorite of them all, but this is also one of the only albums where you can hear RJD2 and Madlib beats right next each other. This guy has kinda disappeared, and it’s pretty sad, but everything he’s made is still super fresh.

That’s about it, I think. In all honesty, a lot of my real life friends said the stuff I liked was “weird,” so I usually keep my mouth shut about entertainment due to habit. I’ve grown up enough to know that those friends were dumb, but I just quietly explore new things by myself. Hope this gives you some new things to explore.

have fun.