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Spotlight - Heart of Keol
November 17, 2015
9:45 pm
Michael Yakutis
Crescent City, CA

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It's been a while, but it's time for another spotlight! This time we take a gander at the beautiful work of Heart of Keol by the one and only @keiiii . Read it. Love it. Comment on it. Draw fan art for it. Then read it again. 

And be sure to read her interview with Kevin Cullen at #TalkingComics!

Please leave your comments and fan art for HoK in the comments below. 

Spotlight-heart-of-keol.PNG

 

Comic Name: Heart of Keol

Creator Name: keiiii 

Comic Genre: fantasy/ drama

Comic Synopsis: A young man with emotional baggage gets stranded in a strange world that looks a lot like ancient Korea with magic. Culture shocks and trials ensue as he learns about his predicament -- external and internal.

Comic Link: http://heartofkeol.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heart-of-Keol/742798605807586

Twitter: https://twitter.com/keiiii4

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/keii4ii?ty=h

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November 18, 2015
1:38 am
Zanreo
Norway
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Whoo! Congrats on the spotlight, @keiiii!

I've been reading this comic for a while now, and I really like it - the art is beautiful and the world is very interesting to read about 😀

November 18, 2015
8:45 am
Professor Etheric
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@keiiii Wowowowowowowow!  This is super awesome for you!  Congratulations!

"Keep a spirit of madness in you, just enough so you don't become stupid. Just a little touch of madness will keep you alive, because no one in the world knows how to tax that." -Robin Williams, "Reality... What a Concept!"

November 18, 2015
3:45 pm
keiiii
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I am not ready D: But I guess I'll have to make myself ready! Thanks, @Michael Yakutis @Professor Etheric @Zanreo (and Kevin, if you're on the forum?)!

November 19, 2015
12:06 am
pastutopia
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@keiiii I've been reading HoK since finding it from your banner signature shortly after I started hanging around here - I regret that I have only two thumbs to give it thumb's ups with as a recommendation.

Webcomics come in a huge range of shapes and sizes when it comes to art, and it's frequently comparing apples to oranges; but hands down I consider your comic to be one of the most artistically crafted out there on the visuals. It goes from awesome to amazing when weird-plant-magic (simplifying a bit here) stuff starts happening 😛

I'm not confident I will have time to do fan art to put here in the near future, but I'll leave an IOU (for when I'm back home next month). Admittedly I've considered doing fan art for it before, but the art style scares me off (I'm used to doing poor renditions of other people's characters, but there has to be a limit... 😛 ), so this is a good excuse 😛

Keep up the great work, and really glad that you've chugged along to bring us as much of it as you have so far - it's a beautiful comic in more than just the art.

I don't really have anything to critique; the only thing I can remember being sad about was that a lot of the pages are under-construction but with not much there (like the cast page); I'll have to check to see if they've been set up though and edit this out if they have... 😛 I'm sort of a sucker for cast pages and other info pages though, and realistically it's not like I'm confused on whose who... I just like cast pages 😉

November 19, 2015
4:05 pm
Tantz Aerine
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THat was long, long due! Congratulations! Definitely very much deserved, from the story to the artwork, everything's top notch! One of the comics I really enjoy reading, whether one page or in bulk. I like the two main characters and I like the whimsical mixed up with the adventurous and even at times sinister twists. Well done and I can't wait to see it completed 😀

 

November 20, 2015
1:20 am
keiiii
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@pastutopia Aw, you're making me melt! I 100% agree with you on the cast page. I gotta get that one up soon... *looks at the ever-growing pile of todo items* ...Yeah. Seriously though, it's one of the first things I look at as a reader, so I want to get mine up.

If you do want to do fan art, there's no deadline for it. 🙂 I would love to see it, whether it happens sooner or later. But no pressure either way!

 

@Tantz Aerine Thank you! Completion seems so far away, but surely it will come some day, as long as I keep going.

 

@Michael Yakutis ooogh, could you forward one request? The image used in the banner on the interview page is a photo of a poster, taken at a steep angle. The angle is distorting the artwork quite a bit, and it's making the banner look really awkward! Here's the un-distorted version of the artwork if Kevin wants to use that picture specifically. 

November 20, 2015
12:40 pm
Michael Yakutis
Crescent City, CA

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keiiii said
The image used in the banner on the interview page is a photo of a poster, taken at a steep angle. The angle is distorting the artwork quite a bit, and it's making the banner look really awkward! Here's the un-distorted version of the artwork if Kevin wants to use that picture specifically. 

@keiiii This would actually be a little tricky to do since I don't think have access to the templates Kevin uses for his interviews. In all honesty though, I think the distortion looks really cool and it's pretty common to use stuff like that in articles. Kevin has a great eye for design and I'm sure he used that specific image for a reason. I'm betting he was aware of the distortion and that's the reason he used it. But if you're really dead set on having it changed I can reach out to Kevin and see if he can take care of it when he gets the chance (not sure how busy he is right now).

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November 20, 2015
7:21 pm
keiiii
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@Michael Yakutis The problem is, to a new viewer, it's not clear whether the distortion is intentional or just a wonky drawing. I think it's actually more likely it looks like the latter. XD; It would've been fine if the distortion had been more severe and obvious, or if the banner showed more of the picture (it's harder to tell with just the face area cropped like that). I really would like that changed.

 

Anyone have any questions about the story or the characters? 🙂 I kind of didn't get to talk about that during the interview, since the questions were more focused on other things. 

November 21, 2015
5:47 pm
Michael Yakutis
Crescent City, CA

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@keiiii  I'll run it by Kevin and see if he can swap it out when he has a chance. 

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November 21, 2015
6:26 pm
NeilKapit
United States
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This is long overdue. Heart of Keol has been one of my favorite webcomics, and one I still check on regularly (even as my time and energy is sucked away by my job). The characters are interesting and sympathetic, and interact in unique ways, with Ethan and Danbi having a particularly endearing bond. The universe is impressively realized and introduced to the audience at an effective pace, adding new wrinkles almost every page to the situation, and revealing the background organically instead of by info dump. Even the "bad guys" are interesting, and have clear reasons for why they do what they do; at least, clear enough to keep them from the eeevil camp.

All this isn't even getting into the art, which is in a class by itself...

 


www.therubynation.com 

November 21, 2015
6:44 pm
melaredblu
beneath the sea and over the sand
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I already wrote the majority of my thoughts on this comic in this review here, so I'll keep it short and just bring up a couple things I didn't mention elsewhere.

The website is very nice and simple. Making the nav bar and box borders look similar to the word bubbles in your comic goes a long way toward keeping the design consistent. Having a plain background also works in your favor--it draws more attention to the art, which is definitely one of the biggest draws of your comic. I see that the site is still a work-in-progress, since the cast page and extras are not finished, but I assume you'll be working on that. It took me a few seconds to figure out that the Comic tab leads to the archives, though. You may want to consider changing the name of that tab, since new visitors already have a handy link to the first page and regulars can click on the current top image to see the latest page. In all honesty, I very much prefer webcomics to have the latest page as the default when you visit the site, but that's just me being nitpicky, and given that this comic does exactly that on its mirror sites, it's no big deal.

One thing I wanted to bring up about the writing that I didn't mention in my review is that I really like how this comic deals with differing cultural values, particularly Ethan's point of view as opposed to the villagers' point of view. Obviously, Danbi's role as a Suyori is the first thing that comes to mind, but just seeing the difference in their body language, their priorities, and the things they focus on, it's a good way to showcase what a different world Ethan is, as well as what a strange person he is in their eyes. I get the sense that similar cultural differences are also present between the people of Keol and the Visitors, so it'll be interesting to see how they interact beyond the violent encounters we've seen so far. Although I may have critiqued the pacing of the story being a tad slow, I do have to admit that you've kept things pretty interesting so far with details like that. It sort of reminds me of when I read The Hunger Games--during the first part of the book, I keep flying through the pages wondering when the story would get to the actual games, but even though it took a good long while to get there, I had to admit that the buildup did have a lot of interesting moments and details. It's just that I was more excited to see what I came for, which in the case of this comic, is the impending adventure. It sounds like they'll embark soon, and if that's true, then I can't wait to see what happens!

One more little tiny nitpick--the boy that Ethan met at the beginning of the story, while I'm sure is important, hasn't really been around since. Unless he's about to show up again real soon, I would consider possibly changing your banner to one of Ethan or Danbi, who are more prominent in the story. It's not that the banner looks bad--far from it--but I think it would make more sense to show a main character. Of course, for all I know, the boy could turn out to be super important and I just don't know it yet, but for the time being, he's been pretty MIA. Personally, I'd suggest Danbi be on the banner, but that's because I'm a sucker for pretty guys.

Whatever little nitpicks I might have, they are VASTLY outweighed by the things I like about this comic. I look forward to seeing what you do next. Good luck!

November 21, 2015
11:15 pm
buffylove
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I read the comic a while back and gave it a big critique.  Haven't had time to check in again in a while, but it's one of my subs and I definitely plan to catch up! 

One huge plus about this comic is the art.  Not only is it beautiful, but it's art that you could show to any one -- non-gamers, non-webcomic people -- and they could appreciate it right away.  There are panels or even pages I could see as wall art for people.  I always look for webcomics that I could show to my family, none of whom is into comics or webcomics or geek culture.  This is one of those comics.

Great stuff!  Keep it up (and hopefully I'll have time to catch up soon)!

--Paul

in THE BOOK OF LIES -- two men hunt a monster in ancient caverns beneath New York City!

November 22, 2015
1:48 pm
Infected Blood
Canada
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Congratulations, keiiii! Your is a comic that deserves much love, both because it has stunning, professional art and because the story is intriguing with a lot of very interesting quirks. I love the different cultural perspectives and how they interact with each other. The facial exrepssions are powerfully conveyed. And, you did the first very fan art for me ever, which I must return, at some point 🙂 Awesome work, keep it up!

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November 22, 2015
4:32 pm
keiiii
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@Michael Yakutis Thanks so much! 

 

@NeilKapit Thanks. I think it's important that every character feels their actions are justified to SOME degree, unless they're written from the remorse angle.  There may not be enough room to explore the internal justification in every character, but I try to imply it, or at least make it plausible.

 

@melaredblu I really appreciate your review! The pacing thing you pointed out in the review is something I've been trying to solve for a while. Not necessarily the actual pacing (though that's always a challenge), but setting up the right expectations. Quite a few people seem to expect HoK to be an "adventure story" or a "plot-driven comic," but it's a character-driven story that uses adventures as a context.  One person described it as "Ethan working out his family baggage in Keol," which is one of the most spot-on ones so far.

I wonder if there's something I've been doing that undermines the character-driven aspect of the story?

 

@buffylove Take your time XD It's probably better to read it in chunks anyway. 

 

@Infected Blood Thank you so much. It's good to see the art being appreciated as a storytelling tool! And it would be awesome to see a HoK character drawn by you since we have such different styles. No pressure though 🙂 

November 22, 2015
6:39 pm
Infected Blood
Canada
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@keiii You are very welcome, you know I do mean it 🙂 And, hey, making fan art for HoK is on my (very long) to-do list, so it will happen, sooner or later! Life is getting in the way a lot, lately 🙁

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November 23, 2015
5:37 am
Artloadernet
UK
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Beautiful stuff Keiiii!  Your art is stunning, I especially enjoy your lighting effects - very nice.  I'm also a fan of the vertical scrolling panel layout, it should translate well on mobile devices.  I'm looking forward to soaking up the story in the following weeks.

http://artloader.net | Digital Art, Writing And Comics

November 24, 2015
9:41 pm
keiiii
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@Artloadernet Thank you! I noticed (with glee) you've left some comments on the comic. I hope you've enjoyed the story so far 😀 

And yeah, I figure that's the main reason why there are a lot of comics like that these days, especially in Korea where mobile data is cheap and fast. Me, I don't even have a smartphone, but I like the format simply for its increased room for freedom 🙂 

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