Batman

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ask an artist on the 11th !

Welcome to the very first ‘Ask An Artist on the 11th’! Or, as I like to call it: “A3on11”. I’ll be answering any questions you ask on the 11th of every month for the next year. I think the questions will range from very basic ones about general art creation and processes, to very technical comic creation ones. In order to shoot me a question, just email me (address on the right side on this blog), ask me on Facebook, or throw it in the comments section here. What I talk about will just depend on what gets asked.

This month I’m going to answer both these questions:

‘What does a comic Script look like?’
and
‘Does the writer tell you exactly what to draw?’ ( which I think really means… ‘How do you know WHAT to draw?)

Alan Grant has kindly allowed me to put up part of his actual WOD script which will see print in an upcoming issue of WASTED. It looks like this:


This is Step 1. Get a good script to work from. Check. As I start reading I usually make little sketches/ thumbnails in the margin if I get a quick clear image in my head as I go. Inspiration and first instincts have always served me well in the creative process, so I try and capture them when I can. I didn’t do it too much here, but I knew I wanted to go for a big sexy glam shot to introduce Narcobitch.

I’ll generally read the entire script, then re-read it, then read it 3 more times. Gotta make sure that nothing gets missed! Alan always uses CAPITAL LETTERS in the script to make key items ‘pop’, and I find this VERY helpful. I recommend all comic writers do this.

At the top, the number of pages Alan suggested is 3 or 4, and the amount of panels required per page is not mentioned. Alan leaves this part is up to the artists. I could jam 17 panels onto page one in order to save room for a lovely full page splash on page 2 if I wanted. Hmmm….No, I’d never do this. I COULD, but I wouldn’t.

Please note how most of the design elements are vague leaving more room for the artist to work. It doesn’t say ‘crowded beach’ or ‘beach in the early afternoon on a cloudy day’. It’s left to me to design it visually. Since Narcobitch is going to murder someone in broad daylight, I decided it best to leave the beach pretty unoccupied. Especially since the next page is folks trying to figure out who killed the hippy agent. I’ve worked with writers who try and micromanage all the elements on a page. I don’t enjoy working this way. I think that if the script leaves room for interpretation, you get better results. Artists can then invest some of their personality and ideas. It is a collaborative medium after all.

I generally try to keep scene and same locations all on one page, but it wasn’t possible this time around. I thought about it, (hence the pencil mark above section 4) and tried it, but the last few pages became too tight and the story didn’t flow well visually.

I played around with the layouts for a while as evidenced by the very rough layout below. At this step I’m really just worrying about Narrative flow and word balloon placement. No actual drawing has been started yet. I also decided at this stage that an extra ‘beat’ would work well, so I split panel #3 into 2 parts by adding the silhouette panel and the close up panel with the smoking gun. I don’t do this often, but I felt it worked better in order to show her emotion as she spoke the dialogue. I used to minimize this layout step in my haste to draw stuff, but I’ve since realized that this is the MOST important part in making a good page of comic book art.


Now comes the fun part! I’m now confident that the eye will be pulled around the page as I want it to, and the dialogue is sorted. (ie: no crossed tails on word balloons. This keeps letterers like Jim Campbell very happy!) Now it’s all about cranking up the energy and emotion. Basically, just trying to make a cool page that will tell the story well!

Does this answer the question?

1 comment:

  1. That is so cool....thanks for sharing the process of creating a comic.

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