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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ask an Artist on the 11th! - A3on11 - HOW do you train your writer?

It’s hard for me to believe it, but its been exactly 12 months since I started ‘A3on11’ last November. Back then I committed to doing it for a year, and this installment fulfills that commitment. I'm starting to feel that posting ‘A3on11’ every month is a bit excessive...add that to the fact that I'm a SLOW typist, and it will go bi-monthly from here on out.

Without further ado, here is this month's question:

How do you "train your writer" to think in your style while giving their work proper respect?

Hmmm... this is a good one. I'm not sure I've 'trained' many writers, but I sure have made lots of suggestions, and I always respect their work.

When it comes to writers, I like to work with ones that are flexible and looking to partner with the artist on the project to get the best results. Respect is a 2 way street after all.

First up, I look to see what the STORY is that they are looking to tell, then I look to make it as visually cool as I possibly can WITHOUT changing the story. This means I will sometimes mess around with things like (but not limited to!):
changing the number of panels for pacing reasons, zooming in and out for close up/long shots, finding or creating action/emotion somewhere on the page, and generally cranking (cartooning!) up the levels on the page.

If I could 'train' other writers, here's a couple of points I'd recommend you consider.

1-Let your artist breathe his own life into the work, by leaving some areas less specific. Tell me you want the scene set in a "futuristic high tech control room" of a ship which I can design, instead of one that is "exactly like the battleship in Empire Strikes Back".

2- give your artist emotional context. Don't ask me to draw a 'dark room', if what you want is a 'creepy, sinister dark room'! I will draw those 2 descriptions VERY differently.

3-If something mentioned in the script is important later (or will be) tell your artist upfront! If that motorcycle in a street scene is the same one the hero is going to race away on in 3 pages, or next issue, let me know! I'll then draw it prominently enough to make it noticeable when people look back to make sure it really was there all along.

4-PLEASE! Don’t be afraid to leave some panels with NO dialogue. 'Nuff said.

5-Leave some pages lighter on panel count. This is a personal preference of mine. Look at your favorite Marvel or DC comic lately, 3-4 panels seems like more the norm now than 8 panels a page...and I'm happy about that!

I found this question to be a challenging one, so I hope I have answered it and helped writers looking to write for comic artists some new ideas.

Previous month's 'ask an artist' articles can be found over here : A3on11

Remember, I’ll be answering any questions you ask on the 11th of every month right here. Questions can range from very basic ones about general art creation and processes, to very technical comic creation ones. To shoot me a question, TWITTER it to me @gibsonquarter , email me : , ask me on Facebook, or throw it in the comments section here. What I talk about just depends on what gets asked!