Comic-making question from an old student of mine

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Scruffy
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Comic-making question from an old student of mine

Post by Scruffy » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:20 pm

So, there's this girl who likes to make comics and to whom I used to teach Photoshop. She sent me this question recently and I thought that I'd turn it over to you pros to see what advice you might give her:
Hey, I have a question: I'm having a hard time trying to find a good technique of translating from script to panels. My friend writes the script and I translate that script into comic. Buuut, I don't have much of an idea how to do it, so I just did panels in storyboard style first, and then, when I got that done I tried to make THAT into comic style panels. Which was pretty hard, and I want to find an easier way of doing it.

Do you have any ideas?
Keeping in mind that she's pretty much just starting out making actual comics, any suggestions?

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thirdeyeh
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Post by thirdeyeh » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:18 am

She should definitely pick up a book like "Making Comics" by Scott McCloud. He really gets into this sort of thing and in great detail. "Understanding Comics" by him is also great. I really think thats a pretty big topic that she would do well to take time to study. Though approaching it as a storyboard is right idea in general. The bigger thing is conveying emotions and clear actions.

How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way has some great stuff on composition, and Will Eisner's books are good too. Aw heck read all of them! :lol:
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Scruffy
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Making Comics

Post by Scruffy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:21 pm

All good recommendations - I'd suggested Making Comics to her and studying others' comics and even TV/movies to see how shots are set up.

I think she has the right general idea (rough storyboard thumbnail) but I think she's wondering if there's some standard or more correct way to go about this.

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dik pose
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Post by dik pose » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:24 pm

I actually do my comics in the exact manner she said... I just rough out the story straight ahead, storyboard style, making sure I hit all the beats I need. I think in film, not in comic pages, the story moves in my mind as I am drawing... I try to limit it to 6 panels per page (later adding/subtracting as I need for the story). At this stage I am just thinking about hitting the beats.

The page layout stage actually takes longer than the roughing cause this is the ascetic portion. This is the stage you make the pages look pretty, and make it work as a whole book. This style of layout benefits me cause it limits the amount of things I need to think about during each stage. It helps me to separate each task.

Your suggestions are right on Scruffy, just look at comic artists she admires, and ones that are well known. Study their choices, maybe do some copy work of pages she likes (super simple, nothing with any detail, just looking for patterns). Like everything in life, it will just take hard work to make the process easier. I know some artists that like diving head first into drawing the pages as a whole and scrapping them if they don't work, I cant do this cause drawing takes longer than thinking...

The best advice I received years ago in my first professional critique was "Think more, draw less"
Last edited by dik pose on Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Scruffy
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Studying

Post by Scruffy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:48 pm

Thanks Richard!

Reminds me, I used to do studies of TV/movies by watching DVDs with a sketchbook on my lap - I'd pause the video from time to time and roughly draw the scene, trying to analyze the composition, lighting, etc. Yet another good habit that fell out over the years... /sigh

Good stuff, guys - I'm definitely passing this along.

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Post by thirdeyeh » Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:04 pm

Great thoughts Dik Pose. I think what tends to happen is that you start to think cinematically, or visually, on how best to convey the story. What you start to come to is something very intuitive. What the books I mentioned do, especially Making Comics I think, is they really help you get your head around all that makes up the composition. I think if your layout just tell the story clearly that's a great place to be. But there's so many ways you can approach the layouts from a Storytelling perspective that the deeper thinking really will engage. Do you tell your story in action to action layouts, or moment to moment? That sort of thing. So thinking more is important, especially in the beginning, because with time it will come much more naturally.
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Mac McCool
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Post by Mac McCool » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:49 pm

dik pose wrote:The page layout stage actually takes longer than the roughing cause this is the ascetic portion.
Dik, you're sure "ascetic" is the right word? Man, you're really taking comics to new extremes!!! :D

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Scruffy
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Post by Scruffy » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:21 am

Mac McCool wrote:
dik pose wrote:The page layout stage actually takes longer than the roughing cause this is the ascetic portion.
Dik, you're sure "ascetic" is the right word? Man, you're really taking comics to new extremes!!! :D

:)

I just imagined a roomful of monks studiously making comics by candlelight.

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dik pose
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Post by dik pose » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:49 am

Yes... that is the right word... 100%...

actually, no, I just spelled checked it all, and spell check screwed me on that one... I knew it looked wrong, but I didnt bother manually checking the spelling the way I normally do... lesson learned, never let a machine do the work.

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Mac McCool
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Post by Mac McCool » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:42 am

-- Friendly giggles --

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Mr. Average
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Post by Mr. Average » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:01 pm

I always sketch my layouts at like 5% actual size on 3" post-it notes. This lets me rearrange pages and keep from committing to them too heavily. It also lets me do them in odd moments at work, as they never take more than about sixty seconds to compose a page. Example:

Image

This comosition got scrapped, by the way, as being too drawn-out for an action sequence, but it was useful anyway. I do recommend working on whole pages as opposed to single panels. Page composition is very important, I think.

(If this is a no-no, putting a sketch here, I apologise, and moderators, take it down by all means, but it illustrates my point, so...)

--M

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Scruffy
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Post by Scruffy » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:06 pm

Mr. Average wrote:
(If this is a no-no, putting a sketch here, I apologise, and moderators, take it down by all means, but it illustrates my point, so...)

--M
Pff - it's fine with me! :)

Thanks for the response! Never thought about doing this on Post-Its.

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