I read Understanding Comics at the recommendation of Marshall Vandruff. I thought it was amazing that's why I signed up for Scott McCloud's workshop at LAAFA last weekend.
"At Pixar for a movie first they create the world - then the character - and lastly the story. They say it is important to fail as soon as possible.
Comics are about choices:
1) Choice of Moment
2) Choice of Frame
3) Choice of Image
4) Choice of Word
5) Choice of Flow
A comic page is a landscape of time. There is something to see in the panels and something to see inbetween the panels.
You can take two disparate images and find a connection.
A reader want to find stories. We are story seeking animals. It's not what is in the panels but the context. Your medium is the knowledge and expectations of the viewers. When you read a comic you never see how many panels were edited out.
1) Moment to Moment
2) Action to Action
3) Subject to Subject
4) Aspectto Aspect (wandering camera)
5) Non sequitor
Choice of Frame
- zoom in sometimes
- zoom out and find out where we are
- we need to figure out scake
- You can establish by a few fragmentary shots
-superhero comics have an addiction to the close up. Don't be addicted to the close up. A sense of place is important. But people don't want to pull back because if you pull back you might have to draw stuff. There is a power of the close up next to an eastablishing shot.
Many European comics have a sense of world building. Comic frame has a sense of focus. A close up can stop the reader. Many American comics come out of a vauldeville tradition and feel like they are on stage. There is a power of change but you need non change to show change.
Choice of Image
Context helps us understand a drawing. Clarity is what it is all about. Clarity vs. Intensuty. How you present the work. We are human beings and we expect a protagonist.
This is a short comic I did at Scott McCloud's workshop. A comic based on the word zipper.
A 16 panel account of my life.
Moment, Frame, Image, Word, Flow
Creating characters mean creating human being on the page
The knowledge and expectation of the reader helps tell the story. It takes very little to tell a story. There is a willingness in the audience to work with you. You can trigger recognition. Some recognition is learned and some recognition is hard wired. Cartooning is amplification through simplification. In cartooning there is a tremendous differences between character. We find joy in the differences.
One assignment at the Center for Cartoon Studies is to draw 100 characters.
Something that helps is to base characters on animals.
The Fantastic Four is based on elements of the chinese Zodiac.
Some characterics can be based on Joseph Campbells archetypes or Carl Jung - intuiution, thinking, feeling, sensation. The characters should feel like the have different hearts.
Desire is a vital substance of story.
Desire can be fufilled, transformed, denied. "All characters should want something even if it's a glass of water" - Vonnegut
Most stories don't go from birth to death but instead they are a gestation of desire.
semiotics of 6 emotions: anger disgust, sad, surprise, terror and joy (these are the emotional primaries)
Look at grimace-project.net
Emotional Primaries tend to be symmetrical.
Artists Guide to Complete Facial Expressions
Save the Cat
Lone Wolf and Cub
Sean Tan - "Arrival"