LET'S DRAW! - COMICS!

A simple tutorial about the basics of comic book drawing.

Participants
Ketsumio, Erilex, Nessiah, alterego, Halibabica, Dudesoft, SorceressKrysty, NewBlack, Ketsumio, Shinan, Karsuman, Yuhikaru, and AABattery.

The Story Bible
Everyone should see this. It should not leave the inkers or even letterers in the dark. I for one, learned this lesson as an inker on my last project. The writers and pencillers all had turn around images and setting images, and of course the script.
What I got, was the pencilling. The pencils were pretty tight in most places... but I had to do a lot of guess work. As a result, continuity error.

In this project, I made a point to show you each exactly what I wanted you to see. Nothing more, and sometimes less!
As a case in point, I never included the President in any of the instructions.
example 1:
(Despite being different styles, these characters look totally different.)


Being part of the whole process is key to successful comic making.
I'll discuss story bibles after we get through all the points in this certain comic, as we'll make one for the next comic!

Flow of Information
I will explain how the flow works in a moment; For now let's look at one of Shinan's pages.
http://rpgmaker.net/media/content/users/90/locker/page17_ld1.png

While not fancy, I instantly knew what it was missing. The artwork is fine. It tells the story and -could- flow pretty well with some small tweaks.



example2:
Here, I flipped two images, moved a lightpost to create a panel, and added dynamic lighting for effect. It's not perfect, but it highlights my point about flow.


The eye should move easier through the page now, understanding where to go next, which is the core point of "Flow of Information".
There are other names or ways of explaing the Flow of Information. This is just how I was taught:
Imagine a ribbon that weaves through the page. You should be able to read a comic without ever moving your eyes to the next frame manually. It should lead into the next panel.
A long time ago, the Flow of Information only led your eye from the first panel on the left, to the last panel on the right! Then the reader moved to the next column of panels. (Thus panels were all squares in rows.
Now, in comics, panels are all shapes and sizes and sometimes without traditional panels... So, it is now the industry standard to have the Flow lead from one panel to the next in numerous fashions.
example3:

The top is an example of OLD STYLE. Reading left-to-right.
The bottom is an example of NEW STYLE. Reading from panel to panel.
Here's a breakdown of how example3 works:

(Another note I forgot to make: We follow eyes. If eyes are looking in a direction, we will follow the direction of the eyes. It's another tool to help your Flow.)

Setting, Characters, Action!
It is vital in every page to give the reader something interesting to look at. This is the business of entertainment above all else. Even a dry, boring, long-winded tale should be entertaining. I've read a graphic novel about math and it was still a fun read!
For this, we change things up in each panel. There are some comics out now, that are perfect examples of what NOT to do. In one Dark Avengers comic I picked up, there are I believe two pages of just Normon Osborn on tv making various gestures but not moving at all. It doesn't move the eye, it doesn't interest me, and is just bad art overall.
This all ties in to Flow of Information, but that aside... there should be on every page; an action panel, an emotion or "close up" panel and a setting panel. Show the reader where they are, what to feel and what's happening, essencially.
example4:

When you do emotion or "close ups" show the bust or less. Zoom in on the eyes, show the whole head, anything! Avoid using hands or anything else. Keep it just to the emote. This is a story telling device and it gives us humans something to invest in. Character emotion is a driving force.
When you do action shots, try and show as much of the body as you can! Don't be a Rob Liefeld, and draw feet! Feet to head, both hands, and the action.
A huge key to remember (and yes I'm kind of randomly including it) is to keep your heads, hands and feet visible when possible. The feet ground the character so it has some weight. Hands and head are more points of reference that give the human mind all the information it really needs to understand the SPACE of the character.
When you are drawing setting shots or "establishing shots", (and I must stress you need these on the majority of pages) the idea is you zoom out. The "Flow of Information" is still relevant, instead of using the body or eyes to move from panel to panel, the world is what moves the eye now. Your character(s) are just visible set pieces. Important here is "where" your character is, not "what" your character is doing. Another thing; Include as much information as you can in this panel. If you spend the time and energy to explain the setting, you really won't have to do another one for a page or two!
example5:
These backgrounds are starkly different. You can tell volumes about where you are with the top, and almost nothing with the bottom.


The Story Bible
Everyone should see this. It should not leave the inkers or even letterers in the dark. I for one, learned this lesson as an inker on my last project. The writers and pencillers all had turn around images and setting images, and of course the script.
What I got, was the pencilling. The pencils were pretty tight in most places... but I had to do a lot of guess work. As a result, continuity error.

In this project, I made a point to show RMN exactly what I wanted them to see. Nothing more, and sometimes less!
As a case in point, I never included the President in any of the instructions.
example 6:
(Despite being different styles, these characters look totally different.)


The Comic we made during this Let's Draw is Here!