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Part Six: Introduction to Comics
Transcript of Part Six: Introduction to Comics
How do we tell stories?
Why do we tell stories?
What are graphic forms?
How do we tell stories visually?
*because it's weird that we do
Choice of Moment
Choice of Image
Choice of Word
Choice of Flow
Choice of Frame
Choice & Storytelling
The 6 Transitions
moment to moment
action to action
subject to subject
scene to scene
aspect to aspect
Moment to Moment
one action over a number of panels
Action to Action
one action per panel
Subject to Subject
one subject per panel
Scene to Scene
one place/time per panel
Aspect to Aspect
several aspects of a scene over several panels
panels are intended to be unrelated to each other
Choice of Image
Choice of Frame
panel size & shape
Establishing shot: A long, wide shot that helps set the scene & situate the reader
1. Tear some index cards in half
2. On these half-cards write:
something you overheard recently in public
something you said to someone early today
a catch phrase or slogon
a question of some kind
3. Put these aside for now
1. On full sized index cards draw
the funniest thing you can think of
the saddest thing in the world
something you saw earlier today
something you dreamt recently
something ridiculously specific
something general and symbolic
Angle & Style
Or: what makes a good story?
Tonight, make one four-panel comic strip. Do the same tomorrow, and the same the next day and the next and so on until next Monday (or, in other words: draw one four-panel strip per day for a week). In total you should have six "daily strips." Identify or title each strip with the date. Do one per day. Don't plow through 6 strips in one night, it's way more work, and you'll get more out of the assignment by making it a routine (think of how webcomic and newspaper strips have to be produced at a similarly regular schedule).
Aim for honesty first and foremost, try to make your strips come alive. Consider the tensions of verbal/image and image-in-series that we discussed in class, but don't worry about being "funny." Take inspiration from everyday things in your life: observations, anecdotes, dreams, meandering thoughts, or whatever strikes your fancy. Think of it as a diary. Limit yourself to only one "I couldn't think of what to draw today" strip, if you must resort to it.
Important: Use only 4 panels per day, with each panel being of equal size.
Nonfiction & Comics
Make 6 unrelated single-panel cartoons (think of "The Far Side" or "Bizarro" or "Family Circus*"). Pay special attention to your composition. Are characters off-centre or in the middle of the panel? How much dark space is there in the panel? How do you suggest motion, or a sense of before and after when you have only one panel? Caption your cartoons but try to ensure the captions are not incorporated into the image. Don't use word balloons or caption boxes. Do not worry about being 'funny'. Take inspiration from everyday things you see, and allow your mind and hand to wander. Strive to capture the unexpected.
*You know what? Don't think of Family Circus
(introduction to graphic forms)
“That pompous phrase (graphic novel) was thought up by some idiot in the marketing department of DC. I prefer to call them Big Expensive Comics.”
Tapestry of Bayeux
William Hogarth, Beer Street & Gin Lane (1751)
Rodolph Töpffer (1800s)
(of American comics)
The Three Ages
The Bronze Age
The Silver Age
The Golden Age
"A natural scientist who had looked over comic books expressed this to me tersely, ‘In comic books life is worth nothing; there is no dignity of a human being’."
"I think Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic book industry"
Being a class act in Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, 1954
Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal
Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority
In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds
No comic magazine shall use the words "horror" or "terror" in its title
The walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism, and werewolfism are prohibited
*Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities
(The Batshit Age)
1980s (The Dark Age)
what are comics?
"I know it when I see it."
Justice Potter Stewart
(referring to hard core pornography)
A form of visual storytelling
What are comics?
meanwhile, in Japan
Actually Making It
Stage One: Script
Lays out story and dialogue. Describes each panel in detail.
Stage Two: Thumbs/Roughs
Rough sketches that work out the general blocking of panels and page layout
Stage Three: Pencils
Refines & finalizes the roughs. Works out details & nails down the specifics.
Stage Four: Inks
Finalizes pencils. Eliminates unused pencil lines and any excess sketchiness.
Stage Five: Colours
Adds colour, tone, shading etc to the page.
Stage Six: Letters
Finally, include your lettering. Word balloons, caption boxes, SFX are added and filled in.
in a deliberate
word & image
Breaking It Gently
I thought we were engaged?
Underground, Alternative, Art, Comix