Thursday, February 4, 2010

Comic Storytelling

The writer of the comic has a big job, creating the story, the characters, the setting, plotting overall themes, etc., but it is the job of the artist to carry that story, to communicate it to the reader. Here's an example of a very simple moment in the script that required some subtlety on my part to put into pencil and ink.

The scene is of Adrian dealing with his crying daughter by taking her into the bathroom and dabbing her forehead with cool water. All the while, he's singing her a song to calm her down. The script has the dialogue (lyrics of the song), and explains that Adrian is getting progressively more frustrated.

For a starting comic artist, the first challenge is to be able to draw the same character over and over, the same but different. Same face, different positions. The second challenge is to imbue that face with emotion without losing the features that describe the character. This is very difficult to do, and if you look at most cartoons, you'll notice a lot of conventions we've come to rely on to describe emotions, most of them very exaggerated and over-the-top. Manga has a very specific set of indicators that look weird to first time American readers.

So here's an example of me trying to express these emotions subtly, without resorting to cartoon conventions.

In the second panel is Adrian squinting as he turns on the light.

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