How a Dresden Codak Page is Made
It starts with a rough outline. For Dark Science I have a basic script and story outline, and I decided how much of that script can/should fit onto a standard page. From there I start working out what I needed to draw. Concept Sketching With this page I started with sketching Nephilopolis. Having written the story ahead of time, I already had a rough idea of what I wanted, but not the...
EVAN DAHM: Ideas etc. →
Above and throughout this post, preliminary artwork for Vattu. Where do you get your ideas? is the question I have heard more than any other question, and other comic people I’ve talked to about it have gotten it a lot too. After writing the following I sort of realized it is the best I…
The Obligatory Top 10 Favorite Character Designs
Character design is paramount to pretty much any kind of comic. Most comics have things in them, and some of those things are characters, and those characters better be well-designed. Design allows the artist to communicate essential information to the reader about a character, and a good design allows for versatility independent of minor details. I’ll probably write a more specific post...
Advanced Layouts: Paneling Outside the Box
Panels are useful, so useful that we start to believe that they’re an essential element of comicking, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Panels are merely a means to an end, a straightforward way of conveying a visual narrative; they enforce a clear sequence of images with dividing lines. This is fine, but if we rely on this formula too often the sequence can get stale,...
Show vs. Tell: Why "Visual" is Not Optional
Marshall McLuhan coined the famous phrase “the medium is the message,” meaning that the information within a medium and the medium itself are irrevocably intertwined. How the viewer/reader/etc. receives the information is part of the information itself. Different media generate different experiences. Even reading a sentence on a piece of paper activates a different part of the...
Primary & Secondary: a Tale of Two Focal Points
In painting and general illustration, there are some basics everyone should know about composition. Chief amongst these is the importance of a focal point. A focal point is the primary focus of a picture, whether it’s a person, object or simply an abstract portion of the image. Humans have binocular, mammalian vision and our action of “looking” instinctively relies on...
Drawing Hands: Augmenting an Idea
Most people understand the importance of facial expressions in cartooning, but if there’s anything that’s routinely neglected, it’s hands. It’s a shame too, since hands are the second thing we instinctively look at when a person is speaking to us. We use our hands in a variety of ways to accentuate our point; if we actively restrict ourselves from gesturing at all,...
Batman: the Least Believable Superhero
Disclaimer: I like Batman. I think he’s a fun character. This post is just a very, very silly rant about the perception that Batman is the most grounded or believable superhero possible. Everyone likes Batman, right? He’s kind of the go-to guy when it comes to defining what’s cool in modern culture. One reason we like Batman is because he’s kind of a regular guy, and...
A Pose is Worth a Thousand Bio Pages
Poses are actually more important in comics than any other visual media, as the image never changes. Every drawing you place down has to be as efficient as possible at conveying your intentions; you can’t fall back on motion to get your point across. Body language does more than convey an emotion or an action, though, they tell us about the characters. How a character stands or emotes...
Less vs. More
In my previous post, I divided comics into two camps: film and sitcom, but as I warned using terminology from other media can be deceptive. Environment-driven comics aren’t always going to look “cinematic” or even be visually elaborate, and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat is an excellent example of this. While more visually complex than, say, Peanuts, the strength of Krazy...
Environments are People Too
There’s a wide variety of approaches when it comes to environment designs in the comic medium, and although there are certain key elements that divide comics from motion media, it’s somewhat useful (in the case of environments) to place comics in two basic camps: film vs. sitcom. Modern newspaper strips, especially the gag-driven variety, employ environment conventions similar...