Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Noir Style Comics
Ambivalence at 1:51PM, Dec. 23, 2007
posts: 1
joined: 12-20-2007
I want to learn to draw, (I'm probably getting several How to Draw Manga books soon), but I'll probably use those mainly for the basics.
What I'd really like to do is draw in a style akin to old film-noir movies and Frank Miller's comics.
When I say film-noir, I am referring to old black-and-white movies that use only one source of lighting, creating a sharp contrast between light and shadow.
So, are there any tips or suggested comics out there that I could stand to learn from?

Oh, and one of my ideas involves a small group of humans infected with an intelligent parasite. One of the key features of an infected human is that if they lose a limb, several long and flexible appendages (yes, tentacles) burst from the wound to either serve as a temporary replacement or to seek out and re-attach the limb. These tentacles are never used in a sexual manner, so if you're going to draw a suggestion, please keep that in mind.

On a final note, I only recently joined DD as a member, so if I'm doing something wrong, please inform me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:52AM
CharleyHorse at 6:01PM, Dec. 23, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
Hello Ambivalence. You selected exactly the correct forum for this sort of thing, and welcome to DrunkDuck, by the way.

The best How To book I've found on Noir comic book work is “Drawing Crime Noir for Comics and Graphic Novels” by Christopher Hart. Copyright 2006. I paid $19.95 U.S.A. for it, but it's possible that has some listed now at reduced prices. Hart covers about every aspect of Noir an artist could want to know from lighting effects to art style differences between the way one portrays noir-based characters as opposed to those of other comic book genres.

Now although I do recommend this book I'll point out that many artists have problems with Hart because he produces books on nearly all comic book and cartooning styles and genres and both Western and Eastern schools of art and storytelling. I think the theory is that he simply can't possibly be that good and that accomplished and so therefore his offerings should be viewed with suspicion.

The problem is that he is, so far as I'm aware, the only professional artist to have produced a How To book on noir techniques, and so it's Hart's book or nothing.

On that note, you might also benefit from Burne Hogart's Dynamic Light and Shade book and perhaps also his Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery book. While neither is noir orientated they would definitely help you to add authoritative polish to your work.

That's all I've got on this subject. Possibly there are free internet sources on noir art styling, but if so, I haven't found any.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
acadia at 12:13AM, Dec. 24, 2007
posts: 374
joined: 12-18-2006
Tales of the Revenant.

Look at it.

Study it.

Worship it.

BE it.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:45AM
CharleyHorse at 7:25AM, Dec. 24, 2007
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
That's good advice Acadia. I think there are a few other DD NOIR works as well. I can't think of them off hand, but probably the search engine would kick them up.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
spacehamster at 5:20PM, Dec. 25, 2007
posts: 504
joined: 8-3-2007
Sin City is the obvious answer, but I'd say read 100 Bullets. Eduardo Risso is an absolute MASTER at using black to structure pages, and the subject matter falls right into what you want to do.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
skoolmunkee at 3:26PM, Dec. 26, 2007
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
This is nice advice :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
batsofchaos at 6:10PM, Dec. 26, 2007
posts: 11
joined: 11-13-2007
Check out the book “How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling” by Shawn Martinbrough for an excellent guide on getting the Noir look. I also recommend the book “The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics” by Klaus Jansen and Frank Miller. Klaus Jansen might not be a familiar name to you, but he's the inker for The Dark Knight Returns, and several other projects of Frank Miller. It is, in my opinion, an essential guide for inking which is an essential ability for noir comics.

The most important thing is studying noir comics and noir movies to pick up the techniques necessary to evoke the mood, properly light, and sensibly lay out a noir comic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:15AM
frankbyrns at 10:06AM, Jan. 5, 2008
posts: 7
joined: 11-1-2007
Check out the book “How to Draw Noir Comics: The Art and Technique of Visual Storytelling” by Shawn Martinbrough for an excellent guide on getting the Noir look.

That's the one I was going to recommend. Great resource.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM

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