Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Perspectives and techniques....
Kaiverta at 3:10PM, Nov. 19, 2007
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So, I figured this goes well in this topic.



I got a really nasty, negative comment about my manga, basically stating that it's boring, uninteresting in EVERY ASPECT, including artwork and dialogue.

This person was a real…. well, ‘meanie’ about his ‘advice’, which wasn't even advice at all. It was more like ‘flaming’. Really HOT flaming. :(

But anyway. I've made this thread because I'd like to know if anyone has any suggestions for me on websites that help with perspectives, and maybe other websites or images that explain how to properly phrase things so dialogue isn't so boring.


Any suggestions, guys?

P.S.
I'm not sticking to the same thing just because I'm lazy or anything. I really just have NO idea how to draw different perspectives. I haven't been taught anything. I'm just learning. So yar. The flaming comment was TOTALLY not necessary. But anyway~ :D
Just need money, like everyone else. I'm a freelance artist: http://kaiverta.deviantart.com/journal/13478949/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
CharleyHorse at 3:46PM, Nov. 19, 2007
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The following site will get you started:

http://studiochalkboard.evansville.edu/

You enter the sight by clicking the link just under the chalkboard.

I found this site, by the way, by entering the term, perspective techniques art, in the Google search engine. Doing so kicked up a bucket full of leads. The link above was the first one that I clicked on and it looks useful.

I hope this helps.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
mlai at 5:47PM, Nov. 19, 2007
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Here is something to keep your plot pages from being visually boring.

Also, you know you were just the target of jealousy attack.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
CharleyHorse at 6:12PM, Nov. 19, 2007
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Ooooh . . . Wally Wood's 22 panels that always work. Very nice suggestion mlai!

Yeah, I've got that on my computer's art folders directory. It's golden. It will probably do Kaiverta a lot of good, too. Good call there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
ShadowsMyst at 1:13PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Kaiverta:

Some people are just douchebags. Unfortunately there is no stopping it, because well, people will be people. Although taking an interest in improving your art without being discouraged by it is a really positive sign. :)

I looked over your work, and you seem to have a lot of “talking head” syndrome going on. You tend to only show your characters from one angle, and like to show their faces from only one ‘camera angle’, which becomes very visually boring after a while. You do tilt the camera, but don't change its angle. You also appear to have a case of “I hate backgrounds”-itis, of which I sympathize, but its unfortunately something that has to be overcome, otherwise the world appears blank and you lose out on key opportunities to convey important visual information of your world and a lot of mood and feel is lost.

You could do with some “long” establishing shots, particularly when beginning or moving to a new scene. You tend to put too many figures at times into a single page or panel, when having less could do. You also don't use shadows and distance as well as you could on a page to indicate importance, mood, authority. You also tend to over use the same compositions and never focus on objects. I saw one focus on a hand I think. But 90% of the pictures seem to be waist up torso shots from a strait on view, or bust shots from the same view. You need more variety. Worms eye view, birds eye view, far away, up close on more than just eyes and the very occasional hands. Lips and noses, feet, a fist, etc.

I totally understand perspective being something of a serious bitch, but you've also got to look at “foreshortening” as well as some basic visual composition issues. The type could be edited down a bit, it seems a bit redundant in places and is a bit small for comfortable reading on a screen. Its readable, but its not as easy and pleasant to read as it could be. Remember, comics is a visual meaning. Where you can put a visual cue instead of a word, do it. If you can edit dialogue to be shorter and more punchy, do it.

Mlai's link is good. It shows some stable basics. Getting some action movies and hitting the pause button during explosive action can be handy too, or getting a hold of storyboards, such as from the Matrix are excellent to learn from. There are also books out there. “How to draw the marvel way” has some good tips on composition and camera angles. I also have several other books, but I'm not at home so I don't have their titles handy. If you want them, send me a PQ and I'll be happy to send you the titles. You can probably hunt down a PDF on the web or visit your local library if you can't buy them yourself.

_____________________________________________________
I have a webcomic making blog! Check it out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
kyupol at 2:14PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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what about drawing perspective on human bodies?

I still find it quite hard even if I start em off with the shapes.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
CharleyHorse at 2:44PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Yeah, just drawing the human body is by itself sometimes a nightmare. There's tutorials galore on the internet, each pretty much presenting the same information and various angles and so forth. Then the artist has to memorize the rules and practice, practice, practice.

I've finally gotten to where I'm okay with most body perspectives and can handle feet and hands fairly well, but heads still bug me.

That's probably my biggest artistic bugabear, head perspective. Other than memorizing the rules of proportion and trying to completely nail down a grab bag of angle perspectives I still don't know how to make the process any easier. You'd think that endlessly sketching heads and even skulls in every position you can imagine would pay off in ease of creation and increase rapidity, eh?

Maybe it does for many, many artists, but it still ALWAYS feels like pulling teeth for me. Anyway there are at least a few tutorials ghosting around the internet on just that subject. They are all good. Unfortunately it's still ultimately up to the artist and his or her ability to absorb the information and get the job done from that point onward.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
ShadowsMyst at 3:12PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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A lot of drawing bodies in odd angles is to teach yourself to not draw what isn't there. I know it sounds odd, but its true. For example, if you are drawing a birds eye view looking strait down on a person, you see the top of their head, shoulders, and part of the chest. But you do NOT see the torso, hips, buttocks, or legs except the bottoms of their feet. But a lot of times artists feel they should be there, but they aren't! and its important to omit the body parts that can't be seen and not try to ‘guess’ where they are.

The other part is learning how to use guidelines and rulers to distort anatomy in order to make things look closer or further away. This is “foreshortening” as it is usually referred to in drawing. Unfortunately you do have to understand basic perspective to do the shapes thing, because the shapes thing uses the fundamental principles of perspective to help you put the body in properly by simplifying the anatomy.

Here's a few online tutorials I found:
http://learn-how-to-draw-now.com/Foreshortening-Part-1.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBIF_G2HU5A
http://www.blazedent.com/drawingtutorials/tutorial_1_4.php

Perspective:
http://www.khulsey.com/student.html
http://mathforum.org/sum95/math_and/perspective/perspect.html
http://www.sketchpad.net/fhpersp.htm
http://www.elfwood.com/farp/perspective/perspctv.html

And then it boils down to practice, practice, practice. Force yourself to use uncomfortable angles and it will force you to learn to draw. Oh, and reference. use LOTS of reference. Even if you have to climb up on a ladder and take pictures of your friends and family. I find poser ridiculously useful for this purpose.

_____________________________________________________
I have a webcomic making blog! Check it out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
Kaiverta at 3:17PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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ShadowsMyst
Kaiverta:

Some people are just douchebags. Unfortunately there is no stopping it, because well, people will be people. Although taking an interest in improving your art without being discouraged by it is a really positive sign. :)

I looked over your work, and you seem to have a lot of “talking head” syndrome going on. You tend to only show your characters from one angle, and like to show their faces from only one ‘camera angle’, which becomes very visually boring after a while. You do tilt the camera, but don't change its angle. You also appear to have a case of “I hate backgrounds”-itis, of which I sympathize, but its unfortunately something that has to be overcome, otherwise the world appears blank and you lose out on key opportunities to convey important visual information of your world and a lot of mood and feel is lost.

You could do with some “long” establishing shots, particularly when beginning or moving to a new scene. You tend to put too many figures at times into a single page or panel, when having less could do. You also don't use shadows and distance as well as you could on a page to indicate importance, mood, authority. You also tend to over use the same compositions and never focus on objects. I saw one focus on a hand I think. But 90% of the pictures seem to be waist up torso shots from a strait on view, or bust shots from the same view. You need more variety. Worms eye view, birds eye view, far away, up close on more than just eyes and the very occasional hands. Lips and noses, feet, a fist, etc.

I totally understand perspective being something of a serious bitch, but you've also got to look at “foreshortening” as well as some basic visual composition issues. The type could be edited down a bit, it seems a bit redundant in places and is a bit small for comfortable reading on a screen. Its readable, but its not as easy and pleasant to read as it could be. Remember, comics is a visual meaning. Where you can put a visual cue instead of a word, do it. If you can edit dialogue to be shorter and more punchy, do it.

Mlai's link is good. It shows some stable basics. Getting some action movies and hitting the pause button during explosive action can be handy too, or getting a hold of storyboards, such as from the Matrix are excellent to learn from. There are also books out there. “How to draw the marvel way” has some good tips on composition and camera angles. I also have several other books, but I'm not at home so I don't have their titles handy. If you want them, send me a PQ and I'll be happy to send you the titles. You can probably hunt down a PDF on the web or visit your local library if you can't buy them yourself.

Wow, your comic style and composition is absolutely awesome. I'm privileged and very thankful that you took the time to help me with mine. =3

It really is a problem for me. I've never had any sort of visual art training. I'm a self-taught artist, so anything you see is just stuff that I've got from years of practicing and watching anime series'. >> lol. I'd love to do different perspectives and the like. The only thing stopping me is that I just have absolutely NO idea as to how any of it would look. Plus, it's my first manga so I'm still learning with the panels and arrangement of words and whatever else. I feel as though I'm getting better with each page, though. :D It's just a slow process, which I think will pay off in the end.

I have absolutely NOTHING against practicing. I draw because I love to draw, so I'm getting plenty of practice in. It's not a chore for me as it seems to be for some other artists out there.

See, I don't want my manga to be ‘typical’, so I try to avoid focusing in on mouths where other manga stories might do that. I want to try to remain as different and original as possible. ^^; I'm trying to leave out the things about manga that annoy me, which ONLY annoy me because they're in every single thing, it seems.

And yes, you're absolutely right, though. I do need to change the focus. In page 20, which I'm working on now, I've got a full-body shot of a character, though it IS a profile view, which takes me back to the whole monotony of perspectives, which sucks, but I'll get the hang of it.

Another problem is the flow; I'm not really sure yet how to keep the images flowing if I have to switch from a bird's eye view to a flat-on, profile view. Do you know what I mean? I try to keep the ‘camera’ as smooth as possible.

As for the backgrounds, well… I actually am a detail freak. ^^; These early pages are of the boys in a warehouse, of sorts, that is just of walls with the basic things like tables and chairs inside. I'm actually itching to get them outside, out of the warehouse, which will happen in the next four or five pages (again, dependent on the number of panels per page), because that means I'll be able to add trees and other small buildings and roads and the like. So, yar. =D


If I were to sum up my manga in one word, the word would be: experimental.

Definitely. Experimenting with tones, panel placement, angles, all that good stuff. ^_^
Just need money, like everyone else. I'm a freelance artist: http://kaiverta.deviantart.com/journal/13478949/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
ShadowsMyst at 4:11PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Its alright that you are self trained. I'd say I'm about 80% self trained as I did take two years of University when I went for Graphic Design. But, a lot of what I learned there wasn't exactly applicable to comics in a strait up drawing kind of sense.

Actually my illustration teacher told me I sucked and I'd probably never reach an appreciable skill. I was told to stick to design and forget illustration.

But I stuck to my guns and kept at it.

Here's some hope for you. I started Shifters back in 1998. Thats what it looked like when I started, and you can see my progression as you read through it. As you can see, I've managed to come a long way, and the good news is, you can too. Originally Shifters was experimental. It was just something to force me to draw in ways I wouldn't normally, force me to draw in new perspectives, draw technology, backgrounds, clothing, etc. It was a way for me to constantly challenge myself. It wasn't until later I decided to re-do it, and improve it greatly, employing all the little techniques I'd learned along the way.

Perspective and foreshortening are two of the hardest concepts in drawing to wrap your brain around. Its like hands and feet. Very difficult to do. The also art of composition and page layout is another rather mysterious discipline that I've been working for a couple of years, very concertedly, on trying to master. You have to come to understand certain ways of thinking, pacing, and learning tricks which aren't just readily written down somewhere. Its taken me a while to track down all the material I've learned from, and some has come from very unexpected sources! Such as a video my father gave me on framing and lighting movie scenes. That really helped a LOT for determining compositions of frames. I just think of it like a movie and frame/light it like a movie in my head. They have some really good guidelines!

I can totally understand the desire to create something non typical, however, comics are a language. Manga and north american comics each speak their own ‘dialect’ and thats why often there are similar conventions in them. They are full of symbolism and implied meaning which helps cut down on the amount of words required, because the audience understands things just from the visual. For example:

Two figures, one is shown as being larger and taller than the other, the larger taller figure is in a power position over the shorter one.

A figure with his eyes in shadow is being ‘shady’ often lying or trying to hide emotion or thoughts.

A figure with eyes that cannot be seen through glasses is lying or plotting.

A figure that is close to the ‘camera’ is intimate with the audience, while a figure that is far from the camera is more cool and imtimate. Its the same concept as having personal space, but in comic form. So if a character is being distant, they should be positioned further than the one that is being more familiar with the audience.

Mouths are highly expressive and evoke strong emotion. Hiding of the mouth while talking is a sign of lying, cracked lips denote pain or injury, pursed lips or the biting of lips can mean someone is holding something back, a secret they want to tell and are conflicted.

there are many many more, but its just examples. But a language still has to be spoken coherently and in a way that is understandable and interesting to the audience. Ultimately a comic is a communication medium, ment to deliver a message in the form of a story. A lot of the quality has to do with the thought going into it in every aspect. A well thought out manga will stick out from the crowd just because the time was taken to think about everything from the writing to the composition to the art. Ultimately everything you show, or don't show, should serve a purpose in the telling of the story.

Many of the mistakes and ‘typical’ ness of manga online stems from inexperience and lack of real skill. Not just art skill, but writing and layout as well. Too much focus is put on the pretty faces ( close up, bust shot, torso shots) and not enough is put into backgrounds (manga typically shows at least one or two semi photo realistic backgrounds as establishing shots everytime they change ‘scenes’…) and they also lack experience in character design (clothing, unique character features), as well as story writing skills. Most webcomics are amature efforts, no doubt. Few have a true desire or drive to improve, and it is the people that DO push themselves to constant improvement that eventually rise to the top of the pile. If you try something new and hard with each page, just one thing, you will improve steadily.

In terms of the background, you could have contrasted the stark white, with stark black frim time to time, particularly in the area where the striking conflict was and say the hair was grabbed. I'm not sure what the emotion was you were trying to evoke, but the walls and doors were not done in a very communicative way. I'm not sure if they are in a prison, military bunker, or insane asylum. There are ways you could evoke a lot more emotion and get a lot more out of that setting by adding things like pipes, cameras, joinery, texture (and not the photoshopped grey stuff..) cracks, joins, paint, etc. Background design isn't just about ‘interesting’ backgrounds, its also about making backgrounds that aren't necessarily interesting, interesting.

If you are interested in seeing one of your pages interpreted into different angles with different artistic take and panel layout/composition, I'd be happy to do it, just to show you what it COULD look like in terms of composition and such. I know it can be hard to visualize, especially when reading stuff like this and being likely a visual person, its probably easier to see it rather than have it explained.

_____________________________________________________
I have a webcomic making blog! Check it out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
kyupol at 7:18PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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@ShadowsMyst


wow. that post IS gold. lol. And now I know you got at least 10 years exp. (based on the stuff you posted that was done in 1998 that I can tell was done by someone with about 2-3 years drawing exp).

I got about 5 years drawing exp (from totally n00b to present level).
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
ShadowsMyst at 8:47PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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@Kyupol

Actually… I've been drawing since I was about two years old. I just wasn't very interested in drawing humans until I got to highschool. I spent a lot of time drawing horses, dragons, and cats. I also did more traditional cartooning for a very long time before getting into comics. I was 21 in 1998.


_____________________________________________________
I have a webcomic making blog! Check it out.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:32PM
mlai at 8:52PM, Nov. 20, 2007
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Wow… somethings set off Shadows because she just wrote a book in this thread. 0_o

Kaiverta, I second the motion to get yourself How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way. I have that book and it's a good introductory book on sequential illustation basics that you don't usually see covered in fine arts books, such as paneling, layout, action composition, etc.

It's actually very hard to find any instructional materials on paneling, layout, composition, etc. Most instructionals concentrate on human anatomy etc. Anatomy etc is easy to learn - just rote practice. Composition… that takes imagination.

One manga which I found to be very good reference is Rouroni Kenshin. Personally, I read it to study how the author sets up his panels, his camera angles, his action and composition, his balloons/text placement. IMO it's a great example of manga storytelling. Lone Wolf & Cub, in contrast, is a great example of cinematic storytelling done on paper. Two different schools of thought in sequential illustrative style. (I'm not talking about art style.)

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
cartoonprofessor at 5:08AM, Nov. 21, 2007
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Wow! You got some fantastic advice/info there, particularly from ShadowsMyst.
I will only bother adding that a simple rule of thumb with page layout is to attempt to lead the reader through your page… for example, laying out your speech bubbles/text in a ‘S’ pattern is fairly typical of this technique. (page 3? of Shadowmyst's comic is a good example)

Study the more recent Spiderman comics for great examples of this. The readers eyes are always led through the action, supporting it, never hiding it.

Also study films.

Rent “A Scanner Darkly” and pause it often… although it's a movie it is made to look like a comic or graphic novel, and comic techniques are used very effectively.

Another that uses probably every technique known to comics and film is ‘Sin City’… study the textures, camera angles, silhouetting, and juxtapositioning of elements in a scene.

'Highlander' is another good movie to study for ideas of framing, angles, etc to convey information and mood.
The list goes on, film and comics use many same techniques.

Personally I never had any arts training at all, but I was lucky enough to study film at uni.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM
Kaiverta at 2:11AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Heeeey~


I just want to say a big THANK YOU SO MUCH to every one of you who responded to this topic. You've all helped me with your suggestions a great deal and as a result, I'm actually glad that jerk was so mean to me about it all. :D Because I've received a lot of great advice for my manga and styles and the like due to my ranting and raving about his ignorant and nasty ways. Woot!


And Shadowsmyst, it would be interesting to see what one of my pages turns out to look like in your style and with your sense of composition. :D Go for it, if you wish!


So, if you'd like, you all can go check out page 20. ^^; It's a strange page, but It's different from the others, so that's good.
Just need money, like everyone else. I'm a freelance artist: http://kaiverta.deviantart.com/journal/13478949/
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:13PM
mlai at 6:45AM, Nov. 22, 2007
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Kaiverta
Saving up to get four wisdom teeth removed! @_@
I'm not a dentist. This is not a professional opinion.
This is the opinion of someone who had 4 wisdom teeth removed.

Chances are, you're talking about 1 tooth in each back corner, right?
How many are actually abutting against the root of the molar, causing problems if not pulled (apparent on Xray even to the layman)? Just 2 or all 4?

If just 2 (top 2 or bottom 2), is the orthodontist telling you that you should have all 4 removed anyways, because of food impaction issues? Like, the 2 unremoved would impact food into the holes left behind by the 2 removed, when you chew? Or the lack of opposing pressure would cause the 2 unremoved teeth to grow crooked?

Well, it might be bullshit, just to get more teeth/fee out of your insurance. After some months of healing, those holes will fill up by themselves with gum. What does happen if you remove all 4, though, is that your MOLARS (the teeth that are fine atm) will get crooked, because you removed all stabilizing struts behind them.

I heavily recommend removing only the problem wisdoms. If he wasn't bullshitting you, you can always have the non-problematic wisdoms removed later on. But if they're gone, they're gone and you're stuck with the side effects.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM

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