Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Need Advice on my Art
xMegalynx at 3:06PM, Aug. 3, 2011
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OK. So I've been drawing since I was 5. I mostly draw horses and people. I'm good if I have a picture in front of me to help. But recently I've been trying to do comics…and it just isn't working for me. I'm the type that REALLY needs a figure or something to work off of because for some reason I can't draw from the top of my head—AND I have a problem with drawing too much detail. I'm REALLY frustrated and stressed right now because I REALLY want to do comics, but they just aren't really coming together for me. I have a book (I'm a writer also) that I'm wanting to make into a comic can't find anyone to illustrate it for me, so I've decided to try illustrating it myself.
ANYWAY—please give me any tips you have. I have NO idea why I can draw a freaking horse, but not comic characters.

And this is what I can draw normally:
ep1 at 11:31PM, Aug. 3, 2011
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Sounds like your mind isn't trained for visualization but is focused on putting details together to form a big picture. When you first started out drawing comics, you need to draw from inspiration. If you're too focused on getting things right, you won't be enjoying at creating comics in the long run.

To create a comic, you need to visualize the overall picture instead of looking at details. Don't worry too much about getting the drawings to look good or right. Every comic artists starts with imperfect drawings and eventually develops his or her drawing skills better. There's no magic in doing comics. The only magic you get is improvement through constant practice.
last edited on Aug. 3, 2011 11:33PM
xMegalynx at 7:10AM, Aug. 4, 2011
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ep1 wrote:
Sounds like your mind isn't trained for visualization but is focused on putting details together to form a big picture. When you first started out drawing comics, you need to draw from inspiration. If you're too focused on getting things right, you won't be enjoying at creating comics in the long run.

To create a comic, you need to visualize the overall picture instead of looking at details. Don't worry too much about getting the drawings to look good or right. Every comic artists starts with imperfect drawings and eventually develops his or her drawing skills better. There's no magic in doing comics. The only magic you get is improvement through constant practice.
That's a very interesting point. And I'm positive that's the case because I really haven't enjoyed drawing comics lately. I think I've been comparing myself to experienced artists. But I know I can do this. I mean I started teaching myself graphic design only 2 years ago, and now I'm the graphic designer for a band. So I know I can do this. I think I'm just expecting too much from myself. So I'm just going to slow down and draw what I can of scenes.
Thanks so much!
Genejoke at 12:56PM, Aug. 4, 2011
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Lots of detail isn't essential, find a level that works for you.  I would suggest putting your big project aside while you refine your artistic skills on something smaller and less important to you.
I don't see much wrong with what you posted, but doing comics requires you to draw a massive variety of things.  References are your friend, do NOT  be afraid to use references.  
Chernobog at 2:41PM, Aug. 4, 2011
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I think it all looks generally nice. The realism on the horse is quite respectable.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
xMegalynx at 4:14PM, Aug. 4, 2011
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Genejoke wrote:
Lots of detail isn't essential, find a level that works for you.  I would suggest putting your big project aside while you refine your artistic skills on something smaller and less important to you.
I don't see much wrong with what you posted, but doing comics requires you to draw a massive variety of things.  References are your friend, do NOT  be afraid to use references.  
I'm glad you mentioned using references because I use them A LOT. Practically everything I do has some kind of reference. And I definitely think you're right. I'll try just doing random doodles until I feel confident.
OK so today I just kinda sat down and started drawing out my comic—randomly. I really didn't think anything would come of it. Just doodling. Then it actually started to look good so I kept going with it. I'm actually pretty happy with this. Obviously it's not the best (I had to edit it with pixlr since my computer crashed and I can't use photoshop until I get it back). Here's the finished product:
xMegalynx at 4:21PM, Aug. 4, 2011
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Chernobog wrote:
I think it all looks generally nice. The realism on the horse is quite respectable.
Thank you so much! You've really inspired me to keep going :)
Hguyver at 2:06AM, Aug. 6, 2011
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Very nice. This is your first time doing a comic? It looks really good.
 
To start off with, I might make the suggestion of consistency. By that, I mean practice drawing the character the way you want them to look. A LOT. I mean, filling up pages with headshots and body shots of how you want the characters to look. Neutral, angry, sad, happy, practicing the expressions they make as well.
 
It's time consuming but the end result will be a higher quality design for your character.
 
This might help your issue of constantly needing reference material as well. I'm not sure if you were speaking about gesture/figure drawing or overall but I believe this would help either way.
 
The more practice you give to each character, not only will they look consistent from panel to panel but the speed in which you can draw panels will increase as well. Like muscle memory.
 
I've always viewed panel layouts like film storyboards. Imagine the setting for the scene and you're looking through a camera lense at the angle you wish to view the characters from.
 
Does any of this help at all? Or am I just rattling off stuff you already know? 
xMegalynx at 6:39AM, Aug. 6, 2011
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Hguyver wrote:
Very nice. This is your first time doing a comic? It looks really good.
 
To start off with, I might make the suggestion of consistency. By that, I mean practice drawing the character the way you want them to look. A LOT. I mean, filling up pages with headshots and body shots of how you want the characters to look. Neutral, angry, sad, happy, practicing the expressions they make as well.
 
It's time consuming but the end result will be a higher quality design for your character.
 
This might help your issue of constantly needing reference material as well. I'm not sure if you were speaking about gesture/figure drawing or overall but I believe this would help either way.
 
The more practice you give to each character, not only will they look consistent from panel to panel but the speed in which you can draw panels will increase as well. Like muscle memory.
 
I've always viewed panel layouts like film storyboards. Imagine the setting for the scene and you're looking through a camera lense at the angle you wish to view the characters from.
 
Does any of this help at all? Or am I just rattling off stuff you already know? 
 Haha yes that was literally the first comic I've ever put together.
I admire you for putting all this info together for me! I will definitely try what you're explaining. I could obviously use the help. haha. I still don't think I'm the best at this. But after time I'm sure it'll be as easy as drawing one of my horses (I can draw them from the top of my head. But that's because i've had years of studying their muscule structure and the way they move—I'm not that knowledgeable about humans just yet).
And yes I DO agree with you about seeing each panel like a film storyboard. I actually do film editing so it's somewhat the same when you're drawing panels—it's just I'm trying to get exactly what's in my head on paper, and that's challenging!
Thanks again for the help! 
last edited on Aug. 6, 2011 6:40AM
xMegalynx at 7:09AM, Aug. 6, 2011
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Oh, then I have this character that I drew the other day. This honestly was easier to draw than any extreme comic character I've tried because the proportions make sense to me. This is how I see humans everyday. So when I draw it just comes more naturally. In my opinion, this could still be considered a “comic” because the detail is still minimal. But what do you guys think? I know it still has a LOT of detail for a comic. But if I could just draw my characters like this—the world would be so much easier! haha.
Hguyver at 11:26AM, Aug. 6, 2011
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Wow that actually reminds me of the quality pencil work used in a lot of professional U.S. comics. The face especially looks very good.
 
The only thing I might say is that the left shoulder needs to be just a LITTLE bit wider. You know, the ‘ol shoulder length = two headlengths rule.
Aside from that, its very nice. It looks like you’ve got a good style you're developing.
xMegalynx at 12:04PM, Aug. 6, 2011
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Hguyver wrote:
Wow that actually reminds me of the quality pencil work used in a lot of professional U.S. comics. The face especially looks very good.
 
The only thing I might say is that the left shoulder needs to be just a LITTLE bit wider. You know, the ‘ol shoulder length = two headlengths rule.
Aside from that, its very nice. It looks like you’ve got a good style you're developing.
AHH!! THAT's what's wrong with him! haha thanks for the tip! *makes a mental note* And yes I think my BIGGEST thing with drawing figures is the face and expression. It says a lot about a character.
Yeah I feel like I'm more towards American style drawings like X-Men and all those superhero type comics. So I guess I should just work with what I'm comfortable with—and see what happens? Honestly I think I'm more of an illustrator of books ranther than comics—because of my style. But there's nothing like a little challenge. I think working on comics will really improve my skills as a whole.
Scorpion451 at 4:06PM, Aug. 9, 2011
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I went through a similar phase of “why can I draw detailed stuff perfectly but my comic-ey stuff sucks?”when I started getting interested in doing digital art and comics.
Basically what I figured out I had to do is draw stuff out in pencil like normal, and then use a lightbox to trace it in inkpen and reduce it to the basic linework.
This eventually trained my eye to find lines from the start. I still usually do my planning and stuff in pencil because its faster than doing it on the computer (at least for me anyway) but I'm able to plan stuff out directly in linework rather than having to do fully shaded sketches (unless I want to do a hyper-detailed splash page.)
Another thing that helped was practicing doing sketches directly in pen.
It makes you look at things in a completely different way because you can't erase, and can be a great way to improve your lineart skills quickly.You also learn not to try to draw things “right” and instead to “just draw”- which is how you draw things right.
Hope that helps!
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last edited on Aug. 9, 2011 4:11PM
xMegalynx at 6:06AM, Aug. 10, 2011
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Scorpion451 wrote:
I went through a similar phase of “why can I draw detailed stuff perfectly but my comic-ey stuff sucks?”when I started getting interested in doing digital art and comics.
Basically what I figured out I had to do is draw stuff out in pencil like normal, and then use a lightbox to trace it in inkpen and reduce it to the basic linework.
This eventually trained my eye to find lines from the start. I still usually do my planning and stuff in pencil because its faster than doing it on the computer (at least for me anyway) but I'm able to plan stuff out directly in linework rather than having to do fully shaded sketches (unless I want to do a hyper-detailed splash page.)
Another thing that helped was practicing doing sketches directly in pen.
It makes you look at things in a completely different way because you can't erase, and can be a great way to improve your lineart skills quickly.You also learn not to try to draw things “right” and instead to “just draw”- which is how you draw things right.
Hope that helps!
I think it's kinda ironic because I did about 10 pages of characters with just ink—and you're right. It IS very different. But I really think it improves your skills a lot. So I completely agree with you on that
 
I also REALLY want to get into digital art! I'm a graphic designer (my computer recently crashed though) so that has been a big interest of mine for a while now. So once my computer is up and running again that's going to be my next big project. BTW—what is a lightbox?
 
I actually just posted a comic. Right now I'm just working on having fun, and drawing what I can. And I'm hoping time with give me some more experience in this. So far it's going great. So I guess we'll see. You can check it out (below) and let me know what you think if you want :)
 
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE TIPS!!
Scorpion451 at 8:16AM, Aug. 11, 2011
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Basically, a lightbox is a box with a flourescent light inside with a piece of either glass or plexiglass on top.
I recommend plexiglass- its lighter and doesn't have the whole “hands are an overenthusiastic eraser from shards of glass” thing going on.
You can use it to trace stuff like pencil drawings using regular paper instead of tracing paper. Very useful for doing traditional work; I use it to do “clean” versions of sketches, and also to do my final inkwork for my comic and comic-style art. If you're interested in doing mixed traditional and digital work, I highly recommend looking into getting or building one, they make for much more scanner-friendly artwork.
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xMegalynx at 10:07AM, Aug. 11, 2011
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Scorpian451—Thanks! I might look into one then!
 
BTW guys here's my “new and improved” comic (for those of you who haven't seen my comic yet) Doesn't have any speech bubbles because I just want your opinion on the drawing. What do you think??

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