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Move It

Banes at 12:00AM, May 16, 2019

by Frank Miller


I was talking to my brother about writing scripts for comics and mentioned that I sometimes forget that what I'm writing can't move. I'd start accidentally writing as if it were a movie script, with characters moving around, then realize that I had to think in stills!

There are multiple ways to create motion, and action, in comics.

- Extreme Poses -

Still images give you the chance to choose the exact moment in time you want to show. Well, it obligates you to do that, really, but let's keep it positive, here! Showing the extreme moment, or close to it, can give the maximum amount of drama or excitement for a character who's running, jumping, punching or being punched, or whatever other kind of action you're showing. A fully extended fist, an extremely slanted line of action on the victim - motion and drama well expressed. Here's a panel from bravo1102's Belle's Best, here on the Duck

by bravo1102
Visit this comic here!

- Blurs -

That image also makes use of a blur effect, which adds nicely. The blur is good for an extra aggressive, powerful motion, or one that's supposed to be particularly fast.

- Motion Lines -

Before blurs were as doable as they are now, motion lines can show movement as well! Which parts of a character or object will have lines extending from them, showing the movement. This is handy to show a specific path an object, character, or part of a character, is traveling.

by John Byrne

Of course, manga and anime will use motion lines as a background, to show movement/action.

- Multiple Panel Action or Multiple Figures -

The final way that comes to my mind is the multiple panel or multiple figure action. Instead of motion lines, we'll see several panels, laid out to appear as if they're happening quickly.

by John Byrne

Or you can have multiple images of a character in different poses/locations in one panel, to show an acrobatic fight or travel through a series of obstacles, or whatever.

by Harry Lucey

Are there any I've missed? There must be! How do you like to show motion, movement and action in your comics? What style suits you?

Okay, I'm movin' on now. Have a good one!




usedbooks at 5:46PM, May 16, 2019

Sometimes I use SFX to indicate a motion taking place (or at least aid in the presentation).

Banes at 9:57AM, May 16, 2019

Sorry - I haven't read the whole comic, though I do like it! Just impulsively giving advice you're already doing xD

Avart at 8:37AM, May 16, 2019

@Banes- Indeed, the long space between panels is for a slow-paced stuff, and you nailed it, making that space shorter means a quick action. Thank you ;)

Banes at 7:58AM, May 16, 2019

@Avart - Hm. Well i'm no expert, but your comic looks like it would suit the "chosen moment" thing. Or even putting your panels closer together for the "fast" parts might be enough. You set a very specific pace with a lot of your pages, making it feel like every panel matters (nicely done by the way!). So you could probably take out some of the space between panels to get a "faster" or "action" effect! Then go back to the regular pace.

Banes at 7:53AM, May 16, 2019

Thanks you guys!

Avart at 7:28AM, May 16, 2019

Interesting article @Banes!, right now I'm struggling with this stuff. I aim at the motion lines mainly because I feel that blur is very tricky and if you don't use it properly the reader will be spending more time trying to figure what's happening. Maybe a mixture could be better.

Gunwallace at 1:23AM, May 16, 2019

The bravo example is awesome! Great piece.

bravo1102 at 1:06AM, May 16, 2019

Lil ol' me used as an example beside Frank Miller and John Byrne? Wow! I am so honored. A carefully done blur effect can mimic motion lines and vice versa. I have experimented with motion lines but it never looked right in the medium I use. In that panel, the blues are pretty much where you'd expect the motion lines to be.

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