Amazing Craft Advice

Steven Grant’s latest column has some essential reading on the craft of constructing a comic page.

If we accurately reflected the concept that each panel is a single moment – in essence a movie where only the master shots remain – every page would have hundreds of panels, and likely be unreadable (I mean, even more than many are now) if not uncreateable. Fortunately, time can be as plastic in comics as in novels, so there are ways to cheat on it. …

You can cheat on the moment – you have to cheat on the moment, or you’ll never be able to fill a comic with enough information to build a story – but everything must coordinate with the moment.

In timing comics, the moment is paramount. One of the things I really like to put in comics, which artists (for good reason) tend to resist, is the concept of simultaneous action. You can always spot beginning comics writers by the way they describe “He walks into the room, throws down the grocery bag and turns on the TV” as happening all in one panel. That’s not simultaneous action. That’s consecutive action the writer doesn’t understand how to handle. An artist might conceivably be able to get away with splitting it into two panels – since a character has two arms, he could set down a grocery bag and turn on a TV at the same moment – but not in one. Actions that can only take place in consecutive moments are consecutive actions. Actions that take place in the same moment in separate scenes are parallel actions. Actions that take place in the same moment in the same scene are simultaneous actions. Only the latter can take place in the same panel.

Lots more at the link. Go and learn.

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2 Responses to “Amazing Craft Advice”

  1. stickboybob Says:

    wow, this is an excellent source for comic news and reviews. being a comic artist myself and a huge comic enthusiast i think ill probably be comic back here regularily!
    thanks!

    mike ( http://www.nalocomics.info)

  2. Johanna Says:

    No, thank YOU for your kind words!

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