Christian Comic Arts Society

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Ok, while I was sketching a few panels out for the Overcomers GN, I began thinking, wouldn't someone like to know what to work on to get good angles? Perspective? etc, so I figured I would put up some hints, tips and helps, even though I have a lot to learn, here are some things I have found helpful:

1. Learn the power of Perspective and Vanishing Points! ( one point, two point and three point perspective)
2. Play with and distort the vanishing points to create the "illusions" of one being closer to the reader than the rest or to create a dream like sequence or panel.
3. Use basic shapes to define poses and structure to character.
4. ANATOMY!! Learn your anatomy and NOT from comic books directly ( sure comic books are good as examples and REFERENCES, but not the source to learn from...well, not completely.) Take courses or go buy some Anatomy books with different muscle group details, poses, etc, or life drawing, look at yourself and then at others, no two people are the same, men and women are different in MANY aspects of anatomy, example:
A mans chest is more of a block where-as a female is more of a triangle ( use as basic shape and mold later to fit the character).
5. Use references if necessary ( I use them quite a bit on poses and action scenes) BUT completely form your own character, don't take the one on the picture as your own!
6. Pray,Patience, Practice and Perseverance!! ( 4 P's of art! LOL)
7.Dont' forget to eat and drink and do your potty now and again ( I get so engrossed in work, that I forget these things, lol! At least until my stomach knaws through my backbone ^^)
8. Panel layouts- Figure out what the page will look like as if you are watching a movie, ever notice the different angles to each scene? (overhead view, profile of a certain character, static face or eye shots, angled panels to show out of control situation, etc.)
10. Put some music on or whatever relaxes you and helps you focus!
11. Relax and have fun with it, there is plenty of paper, don't forget to use both sides to conserve when doodling or sketching a pose/action.

Well, I hope that this albeit, erratic, little list helps some of you, but then again what works for me may not work for you, so find your own "Happy little place" in the world of comic art and...


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Replies to This Discussion

I totally with all of these. These methods are tried and true. Although i admit, i still need to work on my perspective.:( But #3 is a vital but often overlooked step in drawing. I used to just draw the body and sometimes it would turn out halfway decent, but as soon as i started using skeletons and frames, there was a noticeable increase in the quality of my work pretty much overnight. Although i still have to wonder sometimes how some of these artist who use those kind of exaggerated art styles become so popular, despite the fact that its not really proportionate. Sam Kieth comes to mind immediatly. His art is fantastic. But its far from realism.
lol, I think it just depends on how you want to portray what you are drawing or how you see the comic, I don't know who Sam Keith is, you will have to name the comic or character, lol, but I used to draw just what I saw a lot and not really mess with basic shapes, I actually thought it was very preschool-ish to use the basic forms, but I soon came to realize that isn't the case :D
Sam Kieth is the mastermind behind "The Maxx", one of the best comics of all time, and a big influence on me. I also used to draw just what i saw, and also thought it was a waste of time to draw the basic forms. "WHAT?! YOU WANT ME TO DRAW THE SAME PICTURE 3-4 TIMES?! WHY NOT JUST DRAW IT ONCE AND BE DONE?" But it does make a big difference when you use the basic forms.
yes, it does, drastically. Though I don't know the comic the Maxx, didn't get much priviledge when I was a kid to get comics, and there isn't many available to me here local either, I am still going through a learning curve with forms and poses, hence the reply in the forum post you made about what references do we use, lol. Soon, hopefully I will be able to just let er fly and not use references, but it helps to have a few training wheels when you need them ^^
Yes it does help. And speaking of "letting'er fly", one of my personal goals is to be one of those guys at the cons that do the sketches in, like, ten seconds.
lol, well, never been to a con I dunno ^^
Ive never been to a con either......................But i've seen footage. How sad. I can put a con on the same level as the Loch ness monster.:P
Hi Guys!

I've been floating around CCAS for awhile and as I'm working on a comic story, I joined the group.

There's so much to learn and do! I met a fellow Capt. Marvel (Golden Age) fan and artist once years ago and he graciously showed me his portfolio. His work was great! Not strictly from the old school of Kirby/Marvel but anatomy, perspective, action, composition was superb. Sadly, he commented that he felt comics were too much work vs. painting and illustrating. I can really relate!

I've been puttering around with drawing for a long time and try to read everything I can find on the subject. Regular drawing is just the tip of the iceberg... sequential art is a different mountain!! Seems like it's not just placing elements in a panel but clearly communicating the idea of what's going on in that panel. What info is the artist trying to convey? Oh, and don't forget making it dynamic and eye-catching and making the reader WANT to go to the next panel.

I start with a basic 3-tier, 2 panels per tier page layout. A basic 6 panel grid. I still can't get my head around varying panel size for visual rhythm and emphasis. My thumbnails seem to work okay, but somehow transforming them into fully rendered panels and pages I lose something.

Maybe it would be fun to have another set of eyes looking at our respective projects. Would you be interested in sharing your artwork so we could study and learn? I'm amazed how many of us seem to get stuck looking at our own work, but checking out someone else's pages and the solutions just pop out at you.

About drawing over and over again, I'm know what you mean. I'm probably on the 5th rendering of the story on which I'm working. As we are all working unto the Lord, when the panel/page doesn't see quite right, I set it aside and work on something else. Coming back to it, I see where improvements can be made. This leads to a suggestion that John Romita Sr made to Rich Buckler: Draw it in your head. Visualize first then put it on paper. While talking with Robert Webb (created Sheena Queen of Jungle with Iger Studios) he told me how the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY encouraged their students to visualize a drawing mentally but to also look around the subject 360 degrees and from every angle you can imagine. That way you can select the best version to put onto the paper.

Sorry for rambling. I hope some of this makes sense.

God bless,
Jimmy S.

PS: Comic Conventions remind me of Government Computer Shows, where they try to sell you everything new you would want or not want. Some panels are interesting but what I consider great comic book work seems to be worlds away from what most contemporary comics fans like. Ralph Miley hosts a great panel at San Diego discussing different religions in comics. Pretty well attended I hear as well.
hey Jimmy, I think you're onto some great stuff, thanks for discussing these tips it's good for getting me thinking about all the subtle things I've learned too. I like the idea of just 'imagining' what you're going to draw b4 hand- and thinking over different possibilities b4.- you could potentially save a lot of time. some of my best moments when I've been drawing is when I get to a place when I'm drawing that what I'm 'seeing' in my mind as I draw is coming out onto the page- if that makes any sense at all! the only draw back to just totally imagining b4 you draw is that I often 'make things up as I go along' so maybe I can employ a combination of imaginary preparation and spontaneity. Also one more tip that works for me (maybe this relates to re-drawing things)- is to just go over the same drawing a couple of times- like the old idea of lighter then darker- or pencil then ink. I find this frees me up to be expressive on the first pass- then all the proportions get a lot tighter the next pass. I've even experimented in using red marker for the first pass and a dark colour for the second- so the red can be taken out after scanning by using the 'channels' feature in photoshop
This is such good advice. I never really had anyone point these out to me, except for the art books I read, but I find I use the advice you mentioned, and often. I seem to like to use stick people when I draw, it works out better for me, plus referencing several sources to get the character I want. The first lesson I learned to adapt is the very last advice...DRAW HOW YOU WANT TO DRAW AND DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU ANY DIFFERENT. I always tell people "Be your own fish!" and to be a Salmon and swim up stream.

Everyone have a great day.

just wanted to say hello from a new member. Thanks for the great website. Wow, Sam Keith. I remember when The Maxx debuted in Darker Image ( Wow I feel old ). Not only Sam, but Todd, Jim, Rob and the others that helped define that generation of comic book artwork. Oh, and in case anyone needs a good reference to proportions and poses, I STRONGLY recommend looking at a guy named Riven Phoenix. He has a DVD set out for about $45 ( I think you can download it as well). It really dumbed things down for me and made my understanding of human anatomy much better. Anyway, take care and God Bless.


Excellent advice, Christina! Another thing I use when I'm not sure of the perspective on a person I am drawing is drawing figures. This helps a LOT.


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