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Thread: Q: How do you approach panel writing?

  1. LeeNordling Guest

    Good point, Roberts; I forgot one you alluded to, but didn't clarify:

    My name is on the book as the artist, and I need to make sure the work lives up to my reputation/my standard of quality.

    Again, this is one that makes a LOT of sense and it makes a really good case.

    I've had my name removed from work that I didn't believe lived up to my standard, so the flip side is certainly arguable. (Yes, we could add there's a right and wrong way to make a case, but that's not the discussion; we're just examining the CORE value behind an action.)

    In the case of others, Roberts, you're repeating a couple that I noted.

    Here's what I'm trying to avoid, but you're not:

    THERE ARE NO GENERALIZATIONS THAT ARE ALWAYS TRUE.

    IF ALL ARTISTS WERE BLUE, THEN A GENERAL DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE ALL LIKE, OR WHY THEY ALL DO SOMETHING, WOULD BE NO DIFFERENT FROM RACIAL STEREOTYPING.

    ALL BLUE ARTISTS DON'T BELIEVE THE SAME THINGS, AND WHERE THEY MAY SEEM TO, THEY DON'T NECESSARILY BELIEVE THEM FOR THE SAME REASONS.

    Let's skip the idea that somebody changing something because of a PERCEPTION that they are empowered to do so might have positive motivations to make the work better.

    I've been working hard to take "right" or "wrong" out of this, and cut to the core values. Let's please not discuss that any more, and keep our eye on the ball.

    Something will be right or wrong ONLY in unique and specific circumstances; for now, we're looking at the core underpinnings for a sense of empowerment.

    It's not complicated, but it's also not easy to pull out the root.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 09:30 PM.



  2. CalvinCamp Guest

    Let's skip the idea that that somebody changing something, because of a PERCEPTION that they are empowered to do so, might have positive motivations to make the work better.
    :confused:
    What's the purpose of all this, unless it's to understand how something we perceive as negative could be perceived by someone else as positive? Unless I assume that someone believes that they're making a positive contribution by changing something, there's really only one thing I'd have to say about them, and it's not exactly polite.

    My name is on the book as the artist, and I need to make sure the work lives up to my reputation/my standard of quality.

    Again, this is one that makes a LOT of sense and it makes a really good case.
    How does that make a lot of sense?

    I'd buy it from a writer (because he could see a good story ruined by a bad artist, without seeing it coming), but I have trouble buying it from the artist's side. The artist got to see the script before he started drawing it. If the story wasn't up to his standard of quality, then he shouldn't have taken the job. If he just thought it was flawed but could be saved, that should have been discussed up front as well.

    To me, that's not a good case. It's not even much of an excuse, when the writer could use the exact same argument as an even more valid reason for making the artist toe the line on the story.

    But that's just my opinion, based on my reasoning, which will only matter to someone who might agree with me. And that brings me to a question... Why does the "why" matter?

    Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I have to wonder if it really matters why the artist feels that sense of empowerment (or why a writer might feel entitled to retain control over the art). What one calls artistic integrity the other might see as pure arrogance, anyway.

    Knowing why the artist thinks he can do whatever he wants is not going to change my decision about whether I'll work with him, because it doesn't change the situation - He's still not going to do what I ask. So I'll either deal with the situation or not, depending on my needs for the project. I really just need to be aware that the sense of empowerment exists and take steps to protect myself from it (when necessary).

    The only time I could see the "why" mattering is if the artist would be willing to consider letting go of that empowerment in exchange for something I could provide. If he his, then we can talk about reasons and negotiate one-on-one, and I won't need to speculate what his reasons might be.

    So I guess I'm just starting to wonder where we're going with this.



  3. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    What's the purpose of all this, unless it's to understand how something we perceive as negative could be perceived by someone else as positive?
    YAY!

    YOU GET IT!!

    That's exactly what happens...probably more times than not!

    In this world, we are all heroes in our own story, and the people who are trying to take something away from us, something that we feel we have coming/earned/owed, are the villains in our own story.

    I don't believe that the previously described artist thought he was a villain, which is why I asked you and others to consider everything from his point of view.

    Until you look at everything we're discussing from the other perspective, then it is really hard to come to agreement ahead of time, to set rules in a relationship that both sides will play with...AND CONSIDER FAIR.

    Only when, in a negotiation, FAIR is agreed to, can we call somebody on what they agreed to.

    In the case of the artist who agreed to everything discussed, but still behaved as though he was being screwed, one thing was apparent to me: the ground rules, the working relationship, the goals, the process probably had NOT been discussed far enough...

    ...so I asked folks to consider all the variables.

    Roberts and I put some down.

    And that is what we are now discussing: a full range of variables that might contain causes for a sense of empowerment.

    (Moving forward, and not digressing, let's continue to do this, please.)

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    How does that make a lot of sense?
    Why does it make sense that an artist MIGHT be empowered to change something because his/her name is on the book?

    Because he/she MIGHT feel his/her reputation is at stake for something that needs to be better.

    It doesn't matter that the artist may not know HOW to properly deal with this problem...not YET YET YET.

    Quote Originally Posted by CalvinCamp View Post
    ...And that brings me to a question... Why does the "why" matter?

    Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I have to wonder if it really matters why the artist feels that sense of empowerment (or why a writer might feel entitled to retain control over the art). What one calls artistic integrity the other might see as pure arrogance, anyway.

    Knowing why the artist thinks he can do whatever he wants is not going to change my decision about whether I'll work with him, because it doesn't change the situation - He's still not going to do what I ask. So I'll either deal with the situation or not, depending on my needs for the project. I really just need to be aware that the sense of empowerment exists and take steps to protect myself from it (when necessary).

    The only time I could see the "why" mattering is if the artist would be willing to consider letting go of that empowerment in exchange for something I could provide. If he his, then we can talk about reasons and negotiate one-on-one, and I won't need to speculate what his reasons might be.

    So I guess I'm just starting to wonder where we're going with this.
    Some artists have terrible communication skills; it's a variable of another problem, another issue that we have yet to tackle.

    Other artists (and too many writers) are really passive-aggressive, won't say what they want, and become angry when others can't read their minds or know their hearts.

    That's another variable of the same different problem.

    We are not yet discussing them, because to do so, complicates identifying the problem. The behavior masks the problem, and my goal is for each of us to understand as many of the potential problems as we can imagine or have encountered...if...we...could...only...get...to...it.

    Eventually, we'll discuss the behavior issues, like: an artist might feel he's empowered to make all the decisions related to interpreting a script into art, but is too shy/arrogant/passive-aggressive/unschooled to be the one to mention it in the first place.

    That's a complication we are not yet ready to discuss because we are not yet done discussing the root causes.

    Frankly, I made a long list, and Roberts added a couple. Is that it, folks?

    Do you artists out there not have other reasons we haven't noted?

    However, Calvin, out of respect for what I'm trying to accomplish, I ask that you please not derail this discussion further.

    I understand separating "cause" and "behavior" is tough for you, but people can't solve problems until after they've properly identified them.

    Problem/solution.

    Solving the problem comes next. Right now we're identifying it.

    Period.

    If this diversion from my intended discussion isn't good or clear enough so you can't make the separation and contribute, please stay out the rest of it until you feel you've got it. I've done my best to explain it, and it's up to you now to accept that this is going somewhere important/relevant, or to continue to think it isn't...and go your own way.

    So, please help the discussion along my intended route, or simply follow it.

    Thanks, Calvin.

    --Lee
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 11:03 PM.



  4. RonaldMontgomery Guest

    LATE HOMEWORK hee hee

    Ah, sweet lunch time.
    Hope it's okay to answer these questions. If not, just ignore me.

    Question 1: How much information do you feel is necessary for including in panel description?

    I tend to break this down into:
    1. Necessary visual elements in the panel.
    2. What's needed for visual continuity from panel to panel.
    3. Descriptions to establish pacing and mood -- these aren't necessarily things to be drawn in the panel.
    I write character motivations and how they're feeling. I started doing that just because I didn't know any better, and I've had a couple of artists tell me that they especially like that, because too many writers will describe a panel (Jill stands at the door) but don't give them hooks into the characters.
    Anyway, it's contrary to Mamet and that idea of just tell the story, but it works for me and it seems to work for the artists I know.

    Sub-question: Does knowing the artist affect that decision, and if so, how?

    Sure it does. There are some artists, and you two are on the same page, or you've talked about the story a lot, and there's more give and take. For example, Jim Giar over on DW is a guy who is good at taking an idea to the next level. Love the way he thinks. I wouldn't WANT to stand in his way by closely describing everything.
    But there are other artists who are more comfortable with everything spelled out for them. That's cool too. It all comes down to communication and agreeing on boundaries.
    If you, the writer, have a strong vision and you want an artist to fill it in...better make that clear up front.

    Question 2: How do you feel panel-writing should be approached, stylistically, for yourself as a writer or artist, and why does that work for you (if not necessarily for others)?

    I'm very much into research, background, interior motivations, mood, metaphors and symbols, THEME (LEE!)...I think a good story should work on many levels.
    Yes, the panel depicts the story and moves time forward, but it can do so much more. Like, I read an AMAZING story by Chris Ware in The Years Best American Comics 2009. I think it's probably one of the best comics I've ever read, in terms of how Ware uses panels and the juxtaposition of words and art to tell an amazingly deep story.
    I think I'm a wannabee artist...!

    But to each their own. I think there's a core set of rules we should all adhere to...what you make with the tools is up to your tastes and inclinations.
    Last edited by RonaldMontgomery; Monday, January 25, 2010 at 07:26 PM.



  5. harryd Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldMontgomery View Post
    I think I'm a wannabee artist...!
    I'll hazard a guess that at least a few comic book writers are. Lacking the ability to draw ourselves, we want to tell someone who can draw how to do it. Of course, that could just be me!



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