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Thread: Silence Is Golden: a workshop

  1. Rain Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    What have we learned this week?

    Why wasn't this as easy as it seemed?

    How do you believe this will affect your process for creating sequential art?
    One of the main things this exercise has forced me to concede is I'm no artist -- so don't try to tell those who are how to do their jobs!

    One comment from Lee is now ingrained in my brain: "I feel that if a writer cannot explain his or her use for the reason behind any given camera angle then he or she shouldn't even attempt it."

    Good advice. Unless I can specify, "This is a wide shot of the street from high above, IN ORDER FOR the reader to get a feel for the scale of the area," then I'm leaving the POVs to the pros.

    And, even in the case above, my angle suggestion may not be needed.

    In other words, KISSS: Keep It Simple Stupid SCRIPTER!!!

    Thanks to Lee, and everyone else that continually steps up to his assignments. I'm learnign from eveyone, not just our instructor.

    Rain



  2. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by Rain View Post
    Good advice. Unless I can specify, "This is a wide shot of the street from high above, IN ORDER FOR the reader to get a feel for the scale of the area," then I'm leaving the POVs to the pros.

    And, even in the case above, my angle suggestion may not be needed.
    Thanks for the good thoughts, Rain, and I'm glad this is helping.

    Re. the shot called here, if you remember the goal, you often don't have to call out the shot; in fact, it's probably even better than you don't.

    For example: A city street, shown in such a way that the reader will get a feel for the scale of it within a much larger area.

    Or: A city street, shown in such a way that the reader will get a sense that the cars and people are like bugs going about their business.

    Or: A city street, shown in such a way that the reader will get a sense of the pedestrians packed together like sardines.

    Each of these is a different challenge for the artist, and if the drawn art doesn't reflect the goal, then THAT'S what gets to be discussed, not whether the artist drew what you described.

    --Lee



  3. drgerb Guest

    What have we learned this week?

    Why wasn't this as easy as it seemed?

    How do you believe this will affect your process for creating sequential art?
    I think it taught me the importance of art as a storytelling device. I'm an artist, but the art / panel layouts almost took a backseat to the narration / pacing of the story. I used to act like I'd put off planning out panels until the penciling stage, not worrying them at the writing stage. But I think I should put more thought into my panels, and think more about the camera angles (if I do choose to draw them, but think about them less if I am just writing a project).

    Also, this week, I started realizing that each page has a focal point. The biggest panel should, imo, convey the most important element to the story. Like each panel has an important point you look at first, but when you step back and look at the page as a whole, the biggest panel should be the best designed, or atleast the most fun to look at, art wise... I used to just throw a bunch of panels together, jumble them around, and write my story. Now, thinking about layouts, I plan more on which panel should be the biggest based on what's happening in the story at that precise moment.

    I think it was relatively easy for me, but not when I stop second guessing myself or stop editing myself. When I just up and submit something on a whim, there's going to be so many errors, half of which I don't even notice. I realized I should trust my gut when I think something's wrong or can't be conveyed. Sometimes it's hard to try to come up with a new way of doing something, or a different panel if you've put so much time into this one. If it's not working just can it and figure something else out. Don't spend so much time trying to validate a panel that's not working by adding in detail or changing things around. Just kill it and start over if it's not adding to the story. I have a problem of latching onto my own creations a bit too hard, even if I'm blind to how crappy they are. That's something I have to work on.



  4. LeeNordling Guest

    Self awareness is a good first step toward being your own self-editor, Roberts.

    Keep it up.

    --Lee



  5. harryd Guest

    Let's say magazine format.

    Page 1

    Panel 1. A smiling Stick-Man, in an otherwise unoccupied four seat convertible, is driving down a sunny open road, which winds through the middle of a barren desert.

    Panel 2. Stick-Man has stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road. Stick-Woman is standing on the side of the road, ahead of his car, with a thumb pointing down the road in the classic hitch-hiker gesture.

    Panel 3. A smiling Stick-Man, with a smiling Stick-Woman seated next to him, are driving down the same sunny open road.

    Panel 4. Stick-Man has stopped his vehicle in the middle of the road. Stick-Woman, still seated next to him, looks warily ahead at Stick-Hobo, who stands by the side of the road with a thumb pointing out in the classic hitch-hiker gesture.

    Panel 5. A smiling Stick-Hobo sits in the back seat of the car, which is once again driving down the open road. A smiling Stick-Man is still at the wheel, and next to him sits a frowning Stick-Woman with arms huffily crossed.

    Panel 6. Stick-Hobo and Stick-Woman look warily ahead, as the ever-smiling Stick-man has stopped the car once again. Ahead of the car, Stick-Slasher stands by the side of the road with a thumb out in the classic hitch-hiker gesture.

    Page 2

    Panel 1. A smiling Stick-Slasher sits in the back seat of the car, which is one again zipping down the open road. Next to him, sits a frowning Stick-Hobo, who has edged as far away from Stick-Slasher as he can. The smiling Stick-Man is still at the wheel, and frowning Stick-Woman is seated next to him with arms huffily crossed.

    Panel 2. All of the car's occupants look surprised as a spluttering noise rises out from under the hood.

    SFX:
    Splutter. Splutter.

    Panel 3. The car has pulled over to the side of the road, next to a sign for gas. All of the hitch-hikers lean forward with interest, watching Stick-Man, who stands in front of the vehicle looking into the open hood.

    SIGN:
    Next gas station – 2 miles.

    Panel 4. The hitch-hiker's all look downcast as Stick-Man, standing in front of the now closed hood, has his arms raised in a shrug.

    Panel 5. A tight view of Stick-Man, who is behind the car, trying to push his vehicle down the road. None of the hitch-hikers can be seen.

    Panel 6. A wider view, where we see the hitch-hikers all standing, in the order they were originally picked up, behind the car with their thumbs out in the classic hitch-hiker gesture. Ahead of them, Stick-Man struggles to push his car down the road.



  6. LeeNordling Guest

    Harry's grade:

    PASS (for clear images and really nice, clear writing about what's going on/important about each panel).

    FAIL (for left-to-right reading in panels; sadly, this part is just a mess.)

    To clarify, to see their expressions, we have to be looking through the windshield. That means, in the U.S. (gas, not petrol), Smiling Driver Stick-Man is always going to be on the right. Always. That means, depending on how characters are sitting in the backseat, he's always got to be mentioned LAST, when the expressions are ever noted.

    That means that when you humorously wrote other characters' expressions last in the panel, ideas that READ well and humorously, the actual comic wouldn't have been perceived the way you intended.

    I thought such a creative solution to the assignment deserved separate grading, though I could have done this before for others.

    If somebody wants a composite grade, that would be a FAIL.

    But it's a truly delightful gag sequence...which could very easily have been a Charlie Chaplin short.

    Nice, NICE concept.

    --Lee



  7. harryd Guest

    True enough. I was thinking that since the car was a convertible, you could also be looking slightly above and from the side, down through the open roof, but even so, looking at it again, I was a bit inconsistent with the placement and it could use some fixing.

    I'm glad you liked the concept at any rate.



  8. LeeNordling Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by harryd View Post
    True enough. I was thinking that since the car was a convertible, you could also be looking slightly above and from the side, down through the open roof, but even so, looking at it again, I was a bit inconsistent with the placement and it could use some fixing.

    I'm glad you liked the concept at any rate.
    I did.

    And if you'd called out that angle/shot, then I would've really failed you; because you can't see all the expressions you called out from that, or more importantly, the artist wouldn't have had the best chance to play up the humor by repeating certain staging aspects.

    It all comes down to writing what can be drawn.

    And now it's time to reveal a secret. This is what most comics writers fail at: they don't really know how to write pictures that can be drawn...which is why it's so good you and a few others are getting this practice now, when it doesn't affect potentially losing a job or "disappointing" an editor.

    --Lee

    PS. I forgot to mention: some years ago I wrote a sequence with a stick figure character, and the character is going to be the foundation for an antagonist for a story I've been...massaging...for some time. So don't be surprised to see my byline on a book with a stick figure character in it; it'll just be a coincidence, but I like the way you think.
    Last edited by LeeNordling; Sunday, April 04, 2010 at 04:09 AM.



  9. danialworks Guest

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeNordling View Post
    As folks ponder on their first effort, consider their second, or prepare their third, let me ask you all these short questions:

    What have we learned this week?

    Why wasn't this as easy as it seemed?

    How do you believe this will affect your process for creating sequential art?

    --Lee
    Hm. My noir at the start of the week was a bit of an exercise in overconfidence. Suspense comes relatively easily, and that led to a truly horrible panel involving a hand brushing a door.

    However, given my own comments about leaving ego at the door of the CPP, that botched panel gave me a chance to simply do as the assigning editor asked when fixing the problem-- and that turned out to be a good practice test in and of itself.

    I tend to be the one with the vision. Being able to keep that under control and do the job being asked for is a definite plus.

    My poor bear lost his way for another reason; I work with emotions as much as anything else, and that caused the focus of the writing for the one POV panel to slip. This time, I got a chance to simply say... "Hey! I've got a better idea!"

    But both of these pieces were more practice at the blackboard than anything else-- too much of me, too little of the basic assignment.

    There's a plus, here, too. My patience doing the work is growing.

    'Cause it took me a couple of days to come up with Little Billy and his ball; once I had him, I ran through about five different stories in my head before simply deciding to go with the ball getting away from him. And Billy actually FIT the assignment. Go Billy!

    Whether it's two panels or 2000 pages, every story decision is an important one.

    And I'm thinking that, if a writer gets stuck, has trouble with a some kind of work, maybe one way to solve his problems is to treat the next one, two or five pages as the entire work, and see what we get. Focus on that smaller set of decisions, then pull the mind's eye back again to what comes next in the larger piece.



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