Kav's Tips for Comic Artists - Page Analysis
by A. "Kav" Kaviraj
Comic book artist, A. Kaviraj, continues his op/ed series of providing useful tutorials for comic book artists.
Here we go with another Kav's Tips: Page Analysis! Buckle your seat belts!
Ok, this is a page I got recently from Splash Page Art. It's a page from the great Brubaker/Lark Gotham Central-very, very well written series, by the way. Issue 9 page 14. It's kind of a trip the first time you compare an original page to the comic book page. I'm used to it by now.
It was $75 and way undervalued in my opinion. Some day this page will be worth thousands. I chose the page because I liked it of course, but also because I wanted to see for myself how he did rain-I do a lot of rainy scenes myself as they add mood. His white lines are applied, it looks like, with a drafting pen and dip white guache. That's why they are so straight.
So we have the 7 panel page-a favorite of mine because it gives you one horizontal panel to establish or de-establish a scene and six smaller panels to set up pacing. He sets up the conflict/dialogue scene with the first 4 panels then pulls back in panel 5 for the establishing shot-a rainy crime scene, complete with evidence markers. I also got this page because I just loved panel 6-the detective looking down with shadows of his glasses on his cheeks-it's small things like this that really sell an image. I have stopped drawing my eyes with a microliner after examining this page-brush works much better as an impressionistic look to the eyes is more realistic than penned-in too-clear lines. Don't overdraw the eyes.
These are classic movie shots here-over the shoulder shots, and only one side view of the detectives-panel 3. Movie shots are to be emulated-comics and movies are basically the same art form, one just has pictures that move (So far). But the shots are all under the same theory of drama, so learn from movies.
He doesn't use any high or low angle shots-I myself try to squeeze in at least one on each page-but that's ok. For this scene it works, and is actually preferable-we don't want to distract the reader while absorbing this human conflict between the detectives. Writers - remember: the essence of drama is conflict. It can be about a tube of toothpaste-it doesn't matter-the characters just have to disagree. Another thing I really like about this page is it has hand lettering-it's from 2003 when they still used hand lettering-that will make it more valuable someday, plus I get to examine the hand lettering. I have so much respect for hand letterers-it's SO HARD. I tried for years, but no-go. I can draw but I can't letter.
And I'm not the only one. Letterers are truly unsung heroes man. There's some wiggle room in a drawn image but NONE for letters-we see any tiny flaw in a letter as we humans are so used to seeing the printed word.
One thing he might have done-I've seen Sean Phillips do this-is throw an umbrella shadow over the top of the woman's face in panel one. This would solidify her presence in the space under the umbrella. Am I saying I know better than Michael Lark? NO WAY. I am quite sure he could see many things in my pages that could be done better. So I have thrown such a shadow so you can compare:
Overall, one of my favorite original pages so far. I plan on getting more.
For more of Kav's Tips at Comic Related: http://www.comicrelated.com/forums/index.php?showforum=602
A. KAVIRAJ: Kav is an artist, teacher, and biologist who lives in Sacramento, California. He is the artist forThe End of Paradise, Rapid City, and Dr Death vs The Zombie. He is the writer and artist for Dr. Death vs. The Vampire. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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