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Old 09-21-2009, 06:53 PM   #31
Pixelpushing
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My 2 cents as an artist

I have worked from a lot of peoples descriptions, trading cards, spot illustrations and so on. I view what you tell me as a blue print, and I assume every word is in there for a reason. I dont really care about it sounding good as long as i get the key info I need.


Picture 1-- A lone birch tree lies cleanly cut down in the undergrowth of a forest, surrounded by the fallen yellowed leaves of autumn.

I read that and see a whole tree with a full canopy cut down. then when you use "undergrowth" my mind starts to add a good amount of undergrowth since it is mentioned and doesnt tell me if its heavy or light so I go medium. I also give myself freedom as to if its windy or leaves are falling or if its calm since no description of that was given.

Image 1
A quiet autumn day, in a light forrest, lies a sawed down birch among the yellow leaves, seemingly left behind by the lumberjacks.

This one tells me its a calm day in an area that is more open since "light forest" is used. I assume its a full grown tree. Then with combination of "sawed" and "lumberjacks" I think that is important and would probably put sawdust and turned up leaves like lumberjacks had tore up the area a lil from cutting and left.

1 - A large, felled tree branch lays on a carpet of autumn leaves amongst a network of smaller dead branches.

This one I know its just a branch, I remember that felled means cut down so i would probably go clean cut. autumn leaves got that, then I see that smaller dead branches are included and would put a good amount of dead branches laying around perhaps assuming its tied into this one "network".

I read most of these before looking at this one pic, I didnt look at any other pics because I might write my thoughts on more and dont want to be tainted. One thing is in almost any description of felled branch you give me I am going to put leaves on it "tree" or "branch", so it is interesting to note that the branch has none and if that was important I would easily have been wrong as an artist or ill informed at least.
The light undergrowth was good to describe where it lays thats exactly what I picture. I do notice what a consider to be a "few" dead branches in the pic and normally I would always include a couple dead branches and stuff just because of knowing forest floors, If dead branches are mentioned without telling me how much and coupled with the fact that this branch is cut down I would assume to go medium to heavy on the amount.

Just wanted to let you know how what comes to mind when I read these.

yayyy I dont have to care about my sentences or spelling I am just an artist
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:13 PM   #32
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This is a great thread! Wish I'd had someone spell it out for me step-by-step like that before...

Now I have to go back over my old scripts haha. Thanks jrod!!
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:49 PM   #33
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On my phone now so can't type too much but someone should read pixel's post and start a discussion on what is needed for a panel description. Does the type/size/etc of tree matter? I know my answer but you guys have at it.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:58 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
Does the type/size/etc of tree matter?
Well, not that I know what I'm talking about (at all), but for what it's worth:

Wouldn't it depend on what that "tree" actually represents? It is a pivotal story element? If so, then a very detailed description is probably called for by the writer, no? Basically, from a writer's perspective, I would probably only go into specifics as to the type/size/detail/etc of the tree if it was integral to my vision of the story.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I kinda feel like the onus is on the writer to portray the important parts of their story to the artist, not on the artist to interpret what's in the writer's head...

Just my $0.02...
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:42 PM   #35
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So don't laugh at my analogy, but this is what first came to my mind---

A while back, my husband and I were going to the symphony for date night. Normally, I'm a blow-dry and leave it or a ponytail kind of girl, but for the symphony I needed something better. Something I would not want to try myself because I'm aware of my own limitations when it comes to my hair. So, I made an appointment to get my hair done professionally. I walked in and gave the stylist only a few words as a guide. Basically, I wanted something flattering and elegant, but she was the artist, not me, so she was free to take some liberties and do something she thought would work...

She gave me one of those rooster hairstyles with the crazy faux-hawk lift. I was mortified when she turned the chair around and I saw just how tall it was. Bad thing was, I had no time for her to re-do it. I faked it until I got to my car and then I lost it. *Tease me for being the girl on the forum talking about her hair all you want but--you didn't see it, OK?* I wish I would have given her more of a guide to go by.

As I'm writing page breakdowns and imagining my story, I see the images that I definitely want to have in there. I will describe those to the best of my ability in my script because, after all the artist's hard work, I would hate to see the finished product and be disappointed. On the other hand, I am aware of my limitations as an artist. I am looking forward to the opinion of another person whose ideas might just make my story better, despite my previous experience at the hands of an "artist".

All that said, I think as long as expectations are clear from the writer to the artist and the artist to the writer--and all of this is passed through the editors as well--then we can work together--and we will all be much less likely to feel let down in the end.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:24 PM   #36
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I think you're both right. If the panel calls for it, you need to be as descriptive as all hell, if it means something, include it. But the panel description should always be a guideline, once you hand the script off the idea is presented as a launching point, and someone with a better eye may have a better approach.

Sometime tomorrow I'll maybe post the gutter-time stuffs, depends on whether we get some discussions going on panel-time stuff.

PS (tara) - Don't worry about the hair analogy, my wife is obsessed with her hair so I can empathize with you, I've learned to. Once, my wife gave me a little bit of eye about my comic buying, to which I pointed out that her yearly hair budget is about double my comic budget and at least my comicking is tax deductible. So I know what the bad-hair freak out looks like and it's not scary anymore. And, as someone who hasn't frequented here in years, it's refreshing to see someone with a different world view 'round these parts. This place, in my absence, has apparently turned into a hot dog stand.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:40 PM   #37
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Hmm...this starts getting into workflow.
As Lee says, get the thumbnails first and agree on them; they should be proportionately sized so you can put them in your page template and start looking at balloon and caption placement.
Review the pencils and tweak if needed, then again review the inks.
At least that's all how Lee taught me. Errors or omissions are my fault, not his.

One thing Wednesday Comics has done for me is give me an appreciation of page design -- some of the artists are waaaaay better than others at that.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:41 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
Sometime tomorrow I'll maybe post the gutter-time stuffs
I, for one, would find that extremely helpful. If you have the time, of course.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:45 AM   #39
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this is a great, valuable thread. i'll try to jump in tomorrow.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:14 AM   #40
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Making Them Move

The third class in our Writing for Comics course focused on what happens in-between comic panels (the gutters). We borrowed heavily from McCloud's Understanding Comics with this one so I suggest you all go to your library and pick up this book if you haven't already read it. We started with a discussion of closure and how the mind can often resolve what happens from one panel to the next provided the writer and artist give the reader enough visible cues to make the connection. We showed examples from Watchmen (below) where Alan Moore and David Gibbons effectively established scenes within a nine-panel grid by keeping at least one object consistent while moving from one panel to the next. Looking at the first page, for example, we follow the button to the foot to the man with the hose to the blood splotch to the hand on the windowsill to final shot. There's something familiar in each new panel that allows us to instantly understand where we are and where everyone is in relation to each other.

http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/01.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/02.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/03.jpg

After discussing the Watchmen pages we flashed several more pages on the screen to get the students opinion on how time was being handled in each one and how the gutters were being played with in order to manipulate time. Those pages are below:

http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/04.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/05.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/06.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/07.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/10.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/09.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/11.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/12.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/13.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/14.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/15.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/16.jpg
http://www.jasonrodriguez.com/MakingThemMove/17.jpg

Feel free to take a couple of these pages and start a discussion on them. On thing to start you off/keep in mind. BLANKET is about the past, it's a memoir, so time has a specific meaning with that book, ELK'S RUN takes place in the present so time is supposed to be real and deterministic, and with SANDMAN time is endless. So keep that in mind when you think about these pages.

We then went into exercises. We started by asking students to thumbnail several short scenes borrowed from Matt Madden & Jessica Abel but instructed them to do the scenes in either three or four panels. It allowed us to discuss different ways to compress and expand on otherwise short scenes. Feel free to write the scripts to several of these scenes for discussions or, preferably (if you have a scanner), thumbnail them. You can probably even thumbnail most of them in Paint and save the jpg.

For the second exercise we asked the students to craft a nine-panel comic about how they got to class. This exercise allowed us to comment on how much space there is in a panel, especially for a nine-panel page, and how time between well-structured panels is often perceived as a constant for reader. Feel free to write out a script about how you got to work today for discussion.

The third exercise was borrowed from Paul Hluchan (page seems to be down). The students teamed-up into four groups and told the story of an astronaut that went to the moon and came back to the wrong planet. One group did four panels about the launch, one did four panels about the flight, one did four panels about the landing, and one did four panels about the return. Once we had sixteen panels we hung them up on the wall and the students systematically removed one panel at a time while ensuring the story still made sense. As expected, the panels at the beginning of the story disappeared pretty quickly, mainly because it's always easy for the brain to intuit what happened before the story's actual start point. Seriously, if you ever need to cut something down, chances are you can just throw away the opening. I started a writing exercise called Flashing on my web page and talked about something I like to call Act Zero in my hint fiction piece. The basic idea is, every story has an Act Zero, which is basically everything that happened before Act One. The idea is, if properly crafted, you can skip to the very end of the third act and make your act 1 and act 2 your act 0. It's an interesting exercise, and I challenge some of you to try and do a hint fiction (25-word) complete story. And if that's not enough of a challenge, try a microfiction (6-word) story. The point is to try and edit your story down to the essentials.

The fourth exercise was borrowed from Isaac Cates. Pretty self-explanatory, we presented Panel 1 and Panel 3 to the student and asked them to give examples of a panel two that showed moment-to-moment, subject-to-subject, action-to-action, scene-to-scene, aspect-to-aspect, and non-sequitur transitions.

And that was it for that class. The fourth week focused on dialog, but I think we have a lot to discuss here, first.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:43 AM   #41
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I really like some of these--especially #s 4, 6, 7 from Blanket, the memoir, I think. I dig that it's relationship focused and showcases moments that were especially memorable--no matter how little time they took up. That's real. It's amazing that we can recall the smallest things in perfect detail in instances when we're hurt by a person we really care about or when we're in that new love stage with someone. Those little moments are what's important, not necessarily a play by play of the major milestones in the relationship.

I also like the one in the tunnel. They created tension by drawing out the ride in the dark until the light hits the wolf-person in the road instead of skipping over it even though the panels look the same.

The one with the guy who dismembered women is great too. I love that it's just a shot of his (not scary) face that doesn't change as he's talking. It's like your sitting right there having this casual conversation with a monster. Time is almost frozen in instances like that (like his face is frozen in that one expression). I once listened to a guy tell me how he planned to shoot a man in the heart--literally--and then did. It was just like that. I was just looking at him kind of frozen as I heard him talk about planning it and waiting for the guy to come outside, etc. Even though the content is disturbing, they nailed the time aspect of that moment.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:06 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara
I really like some of these--especially #s 4, 6, 7 from Blanket, the memoir, I think. I dig that it's relationship focused and showcases moments that were especially memorable--no matter how little time they took up. That's real. It's amazing that we can recall the smallest things in perfect detail in instances when we're hurt by a person we really care about or when we're in that new love stage with someone. Those little moments are what's important, not necessarily a play by play of the major milestones in the relationship.
#7 really plays with the idea of time and gutters, too. In this sequence, the author is erasing a painting he made of him and his now ex-girlfriend that was on the bedroom wall. As he removes the painting, he also removes the panel borders, which are what's setting that painting in time. He's essentially moving on from that time, taking it out of his present and moving on to his future. It's a very effective technique, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara
The one with the guy who dismembered women is great too. I love that it's just a shot of his (not scary) face that doesn't change as he's talking. It's like your sitting right there having this casual conversation with a monster. Time is almost frozen in instances like that (like his face is frozen in that one expression). I once listened to a guy tell me how he planned to shoot a man in the heart--literally--and then did. It was just like that. I was just looking at him kind of frozen as I heard him talk about planning it and waiting for the guy to come outside, etc. Even though the content is disturbing, they nailed the time aspect of that moment.
I think the panels are doing double-duty here. It certainly hints at this blank stare. Despite the fact that he's telling us these horrors, his expression never changes. It also provides a nice juxtaposition against the text itself, he's taking us through his history, saying how he's changed over the years, but underneath it all he's always been the same person. At the same time, there's the physical representation of a fractured mind - we're looking at his face, not his entire body, and it's physically broken up on the page, making him feel disturbed to us although he looks normal.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:48 PM   #43
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These are really eye-opening. I'm beginning to think that maybe I have tendency to lean towards using fewer, larger panels than are really necessary in non-action sequences (that said, I've only written a few scripts in comics format so this is still very new medium for me).

I'm a little confused by #9 -- what's the aesthetic and/or functional purpose of the middle four panels, where the three to the right are identical? Is it just to give the impression of movement through the tunnel? If so, couldn't this have been better accomplished by having something on the wall that the light is hitting change slightly in each panel? Personally I think that page works with only the first and last panels but maybe I'm missing something obvious...
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:55 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arseneau77
I'm a little confused by #9 -- what's the aesthetic and/or functional purpose of the middle four panels, where the three to the right are identical? Is it just to give the impression of movement through the tunnel? If so, couldn't this have been better accomplished by having something on the wall that the light is hitting change slightly in each panel? Personally I think that page works with only the first and last panels but maybe I'm missing something obvious...
Well, since I edited the book that #9 came from I can 100% tell you what the intent there was. The over-the-shoulder viewpoint makes the reader a passenger on the bike. What we're doing is showing a routine monotony, this kid rides into the tunnel every night. The subsequent panels could all be from one night, they can be from past nights, it really doesn't matter. It's just always THE SAME. Until he sees a guy in a wolfman mask.
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:58 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrod
Well, since I edited the book that #9 came from I can 100% tell you what the intent there was. The over-the-shoulder viewpoint makes the reader a passenger on the bike. What we're doing is showing a routine monotony, this kid rides into the tunnel every night. The subsequent panels could all be from one night, they can be from past nights, it really doesn't matter. It's just always THE SAME. Until he sees a guy in a wolfman mask.
Ahh...I see. Gotcha. Sorry, I didn't get that from the panel. But it does make sense once you explained it. Thanks
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