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actively studying comic art and using it in your own comics
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:21 pm    Post subject: actively studying comic art and using it in your own comics Reply with quote

ok, maybe I should lump this in with the "photo reference" thread I started.....

I am interested in how many people out there actively study comics and apply what they see when creating their own comics. Up until recently, I have only been passively studying comics techniques. Which means, I read a comic, I love it for some reason or another, and I let that influence me when I draw my next piece. But it is all passive. Some things show up more than others, but I never went and said, "I am going to use that layout in my comic!"

Up until recently.

The other day, I was looking at some Japanese comics I have lying around the house, and I started to notice how smooth the layouts were. Then I saw this scene that was exactly what I needed. I was doing a romance scene, and the way the artist did it was exactly the way I wanted my scene to go. So I basically used the layout for the bottom half of the page, came up with my own layout for the top half, and then went ahead and used pretty much the same kissing shots that the artist used. Wow. That's a first. I made sure that everything was in my style, which is very different from the style of the artist I was taking from. So it isn't a direct copy. In fact, I like mine better, cause I didn't really like that artist's style, actually. It's just that his layouts were so darn good, and the action moved along so smoothly.

So that was a first for me. To actively take something from another comic and put it in mine. I don't think the way I did it was evil.... actually, if anything, I think it was a good thing to do. I personally would love it if someday younger artists are learning how to draw comics based on stuff I did, as long as they ingest everything they see and make it their own before they draw it, so they are not just copying but building on what they already know and can do.

Any thoughts on this in general? And any experiences actively borrowing elements of a comic you saw, rather than just passively letting yourself be influenced by stuff you see?
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just a side note:

the layout i borrowed from that artist was just half of a page. all the other pages in the entire story were layed out by me. Also, I didn't do an exact inch by inch comparrison of his panel sizes, I just used the general proportions by sight. And it turns out I suck and drawing exactly what I see anyhow, so my drawings were all either too big (meaning I croped my stuff so that stuff the original artist had included could not be included in my panels) or too small (meaning I had to come up with more stuff than was in the original panel).

ok. so. thoughts?
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William G
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 560
Location: South central...Korea. Word.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did that for years, studying the greats like Fujio Fujiko. Then I realized that I was starting to look like the greats, so I decided to try and maximize my limited skills I have now.

But people in all art forms do what you describe. There's only so many ways to reinvent the wheel.
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allan_ecker
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Joined: 15 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

*parrots McCloud's Axioms*

Learn from everyone.
Follow no one.
Look for patterns.
Work like hell.



But anyway, I use stuff from other comics all the time. I've never ripped a layout per se (unless you count my use of Bloom County's exactly four panel format for the past four years) but I have looked at things and said "I'm DOING something like THAT. SOON."

Take The Watchmen. I took one look at that last panel and said "I. Must. Use. Symbols." The Dark Night Returns got me all excited about repeating themes, and I've been wanting to use trails ever since I read Zot! Online.
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losttoy
Understands reinventing


Joined: 02 Apr 2002
Posts: 429
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been reading a lot of Hellboy lately and I really like how Mike Mignola tells a story. Very simular to any of Will Eisner comics. I have yet to apply this to my own comics as I really don't have much time as I used to. However I would say i would be actively studying artists' work. As well with any comic artist I have been reading, I always ask what makes "this page" work and not work. I try to soak up as much information and technique as I can to someday use myself in my own style. I think if you are an artist reading comics it is hard not to do this.
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gazorenzoku
Reinvents understanding


Joined: 08 Nov 2001
Posts: 629
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, but that is a little bit different from what I'm talking about. I've been looking at stuff and studying it for years. But it was all passive. At the time I posted the first message in this thread, I actually flat out used someone else's layout and character placing for the first time. Like I said, it was only half a page.

(By the way... the story should be coming out in an Eros comic some time next year or so... I'll let you know when it is going to come out as soon as I know (as soon as the editor lets me know). Then, maybe I can scan in the page I took it from and you can compare the original to my reworked version. Whee.)

But yeah, for now I am back to using my own layouts for the time being, just cause I feel like it, but it was kind of fun to actually use a specific layout from a specific story.
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Tim Mallos
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Joined: 23 Apr 2001
Posts: 354
Location: Brighton, Michigan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a long, strong, vibrant tradition of lifting sequences from prior work. I think the polite term is 'homage".

(the truck scene from Raiders and the great stage scene from Stagecoach, for instance....)

I used to be paralyzed by a fear that what I was planning or doing had been done, or, worse yet, I had seen something in the past and just thought what I was doing was original.

Then I heard a jazz musician being interviewed and he made the point that there are a fixed number of jazz chords and riffs, and it's all just a matter of style, interpretation and presentation.

If you saw a sequence that really worked for you, go for it, I say. Make it your own, with your style, interpretation and presentation. And hope that the person who uses a sequence from your work as inspiration feels just as good about it.

Someone is bound to take issue with this. I'm not advocating Xerox(tm)ing another's work. I'm simply saying everything is derivative in some way. That's how the medium evolves.

I feel we need to be conscientious (derive, not duplicate), put our own talents into the piece, and march on.

Tim
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