Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The ramblings of an amateur comic "artist"

Hello blog reader person. Yes, you. Of course I'm talking to you, you're the only one who reads this. I love you.

As you may or may not be aware/may or may not care, I've been working on comics lately. I've long wanted to create one but I lack a brain that's capable of saying "this is a thing and this happens to the thing and then other things happen to the thing". Luckily a kind gent took pity on me and asked me to draw his. Hurrah for me. Hurrah indeed as tis a splendid concept that should appeal to a wide range of folk and cats.

This is exciting but incredibly scary for me. Firstly there's the workload. I was given an opportunity to draw a few page long back story of a twitter buddies web comic. Unfortunately I completely misjudged the amount of time I'd need to draw it (not helped by the arrival of my first child) and ultimately had to let everyone down as I couldn't get page one finished by the deadline. Making comics is incredibly hard work.

Secondly, there are so many areas of my art that I thought I'd need to master before I could realistically have a go at drawing a comic. I hate backgrounds, can't draw them for toffee (or any other delicious treat). Legs, not a fan of those dangly bitches either. Hell, even multiple characters is something I don't often attempt.

And finally, crucially, I didn't feel I'd read enough comics to make my own. I feel like I'm an imposter, pretending to know what to do when I've only just got into them in the last 6/7 years.

All of the above is utter crap. Kind of. Drawing a comic IS hard work and it does take a long time, but get the right writer, a patient one, and it's not an issue. I've been drawing page one for the best part of a month now, the writer continues to support me. The actual drawing side of things has been helped with great blogs and tips from pro artists (seriously, check out Sean Murphy's DeviantArt journal re: backgrounds). In addition I'm learning it's a confidence thing. I CAN draw backgrounds, I CAN draw legs, I CAN draw multiple characters and I CAN draw monkeys tearing a mans testicles off. Haven't needed to yet, but I so could. I'm not a master, but damn it if I rough out each situation enough I do get it looking (in my mind) right.

I've been reading a comic book most nights, something I'd not been able to do since the babies arrival (thank flip for ComiXology). That's helped no end. I look at them differently now, I study the art and see what I can learn from it. I see where the artists keep detail low, I've always told myself that every panel must look astonishing, but it doesn't have to. It needs to be functional, move the story on. Portray a single piece of information then feed you the next, why assault the readers eyes with a beautifully detailed shot of a guy reading a newspaper? Overkill!

So I have an all new level of confidence, I know I'm capable. I'm not a cocky man, and I hate artists that rate themselves above others. I like a humble artist, but confidence is necessary I think. I'm riding this wave before it crashes again.

The short version of my ramblings: make comics with confidence. It's hard work but it's rewarding work.

Also, if you're ever stuck, just ask yourself "what would Wolf from Gladiators do?". The answer is always "f**k sh*t up!".

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