Tag Archives: graphic novels

Don’t Take Me Down

american salvage comics code_edited-2

And did you further know what I am applying to myself right now?

This one started out as an extra page for the American Salvage book, a little introduction to the history of and academic discourse about comics that could explain the project’s intellectual value, but I could never figure out the last panel, how to bring it full circle or tie it in to the rest of the material. Like, where was this narrative going? Was there any joke in it? And how many copyright violations did I dare produce?

In for a penny…I drew all the licensed characters. I believe that this comic constitutes fair use but you know fair use is only for people who can afford lawyers.

Tonight I just decided to draw something for the last panel. I don’t know if this comic succeeds in saying what it wants to say, but at least it’s finished.

Dragon Comics 74

You've got the power!

You’ve got the power!

A long time coming but here it is: comics about self-affirmation and belief in your true core’s strength. The answer was right there all along.

So far this has been a good week! My friend the Owl sent me a job posting for a website looking for someone to blog about non superhero graphic novels. This is my thing! I have a deep background and many ideas to share on this subject, and I am professionally trained to write and to deconstruct texts. Yet, knowing about the process of reading open calls for submission triggers my fear of rejection. What if, despite my knowledge that I am perfect for a job, I fail? What does this say about my belief in my abilities, if I cannot even escape the slush pile? This is the sort of thing that tears me up and prevents me from putting forth the effort.

But I put forth the effort. And I made the cut. My little essays are going up as guest posts and if everything works out I will probably get my own column. To write about non superhero graphic novels. Which is a thing I would be doing anyway.

Another fun thing that just happened was the advent of my 100th follower on this blog. Hello! Everything’s coming up Dragon!

Drawing about Writing

Living alone, incursions into the writing space were few and far between, but with a family it can be hard to find those broad, uninterrupted swaths of time in which to think of nothing but art. For the last couple years, I’ve had to rely on writing retreats, some taken solo, and some taken with other like-minded artists. Today, I’m on retreat in Flagstaff, working on a new book, and it may not come as a surprise that I’ve decided to try my hand at the graphic novel medium.

Three useful texts

Three useful texts

Lacking the time or money for a low-res MFA in graphic storytelling, I’ve been reading voraciously on the subject. The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O’Neil has by far been the most useful resource on the subject, answering many questions about how to draft a script, and how words and images relate to one another in this format. Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics is massive and detailed, offering excellent advice for artists. I’m still working on the Will Eisner book; although I’ve not got very far into it, it definitely offers a very different perspective and set of advice. Eisner basically invented the modern graphic novel format.

The Stan Lee book is probably most useful to those who have already learned quite a bit about figure, landscape, and perspective, and just want to know how to translate that into drawing Marvel-style comics. I’m still looking for some old copies of the books that everyone seems to recommend for those wishing to learn more about figure drawing, which are any of the “Dynamic” drawing books written by Burne Hogarth. I could order them from Amazon, but I have $125 credit at a local used book chain, and I’m still hoping to find what I want there, since their stock always changes.

One useful piece of advice from the DC book involves the use of “suggested layout” sketches, normally visual notes from the writer to the artist. While I do intend to do my own penciling, the idea of generating storyboards seems a good way to communicate to myself (the artist) in the future, while visualizing the book to myself (the writer) in the present. These panel mockups may change, but presently, they correspond with the script, which is divided, per Dennis O’Neil’s advice, into pages and panels.

Suggested layouts corresponding to the script

Suggested layouts corresponding to the script

Comics tend to start on the recto, or right hand page. My pages are marked R and L so I can keep rector and verso (left hand page) straight and ensure that 2-page spreads or splash pages, and pages where deliberate mirroring (pages 9 and 10 above) will actually be printed facing one another.