Sunday 15 November 2009

Getting Ideas Down

I read recently that Harvey Kurtzman who has to be one of the most exceptional talents to ever undertake the demanding job of comic creation always started by outlying his ideas in a series of thumbnail sketches. And by thumbnail we are talking here tiny each page being no more than a couple of inches high, panels 3/4 inch high - tiny.

He would of course expand these to a much larger format as he issued the story assignments to the artists working for him, but really as editor and control freak par excellence, Kurtzman was merely appending each artist's style to his already strictly pre-determined template.

The Kurtzman approach has got a lot to recommend it, if you subdivide yourself into the two halves of this artistic equation. Employing a small stubby pencil and drawing small, is a genuinely liberating experience, focussing you on the essentials of your storytelling and certainly in my case, helps me overcome the horror of attempting to fill a blank page of A4 paper straight from the off.

What I tend to do is to break each page of my trusty A4 layout pad into four rectangles, and once this is done I begin to feel just about confident enough to take a punt on bunging in some panels and bits of action - not forgetting the space for those ever important dialogue balloons.

Once this has been done and here comes the miracle of computer technology, you just scan the crappy drawings into your machine and then open them up in your chosen software, mine being Adobe Illustrator but yours might be Photoshop or even Manga Studio (the best ever brush tools in cyberland) and off you go.

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