Cartooning Basics | David Miller | Skillshare
Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
13 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Cartooning Basics Intro

      1:42
    • 2. Character Basics 1

      3:33
    • 3. Character Basics 2

      3:33
    • 4. The Six Panel Strip

      8:36
    • 5. Expressive Characters

      4:57
    • 6. Panel Sizing and Placement

      3:18
    • 7. Thumbnailing The Story

      3:40
    • 8. Setting and Backgrounds

      3:19
    • 9. Characters Acting

      2:36
    • 10. Penciling and Inking the Story

      3:20
    • 11. Cartooning Lettering

      5:31
    • 12. Comic Paper Suggestion

      1:59
    • 13. Cartooning Wrap Up

      1:11
16 students are watching this class

About This Class

Welcome to my course on cartooning basics! In this class we generate characters, create a six panel comic strip, and work on a 4 page story on professional comic paper.

We'll cover... 

  • tools and techniques ...
  • POV and making dynamic panels...
  • tips for character generation and writing...
  • creating believable settings...
  • making a hand-lettered style that is still legible and professional-looking...
  • ...and more

Transcripts

1. Cartooning Basics Intro: out there. My name is David Miller, multimedia artist from Phoenix, Arizona. Do photography, animation illustration, video editing, music production, A lot of different things. One of the earliest art forms they ever got into was cartooning. This is something that's been near and dear to my heart almost my entire life. I was a fan of comic strips from the far side to cabinet Hobson Garfield When I was a kid. I grew up enjoying comic books, doing my own doing some that are a little more manga, influenced little more Calvin and Hobbes influence on our talk cartooning to youth for about eight years at this point. So I want to pass on some of the lessons that I've learned to you guys out there, and we're going to start with creating characters. We're going to create a six panel strip, and then we're gonna talk a little bit about actual comics pages. If you're inclined to create something larger than a comic strip, which you'll need for this class are really just the simplest of drawing supplies. To start with sketch books and pencils, I'll give you some recommendations for particular pencils, inking tools, paper types as we go along. But I think for anybody who wants to get started in this, they need to just have the bug and be willing. Teoh draw with a plain old pencil and plain old paper, and once you are into it, I feel like that's a good time to invest and upgrade the materials that you're working with . Until you have that bug, though no point and gathering, you know, tons and tons of supplies that you're not going to use. 2. Character Basics 1: Now, when we start our cartooning, I encourage people to utilize their own characters for a bunch of different reasons. One is you're less likely to be frustrated drawing your own characters than if you're trying to draw something like Spider Man and you feel like you just can't get Spiderman right? And you're never gonna succeed unless you do the perfect Spiderman or whatever character it is that you're drawing. We all start by drawing characters from corporations from other media from entertainment. But I feel like we're gonna b'more invested in our creations if we create it from whole cloth. And you're also going to find your own personal drawing style by virtue of working on your own characters. So Step One is to create a set of characters, and in most stories we have a main character who has at the beginning of their journey, they haven't achieved all the things they want to achieve. They have goals, and we're gonna follow them from their goals. Something is simple. A sponge Bob Square pants. He's a naive character, and he's a likable character. He's somebody that we're OK with. Having be our point of view and following along on whatever dirty sponge off is going on in that particular episode. Photo from Lord of the Rings. Peter Parker in Spider Man films. These are all characters who start out at a place, and wherever they go, we're learning life lessons and about the world that they exist with them. That man, Superman, Wonder Woman. Those characters are kind of from a different era there already established in their goals , and we're not learning a whole lot with them, you might argue. That's the kind of character you want to work with. That's fine. I encourage people to start with characters who haven't achieved their goals yet. The main character need somebody they can talk to, so that could be a best friend. The main character needs somebody that they can contrast with in Clash With on SpongeBob. That character might be squid word. The main character needs an antagonised, of course, somebody that opposes them in their goals. The main character might need somebody to explain things about the world. To them, a wise person. The main character might need other people to round out their caste, and sometimes it's helpful if the main character has a boss somebody that tells them things to do not necessarily in antagonised, but you know, just you, creating a balance of forces that oppose the main character in whatever their goals are or that motivate any kind of story engine that you might want to facilitate in SpongeBob main character, SpongeBob, his best friend is Patrick, his sort of rival. Contrast. Ing figures, squid word, his enemies, plankton, his bosses, Mr Crabs. His companion is Gary, and the wise person who explains things that he doesn't understand could either be Sandy or Mrs Puff. But that's a good example of a really well rounded cast in Star Wars. That wise person might be Obi Wan Kenobi in Harry Potter. It might be doubled, or you tend to find these archetypes in all kinds of stories and encourage people when they're designing a cast that they start with these kind of roles 3. Character Basics 2: now. One thing you'll notice about most cartoons is that the characters are easily identifiable , whether they're in color or not. Their shapes tend to be very different. They have different hairstyles. There's just a graphic way of individualizing each character that we create. So when you create a character, think of their role, think of their age, think of a personality for them. How can you express all of these things physically in your drawing, Mr. Crabs on SpongeBob wears business like clothes. He does not look like a little kid. SpongeBob works in a restaurant, but he still looks a little bit like a little kid because he wears those funky shorts. It would be odd for Mr Crabs as the boss to be wearing funky shorts and have his socks pulled up the way that child like SpongeBob does. I'm gonna go ahead and design a couple characters for you guys. Not every role is gonna be designed, but I just want to give you a sense how I would approach the designing process. And I will say that I found character generation to be one of most fun things about cartooning, because when you create good characters. They almost tell the stories for you. If you don't put a lot of thought into the character design and you don't sort of flesh out their personalities, their roles, how they interact with each other, then it becomes more and more difficult to tell a story. Also, it's less interesting for your readers to follow along with whatever scenarios you put your characters into. Now, this course isn't really here to tell you how you should be drawing. But I do want to give you confidence in your natural drawing style, which is what your hand really wants to do when it puts lines on the paper. I have taught a lot of students who are very frustrated about their inability to create realistic drawings. I myself went through that as a teenager and actually got into photography because of it. That's when I realized if I wanted to do something that was super realistic, I could just take a photo of it instead of trying to render it with pencil and paper. The most successful cartoonists of all time are people like Charles Schulz created peanuts . Matt Graining, creator of The Simpsons, Futurama and Disenchantment. These are cartoonists who have on incredibly unrealistic style. But it is one that connected to an audience, and I feel like that's the most important thing when you are drawing, is it something that other people respond to, and that brings you pleasure. Whether or not it looks like an anatomically perfect person is really beside the point. There are a lot of people who can create very realistic drawings. If you want to go for Ah realistic style, by all means pursue that dream. But don't beat yourself up. If you can't naturally create something that looks 100% perfect, everything's in perfect proportion. When you enjoy what your body naturally wants to make artistically, then you can really take it to the next level and take advantage of what cartoons have always been able to do, which is portray unrealistic things in an entertaining fashion. And whatever your drawing style is a guarantee, there's an audience for it out there somewhere. You just have to connect with it by putting your work out there 4. The Six Panel Strip: now that we have generated some characters, I want to talk to you about storytelling, and we're gonna start with one of the simpler forms of comic storytelling, which is the Sunday Strip. When I was growing up, it was very common for us to get a newspaper and it would have 3 to 4 panels on the weekdays. On Sunday, you would get a full color spread that had about six panels to it. And with those six panels, the cartoonists of old were able to tell not the deepest of stories, but a very concise one that had a little bit of action, little bit humor. And it was such a joy to get those six panels because you felt like, ah, finally, the story could breathe. It doesn't just have to be a gang a day, which is what happened on the weekday Funny strips or, you know, just the simplest bit of story for something that's more dramatic, like Dick Tracy, where a guy just kind of like walks in the door and brandishes a gun to be continued. On Sunday, you get the full meal of those smaller cartoon strips. Now, one of the reasons why I want us to start with that before we attempt something larger scale like a comic book is. If you're unable to tell a story of some kind within six panels, it's gonna be really hard to tell a story with eight pages or 22 pages. People's ambitions when they begin, need to be low. And it's also important to know how to maximize the economy of space that you have meaning . If you only have these small parameters six panels, they're all the same. How can you get an idea across to a viewer? That is the main purpose for us making our comics, even though we want to express ourselves, even though we want to experience the joy of drawing and maybe writing. Ultimately, we're trying to communicate an idea to other people. And if other people don't understand that idea than I won't say, the work is a failure, but it needs to be improved to the point where it does communicate to people. That's why we're starting with six panel strips, all the boxes the same size. Now. My method for creating a six panel strip is Block One. Introduces are setting in our characters blocked, too, introduces a problem or a conflict. Block three addresses a challenge to that conflict. Block four and five are both action pieces. Where something needs to happen doesn't have to be a gunfight. Doesn't have to be fist thrown. Just something visual. Probably the most exciting panels of your strip need to happen there. People run one direction or another. Somebody falls. Somebody flies their airplane. You know, these are things that are more than just people sitting around talking or thinking. Panels 45 are meant for action, and then Panel six somehow resolves the entire strip. When I took a class on comedy, the comedian stated that the end of the joke needs to reverse expectations. Somehow it can't fulfill the expectations. If somebody starts a joke, why did the chicken cross the road? And the answer is to get the other side. I mean, we expected that from the get go, you know. But if it was, why did the chicken cross the road? And then the comedian launched in this really long tirade of all the things the chicken needed to do on the other side of the road, he needed to pay his bills. He needed Teoh get checked for some medical screening. Who knows what the chicken needed to do? But if it defied expectations of what the audience I was expecting, then they can react with humor, maybe rage, because their expectations were defied. But if you just give them what they expected in the very last panel at the end of a joke, the audience is gonna be bored. And they're gonna just like you in a way because they didn't show up to get exactly what they expected. They showed up to be entertained, and entertainment involves surprise. So here's a scenario. Superman and Lois Lane are in the line at a bank. They're cashing their daily planet checks panel to the problem. Bain and some thugs keep their way into the bank. Say, this is a holdup. We're robbing the place Panel. Three. Clark can't thinks to himself. I've got to stop these thugs without them realizing that Clark Kent is secretly Superman. Panel four. Bain has Clark Kent hostage. Clark Kent, unable to change into Superman, has two Playoff is cowardly stereotype that he usedto have in the seventies and eighties, and he is going to faint, my pal. Five. He has been pinned to the floor not because he actually fought him a Superman, but because he fainted but still used his superpowers secretly to pin being down the wrap up panel. Six main and thugs were taken away. Lois Lane, who in my cartoon universe is not married to Superman and does not know that Clark Kent and Superman on the same person. Lois Lane berates Clark Kent for being such a coward, and he answers, Well, we all can't be his bravest Superman. So tight little story. Hope you liked it entertains me. That's why I came up with it. But we had an introduction. We introduce a problem. What's the conflict of the problem? Tried to resolve into panels and then wrapped up the whole thing in town. Six. I think for a lot of people, the hardest panel to address would be Panel three, which is why is this conflict actually harder than the average conflict? If there's a guy that shows up and he's gonna punch Batman in the face, you know by a panel three. I need to know why this guy is an actual threat to Batman and why Batman can't just karate chop him into submission. There has to be something extra, you know, and we're introducing the fact that Clark Kent wants to keep his secret and any safe as why this is a little harder than the average Superman story, where he could just show up in laser Eye and freeze everybody and throw him into the sun and all those kinds of things. Now I want to talk about the panels themselves because thes aren't just boxes that we throw down on the page. And even though my six panel comic strip had same size boxes that went all the way across, I did very camera angles, character sizes as needed. Because if Clark Kent in Panel three is thinking about something, I don't need to be way far away from him. I need to be close up to view the expression on his face. And if you get into comics are you're gonna find that you're going to do a lot of close ups on people's faces, your characters, our actors and learning how to draw expressions on their faces is pretty critical stuff. Sometimes I see a comic or a mean where they just repeat the same face on characters, and it's kind of like a blank face over and over and over. To me, those are the most boring comics you could come up with. There's nothing expressive or visual about them. Contrast that with something like Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is gesticulating. He's got an emotion in every single panel he appears. You never get this blank, Calvin. That's not doing anything or saying anything, and you don't know what he's thinking just by looking at the artwork. 5. Expressive Characters: So where do we learn how to draw different expressions? The first piece of advice I would give you guys is not necessarily looking another cartoonist art by looking at people in the real world. And if you've got a friend who kind of an actor actress and can emote for you, that's amazing. That's great, you know. Sit with them. Ask them for some basic emotions that you think you need for your story photographing from different angles. Life. Draw them If you don't have friends of that nature, there are a lot of reference materials already prepared for you online about looking up expressions and what a lot of professional artists do is watch streaming video and pause it screen. Cap it for a reference when they need to know, uh, particular poses or expressions. There are a few books that are kind of universally recognised as being the how to make comics Bibles. One is by Will Eisner Scott Sequential Art. The others are Scott McCloud's Understanding comics and making comics, and it's got McLeod's books. You will find a chart that actually details the basic emotions, the same ones that are in Pixar's Inside Out and where the facial muscles go when you're expressing those things and then it goes into these equations. When you add joy and discussed you get something that's a reaction like, you know, it's like you're happy to be disgusted because it's funny. Whatever thing is happening in front of you and kids eating worms or something like that. That's something that you can see as reference in Scott McCloud's books. Drawing From Real Life, from photographs for magazines, from reference material from paused video from educating yourself on where the facial muscles are and where they should be. For whatever emotion you're trying to have your character portray, all of that stuff is out there and will really help you learn how to illustrate expressions on faces. Hands are a little bit different. Hands are one of those things that a lot of people struggle with. Um, because there's just so many fingers and they're all doing different things all the time. It's a nightmare. So my recommendation to you is one. At least you carry these things around with you, and you can reference them in different kinds of light. See where the shadows fall, move the lights around they do sell mannequin hands in art stores where you can reposition the fingers, doesn't have the full rotation, obviously, that a normal human hand would have but those air really helpful for reference, and they're very simplified. I think any of those mannequin figures are able to help young artists out because they don't carry all the extra stuff like the folding, the clothes, the wrinkles on my face hairstyles. They can be imprinted with whatever the artist sees in them. And they don't normally correspond Teoh, a normal human being who actually has a face and actually as hair. So when you get this hand mannequin, it's so basic you can see Oh, the fingers air curling in this particular manner. And for me, I would either draw a little light skeleton hand and then flush it out of late. I've been doing the tops of my fingers as quick strokes with the marker or the pencil and then building the fleshy part underneath it. There's a lot of other references for how to build. Then again, my drawing style is particularly cartooning, and, uh, the best advice I could give you is don't beat yourself up if your hands don't look very realistic. There's a lot of great artists you don't like to draw hands. Mike Manola, the artist who created Hellboy, famously covers up stuff he doesn't like to draw in darkness and shadow Charles Schulz, the artists of peanuts. Objectively, his hands look like a big pile of mush, but they are expressive enough, and his style connects with people enough that it really doesn't matter if your hands are perfect if they're realistic, as long as they illustrate whatever kind of emotion they need to. 6. Panel Sizing and Placement: Now let's get into why There are different sized panels, and what they have to do is storytelling. A large panel has more detail in it provides emphasis, meaning it's a bigger moment in the story. Maybe it's the part where the hero defeats the villain. Maybe it's the part where, uh, photo gets the ring. Maybe it's the part where someone declares their love for someone else. You know, that's a big moment in your story. You're allowed to feel that pound with a lot of detail. It could also just imply a long stretch of time is passing. For example, if you want to show it's morning in the city, you could have one giant panel show the city have the sunrise. We get the point. You could see the traffic on the ground. It's rush hour. There's all the stuff that happens in the morning in the city. Happening in one panel. Smaller panels, really tiny ones are meant to just be details. You're putting the dishes in the dishwasher, the characters brushing their teeth in our example of morning in the city. Maybe somebody's hailing a cab. Maybe somebody's turning off their alarm clock. Uh, these little details. I don't need half your page to tell what's happening. They just mark small fractions of a time in significant moments. But moments that help sell the reality of whatever is happening within the story panel sizes that are somewhere between the really big ones and the really small ones is where the meat of this story happens. That's where people have conversations. So you have talking heads to go back and forth. That's where somebody walks into the room and introduces himself. All the things that are not big epic, super important or minuscule details that don't really matter much better just there to support the story. That's where those things happen. The medium sized panels. Now there are a lot of artists out there who have created really cool works and utilize the same panel size every single time. The most famous of those, of course, being watchman by Allan Morin, Dave Gibbons. That's a very unique work that utilizes this nine panel grid that creates a particular rhythm to that story that occasionally is broken. But overall, the majority of comics you look at our very effective in their use of alternating panel sizes and that creates his own kind of rhythm, it tells the audience. Pay attention to this, or this is a chance for the artist to cut loose because it's a really important moment. It's a really cool drawing. I would encourage you as a beginning storyteller to get used the idea that you're going toe alternate panel sizes throughout all of your pages. 7. Thumbnailing The Story: Now we need to talk about what goes in those pages, and we are going to create a four page story to start because, uh, creating something that's like a standard size comic. 22 pages, 30 pages is a huge effort on. If you can't make a story and four pages, then you're gonna have a really difficult time making a story in 22 or 30 pages. And they feel like we should start small, create things that give us confidence that we can finish something. So we're gonna do a four page story. So the first thing I'm going to do is not use big common paper, but I'm gonna take a standard piece of printer paper. I'm gonna have it folded into quarters like so. And I'm gonna thumbnail out what my story is. So I know what I'm doing. Before I start putting lines on big common paper. I've taught this class so many times in person and to kids, teenagers, sometimes adults. Ah, lot of them want to skip this step. I don't know why. For the life of me, you would want to skip this thumb nailing step because this is gonna save you so much work and anxiety When you get to the large comic paper, you are gonna have a template for what you're doing. And it's going to be something that you're gonna refer to ah lot. And you could make all of your mistakes on here and not worry about having to erase it or damage something that's a little more expensive. So I highly, highly, highly encourage you to thumbnail out your work on something small like this. And, hey, if you think you want to go straight to making your own watchman, Dave Gibbons from Watchman did. This is, well, a story that can be told in four parts. Page one needs to introduce stuff and established the problem. Page two needs to deepen the problem. The conflict Page three needs to work towards resolving that problem, and Page for has to conclude the problem. But it should also have a little more of that conflict. That action, whether it's a superhero if I somebody escaping from a dangerous place. Whatever the issue of the conflict is, you have in your four page story that bleeds on the page for and gets resolved there at the end of pages 123 There needs to be something that intrigues me as the reader to turn the page. Keep in mind that Page one is gonna be on its own. Pages two and three, if they were compiled in an actual comic book, would be side by side. So whatever that the end of page to your reader is going to see the top of Page three out of the corner of their eye if they're reading Page two. So to have a guy pull off his mask at the bottom of Page two in the reveal of whose secret and he is at the top of Page three, that's not great. Better toe. Have the guy pull off his mask at the end of page three because then the reader flips the page, and then they can be surprised. I know that it sounds a little silly to say that we're there to surprise the reader with each page turn, but these are the mental gymnastics that take place in comics that make us keep turning the page and keep being intrigued. It makes no sense to have your big reveal on the bottom of the page. It makes sense to have it teased on the bottom of the page continued after they turned the page 8. Setting and Backgrounds: so the top of page one. I would encourage you to establish your setting right away if the reader doesn't know where they're at. If it's contemporary city life, if it's 300 years in the past, if we're on a boat at sea, um, if we're in outer space and if we're in our space, you know, are we on a spaceship or we're on a planet? If you don't establish that right away in your story, the readers will be lost, confused and not really know how. They're supposed to take what's happening in the rest of the story, and you can show a city. But if you don't give some indication in this time period, we don't know how people relate to each other. I mean, people in 2020 relate to each other a lot differently. They didn't in the 19 fifties or in the 18 hundreds. Give us a clue where were at what time period were operating in at the very start of your story. A lot of times, I encourage young students to just start with one big panel that shows the location in the high school. It's an office building on the outside some kind of exterior. So we go inside with our characters, and then we don't have to show as much background detail as long as we already know where we are. If you're gonna change locations, I say, given exterior shot or something that indicates where we are. If this is like a bakery, you know you could have it written on the glass backwards. Or you can show people baking things, but just give us a sense when and where it is. Every time you change location, you need to re establish with an establishing shot. Every time we change location, you need to re establish that with some kind of drawing that showcases where this new location is, and then you can move on with your story. A lot of the talking head panels that I'm familiar with arm don't even have a lot of background details to them. They don't need him if I already know where I am, if I don't know where I am, or there's something that can help support what a character is saying, the intent of their words and their actions, then absolutely should have that be a drawing in the background. Another thing about background is you have to realize as a comics artist, you have the power to maneuver a camera anywhere you want. That's not something we'd be able to do in real life unless we had the equipment or the money to do so. So I would say, Take advantage of the fact that if you wanted Teoh a drawing from outer space, looking down on your city, you could if you wanted to do a drawing from the inside of somebody's mouth, looking out and showing the backside of their teeth at another character, like if they were in a dentist's office or something. You could do that. You can put a camera anywhere you want and draw from that point of view, so being stuck with a very rigid I line camera is not necessary, and I discourage you from doing that. Consider moving the camera around the room, placing on the floor the ceiling, that placing in a corner like a security camera footage. All of these air options available to you as a comics artist 9. Characters Acting: Now it's time for the really fun stuff, the stuff that most of us get into comments for which is drawing your characters, your characters or not, just drawings of people standing around animal standing around. They are actors, and depending on how open they are about their emotions, they're going to be gesturing. They're gonna have facial expressions that showcase their thoughts and feelings. I personally feel like every panel I have a character. They should be doing something that furthers the story or tells us more about them. So a comic that has nine static images in nine panels of characters just looking the same way, not moving their mouth, not expressing, not do anything with their hands, not posing that is a complete wasted page. I've seen this in amateur comics I've seen in professional comics, where they decided they were just going to digitally copy a drawing over and over. I cannot stand that personally. I just think it's a total missed opportunity. One artist who, as a phenomenal job of having expression in every single drawing he does of his characters , is Bill Watterson, artist and writer behind Calvin and Hobbes. Uh, you never, ever get a sense that Calvin isn't thinking or emoting. He's always doing something. The storytelling is so clear, and I just think that is the kind of thing we should be striving for as comics artists. Um, then again, everybody's aren't styles little different and unique. So you know, you might have on art style that is okay with assembly line drawings, duplicated drawings, no expression. Maybe that's what your characters are intending to do. There's a very famous cartoon called Daria Spinoff of Beavis and Butthead, and Daria is mostly expressionless because she's somewhat un emotional, cold and distant character. But that's part of the humor, and also the characters around her aren't acting exactly like Daria. So whatever is more appropriate for your story. I encourage you to look at your characters actors and have them act appropriately every time you draw them. 10. Penciling and Inking the Story: putting drawings on your paper. Now, if you have done a lot of drawing in your life, you probably already know it's a good idea to sketch out with the six h pencil. Six age is the very lightest pencil, and once you have these rough sketches, you can go over them with some kind of incline B. It's pen brush marker Scharping if you prefer micron pens. I am currently working a combination of hit soft brush markers because they give this Sumi a sort of Asian brush flavor that I really like. Ah, and then I am also using some smaller Pitt markers. They're similar to my krones, and that's good for detail. I like a combination of different line widths because it just makes the drawing look a lot richer when everything is, ah, a similar line, wait similar line with then it all kind of washes together, and there's no emphasis. Um, it's just not the kind of art that I'm into, and I know other people who love this super technical. Everything's very precise and small line with. It's just not the art that I'm making in the earth that I like to look at When you put ink on the paper, it's not fatal. I feel like a lot of people are terrified of putting ink on the paper because it feels permanent. You know, that's the drawing. Uh, the original comics art is for your eyes only. And if you get famous and you sell it than putting corrective fluid on, it still doesn't devalue it. Jack Kirby, most famous comics artist of the 20th century, has a lot of corrections on his work. Hey also left a lot of flaws, and he would draw messed up hand and not replace it because he had to crank out as many pages as he possibly could. If you as a comics artist want to replace uh, funky looking hand that you did, you can wipe that out. Whiteout dries re drive. You can take a drawing you've done on a hand on something else. Photocopy it, pasted on. It doesn't matter because people aren't going to see that original art. They're going to see your scans of it, your photographs of it. They're going to see a printed or a digital representation of something that you didn't really life. But the correction fluid or the collage hands probably won't show up in the final piece. And if they do, Hey, that looks cool to me, too. I love collage in comics, and I wish that more artists will make use of that. Jack Kirby did. Dave McKeen did many, many, many other artists who brought another. Media's and collage techniques have done really cool comics work. It's not a sin to correct a mistake, however you want to do it. There is no comments. Police that are gonna come pound on your door and say, What are you doing? This is all wrong. 11. Cartooning Lettering: I want to talk to you about letter in your comics. The main package for lettering and comics is the word balloon. This is an old shape with a tail that points to the mouth of a character. Anyone who's ever read a comic, a comic strip is very familiar with the word balloon. There are thought balloons, which are kind of out of fashion and most comics these days. But he's there. The little puffy things that have the dot, dot, dot that leads to a character's head let you know their innermost thoughts and you have more explanatory boxes that can be positioned anywhere within a frame is a really common in modern comics. They displaced the word balloons at least a decade ago. My comic is very roughly drawn, and I felt like it should have a hand drawn lettering quality. This means actually drawing the balloons into the panels, doing the writing within those balloons all on my lonesome. What ended up happening is some pretty illegible comics. Something's air, very legible, and some things or not, I wrote it with this standard uppercase first letter and lower case following letters. This is less common in modern comics than having entirely upper case letters. And the reason for that is having entirely uppercase letters is very legible. It's very easy for people to read, but I also did this without using any sort of lettering guide ruling out the lines just kind of like pure instinct. So in some cases, I think it's fine in other cases, not so much. My second attempt at lettering my Maddie comic, was to simply by a digital font from Lamb bought. This is a company that makes very specific fonts for comic books, graphic design, video games, that kind of thing. And when I letter this digitally in photo shop, meaning I had cleared out the word balloons and just typed in the words, I did not carry over the same feel as the artwork. Now you could completely read the letters within my balloons, but the words and the art were at odds. They did not feel like they were in the same environment or as my daughter, the subject of Maddie put it. It looks too perfect. So to get a hybrid between something that is very legible, very clean and conforms to lying guides, meaning that all the words are on the same level, and they're all the same scale. I went ahead and typed up all my dialogue had it printed out at the font size that I want to use for my comic. And then I used a light box and a piece of Bristol paper to trace over those words. So ultimately I get a blend of my handwriting and the digital thought that I purchased. It's not 100% me. It's not 100% the fun, but it's very easy to read. I made sure when I typed up my words that I placed them in the basic shape and structure that I knew my word balloons were going to fit around my word balloons. I use a simple plastic template of ovals to create those. I could simply draw the word balloon around the words as they are. If you have access to photo shop, it's just Azizi to scan in your artwork, scan in a bunch of individual where balloons you have and scanning your writing and combine all of those as separate layers. And this is what I ultimately ended up doing for my Maddie comic. It was just the easiest way to get everything, have that hand rendered feel yet still fit together and not have a much of extraneous space around my word balloons. The tales of the word balloons I completely hand drew. So when I made my word balloon templates, I made sure I made ones ahead. Tales go in various directions. Various Kercher's. I have all these word balloons saved in a file on my computer, and I can call them up and use transform method in Adobe Photoshopped to fit them. However, I need them within the panels on Amman. Apia is a specific technique that involves drawing sound effects or words that match the vibe of what you're going for. So if you wanted somebody saber like they were cold, you would draw out the word burr and place icicles on it. If you wanted to have an explosion, you wouldn't just draw out the word kaboom. You might put a little bit of graphics of smoke or force energy around it to showcase that . This isn't just the work of Boom. This is an actual bomb going off. I feel like the best comics sound effects make extensive use of graphic representation of on Amman Appiah and not just a larger version of I phone. You're already using what it looks like needs to feel like what the word is expressing. Now all the techniques have outlined by lettering drawing, ruling out panels and so forth. This ultimate thing about comics is you can do whatever you want. There are no rules, and the most important thing is to make the comic. If your aesthetic is toe, have completely illegible dialogue or things that are very robotic and processed, that's the aesthetic that you choose for your comic and I 100% support it. The best thing all of us can do is have a clear vision about what we want to create and how we can create it. And if we have questions about creating something that we don't know yet, seek out the advice of somebody who's knowledgeable and also will support your personal creative vision. It's no use for you to seek out somebody who will tell you how to do a thing their way and have no ideas on how you want to accomplish what you're looking to accomplish. 12. Comic Paper Suggestion: I am using a Bristol bore that is intended for comics artwork. It's 11 by 17 and they sell this pretty much any art store. They sell it with guided lines, which is a good way, I think, to start because thes guides our allow you to draw panels and gutters, which is the space in between the panels, Uh, and have it look really nice. But once you get a few of these under your belts, I encourage you to just by the plain old white Bristol board, and you can make copies at your local copy shop, ah, of panel designs that you use routinely. That's one way to save money. If you think you're going to use strange panels all the time, you want to really get into the design of each page as its own unique entity. By all means, go ahead and buy the Bristol board with the comics layout and redo your panels every single time. I'm just encourage you to quick way because, uh, drawing boxes with rulers and T squares or whatever you're gonna use as a straight edge. That's pretty time consuming, and most of us want to just jump in and tell our stories for me if I have between six and 10 layouts that I routinely use over and over and over. For example, Page that has three wide screen panels a page. It has six squares that are the same size, a page that has a big white screen panel on the bottom and a bunch of little ones at the top. Or you could flip that over and have your widescreen top and much loved ones on the bottom . You know, if I have a few choices, Aiken tell a story pretty convincingly that way. If I need something special, that's when I dig out the paper that has the guides. 13. Cartooning Wrap Up: the best advice I think anyone can get in cartooning is put your pencil to the paper, see what happens. It does not matter if it's realistic. It does not matter if it doesn't become the most famous or popular thing in the world. The main thing is that you enjoy expressing yourself, and if you enjoy it enough, share it with the world. Have it connect to other people. There is an audience for every single kind of cartooning. Unlike many other art forms, there is no limitation to the ideas you can put down on the paper. You're not hampered by budget. If people in your band get along with you, if they show up to practice, none of those things matter. You're drugs. We're really only limited by your imagination. Thanks for sticking with this course. If you make anything as a result of this course, I would love to see it feel free to email me through this site. Let me know what you think of the process. Feel free to check out the rest of my courses on photography, graphic design, animation illustration And once again, thanks for watching