Drawing Comics: A Beginner's Guide | Ira Marcks | Skillshare

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Drawing Comics: A Beginner's Guide

teacher avatar Ira Marcks, Graphic Novelist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Lesson: Understanding the Panel


    • 4.

      Lesson: Staging Panels


    • 5.

      Lesson: Examples of Good Panels


    • 6.

      Lesson: Understanding Comics


    • 7.

      Lesson: Types of Transitions


    • 8.

      Lesson: Examples of Transitions pt. 1


    • 9.

      Lesson: Examples of Transitions pt. 2


    • 10.

      Lesson: A Look at Pens and Brushes


    • 11.

      Lesson: Inking Technique


    • 12.

      Lesson: Inking a Panel


    • 13.

      Lesson: Examples of Inking pt. 1


    • 14.

      Lesson: Examples of Inking pt. 2


    • 15.

      Lesson: Understanding Genre pt. 1


    • 16.

      Lesson: Understanding Genre pt. 2


    • 17.

      Lesson: Exploring Style


    • 18.

      Project: Finding a Story


    • 19.

      Project: Thumbnailing


    • 20.

      Project: Sketching


    • 21.

      Project: Inking


    • 22.

      Wrap it Up!


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About This Class

A fun and friendly illustration class that explores the possibilities of comic art!

This class is a series of basic lessons to help you with arranging characters, settings, and speech bubbles inside a panel, selecting the right tools for your project, exploring style and illustrating stories. You'll find professional tips and advice from me, as well as examples from the amazing artists that have inspired my work over the years. After the lessons, we’ll start a class project that’ll lead you step-by-step through the creative process of planning, sketching and inking your own comic!

This class is accessible to artists working in digital and traditional mediums. I'm working in Clip Studio Paint for visual clarity.

Meet Your Teacher

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Ira Marcks

Graphic Novelist

Top Teacher

Ira Marcks is an award-winning and New York Times recommended cartoonist. His love of strange fiction and scientific research has led to an unlikely list of collaborators including the Hugo Award-winning magazine Weird Tales, European Research Council, and a White House Fellowship Scientist. His online courses have inspired 100,000 students. iramarcks.com

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I love reading comics. You know what's even better than reading comics? Drawing Comics. My name is Ira Marcks. Whenever I have a story I want to tell, I always turn to my favorite art form. That's why I've been drawing comics since I was a little kid. I've learned a lot along the way. Now, I want to help other artists who are curious about making their own comics to start their journey. Whether you're working in traditional or digital, I've created a class packed with the essentials any aspiring artists needs to get started. Each chapter of the class focuses on part of what makes comic art an exciting and unique art form. From arranging characters, settings and speech bubbles inside a panel, to selecting the right drawing tools for your project, to exploring style and illustrating stories, each lesson is packed with professional tips and advice from me, as well as examples from the amazing artists that have inspired my work over the years. After the lesson, we'll start a class project that'll league you step by step through the creative process of planning, sketching, an pinking your very own comic. If you're an illustrator of any skill level who's curious about trying out comic art, I'm hoping this class will be a fun and useful resource that'll open your eyes to the possibilities of comic art. Look, we both know reading comics is cool, but it's time to set aside the books and pick up a pencil. It is time to start drawing comics. 2. Overview: Hey, welcome to the class. Thanks for joining me. Now, before we get started, I just want to answer some basic questions that you might have. You might have noticed this class is two hours long, so I wanted to let you know what you're getting yourself into. The first question is, what are the goals of this class? My goal here is to teach you to understand and effectively used the basic elements of Comic Arts to create engaging stories. Now, do you have to be an amazing illustrator to participate in this class? No. I'm going to teach you to use your current illustration style, maybe develop it through some stages of sketching and inking. But I'm also going to help you, most importantly, to have confidence in your storytelling ability. You can draw in any style as long as you have confidence in your stories. Next, let's talk about what tools are you going to need to participate in this class? At the bare minimum, you can participate with a piece of copy paper and pencil. If you want to be a little fancier, you can get out your drawing tablet or you could buy some pen and ink supplies at the art store. These are topics I'll talk about in the class. But really if you want to draw comics, you'll work with what you have available to you. It could be the Sharpie marker in your kitchen, whatever you've got. Now let's talk about the structure of the class as a whole. It's basically broken down into two sections. We've got the lesson part of the class, and then we have the class project that follows the lesson. Let me review what you'll find in each of these two sections. The lesson is the first series of chapters that's going to teach you how comics and panels work. The lesson breaks down into three sections. Panel composition, which is how to draw characters and settings within a panel. Panel transitions, which has a look at the variety of ways panels work together to tell a story and panel inking a technical look at the tools, digital and traditional, that artists used to create comics. After we finish the lesson section of the class, we move into the project. I've assigned us a simple project, a two panel comic sketched and inked, inspired by the theme, obsession. In the project section you'll watch me work through from start to finish my own comic project. You'll get a chance to see exactly how I get the job done. I'll take you through all my creative stages of planning a narrative, as well as shout out some of the skills we've learned in the earlier lessons. That's the structure of the course. As you can see, I love to create fun visuals to keep you engaged and help these ideas stick in your brain. Well, that's all I've got to say for now. let's get to class. 3. Lesson: Understanding the Panel: Let's start with a little science experiment. We're going to dissect an ordinary comic panel. Now when you take a panel apart, you're looking at four basic elements; the frame, the speech bubble, the characters, and the setting. A comic artist can arrange these four elements in all kinds of ways. But at the end of the day, a comic panel is a narrative tool and your arrangement should be used in service of a story. Before we talk about the elements of the panel, let's remind ourselves of the overall goal of the comic panel. That is to engage the reader. We want to use a panel to invite the reader into our imagination, and connect them with a character's experience. A comic panel needs to be a balance of two creative agendas. First, you want to design your panel in a way that makes them clear and easy to understand by the reader. But on the other hand, you also want to represent your illustrated flare and authorial voice. You want to give them some style. Of course, it takes practice to find that balance, but it also takes an understanding of the elements of the panel and how to make them work effectively. Now that we have goals for our comic panel, let's take it apart and talk about how each of these four elements can be used effectively. In other words, we're here to look at the do's and do nots of a good comic panel. We'll start with the frame. The frame is the invisible force behind all comics. Respect these four lines and you'll be a much better comic artist. Do not think of your comic frame as a box in which you can squeeze a drawing inside of. Your frame shouldn't feel like a two-dimensional space. The bottom of your panel is not a floor, and the top is not a ceiling. Using a panel this way robs your imagination of creative opportunity, and it'll make your panels uninteresting. Do think of your frame as a lens into the world of your character. Treating it like a lens will bring visual depth to your ideas and find your panel a narrative point of view. These are all very good things. Next is the speech bubble. Speech bubbles take as much planning and drawing as the other art in your panel. Give them the respect they deserve. Do not draw your speech bubble first and then hope you can fit the text inside. It never works out. Cramped text makes a comic not fun to read. Do not allow speech bubbles to interrupt a character's eye line. Speech bubbles should never interrupt a scene in any way. Furthermore, do not attach speech bubbles to a character's mouth. Do place your text in the panel before you draw your speech bubble. It's best to integrate text in the top one-third of the frame. Allow your speech bubble to be cropped by the frame if necessary, especially if it means giving your text more space. Do allow yourself time with your lettering. Make them bold and clean. Sometimes it helps to write in all capitals. It'll slow down your penmanship. Since comic panels are often small, capitals will help your line work retain its clarity. Please do consider where your speech bubbles are positioned. They should be imagined as floating above and just behind a character's head, and in front of background elements in setting. Next, we have the characters. Characters will guide much of your panel composition. By knowing who they are, what they want, what they are doing at this exact moment in time, will allow you to make clear and interesting compositional choices. Do give your characters expressions and put their bodies and poses. If you need more insight into cartoon faces and body language, checkout my Skillshare channel for classes on that exact topic. Just like with speech bubbles, do carefully frame your characters in the panel. Remember, your frame is a lens, so please do zoom in on action and facial expressions, so your reader doesn't miss what's happening in the story. Please do capture your characters in engaging and exciting moments. Do not draw your characters in wooden and symmetrical poses, this drains the characters off life. Please do teach yourself to draw your characters in natural poses. Do connect to the eye lines of characters to enforce interactions. Do not overcrowd a panel with characters. The reader will have no idea what they are supposed to be focusing on. On the other side of things, do not leave giant empty spaces. Readers will assume you're doing it on purpose, and they'll interpret your composition as something meaningful. Last but not least, we have the setting. The setting conveys the time and place your characters are living in. Settings are important, but shouldn't distract from character action. The do nots of setting can be summarized in one small sentence; do not create tangents in your panel. What are tangents? Well, tangents are intersections of a line that imply a relationship that the artist does not intend. A tangent happens when two lines from completely different objects interact in a coincidental way. A background line creates a distracting corner against a character, or a character's curve bumps into a background element. It's easy to avoid tangents, if you're watching out for them. Now, here's a few simple dos for avoiding tangents. Before you draw a character, do establish a horizon line or other structural room elements, so you know where your characters fit into this space. Avoid tangents by overlapping and leaving distinct space between objects. To enhance your settings, do let your characters interact with their environments by placing them within the setting, not just in front of it. Now, when you use all four of these elements together in a well-planned and meaningful way, you're creating a functional comic panel. It's that simple really. But of course, we're not here for functional panels. We want to make awesome artistic, creative, amazing panels. In the next chapter, I'll take you one step closer to that goal. 4. Lesson: Staging Panels: Staging is how the comic artist uses the four elements to plan out their panel. Staging should be clear and readable, pleasing to the eye, and in support of the story you're trying to tell. Part of staging is learning to work with the negative space of the panel. Comic panels tend to be bottom heavy because of gravity and it can be easy to design a panel with a lot of negative space. To avoid excessive empty space, create thumbnails of your panels using silhouettes of characters in simple geometry. Now let's look at how setting, character and framing are all used in staging. When it comes to setting, a comic artist is like a set designer. They can add and remove foreground, mid ground, and background elements to direct the attention of the viewer. For example, adding foreground elements can frame the action within a panel. Removing background details can draw more attention to a character's behavior. When it comes to stage in setting, this is just a few ways to direct your reader's attention. Try shifting your settings and different ways to enhance your staging. Now, when it comes to staging a character, you need to think like an actor and director at the same time. Ask yourself, what emotional state have I captured this character in and how do I represent it? That answer might not come in one drawing. On a separate piece of paper, use some simple thumbnail sketches to work out ideas on character, staging and posing. Thumb-nailing is the best way to answer these questions before you draw anything inside your panel. Ask yourself, "What pose reflects the character's emotional state at this moment?" It's helpful to try different variations on body language and facial expression to discover what reads best. I'll tell you this, in cartooning and comics, exaggeration is always better. Practice exaggerating a facial expression beforehand. Then when you put it in your panel, enhance it further by adding a few emotive lines. Readers love to know how your character responds to their situation. Characters should always be responding. Let them just stand there staring off into space. It's through the character that a reader engages with your storytelling. The art of comics goes way back in history. It's always had it's own visual style, but since the modern AI is trained in visual storytelling by the aesthetics of photography and film making. It only makes sense that the terminology of the comic panel frame uses those popular mediums as reference points. That's why when you're talking about framing a panel, you might use terms like long shot, medium shot, and close up. Now, those three names are referencing the camera's location relative to the actor or character. But the more important thing to understand is how framing affects your narrative. If you choose to frame with a long shot, know that a long shot is often establishing where a scene takes place. It's often the case that a long shot has none of the main characters of the story in it. That way the reader has an opportunity to take in the details of the world, before the story officially begins. A long shot requires staging of foreground, mid ground, and background elements and a bit of a sense of perspective. A medium shot shows action or conversation between characters and their setting. It's the most common framing style you'll probably use. It depends on your style and on your focus of the panel, but you can probably get away with staging your characters amidst mid ground elements only. A close-up emphasizes a character's state of being or their dialogue. It's often best to leave out setting details and only include visual elements that will enhance the close up. Overall staging is how the comic artist directs the reader to engage with the story. When you look at a full comic page, you'll see how the comic artist utilizes different types of staging in each panel to keep the reader constantly engaged. The more you understand staging techniques, the better you can make your own story. To get a better understanding, let's look at examples of how some of my favorite comic artists stage their panels. 5. Lesson: Examples of Good Panels: Let's look at three examples of how framing, speech bubbles, characters, and setting can be used to encourage a reader to engage with a story. We'll start with the panel from Jason Lutes award winning book, Berlin. His story is set between 1928 and 1933 in Berlin, Germany. It offers a reader an intimate look at the lives of German citizens during the decline of their long-standing republic. This panel stretches across the full width of a page. It's taking up space that could have potentially been used for another one or two additional panels. But Mr. Lutes uses a single panel because he gets so much information out of just this one moment. His framing stages the scene in a voyeuristic way. We're standing in front of a window right outside of a house. It's a house that's been vandalized in more than one way. We see what's likely to be some political propaganda or hate speech scrawled on the outer wall. Mr. Lutes is smart to obscure the words so we don't understand what they are saying, and therefore, our attention is drawn away from what the main focus of the panel is. Now we look over to the window frame, which works to frame the real story of this panel. We're showing the aftermath of an attack, a ring of broken glass, which creates a tight circle around this domestic setting. A man and woman stand in rigid poses just behind their dining room table, shocked at what's happened. The woman's dismay is further emphasized by the staging of the door frame around her. Notice how she's silhouetted against the black, while the man almost disappears in the white curtain. Our next example, we're looking at a panel from Bryan Lee O'Malley's book, Scott Pilgrim. It's a comic about an aimless 20 something who finds himself the hero of his own story as he attempts to win the heart of a girl named Ramona Flowers. This is a scene from Scott and Ramona as first-time hanging out together. Mr. O'Malley frames his characters in a long shot from across the street. It's too dark for us to see the background, but there's plenty of clues as to where we are. We can see we're in a cold snowy city, Toronto, to be precise, and the ground is cold enough that the road is covered in ice. Snow is falling and creating a calming pattern around the characters. You'll notice how the edge of the street light beam points right to the characters to draw our attention to them. Scott and Ramona aren't quite walking side by side. Ramona is clearly leading the way and while Scott's body language doesn't show it, his words let us know that he's a little uncomfortable in the situation. He drags out his wording, sooo, and then he follows that up with the question. That leads him right into another question without waiting for an answer. Clearly he wants to get to know this girl. This third example, we're looking at a panel by one of the masters of creepy comics, Emily Carroll. Miss Carroll has a less conventional approach to panel design than Lutes and O'Malley. First, we notice her panel doesn't have the usual black line frame. She relies on the rough edges of her background color to frame her narrative content. The scene is staged in a way that feels ceremonial, possibly a wedding. Miss Carroll is a storyteller who knows how to keep her stories tense. That tension comes from various techniques. One, is the pacing of her text narrative. Notice the way the narration begins on the left side of the panel and resolves on the right, by breaking the flow with the characters, as the reader were naturally drawn to read the statement at a slower pace. The staging of the characters also provides some tension. If you're into horror fiction, you know that one of the rules of horror storytelling is to withhold the big reveals, never show the monster. She's doing that here, meaning she's keeping the character's faces hidden to create a bit more attention. This panel introduces us to the three nameless, and faceless characters. There's a girl, there is a man, and then there's the girl's father, who appears only as a glowing red cross floating in the middle of the scene. Miss Carroll also uses her penmanship to set the tone of the story. Her tall, narrow letters feel serious and out of time, a little old fashioned may be Victorian. They're not using a cartoonish font like a lot of comics do. Her text floats like spirits in a room, and it changes its voice by switching to a lowercase script. I want you to notice that the narrative voice of these comics comes in part from the stories the artists are telling. Lutes comic is a period piece and he uses clear details of setting, and clothing, and artifacts in the room to help us engage with what would otherwise be an unfamiliar setting. Bryan Lee O'Malley's story is set in a contemporary city. It doesn't need as many details to keep us engaged with the time and place. Emily Carroll stories are more timeless, they're ghost stories. By leaving out visual detail, she forces us to derive tone from the textures of her backgrounds, and the line work of her art. Next time you're reading a comic, take a moment to just focus in on a single panel. Look at the way the comic artist uses frame, and speech bubbles, and text, and how they stage their characters and setting, what things they add, and what things they also decide to leave out. You can learn a whole lot about a comic artist by the way, they engage with just a single panel. That said, next we're going to move right on to that magic that happens when you put two panels next to each other. 6. Lesson: Understanding Comics: Now for me, a comic becomes a comic when you start putting panels in a sequence. In fact, the art of comics is referred to as sequential art. Sequential art has its own set of theory and practice, just like film-making, photography, painting, or any other art form. This is the definitive textbook for the comic Student, Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. As a teacher, I've given away so many copies of this book. It's short and it's fun to read, and it's brilliant in the way Scott McCloud doles out these heavy concepts in a comprehensive and memorable way. Turns out, comics are a great teaching tool. Scott McCloud's teaching style, his concepts and philosophy, runs through my veins really. If you find yourself enjoying my classes, do yourself a favor, and hop on the internet and buy this book, but for now, I'm in a review what I feel is the core concept of Understanding Comics. Mr. McCLoud says there are five distinct arenas of choice when planning and drawing a sequence of comic panels. The quality and clarity of a comics narrative depends on the storytellers awareness of these five distinct arenas. These aren't steps that can be done in a specific order. It's not like a workout routine. It's more of a state of mind. They're really just small creative processes that a storyteller can consciously or subconsciously use, to bounce ideas between until they arrive at a product that suits the story they're telling. If you're not already an artist who draws comics, these creative choices can be a little tricky to understand. So let's review them using a character and a scene. I call this story Edith and the big exam, we'll start with the one people skip past most often, and that's choice of moment. Before we put our pencil to paper, we need to ask ourselves what precise moment in time will best represent Edith's experience. Now, inexperienced cartoonist will likely cycle through a series of moments before settling on one. I always start by putting myself in the character's head, I picture Edith in the classroom sitting rigidly at her desk. Her pencil clutched in her hand, the exam paper staring unblinkingly up at her. Now of course, Edith had studied the night before, or at least she had a textbook open while she was staring at her phone. Now that she's finally in the exam, she starts to doubt if she's really prepared for it. By getting in the character's head, I've familiarized myself with a scenario Edith is in. I can see a number of distinct moments to work from in this panel. Sometimes I write notes on my ideas or do little sketches just to get them outside of my head. Edith crouched over her desk, sweating, Edith staring up at the clock as she runs out of time, Edith sitting stock still, her eyes darting back and forth to see if anyone can save her. In order to keep your story moving, you need to ask yourself, what will make this moment iconic and memorable? Scott McCloud's next choice is the choice of frame. Now when you're talking choice of frame, something we didn't discuss in the previous chapter, is that choosing a frame really depends on the narrative voice of the story to relate it to writing. If the comic is in third-person narrative, the moment will most likely be framed from a safe distance of an omnipresent narrator, an invisible observer. If the comic is first-person, we might move right up into the character space. We could look through their eyes even. In scenes like this where a character is in a heightened emotional state, I like to get up close so we can see their body trembling and their forehead sweating. Next, let's talk about choice of image, means actually putting the pencil to paper and drawing something. As these choices of moment and frame flash through our brains, we quickly decide how we want to get the image onto the paper. Consider the purpose of the panel as you're drawing. What purpose does this drawing serve in Edith's story? In this case, I want to show her sense of panic as the end of the exam time approaches. I consider the elements I need to draw, the desk, Edith, the clock, other test-taking students and I have to decide what to show and what to crop out of this frame. The more panels you draw, the more your illustration style will adapt to the restrictions of the panel. Heavy detail can muddy the clarity of a panel and repetition can be time-consuming. Comic art is often more sparse than other illustrative forms. While choosing your image and putting it on paper, you have to keep in mind the next arena of panel design, and that is choice of word. My rule of thumb in visual storytelling is only tell what you can't show. That's not a hard and fast rule, that's just my stylistic choice. If you're a noisy storyteller, you might show Edith talking to herself. Maybe you include some text or a little sound effect. If you're a quiet and subtle storyteller, you can show Edith's inner turmoil through her face and body language and cartoonish emoting. For the last choice, we have to zoom out a bit and talk about the choice of flow. Up until now we're looking at the first panel in what would be a sequence of panels to tell a story. The way all your panels relate to each other affects the narrative flow. Now that we're thinking about the choices a comic artist makes, let's head to the next chapter to see the different ways panel flow affects Edith's, story. 7. Lesson: Types of Transitions: For me, a comic really becomes a comic when you put two panels right next to each other. By doing this simple task, you're asking the reader to create closure between your two distinct moments. Closure is the thing our brain does when it needs to fill in the gaps in a flow of information. Sometimes it's easy for our brains to create closure. But when it comes to comics and other forms of visual art, closure requires a bit more from our imagination. For example, try and imagine what's happening between these two panels. All of our brains are going to come up with something different. It's not the job of the cartoonists to fill in all the gaps in a story. In fact, it's the gaps between bits of information that allow the reader to use their imagination and gives the reader the chance to engage with the storytelling. The comic artist tells their story through closure created by the transition from panel to panel. There are seven distinct types of transitions. We define them by the sense of closure they offer to the reader. Now let's use Edith and her big exam to see just how these seven types of transitions impact the storytelling. The most common types of comic transitions are based on a really familiar concept, the passage of time. The first transition we'll look at is called a moment-to-moment transition. A moment-to-moment transition, is pretty easy to recognize. They often have very similar styles of framing and only slight variations between the two panels. Lets say we want to show Edith is terrified to mark the wrong answer on her test. We can draw her in two panels with only slight variations in her hand and increasing little subtle things like the stress in her eyes. The clock can tell us how much time has literally passed, but the images show us what the passage of time feels like to Edith. An action to action transition is probably the most common type of transition. It distinguishes itself by presenting a clear beginning and an end to an interaction between a character and something else. Edith sits down to take the test in panel one, in panel two, we see her exhausted at the end of it. I like to think of action to action is completing a small character arc inside a much bigger story. In this transition, we see Edith go from intent all the way to exhausted. A subject to subject transition, is how a comic shows a character's interaction with another subject in the scene. It's most common when we see a character interacting or responding to something. Here, Edith, response to the teachers declaration that time is in fact up. Maybe you've heard actors say that acting is really reacting. Personally, I think of my comic characters as the actors in my story and a subject to subject transition is a great opportunity to teach the reader about the character. A scene to scene transition, connects to locations to one another. It's time-based, though in understanding of the length of time is not crucial. The style of transition is often used to bring us from one part of a character story to the next. In this case, we're showing Edith flunking her test and then we jump to her back at home eating dinner. This transition shows us that the experience of the test has made poor Edith lose her appetite. It's also a good way to open up the story for new interactions with other characters. An aspect to aspect transition, doesn't represent passage of time like the previous three transitions we've looked at. While we're seeing multiple subjects in these panels, we're not using this transition to push the story forward, we're simply introducing the reader to a space and giving them the sense of what it feels like to be there. Aspect to aspect transitions are often most effective when reflecting a character's point of view. I don't necessarily mean looking directly through their eyes. This transition is intended to give the reader a sense of how Edith feels trapped by the test and the limits of time on it. Aspect to aspect transition can, without words really set the tone for the upcoming story. A symbolic transition is even more abstract. It's using a panel within a comics establish world and juxtaposing it with an image that suggests a particular type of association. Basically, this is how comics do metaphor. For example, we can show panel one of Edith being handed a test, and in the next panel we see her head explode. The explosion is not intended to be literal, it's just a suggestive way of relaying Edith's experience, and feeling from panel one. This transition is basically saying, "As Edith looked at the exam questions, her head felt like it would explode." A symbolic transition requires more participation from the reader because they need to take the moment in and interpret the meaning of the second panel and how it relates to the first. Now you can take symbolism even further with a transition like this. Panel one shows an image of Edith taking her test, panel two shows an antelope being chased by a lion. Now the goal here is to compare Edith's experience to the antelope's experience. Now here's the thing. Taking the reader out of the setting of the story is a pretty risky move. It can be really engaging for someone who appreciates and unconventional narrative, but also alienating for someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with comic art and storytelling. Whenever you're planning a transition, you want to think about how it affects the flow of the story. Every transition style has its strengths, but no single type can tell a complete story. That is to say, every comic artist uses their own blend of transition types to build their narratives. In the next chapter, we'll look at a couple of examples. 8. Lesson: Examples of Transitions pt. 1: We're going to look at examples of the types of transitions in the order I introduced them to you. We start with an example of the moment-to-moment transition. This is a excerpt from Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Karascoet. It's a dark fairy tale about tiny fairies. I chose this page because it's got two examples of good moment-to-moment transitions. This first row of panels uses a series of moments to set up and pay off pretty dark gag. We see a silly panel of a tiny fairy person living amongst a nest of birds. The mama bird goes to feed her unusual child and it goes disgustingly wrong. The third panel in the sequence doubles as a reaction beat in the progression of the gag. But it's also a way to indulge the grossness of the reality of this world. The next row of panels uses moment-to-moment transitions in a pretty similar way, the setup of a gag, the pause, and the punchline. In both of these examples, you'll notice that moment-to-moment transitions aren't really capable of progressing the plot of the story. They're more about setting the tone, creating a moment of levity or introducing character. As an example of an action-to-action transition, I chose two panels from an issue of the Fantastic Four comic from around the 1970s. The art is by Jack Kirby, though I'm not sure who the writer is. I chose these two panels to show how superhero comics are so reliant on action-to-action transitions, something I brought up earlier. Even mundane moments like this servant bumping into Dr. Doom are treated like a fight scene. We have the action, the thuck and the clank of the incident, and a zoomed reaction of Dr. Doom as he thumps the poor servant against the edge of the frame. This heightened aggressive reality is so much of what we think of when we think of American style comics. But of course, it's not to be taken too seriously. It's very cartoonish and pretty ridiculous. The pacing of the action-to-action transitions is almost addictive in the style of comic storytelling. It's constantly setting up moments just to, no pun intended, knock them down. For example, let's just take a moment and read the exchange in these two panels. "A thousand pardons, sire. I did stumble against your cloak." "Clumsy dolt. You dare lay a hand on the sacrosanct person of your Lord and Master. Worthless, insufferable clod. Do you know what this means?" "Oh, no, sire. No, not the ultimate punishment." Yeah. Anyway, yeah, how could you not want to turn the page to find out what happens next? Moving on. These two panels from The Escapists represent a great subject-to-subject transition. The book is written by Brian K. Vaughan and drawn by Steve Rolston. It's most simple use of subject-to-subject transition is really drawing an exchange between two characters. In this case, it's a moment-to-moment transition with an added camera pivot. As the reader, we have to use our sense of closure to assume these characters are in the same scene despite the fact that they don't appear in each other's panels. This style of transition really shows the influence of film-making on comics. This kind of image juxtaposition would be completely baffling if we hadn't grown up seeing this technique in film, TV shows, and animation. There's nothing particularly artistic in a functional subject-to-subject transition like this, but that's cool. Sometimes scenes just need to move the plot along. Speaking of scenes, here's a scene-to-scene transition from an issue of Donald Duck comics by Carl Barks. This book came out in the 1940s. When you're making comics for kids, kids being an audience whose sense of closure is still in a really early stage of development, you as the artist needs to be very particular in the types of elements you choose in each panel. Notice how the last line in the panel is, "let's go," and the next panel starts with a narrative caption that says,"soon," which answers any question that a kid might have of how much time has passed. In the case of a scene-to-scene transition, dramatic change actually helps the transition work more clearly. A complete change in setting from city to desert, the inclusion of the car, the staging of the characters from medium shot in profile to a long shot from behind, all these things help a young reader understand what's going on in your story. When you're making a comic for an adult or a more experienced comic reader, you can be more settled with a scene to scene transition. Look how David Mazzucchelli uses scene-to-scene in this transition from his book, Asterios Polyp. It's a book clearly for an adult audience about adult characters and it's leaving out a lot of information to set up and pay off a very dry joke about adult relationships. To better understand the aspect-to-aspect transition type, it helps to look at more than just two panels. Here's a full-page excerpt from a book called Lucas by the Italian comic artist, Andrea Bojiolli. We see a hard cut from black to a van racing down a residential street. The van parks haphazardly in front of an abandoned house and a character steps out. We get a closer look at the despair of the property and this person's hesitation to enter. Finally, we're given a panel that frames the character who's entered the darkness of what may be a place connected to his past. Aspect-to-aspect transitions are not linked as closely as the other transitions we've discussed this far. They cut the reader loose from the narrative in some ways and they give you the chance to investigate the world building on your own terms. You're probably finding yourself jumping back and forth between the images in these panels and slowly you begin to connect all the details and make sense of where we are and what this character might be doing here. The artist, Mr. Bojiolli, has slowed the pace of the narrative to give you time to take in the state of things in this character's world. The artist is taking a lot of liberties in how they frame each of these panels. Notice panel 2 feels like it's from the point of view of a nosey neighbor, and panel 3 gives us more of a bird's eye view, panel 4 is a centered mid shot, and panel 5 is a dramatic angled close-up. This is one of the big differences between a comic strip and a comic book or graphic novel. In a short comic strip, you don't have much use for an aspect-to-aspect transition, but if you're telling a longer form narrative, you'll need transitions like this to help keep the reader engaged and asking questions. 9. Lesson: Examples of Transitions pt. 2: Symbolic transitions are more recognizable in certain genres of comics. Storytellers who work in the realms of science fiction, especially those artists with a surrealist astatic get a lot of mileage from symbolic transitions because types of panels that are able to speak in bigger thematic visuals. Right now we're looking at a page from Charles Burns is comic, skin deep. A story about an all-American boy who's got the literal heart of a dog. His name is dog boy. The first panel shows dog boy is having a bad dream. The following panels are intended to represent the visuals of the dream. See how the borders of the panel become all wavy. That's a comic artists visual cue that the story is stepping out of its own reality to expand on character development using memory, or in this case, dream. Panel two plays with the perspective of this doctor character to show his imposing and evil nature and other strange characters look on as dog boy recovers from his recent surgery. Then we get the big reveal that his torso has been grafted onto a dog's body. The dream ends and we see the panel frames transition back to their perpendicular reality. Everything is back to normal or abnormal in dog boy's world. Then the page concludes with a typical action to action transition of dog boy, getting ready for work. Could this story had been told without this four panel transition into character and symbolism? Yeah, but Charles Burns stories often focus on the psychology of the characters and symbolic panels offer more insight than any other transition type. In short, his use of transition styles makes him stand out as an artist. Now to wrap up this conversation, as you learn to analyze transition styles with more scrutiny, you'll find yourself automatically making better choices in your own comic art. Now that we've discussed the function and flow of comic panels, let's talk about the lines we use to make them. 10. Lesson: A Look at Pens and Brushes: Comics came into popularity around the turn of the 20th century, as newspapers used them to offer a little bit of humor into escape from the harsh realities of current events. The limitations of mechanical reproduction in those early days meant that the art of the comic, needed to be bold and clean, and tight newspaper deadlines meant that, the style of the art needed to be simple and quickly rendered. Also, the literacy levels and attention spans of the general public meant that characters and ideas needed to be exaggerated and over dramatized to catch the attention of all kinds of readers. Despite all the technology of modern comic artist has at their disposal, the black ink key line art and simple style in bold characterization of those early days, is still the dominant look of Comic Arts. Black line art, as we've come to call it, is created over top, a rough pencil sketch using either a black ink pen, calligraphy nib, or a small brush dipped in ink. These tools all have their own unique character, special skill set, and level of difficulty. As you can tell in my lesson slides, I'm obviously drawing on a digital tablet, and these days that's how I do most of my professional work. But I did spend around 15 years using traditional drawing tools. I'll be sharing some thoughts on those along the way as well. To distinguish each pen and brush type, we can talk about the unique look of their line, which can be broken down into the following aspects. Lined width, line variation, line precision, and line character. Let's start with the easiest type of line tool to use, the felt tip pen. These pens have a lightweight ink filled handle and a firm felt tip that does not very much under pressure or direction change of the hand. This makes the felt-tip pen pretty easy to control. For example, I can ink a circle, in a single motion. Felt-tip pens are good for beginner and professional artists who have fast hands and use lots of details and text. The felt-tip pen as a technical drawing pen, meaning it's well-suited for graphical rendering, as in, you could run it along the edge of a ruler and get a nice clean line. It's a tool with steady line, with low variation, high precision, and minimal character. If you're in the market for a traditional felt-tip pen, purchase a set with a sorted tip sizes and waterproof ink. That's important, especially if you're going to paint on top of your comics. You can get the pigma manga comic pro drawing kit for around $15. It's a great starter kit, and I've used it for a lot of professional level projects as well. These pens have good overall performance and work smoothly on all types of illustration board, bristle board, and vellum. But you'll want to keep well stocked in these patents because you don't want your last pen to dry up in the middle of a project. Their ink wells cannot be refilled. They're disposable pens. Next, we'll look at the nib pen. It comes in two parts, first, the handle. It's lightweight and often has a cork grip that tapers off into a small point at the far edge of the pen. The metal clip on the end of the handle allows you to change pen tips depending on the needs of the project. Nib pens require practice to control due to the flexible metal of the nib itself. To enjoy working with a nib pen, you need to work slower than you do with a technical drawing pen. For example, when I ink circle, my line weight changes, so I need to turn my hand and paper to keep a consistent character in my line. Because hand pressure affects the look of the line art. You'll need to develop gestures that get you the effect you're looking for. Once you get comfortable with the nib pen, you'll find that, it can bring so much expression to your inking style. The nib pen is a tool with pressure based line weight, medium variation, medium precision, and great character. As far as I'm concerned. Personally, I'm a big fan of the nibs inking character. I've used the traditional tool in all kinds of projects, and when I moved to digital tablets, I found pens that created that similar type of line character. For traditional nibs, the main two types are the G nib, a smaller, more flexible nib, and the spoon nib, which has a more firm tip. I'm a fan of the Nikko spoon nib. I have a heavy hand and little patience, so the firm metal point of the Nikko, and its ability to hold more ink is a great fit for my inking process. I'll be upfront and let you know, I have the least amount of experience with traditional brush pens. The ones I've used are really watercolor brushes, which is probably the case for a lot of comic artists. I work with the Windsor and Newton brand, and I use the small round tip brushes. As a digital tool, a brush pen is not really unlike a nib pen. The main difference between a digital brush pen and nib pen comes down to the pressure sensitivity. With a brush pen, the pressure sensitivity is usually set a bit higher, and the brush size is a little bigger to allow for more variation in the line width, you get a looser brushstroke with the brush pen. You'll also see more variety and the starting and ending points of your line. Some brushes will have a blunt start and finish, and some will give you more of a point. Practice inking with the digital brush pen using variations in the brush size. If you want more expression in your line, scale the brush way up, to see more impact from your hand pressure. The brush pen doesn't suit all types of line art. You might find yourself using the brush pen for some aspects of composition and then switching maybe to a technical drawing pen to achieve certain levels of tiny detail, such as panel borders or the lettering in a speech bubble. The brush pen really reflects the full movement of the artist's hand. You'll find yourself accommodating it by dragging the brush hairs in different ways across the page to achieve certain effects. It's going to be nearly impossible to achieve any straight line with a brush pen. But that's not the point of using it. Using a brush pen is all about creating flowy calligraphy like imagery. If you're a stickler for technical precision, the brush pen probably isn't for you, but hey, give it a shot. You might find new aspects of inking and cartooning that really appeal to you. Let's talk quickly about types of ink. If you are a digital artist, well, you don't have a lot of choices here, your ink is the pixel. But you can change brush types in Photoshop or procreate or whatever drawing tool you're using to get different levels of grit in your ink style. Play with your digital drawing tools and find one that suits the personality of your work. But when it comes to traditional inking, it's more about the consistency of the ink, and the only way you're going to find something you like is by trying things. Most inking choices are really based on the type of tool you're using. I've always been drawn to the Windsor and Newton brand of ink. It's a thick, waterproof ink, so it really clings to the ink nib, and when you let it down on your bristle board or watercolor paper, it leaves a really glossy globy trail. If you want more information on traditional inking tools, I recommend ink drawing techniques, brush nib and pen style by Yuko Shimizu. You'll find her class over on skill share, check it out. It's awesome. Back to comics here. Now that we're familiar with our black line art and basic set of tool options. Let's look at how inking can bring a panel to life. 11. Lesson: Inking Technique: To develop a good inking technique, you have to focus on the following skills, in this order: posture, hand movement, a sense of line, a sense of form, and a sense of texture. Let's talk posture, if you don't spend much time drawing you default posture for putting marks on paper while sitting at a desk is probably developed around writing. When we write we tend to hunch over and get very close up because style and scale of our line work when writing doesn't really matter. It's just about getting information down on paper. Inking is all about style and scale. That writing posture that you've developed puts heavy limits on your development as an inker plus inking can take a long time and being comfortable is going to extend your endurance for those longer inking sessions. Make sure when you're inking, sit up straight and position yourself squarely in front of your paper. I try to work it at least somewhat of an angle. I know that some people prefer a flat desk, but if you can elevate your image then that prevents you from leaning in too far. I always try to leave about 15 inches between my face and the page. This base distance will keep your posture more relaxed and help you say comfortable during longer inking sessions. Of course, I certainly get up close sometimes, but when I'm focusing in on those details, I always see it as the exception to the 15 inch default position. With that 15 inch buffer between your body and the page, you give yourself space to move your hand and arm. Let's practice our inking movements. To create ink marks with smooth, easy motions, we have to work more from the arm than the wrist. Grip your pen firmly in your dominant hand, close to the tip. Keep the tip at an angle to the paper, not straight up or straight down. Hold your hands steady and let your arm guide you over your sketch lines. Try to avoid moving from the wrist alone. Relax your drawing arm and hand. Too much tension can leave your finished drawing looking rigid and lifeless. Gripping the pen near the tip, close to the paper itself will keep your hand more stable than holding it higher up. There will be fewer imperfections in your line with this technique. What little imperfections you have will be a lot less pronounced. If you're working with a pen nib or a brush, maintaining a sharp angle between the pen and paper is going to help the ink flow better and give you smoother and more fluid line work. Practice your hand movements by creating quick sketches of simple textured objects, a pineapple, or a flower, or a little car. When doing this exercise, think first about your hand movements before you even bother considering the marks you're making on the paper. Now that we know how to sit and how to move, let's talk about the order of the inking process. When creating line work, you want to start with the primary lines and work from one side of the image to the other. Most artists achieve the best results by inking in the direction of their dominant hand. If you're right handed start on the left side of the page and link towards the right and the opposite if you're left-handed artist. If you're working with traditional ink, this process is going to prevent you from running the edge of your hand over fresh inked lines and making smudgy marks. I think it's important to start by inking those primary lines because that's going to ensure that these important elements of your drawing are properly emphasized. After you've worked on those, move inward to smaller details and elements of the background. When developing a sense of your line work, don't think of it as tracing over marks you've already made. Imagine you're just drawing the whole thing again, this time with more confidence and sense of where the completed image is going to end up. You'll notice my ink lines do not sit directly on top of my sketch. If you're finding it difficult to get a smooth ink line even though you're working from your arm, it can help to turn the paper instead of contorting your arm to try to ink from a different direction. Always try to keep the final image in mind when you're inking your drawing. By having a clear goal, you'll actually be more focused and able to work faster and more confidently, and the final image will feel more unified. Once you've inked your primary lines and some of your details and background, it's time to generate a sense of form in your inked work. To get into form, start by looking for places where your line work might need to be touched up. Now, don't obsess over fixing a line, half the time you end up just making it worse. If you have some key lines that need to be thickened or smoothed out this is the time to do it. The concept of form in inking reveals itself through lines that are left thin on places of an object that are facing the light and lines that are thicker, and places where an object would be cast in shadow. Personally, I restrict the rules of form to the main subjects of a panel. I often leave my backgrounds a little flat, so they don't draw the eye too much. You want to make good use of contrast in shadow while inking. You're going to fill in the edges around an object to provide contrast. Contrast in your image is revealed while developing your sense of form. It's fun to play with the way light is depicted in your inking style. Now if you're creating deep dark shadows, don't forget to leave a little rim light below those deep shadows. This is how you keep your objects from getting lost in dark places. Once you've implied form with your ink line, you can focus on adding texture. Texture is all about bringing smaller details and embellishments that give scope to the form with the object and lend an element of realism to the environment. Texture is based in a technique called hatching, which is really just drawing a series of thin parallel lines close together. Cross hatching is a variation of that technique where we use hatching lines on top of each other to create a grid-like pattern. Stippling is another variation of hatching, but instead of lines, you're using closely grouped dots. Texture is going to give your audience clues as to what the world you've created feels like. A little texture goes along way, for example, you can just imply a texture, let's say I'm creating a desert, I don't need to stipple the whole landscape. I can just spread dots around the surface to imply the texture of the sand. You don't want to go too crazy adding textural elements to your scenes. If you overdo it, your inking is going to look chaotic and worse than that, it's going to be unfocused and confuse the visual narrative of your story. A sense of tone is the culmination of all these different skills working together. It's the general quality of your inking. It conveys character and attitude and becomes one of the more notable aspects of your comic art. Let's put a pin in a discussion of visual style, until we're more familiar with the process of inking in actual panel. 12. Lesson: Inking a Panel: The process of ink in a panel begins with the evaluation of the sketch. This is where the artist gets a sense of what their panel needs to achieve. The primary function of inking is visual clarity. Your final image must make sense at a quick glance. If that seems impossible based on the sketch, it's time to go back to the pencil. You're not quite ready to ink, but if you have the makings of a clear composition within your sketch, you are ready to ink. Now the stages of the inking are my personal preference. You could mix and match them however you like, but this is the order I prefer. I always ink my frames first. If you have yet to get comfortable with the nib pen or the round brush, you're going to want to ink your frames with the technical drawing pen like a large micron. I prefer the size 08, and maybe even try a ruler if you don't have a steady hand. Some comic artists don't use a ruler. The free hand approach gives a frame character and can make it seem like a more integral part of the narrative, but most comic artists don't want to draw attention to the frame. A ruler or diagonal line tool if you're working digitally is the way to go. Most drawing programs have a shortcut to draw a straight line like holding shift. Just google how to draw a straight line and the software you're using and you should get some good suggestions. Once you have your panel frames inked, you want to establish the outlines of the panel's main subjects. This would include the main characters of your narrative, possibly some props that they're engaging with, and possibly elements of the setting that surround them. While establishing the outlines of my characters, I'm working with a wider nib pen style digital brush. For a point of comparison, I'd say my line width is between 3.5 quarters the width of panel lines. I find it a really enjoyable challenge to define the outlines of my characters. It makes me feel more confident in my ideas. Ink is a big part of the personality of your comics and your storytelling. So you want to appear confident in what you're doing to make your readers feel safe. I try not to overdo this first stage of inking, and I always stop when I feel like the subjects of the panel pop. From there, I scale down to deal with the details. I begin by addressing all the details in the characters clothing and body. This might be wrinkles in the fabrics, texture in the hair. Then I move on to props and the elements that surround the character may be adding some style to the furniture and some other elements that establish the environment this character is in. To bring form to my line work, I think about light sources and how the angle of light is affecting, the subjects of my seen. If you've watched my class illustration by design, you'd know I'm very influenced by the smoky and snaky line art of the art nouveau movement. I always try to work that look into the shadows of my comics. It's a technique I use to take the reality of my characters world and make it a little more surreal. As a storyteller who works in fantasy in science fiction, I use this technique to make the reality of my character worlds just a little bit surreal. These days I don't do a whole lot of hatching with my comics, but when you're creating a panel that's black and white, hatching can really help you define certain aspects of the storytelling. Let's set the restriction for ourselves that we can use any color in this project. Hatching has to help us evoke things in the landscape, for example, grass, or sand, or wood grain. As colors so emotive, we have to use hatching to try to evoke those same types of emotions. Creating a motive lines around a character to show their energy level. Even how we ink our environments can help establish the emotional feel of the story. We can use hatching techniques to create some structural balance and the rising line to give a cool coming feel, and we can do the same thing with building materials like the siding on a structure. When it comes to lettering these days, I'm often working with the fonts just to save time even though often I'd prefer to do it by hand. I try to be very particular about the fonts I choose and how they reflect on the projects inking style. For example, in this middle grade sci-fi comic, that's got a really playful, smooth inking style, I use the font called the sequential list. But on an older project like my comic witch knots, which was done with a more gritty pen nib, I made my own font because I couldn't really find anything that suited the project. You can see the fonts got a grittier pen nib look to it. Your approach to comic storytelling is going to help you decide whether to use a font or to ink by hand. Ideally, I'd like to do the lettering on my new project by hand, but it's a massive commitment especially for someone who likes to work and rework their dialogue until the last possible minute. If you're going to hand letter or a comic, make sure your lettering is as clear as your visual. Create two guidelines of a base and height to fit your letters between. Some artists prefer more italicized comic style to create a sense of motion, but other artists prefer an unaffected text that sits more rigidly and clearly on the page. When it comes to lettering, it's the choices that don't stand out that are best suited for the project. To wrap up this lesson on inking, I'm just going to say that inking is very important. It's one of the things that distinguishes how the reader responds to your storytelling. The best way to get good at inking is to take time focusing on each of the stages of your practice. Now, the second best way to get good at inking is to look at how other comic artists do it and try to learn from their success. The next chapter, I'll share some of my favorite inkers with you. 13. Lesson: Examples of Inking pt. 1: To the casual observer, technique is almost invisible. For example, when you pick up to read a comic, you don't always think about inking style. It's the same for the casual moviegoer. If you're there to be entertained, you are not considering the lens the director is using in any given shot. So part of what makes being a comic artist is learning to see the otherwise invisible aspects of a comic and its elements. We can do this by dissecting the intent and analyzing the effects of a comic artist's work. To me, the way a comic artist uses their inks reveals aspects of realism, iconography, and abstraction in their storytelling and there are infinite ways to mix and match these aesthetics. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here is an illustration by David Muschalik. He's linked 16 versions of an apple and by putting them all side-by-side, he makes it easy to see the role it can play in comic narrative. At a basic technical level, the artist is using ink to convey a sense of light reflecting off and being absorbed by the apple. Lighting effects give an object context within the story's world and environment, and can also be used to convey texture in the apple, which can set a tone for the voice of the narrative. It could be simple and charming, it could be gruff and abrupt. It could be mysterious and woozy, clean and smooth inks read more clearly and simply. They're well-suited for lighter storytelling. Rougher inks and dry brush effects recall a more painterly approach and they can be used in more impressionistic or emotional storytelling. Let's take a look at these elements of ink style and the work of some of my favorite comic artists. We'll start with Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. This is my all time favorite comic strip and if you're a fan of comics, this one's probably right up there for you as well. Now I've looked at every single Calvin and Hobbes comic strip probably a million times. So naturally, Mr. Watterson inking techniques are the first ones that I became really critical of and I don't mean I'm judgmental of his style, it means I'm just observant of his approach. Back in the 90s, Watterson worked with a nib, a calligraphy pen, and black India ink. Pretty straightforward stuff for comic strips. His lines are clean and simple, but you can see a bit of the rough edge where the nib cuts into the bristol board and bleeds the ink just a little bit. The texture of ink engaging with paper is a big part of Watterson's technique. It's just a little bit sloppy. Now I picked this full Sunday comic strip to show you the way his inking style is part of the narrative. Look at the way Calvin's reality is flat and simple. The chair has very little texture to it, as does his father's skin and clothing. Even the lamp and the background just looks like a trapezoid flat against the wall. Simple line art is a pretty conventional technique for comic artists, given that they needed to make up to seven strips in any given week, simplicity saves you time. But one of the reasons Watterson's ink work is so memorable is the way he inks Calvin's imagination. Over the course of this story, the elements in the environment become representative of Calvin's imagination. Look at the way the ink becomes more detailed. The wrinkles on the alien dad's body, the painting on the wall becomes very specific, taxidermy alien head with all kinds of wrinkles around its eyes and mouth. In panel 4, we see hair texture on the mom monster in the foreground and some shadows and then we move down to the bottom of the page and open up into this beautiful vista of a landscape with all rocky textures, foreground, mid ground, and background. You can see Watterson's changing in inking style is a constant reminder through the comic that we're seeing Calvin's point of view. These subtle changes in Watterson's inking style is just a wordless reminder that the comic we're reading is through the point of view of a young boy with a very vivid imagination. In fact, an imagination, that's more real than his reality. Pretty cool. 14. Lesson: Examples of Inking pt. 2: A good way to figure out what tools an inker is working with, is to look at the frames of their comic. This is Walt Kelly's Pogo. You can see the fluid lines of these frames suggest Mr. Kelly worked with a thin round brush. A calligraphy nib, like waters in used, would have a slightly more rigid look and a technical drawing pen wouldn't fluctuate in line weight. Walt Kelly's Pogo comics ran in newspapers from about 1949 to 1975. He certainly had an impact on countless upcoming comic artists, illustrators, and animators and it wouldn't surprise you probably to find out that he even got to start working at the Walt Disney Studios. Despite his decades of amazing comic work in creating hundreds of adorable characters, Walt Kelly's most important legacy is the impression he left on a young cartoonists named Jeff Smith. Jeff Smith grew up to create the comic book "Bone". Like Kelly, Jeff Smith left animation to pursue his storytelling through independent comics, and he single handedly invented the genre of middle grade fantasy graphic novels. If you haven't read Bone, what are you waiting for? It's basically the Lord of the Rings of graphic novels for kids. But hey, I grew up with Bone, so maybe I'm a little biased. Get back to the lesson. It's obvious that the DNA of Walt Kelly's inking style runs through Jeff Smith's art. Like Waterson, Smith used inking to enhance his narratives. The bone cousins in the story are inked with clean, long animation style brushstrokes. The characters look like they walked out of a cartoon into the world of the story. Therefore, by contrast, the environment of the graphic novel series, the human characters, the other monsters and the main villains all feel more realistic in their ink textures. There's more of a physicality to them. Mr. Smith uses his inking style to show the stakes of the story. The threat of death, the emotionality of the narrative, hits the human characters a lot harder than the bone cousins. Now the stakes in bone aren't quite as high as they are in a comic like Akira. The postapocalyptic manga from the 1980s written and illustrated by Katsuhiro Otomo. Otomo's inking style heightens the realism to a more mature level. On first glance you can tell this is not necessarily a comic for kids. We can see textures in the ink, the grime of the half destroyed world. We can see blood and sweat. The inking style in Akira and a lot of genre manga that followed it is very dynamic, which calls for a wider range of tools. You've got the wady, fluidity of the brush in the more organic shapes, like the characters bodies. But manga artist really loved to indulge in the environment. There's a lot of technical drawing pens at use, which is a perfect tool for conveying straight lines that appear in things like this grid mounted in the ceiling. Also, the dynamic feel of manga is conveyed through lots of motion lines really densely packed together. Technical pens are perfect for action scenes like this. Ink is relied on to represent all materials and textures. Knowing how to convey texture is a crucial visual storytelling technique for the comic artist. Think about what this drawing is telling us about these two characters just by the way, the two hands are being inked. Lynda Barry's comics have a sensibility all their own. She has been publishing collections of offbeats stories about dating, adulthood, being an artist and life in general since the late 1970s. This comic is from a collection of work from 1981. Her work is probably best described as journalistic investigations of human behavior. Without any consistency of character or story. Barry's comics reflect her personality and point of view at a very basic, energetic level. Her inks are playful and abstract and graphical. It seems like she's working with a single size technical pen and simply going back over lines to make them thicker. It's intentional that the energy of our inking feels almost rushed. Like she just sat down on a park bench and whipped out this comic in a couple of minutes. They're intended to feel like the ideas are flowing quickly, as fast as she can think of them. But if you look closer, she's still putting an amazing amount of time and effort into establishing distinct aspects of this world. Look at the patterns and textures on every surface and object in her panel. The inking style moves quick, but you can also linger and look at the details of her world building. I grew up to love and admire all of Ms. Barry's work as an artist and even more as a teacher. But I got to admit, when I first encountered her inking style, when I was around 15 years old, it was a turn off. Remember, I had been spending my youth looking at bone comic books and obsessively reading them, waiting for the next issue to come out. In my mind, I expected comics to feel clean and professional. Lynda Barry's work had ink smudges all over it and her lettering was wildly inconsistent. It made it even hard to read. You ought to wonder if she wanted you to read it in the first place. That's not a judgment on her style or approach. All I'm trying to point out here is our reaction to ink and technique is very emotional and we expect certain things based on our experience. There's no right or wrong way to ink a comic. But I do think it's important to understand who your style appeals to. Our first reaction to seeing a comic comes from the way it looks. The first thing we see, is the ink. Stylistic choices affect your storytelling in more ways than you think. Now if you want to learn more about inking style, specifically in book illustration, I've got a whole class dedicated to the topic. Go check that out later. But for now we're going to move on. At this point, we've discussed the flow of comic panels and how to ink them. Next, we'll talk about the stories comics can tell. 15. Lesson: Understanding Genre pt. 1: Some people consider a comic book a whole genre, but it's not. Comics is a medium for storytelling, just like writing or film making. Within the medium of comics, we can tell all kinds of stories in all kinds of genres. If we take a really broad overview of genre, you can put comics in two different categories. Beginner readers and experienced readers. Beginner comics often means kid friendly. It's comics that use elements of the panel to follow a young or naive protagonists point of view. They explore familiar themes of personal identity, friendship, close family, courage, crushes, and growing pains. Beginner comics use an action-based approach to panel transitions, keeping the characters in conversations easy to follow, the passage of time clear in linear and character development external. Experienced readers need more from their comics. In this case, the elements of the panel are used to follow mature, often older protagonists, characters with much more baggage and more complex sense of identities. Themes could include power and corruption, prejudice, cultural dynamics, romance, and technology. A book designed for an experienced reader can utilize the nuances of symbolic and aspect to aspect transitions. These things engage with an experienced reader at a deeper and more satisfying level than a beginner comic. Within distinctions of point of view and thematic content, we could break down genre into a million more categories, but let's go with seven for now. Gag comic, manga comic, comic adaptation, memoir comic, superhero comic, the period piece, and dramatic fiction. I picked these specific terms to discuss narrative forms that have emerged from the work of history's best comic artists. Genres such as gag comic and manga comics are unique to the art form of comics, but other terms like memoir in period piece have already been well-established through literary traditions, but they've been enhanced by the inclusion of comics in their genre. The short form gag comic is inherent to comic arts. If you grew up in America, you probably read some Garfield or Peanuts comics as a kid. They are very popular and easy to follow. One of the legendary gag comics from the 1930s, Nancy, created by Ernie Bushmiller was recently taken over by a young cartoonist named Olivia James. Nancy has always been a formulaic,though often brilliant comic strip about silly ironies and odd encounters. Miss James has turned that eternally eight-year-old Nancy into a reflection of modern existence. The gag strip is the shortest form of comic narratives, so let's stretch it out more to graphic novel length. The industry of Japanese manga is vast and varied. It explores every possible nooks and crannies of genre. For the sake of discussion, let's narrow the genre down to the way a lot of people are introduced to it as long form fantasy adventure stories about young heroes, and one of the most popular mangas is Dragon Ball, a serialized story by Akira Toyama. The original series ran from 1984 to 1985. It blends supernatural action with martial arts and we follow a main character named Son Goku. Son is on a search for the seven legendary and wish granting dragon balls. The franchise of Dragon Ball and Dragon ballsy, the follow-up, is epic and it spans over 40 volumes at this point, with all kinds of offshoots to bring in new generations of fans. The industry of manga focuses on young readers and gives them a first deep dive into character arts that are driven by rich world-building. You probably know a 12-year-old or two who were fanatic about manga, and with good reason, it's about kids. Kids living independently with awesome unstoppable powers. The world building of dragging ball is dense and the danger is real. At least real for a cartoon world, and it's very in your face, emotions run high and the stakes often feel life-threatening. Manga can seem cartoonish and silly at times, but it covers so many base narratives that we engage with as kids, and unlike some forms of kid entertainment, manga doesn't talk down to its audience. Superhero stories are a pretty big deal these days in all forms of entertainment, and the dominant vision of what a superhero story is, and the characters that occupy that world, began with a comic artist named Jack Kirby, who started working in the mid 1930s. His visual style is super distinct. It can be recognized by the clean, chiseled look of the male hero's face. The simple yet distinguishable designs of iconic character costumes, and there is amazing use of black shadow to guide the eye around his busy and energetic panels. Mr. Kirby's narrative style is fast-paced. He does a lot of action to action transitions with characters that display amazing abilities of power and strength, not dissimilar from manga and so many aspects of the superhero genre come from Mr. Kirby's work. He started in the 30s, but through the 60s and 70s, his stories expanded beyond the boundaries of places like earth. His stories took on epic in intergalactic scales and with those narratives, came the need for new aspects of inking style in comics. Alien environments and exotic energy bursts needed their own distinct visual style. Superhero comics, move quick. They cover vast gaps in time and space without blinking an eye and that format and pace is something readers have come to expect. Their stories with lots of character history and they can't afford to leave things ambiguous for fear of losing their readership. Like it or not, you get a lot of clunky thought bubbles and exposition that can slow the narrative down, but also make things very clear. Now let's look at literary adaptations in comics. When it comes to comics that adapt a classic novel, the best ones are always done out of love for the source material and that's definitely the case with hope Larson's adaptation of a wrinkle in time from 2012. Personally, I've been a long-time fan of Miss Larson's work. I've known her stuff from back when she did her own little short independent comics. She's always retain the sense of tranquility in her fluid brushy inquire, and I love her use of heavy dark spaces. It's really the perfect fit for the tone and world-building of a wrinkle in time. This is a story about kids who travel through time and space to find their scientist's father. It's a fantasy story, but it's also a story dependent on some tricky mathematical themes. The clean graphical style of Miss Larson's ink work brings clarity to some of these mind-boggling ideas such as two-dimensional planets. It wouldn't surprise me if middle school classrooms have started using the graphic novel in place of the original text. It's more engaging for students at all reading levels, which brings about more discussion and probably a pursuit of the original source material. It's a win-win for everybody. GoComics. Let's catch our breath for a second before we jump into the next chapter. 16. Lesson: Understanding Genre pt. 2: Moving on to the next genre. Let's look at the Period Piece. It's a pretty casual term, but I really just mean non-fiction or biography set in a certain time and a certain place, and usually following some kind of historical figure of note in our culture. 2015's Vincent by Barbara Stok is set in Southern France during the late 1800s. Clearly it follows the story of Vincent van Gogh, with a pleasant simplicity in its inking style. It shares the struggle of a far from famous Vincent, who continues to explore the possibilities of color and light through his painting while suffering nervous breakdowns and seizures and a world of people that don't understand his mission, to turn the mundane into something vibrant. The illustrative aspect of the comic medium is perfectly suited for these types of stories. The simplicity of Stok's inking, lets these stories show instead of tell. This inking style probably recalls some of the look of the gag comic, which actually works really well for accessibility. Because the mood is instantly lightened, just by the inking and character design. Young people can engage with this interesting story from a moment in history they would otherwise have no point of reference for. Up next we're looking at graphic memoir. It's a very popular breakout genre these days. Memoir was once the domain of the experienced writer, but graphic memoir opens up that genre to a much more diverse range of storytellers. At its core, graphic memoir communicates personal narratives through stylistic tropes of comic art. There are graphic memoirs about adulthood like 2018's RX by Rachel Lindsay. Miss Lindsay's art style is based on the thin wiggly line art of newspaper comics. In fact, at the time of this recording, she does a weekly comic strip for her local alternative newspaper in Vermont, USA. This makes her characters accessible and empathetic right off the bat. But RX goes deeper than her usual weekly comic strips. It's very personal. Lindsay uses her cartoonish humor, to share her struggles to maintain stability with bipolar disease. All while working a corporate job as a graphic artist for a pharmaceutical company. There are graphic memoirs about being a kid. One of the most popular ones is 2010's Smile by Raina Telgemeier. In Smile, Miss Telgemeier shares her experience with middle school trauma after she severely injures her two front teeth. The comic takes you on a journey through self-consciousness and embarrassment, as little Raina goes from surgery to braces to head gear, and even ends up with some fake teeth. The social dynamics dealt with in the book are very relatable to a middle school kid. I see lot of kids so excited to talk about this book and its themes. They feel connected with the author and her story. The accessibility in comics and their lightness and stylistic energy allows storytellers to get personal and real without becoming downers. They can instantly convey with one panel what it was like to be in their shoes. To me, graphic memoir is the most important genre happening in comics right now. It's connecting readers of all ages with stories of representation, struggle, and most importantly, hope. Dramatic fiction is probably the longest running genre that we've seen in comic publishing, which fits under just the umbrella term of graphic novel. If you want to talk about graphic novel, you got to talk about Will Eisner, the grandfather of the graphic novel. In fact, he invented the phrase. It was his little strategy for escaping the public's association of sequential art panels, speech bubbles, cartoonish illustration with newspaper gag comics. He was doing his own thing and wanted to be taken seriously. No offense to Ernie Bushmiller, but newspaper comic strips weren't really interested in pushing literary themes like Eisner was. He was a great storyteller and understood more than any one of his time the real potential of comic art. He began making comics in the late 1930s, right in the midst of the Great Depression. His world building is not unlike that of Batman's Gotham City, but his characters are more relatable and less exaggerated. They struggle through their poor inner city dealings with issues of money, respect, employment, economics, justice, and religion. Mr. Eisner was not above superhero tropes. In fact, his breakout character was the Spirit, a masked crime fighter who operated in a world of noir style crime, with aspects of mystery, horror, love and comedy, other niche pulpy genres. Because Eisner's work is so rooted in the harsh realities of that time period, his stories just don't really feel relevant today, which is too bad because there's a lot to learn from his mastery of the comic medium. Lucky for you and I, Mr. Eisner published a series of instructional books. His style of teaching comics and the things he talks about really resonate with me. I think his books are amazing. After understanding comics, it's probably the most well regarded text on comics and visual narrative. Pick it up if you get a chance or grab it from your local library. Genres are useful as access points for new readers. It helps them know what kind of characters, environments, and stories they're likely to encounter when they pick up the book. You might ask, is it possible for me to make a kid friendly memoir that has elements of dark and grimy crime noir drama. Of course, as long as you're staying true to your characters, their beliefs and aspirations, their weaknesses and failures. If you can manage to focus on that stuff, you're going to find readers who connect with your work. 17. Lesson: Exploring Style: After a talk about inspiration, I think it's good to reflect on style. Style of art and storytelling is an ongoing pursuit for the artist. No comic artist has ever stopped chasing style. Your work will develop through practice, but that potential is not infinite on its own. It's limited by experience. That means take time to step outside what you think you know about comic art and story. Work harder to read more and explore genres from around the world. The more the variety of storytelling you explore, the more the directions will open up to where your style takes you. That's all I have to say for now about making good comics. Let's get drawing with the class project. 18. Project: Finding a Story: For our class project, we'll be sketching and inking. A two panels story based on the theme of obsession. I covered a lot of topics in the lessons sections of this class. To help you recall some of those concepts and techniques, I'm going to make a list of the lessons you need to remember as you design even a short two panel comic strip. This will help streamline our creative process as we work through the class project. We need to make sure we spend plenty of time with the elements of the panel, narrative clarity, staging of the panel, transitioning from one panel to the other, working on our inking style, and as a bonus idea, considering the genre or the audience your comic is suited for. Now, you may be sitting there with your pencil in your hand, ready to sketch and ink your comic, and be done in 20 minutes. That's fine. You might come up with something amazing. But everybody finds creative inspiration through different steps of a process. When it comes to comics, a blending of narrative text and narrative visual. Some people like to start by writing. I'm going to go through some of the writing stages that I use when I'm developing a story. I like to start by digging in a little deeper with the theme of the project. In this case, it's obsession which brings to mind certain imagery, maybe a definition but I'm actually going to put that stuff on paper. I always feel it's important to get the ideas out of your head to make room for new ones. When I look up the term, I come up with this definition, a thought that continually preoccupies a person's mind, as in, she was in the grip of an obsession. She was powerless to resist. I like the drama of that phrase. Let's look at some synonyms of obsession. These might drive the action or the mood or personality of the story. Synonyms include passion, mania, addiction, craze. As in the idea grew in her mind like an obsession. It's not always necessary, but focusing on a theme at this level can really help you understand the potential of your theme. Not every comic, especially a two panel comic, requires this depth of understanding, but I enjoyed the process. Maybe you will too. Now, I take my basic understanding of the theme, and expand it into character and setting. I'm going to restate my theme, and I note here, and the grip of an idea of focus on a passion. Maybe I need to include the opposition of the passion. We'll see. Stories are better when there's conflict involved. Let's see if we can extract a character from this theme. When you're building a character, the more specific you can get, the better you will understand your character. I'll give this character a name. Let's go with Linda. That was just popped into my head. She was a family friend growing up. Well say, Linda is middle-age. She's got three kids, so she's got a lot on her plate. She also has three degrees in engineering. When designing a character at a conceptual level, it helps to understand their wants and needs. I'm going to say that Linda, a middle-aged mother of three, really wants to put her skills in engineering to use. To do this, she needs to find time alone. We've got a character who's someone we can understand, and maybe even relate to. A pretty grounded concept. Now, the heightened elements start to reveal themselves as we develop this story. Let's look at the setting. Let's set it at Linda's house. Maybe she's got a lab in her garage. When I think of garage laboratories, I always think of start-up companies in the 1980s like Apple, always starting in the garage with shelves filled with old tech and wires running all over the floor. That seems like a place Linda might be able to go to get away for awhile, and thinking around on an experiment. Now, I'm going to start to script out my short story a little bit. Let's pick an actual year. Since we're looking at the '80s, let's say, 1987. We're in a garage in the suburbs. Genius inventor, Linda Berry can't find a moment to herself. Stories work well when you pose a question to the audience. Will Linda's new invention help her catch a break? Now, with all this talk of time alone and inventions, I can't help but think of a time machine being something Linda might want to create because it solves both her problems, the want to put her engineering degree to use, and the need to find some time alone. As I start to break down this panel in my head, I can't help but think it's leaning more towards a gag comic than maybe a dramatic story. Let's keep this story light and simple. 19. Project: Thumbnailing: Next I'm going to take my little short narrative and start to thumbnail out some possible panel designs. This is where I'm focusing pretty strictly on the four elements of the panel, juggling them and seeing what's going to work best. I like to thumbnail small because if a composition looks good, small, if it's clear, even at a small-scale, odds are it's going to work really well when you blow it up. For my first idea, I've got Linda hunched over a desk, her kids yelling at her in the background and in the next panel we're going to transition to the completion of the project possibly, it is a time machine. Maybe she's already jumped through time. However, we deal with it, I want her to feel relief. There's a nice contrast between the two emotional states in each panel. Let's move on to a second variation. Let's do more from the kids point of view. They're outside the garage yelling to their mom who's inside, and now we cut inside and we can ever say just a minute, which is a nice type of line to work into a time travel story. She could be about to connect the power of her time machine, then travel off through time. That's pretty good but for a two panel comic, I'm not sure if there's enough information for the reader to really know what's going on. Because we start with establishing shot, which gives us little detail outside the fact that there is a garage and a group of loud rambunctious children. In the next one we zoom in super close, so we might not be getting enough understanding of what this experiment is that Linda is working on. Let's try to find a happy medium in this third idea. I'm going to put Linda more in the foreground. Let's refine the idea of this time travel device. If you remember, H. G. Wells' story and the visualization of the time machine, it's basically lazy boy recliner with a bunch of tech glommed on to it. Let's go with that aesthetic. Linda sitting in her chair about to activate or time machine, the kids are coming up from behind shouting to her. Now we cut ahead. We transition to another moment, which is at a different point in history. Her home is no longer there, the kids are gone and she's finding a moment to relax. Which just coincidentally works out pretty well because she's already sitting in a relaxing chair. Maybe we can play off that idea of the H. G. Wells time machine and do something with that. Let's take those thumbnails, which are really loose and move into some sketches of the final art. 20. Project: Sketching: Here we're going to focus on staging. I'm going to start by establishing the placement of Linda in the panel composition. Panel one, I'm going to put her in the foreground so we can both see her face, her body language, and the time travel chair that she is sitting in for panel two, since we've already established those things, I'm going to zoom out. We want to relay this sense of tranquility that she's found after the time travel. I'm going to turn our profile and put her more in the center of the panel, It looks like a calm, relaxing place for her. Now I can start to work in some more of those details of the scene. I'll talk you through the choices I've made from left to right. At the far left, I've put in Linda's three children, they're all leaning in with their arms raised. They are just generic looking kids and their speech bubbles are all overlapping. It's not so important what they're saying, Just the fact that they're saying a lot of things very loudly and it's very distracting. Linda's speech bubble that's going to sit on top of their dialogue, as she cuts through the noise with her statement just a minute, as she's about to activate her time machine. In the foreground and the background, I've got some elements of her garage space where she's working. There's a shelf in the background, like a workbench, there's some devices up on a shelf, and then in the foreground, I've got a little table with a schematic that actually saves time machine on it. That might be too in your face. We'll see if I keep that, I'm not that into putting text on objects in the foreground, it can be very distracting. Draws the eye away from the characters, expressions, and dialogue. But it's fine for the sketch right now. In the second panel this one's coming together more clearly. I want to spread out the space, let's say Linda's traveled back to the cretaceous period. We've got some dinosaurs, triceratops and the foreground, some herbivore lung neck, dinosaur in the background, and a couple other tropical plants to surround her. I don't want to crowd Linda. I want to give her plenty of space. For our first draft of the panel design, this works pretty well. But as you may have encountered in some of my other classes. When I'm sketching, I like to keep in mind this three-stage sketching process. That's just a general rule of thumb. My first sketch usually isn't the one I end up inking on top of, my third sketch usually gets me to a clear enough state where I'm confident with my inking. But with this comic, I arrived at a final sketch. On the second try. We don't need to overthink this project, before we get to the art here, let's just jump back for a second and look at the main energy that I've established in these two panels. I'm drawing it in red here, so you know, it's important. Panel one, the emotive energy here is a sense of chaos. The characters are leaning and their encroaching on Linda's space, she's pushed down into the bottom corner, that's got a real chaotic, crowded energy. The second panel is all about tranquility. Her character is centered, It's got a speech bubble that's going to come straight up with some soft surrounding elements. If I were to just present those shapes, you'd hopefully get a sense of those emotional states of the panel without any details or characters or setting. When it comes to storytelling, contrast, like this is so important both visually and narratively. I just wanted to take a moment to point that out before we move into the final sketching stage here. You can see I've brought out some more details of the chair. Here's the reference image I was working from, it's a 3D modeling of the prop from the original HG Wells time machines story. I'm keeping the schematic in the foreground, and I had this little clever idea where when she travels back in time, we see the time machine chair is also a reclining Lazy Boy. It is a gag comics, so I think that extra reveal just makes it a little funnier. Now let's work on some of the setting elements and develop this foreground and mid ground. Now let's go and do a second draft sketch of some of these other elements. I'm going to tilt the kids in a little more forward and work out the placement of their chaotic speech bubbles just a little bit more clearly. Panel two, we're in the cretaceous period. I've used this reference image just to give me a sense of the types of vegetation that was around then. Without anymore over planning, I'm going to get right into inking. 21. Project: Inking: As I discussed in the lesson, I start with the frames. That way I know that the boundaries of my comic, I'm using a nib style digital pen. It almost looks like I could work with a felt tip nib, but I want a little more flavor in my line art. As I ink my design, I think about what the important visual elements of the design are. First and foremost is the expression on Linda's face. She's looking back at the kids. She's in a state of anticipation, and she's about to jump through time for the first time. Her hand is on the lever. I put a little starburst around that, just so it draws your eye. She's gripping the chair with their other hand. In the foreground I've taken off the text from the schematic. Now it just looks some engineering style paperwork. I've added a whole bunch of circuitry and electronic elements to the chair, just to give it a little more visual flair. I think in this case, in over busy design works pretty well. The background, her kids are just rubbery gingerbread man. It's not really important who they are. They just represent the a distraction and a reason for her to get away. On the right, we've got the chair again in profile and Linda with a big fat smile on her face. Since I'm drawing are so small, the profile works really well to capture the smile. I start to bring in some more texture in contrast into the other elements of the scene. Last but not least, I'm going to add in the text for the kids. It's the chaotic looking speech bubbles. I'm going to do the lettering in them, with just an outline so they don't draw the eye as much. They're just supposed to be background noise. How about a little ellipsis at the end of her phrase to ease us through the transition. The second panel, I have plenty of room for the sigh up in the sky. Notice I've even space the letters out a bit more than they are a little more vertical. My inking and both panels is pushing the ideas of chaos and tranquility. In panel 1 my inking, energy is very explosive. There's a lot of jagged lines and I'm using some of the hatching to pull your eye towards the center of the panel, you noticed the little lines across the top and a few down the side really point to the middle of the panel, like in one-point perspective. That convey is a explosive energy from the panel. Panel 2, has a very different type of energy feel for its inking. It's very horizontal, which is a calming field. Of course, we've got a horizon line, but I go even further by putting the character near water. That way I can use the ripples from the wider to further that idea of tranquility. There's not a lot of motion in this panel. Even the triceratops looks like he's taking a little nap. The only energy is a bit of dust that's been kicked up after the chair is arrived, the time portal or whatever. You could call this a moment to moment transition, but the moments are very specific, we have the moment right before, they travel, and the moment right after. I just want to make my characters pop a little better, so I'm going to fill in the background around Linda and her children, and add a little bit more shadow and contrast to the second panel. There we have it. A two panels story that may or may not, that's debatable, be focusing on the theme of obsession. With any type of assignment like this, I think of the framework of the assignment is just a jumping off point to explore and practice the skills needed to create a comic. The main takeaway here is to not always state when a 100 percent true to the framework of the topic, but to work through the stages, Think about all your elements. Frame character setting, speech bubble. Think about the narrative clarity as you stage your scene and work through your thumbnailing process. Think of the subtle changes in transition or maybe the broad changes in transition you could use to tell this story. Try to be unique, and original and engaging. The world is full of comics. People had been making them for hundreds of years. What's your interesting take on the passage of time in a story? Inking style can be restrained or experimental, as long as your stories clear to you, you're probably going to be able to pull off a more experimental inking style. But if you're more of a conventional narrative artist, you might want to stay restrained with your inking style. Think of who is reading your comic. Are you trying to entertain, enlighten, provoke whatever you're trying to do with your story that can help you decide the moments, the characters, the setting, all the aspects of the comic, and how the reader is going to engage with them. At this point we've pretty much reached the end of the class. Let's wrap it up. 22. Wrap it Up!: All right, thanks for sticking with me to the very end. I hope you learn some things and are inspired to draw your own comics now. I love teaching as much as I love making my own work. It really, really does mean a lot that you watch my classes and give me a chance to do this and make it part of my career. Now, if you've got an extra 60 seconds, please leave a review of the class that tells Skill-share and other students that you like what I'm doing. It helps boost my channel and give other students an opportunity to find and discover my work. Now when you finish your first comic, please share it in the class projects section. I love to see student work. It really helps me understand that my class was truly engaging and interesting to you guys. I check student projects regularly, so I'm always there to share advice and feedback and just support you in whatever you're doing with your work. Other students love it too. It really makes it seem like a fun, energetic space to learn. Now if you want to learn more with me and elevate your skills as a comic artist, I'm in a recommend checking out to specific classes of mine. They're both based in cartooning. One focuses on bodies and poses, and the other is focused on faces and expressions. Now if you're more into fantasy characters and world-building aspects of making comics, you might want to check out my class, world of color, which is a pretty unique approach to designing a cartoon character and creating meaningful color palettes in your designs. Visit my whole Skillshare channel for these classes and a bunch of others that focus on illustration and narrative arts. If you want to follow my work, check out the links on my channel page. You can sign up for my newsletter to get monthly news. If you're really appreciate what I'm doing, you can support me on patron for like a dollar a month. You'll get sneak peeks at what I'm working on. I make process posts that gives some insight into my own creative process. Of course, you can follow me on all our social media overlords. I'm on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook sharing what I'm up to and updates on new classes that I'm making. Well, that's about all I've got to say for now. Again, thanks for watching and hope to see you next time.