tip


A lot of students come to me with a whole epic in mind. Those who want to tell sprawling tales that will end up slip cased novels in the hundred of pages! Understandable. I mean, it’s Comics! Of course there’s a lot of people looking for that. I’m pretty guilty of doing it […]

The short and silent story


I’ve posted about the writing side of inventing characters, with comics of course the visuals are just as important, and by extension, often the world you set around them. If your comics take place in the now, then you don’t have to think as hard about it, just pick locations around you. […]

Character and Design


On the site here I’m exploiting the surplus of material out there about writing for film and books because at their core, stories are stories! Studying how writers tell them in other mediums is one of the key ways I learned about how to write my own. And being a related […]

Write A Short Anything…



Telling a good story is often about planning, and a great tool I recently heard about is something presented on Out on the Wire, a new story workshop podcast series about making stories, step by step. Cartoonist Jessica Abel & Co break down the principles of storytelling on the show really well, […]

Focus Statements & XY Formulae


Trope – noun -(ˈtrōp) plural: tropes : A word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect. – a : A word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech – b : A common or overused theme or […]

girl#2 – a comic about tropes


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The core mechanism of sequential art, is Juxtaposition. Even when it’s a single gag cartoon, there is typically a juxtaposition of words, and picture. And the transitions between panels is entirely a mechanism for creating a moment of Closure, through Juxtaposition! It’s a very powerful tool, important to learn about and […]

Juxtaposition!



You could get the impression Scott likes making lists? Thanks to that we have a handy and fairly comprehensive model for the different kinds of panel to panel transitions, in terms of their content and subject matter! These are descriptions of the narrative nature of the Juxtaposition we create, panel […]

Transitions!


FLOW sums up a key concept in comics page or strip design: Underlying structures that make the work legible, flow and should not need to be explained to readers. Flow is a big subject, though to nail down simply. It covers everything from the rudimentary like having the first person […]

Flow, & the Eyelines!


Cartooning and caricature is the use of simplified forms and lines to represent people, animals and things. Modern cartooning is diverse, I see it as having three major families or styles, falling along a spectrum from most abstracted to most representational, and on to idealized. All popular styles will fall somewhere along this […]

Noodle Arms to Bigfoot: A Cartoon family



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The first stage of page building in comics is doing layouts. Under deadlines it’s often rushed, when you have a bit more time it’s an ideal way to plan out a comic. You’ll find printable templates for thumbnail sheets, to aid in the process here! You can watch me doing […]

Thumbnailing layouts!


A short tool tip for prossesing scanned art! It’s actually a good thing I think, to not try to get too much contrast with the presets when you scan, I tweak mine a bit but I use colour, and scan the art for the widest range of information. That leaves […]

Balancing with histograms


Blue lines are reproductions of our pencils or even thumbnails, printed, usually with a bubble jet printer, onto fresh sheets of Bristol. Using them can replace using a light table or vellum to transfer the art as was done in back in the day, and it also allows a few […]

Making your own ‘Blue Lines’



For some of my own work, most of it really, I don’t use digital lettering. Not the way demonstrated in my last post on this topic. I DO often shape my balloons the same way, using the expand selection trick after scanning hand-lettered text. But despite a fondness for the LOOK of […]

Analog lettering & Photoshop?


Pixelled words to go with your pictures! Lettering can be a deceptively big topic. I’ll cover it in a few posts, rather than try to do it all in one. This post is going to focus on the way I use computers to letter, and the industry standard more or […]

Digital aided Lettering!


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Collaboration has been a central part of sequential art, comics & cartoons, since their reinvention as a mass Pop media during the heyday of the American Newspaper. As soon as Comics became a central feature of any self-respecting newspaper artists were hired in bulk to work together in some way or another […]

Comix Jams!



The Ames guide is a classic comic’s tool. Also used for other forms  of calligraphy, from drafting to decorative, it’s a simple variable ruling guide to render lines for lettering. I’ve made a simple short video to watch here, and you can read the printed instructions most of them come with at the bottom […]

How to use an Ames Guide


This is a short little clip, covering something that many young cartoonists are amazed to hear you can do – if you mess up or want to change a panel or even a detail of a panel on paper, it’s possible to simply cut it out and paste in a […]

Old school page patching


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Planing a comics page out the first thing you need to do is decide what format will you publish it in, what aspect ratio or page size? Webcomic? Graphic Novel [long form], Ero album, American pamphlet? Will your book be digital first or pint? Standard American comics typically are printed 6.63″ […]

Page aspect ratios & templates