Thursday, November 2, 2017


Storytelling is the single most important element of comic art and it's also the hardest.   A complaint I've heard many times over from editors is that new artists they discover can draw really well but they can't tell stories.

That's what this class will focus soley on.

Above is a page of sequentials from Sally Scott.  Click on it to give it a "read" -- and remember most storytelling should be clear even without words.

While there's no arguing that this is drawn well the storytelling is faulty because we go from seeing two characters walking on what looks to be a very tall bridge suddenly in the air or jumping (up or off) and then a shocking surprise with a white background.

So how does this read?

To me I read it as they jumped off the bridge and they are now dead and we're seeing them as they come to the realization that jumping off said bridge was probably a bad idea.

Panels have to flow into each other and then those panels have to flow into a page and those pages into a story.

As creators with EVERY panel we need to make some choices;
1- Choice of angle-- what is the best shot-- what adds drama?  What makes sure we get the information to our reader?
2- Choice of content-- what needs to be in said panel?   What elements are critical, what elements are ornamental and what can be eliminated to make the story clearer?
3- Choice of body language & expressions-- what are the characters feeling?  How are they reacting to the actions or dialogue in the panel?
4- Choice of moment-- which MOMENT should we capture to carry the story.   If you picture your panels as connected frames of a film it usually leads to successful storytelling.

So in this case here we have a long shot of two characters walking on a bridge in the first camera setup, then a medium shot of the two characters either leaping or falling followed by a medium tight shot of them reacting to something.   It's awkward.

So Sally gave it another shot...

Now she has the two characters on the ground with bushes and a bridge behind them.  She caught the sequence at the point in which they've landed.  Still doesn't work for two reasons-- the pose, although accurate, looks silly and second because she has that black bush behind them and the bridge is so far behind we don't get the sense that they've only jumped a few feet-- it's almost a superhuman leap if the bridge is that small in panel 2.

Let's consider the actions these characters are taking;

STEP 1- They're up on the bridge.
STEP 2- They're in midair.
STEP 3- They've landed.
STEP 4- We zoom in closer as they react to something.

Sally has to show four actions in three panels which is why she's having hiccups in the visual narrative.

It's not a bad idea to do it this way, because STEP 3 is a very odd pose, almost like they are looking for a bathroom in the woods, so eliminating that isn't a terrible idea and you can do that by showing them coming down through the air closer to the ground.

So I would go with something like this-- which now shows the speed line indicating they're coming from the bridge (even though the bridge is still too far away) and they are just now touching the ground gives them a more dignified pose by choosing this shot.

THIS class will be all about nitpicking storytelling-- you'll be making sure your work is clear in its storytelling from panel to panel and then page to page.  It's the most crucial part of the whole creative process.

Expect to draw and redraw panels and pages to ensure that you are delivering clear and concise storytelling.


Online course, Eight-session course, $348.00
Wednesdays: 11/29/17 - 01/31/18, 6:30PM - 9:00PM  (NO Class on Xmas and New Years Weeks)

  • Wed Nov 29

  • Wed Dec 6

  • Wed Dec 13

  • Wed Dec 20

  • Wed Jan 10

  • Wed Jan 17

  • Wed Jan 24

  • Wed Jan 31

This class is a video SKYPE style class which will be recorded each week and available to registered students for a limited amount of time so that if you have to miss a class you will be able to follow along.

This class will encompass a variety of topics to build your comic book art abilities covering writing techniques designed to help you jump start an idea, to anatomy and figure drawing lessons and into at least two full weeks of (drum roll please)... PERSPECTIVE.

The focus of the materials produced in this class will be writing and pencil art.  Not getting your pencils fully rendered and "figured out" before you go to ink is one of the biggest mistakes new comic artists make.  We'll crush pencil art in this one.

OR PAY IN INSTALLMENTS 4 payments of $87.00 over the 7 week course.