Wednesday, June 1, 2011


One of the hardest things to accomplish on a static page is telling a story with a series of pictures. It's not as easy as it sounds, especially when dealing with a set number of panels and things happening within the panel. There are other mediums in which stories are told in as pictorial manner, like children's storybooks. When I was first learning, I didn't look at anything illustrated, rather I looked at movies and TV shows.

Comic books and movies/ television shows have a lot in common. They both use pictures to tell stories. My first attempt to learn storytelling from movies was to sit down with a movie and a pad of paper. I would then pause the movie at each new camera angle and do a quick sketch.

These little storyboards are from the beginning of the 1987 film The Untouchables

Although doing something like this is a good way to learn how to compose a scene, it is important to remember that movies and comics, while close ( my film teacher at Loyola called them "cousins") are NOT the same. In films, the movement happens within the screen while in comics the artist has to create the movement. This happens not only by what happens in a panel, but also by the way the panels are placed on a page.

This is a page from the second Stormy Tempest story appearing in Femforce #154 by AC Comics. As you can see, there's a lot of movement taking place, even though it's a flat piece with no physical movement.

There are many things that can be learned from watching movies. For example, if you take a look at this scene from the 1946 film It's A Wonderful Life, you'll see that  the camera is positioned so that it shoots through the pharmacy shelves, creating depth within the environment:

When a director does something like this, he/she makes what could be a boring scene visually more exciting. 

This is a panel from a project that I am working on. As you can see I have tried to emulate the camera angle shooting through an environment.

Comic book artists are basically movie directors. We just don't have the benefit of sound, music and movement. Our job is to create those aspects successfully in whatever way we can and be able to tell a story at the same time.