Friday, 17 October 2008

Resolution No #187.

I made a new resolution today. This happens about once every couple of months, or whenever i'm in a bad mood. This time I thought i'd share. It comes in a form of a checklist. Any comic I write (drawing other peoples doesn't count) Must contain:
  1. A Story that reflects my concerns
  2. A story that has merit; either personal or external.
  3. A story that is defined and complete both in its purpose and construction
  4. Rounded characters that reflect some form of my personality, or those around me.
  5. An art style that is vibrant and mobile.
  6. An art style that is flexible enough to portray my characters and the story to the best of its/my ability.
  7. A visual storytelling style which is flexible enough to allow for the very best representation of any given emotion or scene.
To explain:
  1. Is because I spend far too much time telling stories that do not reflect upon me. These are rarely good stories. More going through the motions of creating an "epic tale" or squeezing emotion out of something- which is always going to be hollow and constructed. Also, I think if I analysed my concerns more closely, i'd end up with a stories that were really important to me. This would, in theory, make them much better and much more enjoyable to create.

  2. I don't mean "worthy" merit here. Nothing is worse than stories with heavy handed messages. What I mean is that the story must have a reason for being. Not the idea, which might be "Post apocalyptic city with jetbikes" but rather the story. Jetbikes, although awesome, are not an appropriate raison d'ĂȘtre for any story.

  3. And even if the story is about jetbikes, far too often I start comics with only a cloud of emotions, scenes and character traits which involve jetbikes, rather than an actual story. ( I don't know how we got onto the jetbikes, sorry.)

  4. I'm sure the really great storytellers can pluck characters out of thin air. I'm not one of them. This doesn't mean I can't exaggerate, or place myself or my friends in outlandish situations, but to have truly three dimensional characters, I should really stick to what I know. The only thing that's stopping me from using my own extensive list of insecurities, shamefull machiavellian streaks and pretentious delusions of eloquence (duuh, I used big words!) is my abject terror of laying myself bare for my art, which obviously holds it back. ooh, that's going on the list of insecurities too.

  5. This is because I get caught up in the details. Or rather, I get caught up in the set pieces- scenes, locations, whatever. This always seems to damage the "character" of both my figures and my precious backgrounds. Just because the building doesn't bend like that, doesn't mean I shouldn't bend it.

  6. This is to reign in my style. A comic should not rest on style, and one that is very interesting and striking, can clash with the way I may want a story to be told. I feel style should be slave to the story- rather than the other way around.

  7. This is to make sure that I make the fullest use of the comics format. A friend of mine is currently stuck drawing a comic in a rigid 4 panel-per-page layout. Conversely, I see many manga artists using layouts that seem worryingly like manga for manga's sake. No layout precedent or artwork style should restrict me from drawing the best panel, or page, possible.
I hereby resolve not to write myself another comic unless it adheres to all of the above.
(resolution may be subject to change and revision without notice. ahehehe ^-^)
This probably all seems like common sense, but I need to be reminded of these things, plus I feel like putting it in writing might just make me somehow less likely to trundle on with mediocrity. (hey! another one for the list of insecurities!)
Finally, and in case you were concerned that i've become all contemplative and morose: I really really need to stop buying so many moleskines.


nana said...

Wow, haha I feel so n00b after reading that. It seems to contradict some things I've come to believe about comics... or at least certain types of comics... which I've happened to like. O_o

Very interesting... I never really thought that in-depth about what attributes stories I create should have. Skill-wise I'm still unsure if what I'd like to do is actually what I can do, but I agree that your style should suit the story you're trying to tell. I just need to figure out what types of stories I want to tell first... haha.

This does sound like Eisner-worthy resolutions though, so best of luck keeping them! Personally, I have no such grandiose aspirations... As lame as it sounds, I just want to create something that people will enjoy.

aqws said...

Haha I wouldn't presume to extend my advice to anyone other than myself on this topic!
Your beliefs on comics are probably equally valid, contradiction or not!
seriously, I so rarely know what i'm talking about!

Creating something people will enjoy is my ideal goal too, I just feel that in doing so (even if i'm drawing some wacky bish-fest-custard-wrestling) including points from this resolution is only going to make it better.
That, and learning to draw good custard. ^_^

Dave Bain said...

It's all about rounded corners. Have moleskins got some sort of copyright on that?

Your principles read well John. This is just the sort of cannon fodder to not only feed yourself, but aspiring comic writers. Perhaps a return trip to Falmouth as "guest lecturer"?

aqws said...

yeah, sure! when they pay my train fare i'll have a free cornish holiday!