mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

More on Comic Book Art Lessons

I realize that I haven't posted for a while about the art lessons that Nomi and I have been taking with Raul Gonzalez. We've continued to learn quite a lot. Here's a few highlights of the three lessons we had with him at the Diesel.

November 28: Raul had us do more gestural drawings, which is when you very quickly sketch a human body in motion. The goal is simply to capture the general feel of the movement. Later on, you go over the drawing and flesh it out to make it a real person. We also learned about contour lines, the lines you draw to capture a specific person and not just a generic face or figure. I drew Nomi and she drew me, and it was very enlightening. You really have to look carefully at the person you're drawing. In fact, it's much more important to look at the person than at the paper.

December 5: This lesson appealed to me because of my knowledge and love of mathematics. Raul taught us how to draw using one-point and two-point perspective. Now here's the odd thing. I know about perspective; I learned it in art class many years ago, I've referred to it when teaching geometry, and of course I recognize it when I see it. But now I have a better handle on how it works, and I'm more able to find the vanishing point.

December 12: Last night, Raul had Nomi work on character sketches while I worked on storyboarding. Nomi did an excellent job of finding the lines she needs to capture the main character she created. She managed to draw his face over and over from different angles, and it was clearly the same person in each drawing. In my case, I worked with a script I wrote for Denny O'Neil's class ten years ago. And what I found was that I made changes to the script as I began laying it out. For example, I'd have a page of five panels described, and I realized that I wanted two of the panels inset over one larger one. Or a panel described as a one-shot of my character I discovered worked better as a close-up of his hands. And so on. The sketches were, well, sketchy, but it made me realize how much more artists needs to put into a script than the writer gives them, and how much the writer needs to think visually to describe a page that works well for storytelling.

As I told Raul last night, the more I study with him, the longer it takes me to read my comic books. I'm still reading primarily because I enjoy the stories, of course, but now I find myself lingering more and more over the artwork. I've become more interested in following the linework of a face and in understanding the choices the artist made in creating a panel. (FABLES is very good for this; Mark Buckingham's drawings are both superb and easily analyzed.) Even if these lessons don't make me a better artist (although how could they not?) they'll make me appreciate art more, which is a good thing.

Because of other commitments, we won't have another lesson until January. But in the meantime, I've got the rest of my script to lay out, and I bought Nomi and me small sketchpads to carry around with us. I'm hoping to get a lot more practice drawing faces and figures over the next few weeks.
Tags: comics, personal

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