Cartoonists: Do you know that what you put in your panels is potentially far more interesting than how well you draw it?

Discussion (34)¬

  1. Sure. But often the urge to draw is bigger than the self-criticism regarding the text.

  2. M. Greco says:

    Yes, I agree. I thought your “six steps” clearly implied this.

  3. Laroquod says:

    Do you agree that the same thing goes for a photocomic? Beautiful photography is nice and all, but really the only thing that matters to me personally is whether the artistic effect serves the point I am trying to make. If I were to set out to prove something about my photographic skills, I would be the poorer artist for it, considering the kinds of things I write. Of course, it’s hard to put that across to someone who hasn’t actually read it, yet; I feel there is a tendency when people look at a photocomic to make more superficial judgements, as if different rules apply.

    • Scott says:

      I’d say goes double for photocomics.

      • Laroquod says:

        The point I was trying to make is that it operates equally for both; there actually isn’t any difference, and the important thing is usually the content and the narrative relationship between the way the various panels ‘feel’ rather than how good they look aesthetically. But I think you know that and you were making a rhetorical point, which is well taken. 8)

        • Scott says:

          The reason I think the principle applies especially well to photocomics is because clarity of subject is actually hard to avoid (clarity in drawing is a bitch for many artists).

          …and CHOICE of subject is even more fundamental to photography than to drawing.

  4. Box Brown says:

    As some one who is still learning how to draw, I realize this so much! The most important thing is that people know WHAT you’re trying to depict but even if you think you can’t draw the situation you’re trying to depict, just go for it. It’ll be worth it.

  5. Presto says:

    I totally agree! I’m more attracted by simple drawings, I think they are more funny and I don’t know how to draw anyway.

    Scott, you rock! 😀

  6. Vandalk says:

    It took me far too long to realize this, and even after realizing it, in my stuborness, I stil haven’t put it to pratice. I’m still learning to draw and never making comics.

  7. Angelina says:

    Really really depends.

  8. I think it is a bit of both. Even the simplest of drawings takes a lot of skill. It is very challenging to approach drawing with “less is more” approach. I think a well drawn idea is much more powerful than a crappy drawn idea.

  9. Mike says:

    It’s important not to waste panel space with stupid bullshit no matter how pretty you can draw it, I say.

    Mostly I started saying that because I was never as good as I like to think I am, but that’s beside the point!

    I’d say EVERYTHING in a panel MUST HAVE PURPOSE!!

    Or leave it out!

  10. Jethro McClellan says:

    Another POSSIBLE ‘weasel word’ (interesting phrase! I’ll maybe Wiktionary it!): You/Scott said ‘more interesting’, not NECESSARILY ‘higher quality’ or ‘more well-done’.

  11. kvweber says:

    It drives me crazy that this is true- it really, really does. It’s the post-art school perfectionist mindset and I hate it. If I spend too long on art I leave out key parts of the story if I try too hard to make the storytelling perfect I tend to exhaust myself and have below-par artwork that just looks…mundane. It’s really like an endless cycle of craziness.

  12. Kat says:

    This is true to a point. I often find if the art work is really poorly executed then I can’t read the story no matter how good it might be simply because the visuals hurt my eyes. That said, the opposite also remains true, beautiful art does not a good story make.

  13. I think that the “interesting” part from this phrase (with which I basically agree) derives solely from whether someone has something solid to share through his comic or not. If that’s the deal, I personally couldn’t care less if it’s done with stick figures, masterful drawings or any other way for that matter.

  14. Theo Macdonald says:

    I far prefer interesting content than high realism etc. This is lucky for me because I’m not that great an artist.

  15. Jimaroonie says:

    How do you separate the WHAT from the HOW? Surely they BOTH should serve the IDEA? Rather is it not a question of what you mean by “well” (as in “what makes a GOOD drawing?”).

    • Jimaroonie says:

      sorry that should read “what makes a drawing GOOD?”

    • Scott says:

      Put another way, there are a hell of a lot of interesting things we could be drawing, and interesting combinations between them, that we never take advantage of.

      Here’s an example of an interesting mix of subjects from a Charles Burns page on Journalista this morning.

      • andrew says:

        You might be doing yourself a disservice by using Charles Burns as an example here – someone who is unable to manage the foreshortening, clean compositions and whatnot here (like probably me) would end up with something entirely different.
        But I guess that’s maybe that’s more about style or the how-it-is-drawnness than the how-well-it’s-drawnness?

        • Scott says:

          I think that a poor draftsman could still get across the basic juxtaposition — and I’d still find that combination more interesting than a well drawn series of talking heads.

          Or shouting men in muscle shirts with guns.

          Or superheroes looking grimly at each other.

          Or a vampire in a cloak with a Van Dyke beard menacing a scantily-clad woman in an alleyway while a heroic figure silhouetted against the moon prepares to leap from a nearby rooftop.

  16. Theo Macdonald says:

    Scott, that last example was suspiciously specific. Could this be a part of “The Sculptor?”

    • Scott says:

      Oh Hell, no.

      I see plenty of amateur comics and you’d be amazed how many generic, badly drawn vampires have Van Dyke beards.

  17. James H says:

    As an illustrator where everything has to have a justification for it’s use or lack of use, I’d stay yes. Good food for thought nonetheless.

  18. Will Curwin says:

    Yea I think whats in a panel is more intrusting than how its drawn because if it were the other way around there would be a lot of comic writers out of jobs.

  19. ACGalaga says:

    When people say to me, “I can’t draw.” I often give them a similar lecture. But, coming from you it certainly has more value than a sub-par amateur like myself 😉

  20. Not coincidentally, I had this lesson most clearly imprinted on me when I did my first 24-hour comic, when the storytelling had to be instinctive and clear, and there was no possible way to pretty it up with nice rendering.

    Perhaps one of the most comprehensive and important lessons I’ve ever had.

  21. Fabiola says:

    That is basically the moving force behind the greatest cartoonists, what inspires us and gives us the courage to actually try and put a pen on a paper, regardless of material or skill. But it is also why cartoonists have been prejudiced and have taken a long time to be recognized as true artists.

  22. Yeah, I’m super aware of this.
    I do a comic with no dialogue, so the meaning of the panel’s content becomes very important.