Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Logo Designs

Logo Designs

Here  are a couple of logos I recently designed. You can check out Votezin and vote for what's popular in different categories.

Two logos

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Review Panels in Comics and Graphic Novels


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist


Okay, let's get back on track. Let's review.

Comic book page
art © 2012 H. Simpson


We've been discussing using geometric page layouts called grids to create a visual rhythm and tempo with repetition and variations in panel shape. The variations are used to highlight dramatic moments in the narrative.

Panels frame and contain the content for the reader. The size of the panel can be an indicator of how much time passes. Comics don't have movement to indicate time. But when you think about it no media does have movement. Film, video and animation all have still frames. We are given the illusion of movement by the rapid projection rate.

The eye moves more quickly over smaller panels. Larger panels make the eye linger longer, so it seems  more time is passing.

Now we're going to discuss free form page designs. This means you don't decide to use a grid and every page can have different panel shapes.

The size and number of the panels on the page is decided by:
Story
Action
Anchor Image
Passage of time

So I'll start breaking this down next time.


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reminds me of my childhood

As a kid, I used to go out to the parking lot and pretended to be superheroes. These drawings are from the mind of artist Andy Fairhurst, but they are from the heart of all of us who dream and imagine.


This series is When I grow up I wanna be... Check out his other art.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

A nice method to do thought balloon lettering.

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist



Nate Piekos has a nice method for doing thought balloon lettering for comic books, comic strips and graphic novels.

Some of you may think it's old fashioned to use thought balloons. Some people think that about black and white movies. Some won't even watch them. Aww... poor thought restricted babies.

The film The Artist won 5 Oscars last year. You can't get more old school, than a silent and black and white film.






to be continued…

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Copyright 2016 H. Simpson

If you are interested in further expanding your knowledge, then I recommend these books.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

SDCC brings down the hammer on badges!

San Diego Comic-Con isn't taking things lightly anymore.


Comic-con is cracking down on fake and transferred badges. You will get the boot if caught!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where Have You Been?

Sorry I haven't been posting about comic books lately.


I've been busy with a couple of storyboarding jobs that had to be done quickly. Blogging doesn't pay the bills I just do it for fun. My only pay is whatever encouragement and comments you make.

I'm also looking for a new agent, so both of these efforts have taken up my time.

Here's a peek at what I've been working on lately.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!


Best Job | P&G London 2012 Olympic Games Film


You think you're just watching a commercial that just leads to a product at the end. Before you know it a story has developed and it's wonderful.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Superhero's Mothers Moments in History

Happy Mother's Day!


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Friday, May 11, 2012

Jonah Hex co-creator Tony DeZuniga passes away at age 79

Tony DeZuniga




A great artist whose work I enjoyed.

Full story here.


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copyright 2012 H. Simpson.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zombie Haiku

spiral desigb

Okay let's get those creative juices flowing.

Here's my first contest. I challenge you to write a haiku about what you like about my blog.

Put your entries in the comment section below.

I will choose my top three favorites and illustrate them. The top three chosen will also each win the original art I created for their haiku.

The contest ends when I've received 50 haikus.

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Batman: Arkham City's Harley Quinn DLC Is What DLC Should Be - IGN

I'm a big fan of storytelling. Looking forward to seeing this.

Batman: Arkham City's Harley Quinn DLC Is What DLC Should Be - IGN


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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If The Avengers talked on Facebook.

Very funny. Check this out.
Click link below to see full conversation.



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Panels and More Panels


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist

The Horizontal Panel 

This shape most closely fits the normal human field of vision which is 180 degrees. This shape can help to make the reader feel comfortable. This panel shape is good for panorama views also.


The Inset Panel

This is usually used to show a close-up of a detail or to highlight something you don't want the reader to miss.

Best to use a double border to separate it from the surrounding panel to avoid tangents as well as confusing the reader.


The Overlapping Panel

Usually used to make a stronger connection between panels or to really compress time.

Best to use a double border or cut-in to separate it from the surrounding panel to avoid tangents as well as confusing the reader.

Or a nice strong black in one background can separate the the panels. 



I see a hand raised. "What's a tangent?" I'm glad you asked. Let's go off on tangent now to answer that question and then come back to panels and page design.

Be here tomorrow for a visit to Tangent City.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

69 Grid


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist

The 6 panel grid.

The grid that is seen most often. So time passes at a regular rhythm just based on the grid alone. Larger panels panels slow the reader down as their eyes linger and travel over it to take in the content. So it has the effect of slowing down time. Use this to emphasize something and show details.


The 9 panel grid.

This grid can be good for more intimate moments and when your want time to move faster or at a regular, steady pace. What you put in the panel will determine which effect it has. The grid sets the rhythm and the content will determine the pacing.


to be continued...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

4 Panel Grid Up All Night

The basic comic page grid
The basic comic page grid.

How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist


The Grid



Here is what forms the basis of the standard grids used in comics and graphic novels. You can use this as a starting point  to create your own grids to meet your story needs. Hey, it can be all diagonal panels. Just make it work! Sorry, I was having a Tim Gunn moment. The grid choice should serve the story. For example, you may want to use standard rectangles for the pedestrian parts of the story and then always use diagonal panels whenever there is action. I study and dissect what artists do and do not do. I met the great Gene Colan and talked to him for a while. After gauging that he seemed to be a nice guy and guessing he might not go off on me I told him, 'I noticed you use diagonal panels in your action scenes, so I stole that from you,' he laughed and said "That's okay. I stole it from somebody too." We both laughed and talked some more about the art form we love.

Now let's look at what can be done with the grid.

The 4 panel grid

Here's the 4 panel grid. 

Now Variation A presents a problem in western culture and Variation C presents a problem in eastern cultures. In the west we read from left to right, top to bottom. with Variation A the western reader's natural tendency will be to go from the first panel to the panel on left next, thereby missing the content of the small left bottom panel. In the east, they read from right to left, top to bottom and Variation C presents the same issue.

One way to be sure the two small panels are read first is to give the reader some clues, such as the border in Variation B. I've highlighted the border red here to emphasize it for you now, but by no means take this to mean you have to make that border red.

Ideally you never want to have a set of panels down the left side that have to be read first. It will be confusing to the reader. However, if you approach the page as a design (as I do most of the time) then you may find yourself in a situation where this is the best solution. I'll discuss this  more when I discuss page design.

Jack Kirby usually used this grid a lot to show big action and Asgard in The Mighty Thor comic books. After all the Viking gods are too awesome to be contained by a mere 9 panel grid. He used the 6 panel grid for earth bound moments.



to be continued...

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copyright 2012 H. Simpson. Other art copyright their respective copyright holders.



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Avengers Movie Review


Avengers Assemble to Entertain



First, let me say that I'm not a purist. I don't feel that a movie of adaptation of comic book characters have to follow the comic exactly. The Christoper Reeve Superman movie set the standard and showed that when you respect the source material and treat the characters as real and not as cardboard cutouts or stereotypes a good movie can be made. Not a good comic book movie, just a good movie.

Great movies started being made with the comic book characters when they started fleshing out the characters and understanding their motivations.

This is what helps make The Avengers a great movie. The individual movies clearly defined the characters and their motivations. Even without seeing those movies, it's clear to the viewer that those motivations are in conflict as the heroes assemble. Helping to give us the obligatory hero vs hero fight,which is handled very well. It's not just tossed in for a hero fight, it actually contributes to the story.

In fact therein lies another reason for the greatness of this movie. Not a single frame is wasted. Every move, every frame, every line contributes to advancing the story or revealing something about the character(s).

The movie opens on an alien world with Loki and an alien (not a Skrull). During the trailers the sound system was pumping. So I know it worked. Yet it was hard to hear clearly in this scene. Were they mumbling? This was the only time the sound was bad and my first disappointment

Then we see a captured Black Widow and the style of the movie is set in this one scene. Drama, action, humor, defined characters, understandable story, good acting and an investment in the characters. The balance is set here and maintained throughout the movie. There are two writers on the movie, but the Whedon style is immediately evident.

My second  and last disappointment was the title sequence. Was this an after thought? After months of pushing a well designed Avengers logo in our face. The title sequence shows a poorly designed logo.

There are payoffs for people who saw all the previous movies, but that's just icing on the cake. It does help at a critical turning point and really makes the audience (as well a the heroes) emotionally invested. The character interaction is amazing and serves to drive the story.

This movie arrives at just the right time. Special effects are at a point where you can't tell they are effects and so don't take you out of the story. As a comic artist I can create destruction on an epic scale. And it doesn't cost a thing. Previously movies couldn't afford to do this. Finally we can see a movie that can create the destruction that is believable in a world populated by superheroes.

The movie is longer than normal at 2 hours and 22 minutes, yet it does not feel long at all. I felt like I could have sat another hour without any seat bottom wiggle.

The Avengers is an awesome, entertaining movie.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Avengers Assemble!

The Avengers movie opens today!


I'm going to go see it today if all goes well.
I'll post a review here later.

It's Free Comic Book Day tomorrow!
Free Comic Book Day

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

IN-GRID


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist


The Grid

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Good designers use a grid. Great designers know when to break the grid.

A grid helps you to provide patterns and rhythms with your panels, thus creating pacing and manipulating time.

What is a grid? For our purposes it's a system for organizing your panels on the page. You've seen it all your life and you may not even have known it. It's used in newspapers, magazines and web sites. And also comics!  Let's look at the history briefly.

Illustrated manuscripts were first produced by monks during the dawn of the Middle Ages to transcribe sacred text. The grids used here are a combination of vertical and horizontal lines as seen in these examples.



As you can see the grid was flexible and showed variety back then, even as it does now. It is not restrictive, it is liberating. It can allow your visual design sense and storytelling to be very dynamic by allowing you think about content, time and space within a framework. It's easy to be creative when you're free. It's more challenging when you create a cage for yourself.

The grid can be used to control time as well as for psychological and aesthetic effect. It gives you a systematic way to layout your pages and give it consistency and unity.

Jim Steranko's Chandler (1976) was one of the early graphic novels. The others released that year were adaptions or compilations. Chandler was an original work. The cover calls itself a visual novel, while inside it's called a graphic novel. It's not the first graphic novel*, but it is indeed the first illustrated novel to combine comic book panels and text in this way. 

Steranko made a creative decision ahead of time to use this grid.



It would seem to be he painted himself in a corner, however he was very creative with his use of this grid. 



Chandler copyright Jim Steranko


*Gil Kane's Blackmark published in January 1971 is the first graphic novel. The term graphic novel was not in wide use then. Europe had what they called "albums" and manga were in Japan.

to be continued...

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Some movie poster concept ideas

Rough sketch  ideas for movie poster





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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Comic Book and Graphic Novel Panels


How to Become a Comic Strip, Comic Book and Graphic Novel Artist


Panels are the drawn borders that create a frame on the page. The frame becomes the window into the reality you've created.

The space between the panels is called gutters. The gutter is where time happens.

The panels can be any shape.

Panels can also indicate a flashback, dream sequence; emphasize and emotions 
or emphasize action inside the panel.

The panel can also be a symbolic image like binoculars.


to be continued....

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copyright 2012 H. Simpson