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Art comics Drawings Uncategorized

Sketchbook Peek with Master Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver


Who doesn’t love a glimpse into an artist’s sketchbook?

It’s like reading a diary.

It’s like reading a journal.

It’s like reading a MIND.

Noah Van Sciver was open enough to let Frank Santoro and us take a peek.

Have a watch:

And the full interview:

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Art Commonplace Book writer's inspiration

Cartooning Advice from Matt Groening

I stumbled on this list flipping through a random Simpson’s comics collection at Half Price Books. A lot of the tips apply to writers as well.

On tip #7, I agree. Most how-to-cartoon are terrible. But Ivan Brunetti’s Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, and Comics: Easy as ABC are indispensable guides to the craft.

Matt’s main homie Lynda Barry has Making Comics coming out soon too.

Be on the look out, and keep drawing.


  1. Don’t draw with cheap felt-tip pens. The ink in drawings made with felt tip pens will fade in a few years, and all you’ll be left with is a bunch of ghostly images, then nothing at all. And these drawings fade even faster when exposed to sunlight. So wise up and use pens with permanent ink, and try to draw on paper that’s not going to yellow and fall apart. (I learned this the hard way.)
  2. Finish your work! Drawing complete stories is really hard, especially when you’re a kid, but there’s nothing like having a finished story-with beginning, middle, and end-to amuse yourself and your friends. Unfinished work just doesn’t cut it.
  3. Save your stuff! Often, as your drawing and writing skills develop, or you get older and start having other more “mature” interests, your earlier cartoon work starts looking lame and clumsy. The usual urge is to toss it-but resist that urge! I guarantee that later in life you’ll be glad you held on to your cartoons, no matter how stupid they look now.
  4. Don’t let your mom throw your cartoons out! Moms have a tendency to do this. You go off for a weekend visit to Aunt Gladys, or you get shipped off to summer camp, or you turn your back for a second, and poof! There go your toys, your comic books, and your brilliant artwork. And no amount of squealing is going to bring that stuff back. So take care of your treasures-keep ’em out of the way of anyone who has some weird hatred of “clutter” – and make sure everyone in your family knows you’re insanely possessive of your stupid, worthless junk. If you make your stand early, before permanent damage is done to your goodies, they may learn not to mess with your mess.
  5. It’s okay to copy other cartoons, but it’s easy to get obsessed with a particular style that you can never master. I spent a solid year trying to draw Batman when I was eleven, and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of crummy-looking, vaguely Batmannish ghosts (see Item #1). So my advice is to copy from a whole bunch of different sources-eventually you’ll figure out a style that fits you.
  6. Get a sketchbook. Do lots and lots of drawings. Fill up the sketchbook. Repeat.
  7. Most how-to-cartoon books are terrible, so don’t get discouraged by their lousy advice. Remember, if the people who put together how-to-cartoon books knew what they were doing, they probably wouldn’t be doing how-to-cartoon books.
  8. Check out the original artwork of cartoonists you admire. You may be in for a surprise. It doesn’t look as slick as the printed stuff, does it? It’s full of smudges, pencil marks, erased lines, and covered-up mistakes. Most young, would-be cartoonists end up getting totally bummed out because their stuff doesn’t look as slick and perfect as the stuff they see in print. But the original work by the pros themselves usually don’t look that good, either. So it’s okay for your original artwork to look a little smudgy, too.
  9. It’s not horrible to be a crummy drawer. There’s room for all sorts of styles in the world. All I can draw are people with big eyeballs and no chins, and I can’t even do that well-but look at me. I get to blab about how to cartoon, and you get to listen to me.
  10. And finally: Be original. It’s okay to copy the cartoons you love, if you must. But please: Eventually edge toward your own ideas and stories. That way I won’t have to track you down and sue you.

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writer's inspiration

Writer’s Inspiration: COMICS EDITION

nvs style

N. Van Sciver lights the path.

 

 

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Uncategorized

Gary Panter’s Drawing Tips

Drawing/How to Keep a Sketchbook Tips from Gary Panter.


 

INTRODUCTION

Get a book-size (or paperback-size)d sketchbook. Write your name and date on an early page and maybe think of a name for it — and if you want, write the book’s name there at the front. Make it into your little painful pal. The pain goes away slowly page by page. Fill it up and do another one. It can be hard to get started. Don’t flunk yourself before you get the ball rolling.

You might want to draw more realistically or in perspective or so it looks slick — that is possible and there are tricks and procedures for drawing with more realism if you desire it. But drawing very realistically with great finesse can sometimes produce dead uninteresting drawings — relative, that is, to a drawing with heart and charm and effort but no great finesse.

You can make all kinds of rules for your art making, but for starting in a sketchbook, you need to jump in and get over the intimidation part — by messing up a few pages, ripping them out if need be. Waste all the pages you want by drawing a tic tac toe schematic or something, painting them black, just doodle. Every drawing will make you a little better. Every little attempt is a step in the direction of drawing becoming a part of your life.

TIPS

1. Quickly subdivide a page into a bunch of boxes by drawing a set of generally equidistant vertical lines, then a set of horizontal lines so that you have between 6 and 12 boxes or so on the page. In each box, in turn, in the simplest way possible, name every object you can think of and draw each thing in a box, not repeating. If it is fun, keep doing this on following pages until you get tired or can’t think of more nouns. Now you see that you have some kind of ability to typify the objects in your world and that in some sense you can draw anything.

2. Choose one of the objects that came to mind that you drew and devote one page to drawing that object with your eyes closed, starting at the “nose” of the object (in outline or silhouette might be good) and following the contour you see in your mind’s eye, describing to yourself in minute detail what you know about the object. You can use your free hand to keep track of the edge of the paper and ideally your starting point so that you can work your way back to the designated nose. Don’t worry about proportion or good drawing this is all about memory and moving your hand to find the shapes you are remembering. The drawing will be a mess, but if you take your time, you will see that you know a lot more about the object than you thought.

3. Trace some drawings you like to see better what the artist’s pencil or pen is doing. Tracing helps you observe closer. Copy art you like — it can’t hurt.

4. Most people (even your favorite artists) don’t like their drawings as much as they want to. Why? Because it is easy to imagine something better. This is only ambition, which is not a bad thing — but if you can accept what you are doing, of course you will progress quicker to a more satisfying level and also accidentally make perfectly charming drawings even if they embarrass you.

5. Draw a bunch more boxes and walk down a sidewalk or two documenting where the cracks and gum and splotches and leaves and mowed grass bits are on the square. Do a bunch of those. That is how nature arranges and composes stuff. Remember these ideas — they are in your sketchbook.

6. Sit somewhere and draw fast little drawings of people who are far away enough that you can only see the big simple shapes of their coats and bags and arms and hats and feet. Draw a lot of them. People are alike yet not — reduce them to simple and achievable shapes.

7. To get better with figure drawing, get someone to pose — or use photos — and do slow drawing of hands, feet, elbows, knees, and ankles. Drawing all the bones in a skeleton is also good, because it will help you see how the bones in the arms and legs cross each other and affect the arms’ and legs’ exterior shapes. When you draw a head from the side make sure you indicate enough room behind the ears for the brain case.

8. Do line drawings looking for the big shapes, and tonal drawing observing the light situation of your subject — that is, where the light is coming from and where it makes shapes in shade on the form, and where light reflects back onto the dark areas sometimes.

9. To draw the scene in front of you, choose the middle thing in your drawing and put it in the middle of your page — then add on to the drawing from the center of the page out.

10. Don’t worry about a style. It will creep up on you and eventually you will have to undo it in order to go further. Be like a river and accept everything.

The original post vanished from the Unbored site. But I was able to track it down on Lynda Barry’s Near Sighted Monkey blog.

Shout out to Austin Kleon who led me to the post years ago.

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Uncategorized

Writer’s Inspiration: Warren Ellis edition

“If those were the only two stories about writers that you know, you’d never start. Find your own way.”

Warren Ellis

Read the entire post here, he’s a doctor now.

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Uncategorized

Writer’s Inspiration: Jeff Lemire edition

“a four-year process of deciding I didn’t want to do film, I wanted to do comics.”

Jeff Lemire on film school.

Read the entire article by Abraham Riesman here.