Marvel artists on choreographing fight scenes

I love behind-the-scenes process glimpses, and this Onion A.V. Club article shows 3 different artists, and their process for staging a fight sequence.

My favorite is this Moon Knight page, by Declan Shalvey:

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AVC: I love that last panel of the gutter bleeding into Moon Knight’s cape, an effect that you use a few times on the series. What is the reasoning for that visual choice?

DS: Well, I made the choice to try and use white as a graphic device. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to play with that device, considering one iconic thing about Moon Knight is the white of his costume. I realized that I had a rare opportunity to do something a little different and kept it in mind.

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    Daredevil film treatment by J.M. DeMatteis

    On his blog, writer J.M. DeMatteis has the entirety of his mid-90s film treatment for a Daredevil movie, for producer/screenwriter Chris Columbus and his 1492 Pictures company.

    DAREDEVIL,
    THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR
    Final Draft Treatment
    by
    J. M. DeMatteis

    ACT ONE

    FADE IN—

    —on the Manhattan neighborhood called Hell’s Kitchen, fifteen years ago, where we find a gang of teenagers strutting their stuff down the hot summer streets. The clear leader of the group is sixteen year old MATT MURDOCK…a cocky young Cagney, with energy, anger, and an attitude. He’s the focus of the group’s attention: their unquestioned leader.

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      Writer Joe Harris and mindmapping

      For you process junkies, here’s a nice post from writer Joe Harris on his use of mind maps to sketch out his storylines and multi-issue plots.

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      The Lost Firestorm “Year Two” Story Notes Mindmap

      There are also a few tidbits of insight into DC’s editorial workings, such as this snippet:

      “When editorial told me the new plan was to, basically, pull the plug on the “New 52″ direction and wind things back closer to where they were left, pre-universe reboot, I was tasked with doing so in the #0 issue of the series.”

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        Journalist/writer Clive Thompson on his process

        I’m always curious about the working process (and tools) of various creators, although I’m usually very focused on comic book writers or artists. But I did enjoy this Lifehacker peek inside the working life of Clive Thompson, a journalist with gigs such as Wired and The New York Times Magazine.

        “When I’m reading, I write tons of marginalia—again as much for sense-making as for retrieval. When reading in PDF format, I either use Acrobat Professional on my desktop or iAnnotate PDF on my iPad. My book reading is split probably 50/50 between paper and digital books. For digital books, I mostly read in Kindle or Stanza on my iPad or phone and export the notes and highlights locally. I use Project Gutenberg and Google Books a ton for reading out-of-copyright digital books; indeed, my reading probably has a huge pre-1923 bias because so much amazing stuff is so easily available before copyright laws tightened up.”

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          What makes a character “relatable”?

          There’s an interview over at Comic Book Resources with Marc Guggenheim, comic book writer and executive producer of the “Arrow” TV series, and in this bit he talks about the factors that contribute to a character becoming “relatable” for the audience:

          “The advantage we have as a television show over the comic book version is that we created a whole cast of characters around Oliver to help him be more relatable. Truth be told, in the comics Green Arrow’s basically had Black Canary, and that’s been the extent of his supporting cast — he’s had Roy, but we went to great lengths to give him a sister, a best friend, a mother, [and bodyguard] Diggle. He doesn’t have any of those things in the comics and when you talk about what makes a character relatable, I’d say it’s the people around him,” Guggenheim said. “If I were to tackle the comic book as a writer the first thing I would try to do is give him a supporting cast. That would help elaborate on his character.”

          Here, he’s referring to the latest Green Arrow series (the “New 52″), which has already gone through 3 creative team changes in less than 20 issues. And I think he’s absolutely right. Whether you like the TV show or not, there’s no denying that they have built up a very strong set of supporting characters, through whose eyes we see Oliver in different lights. This allows them a greater opportunity to explore his different sides, and show his changing attitudes and motivations.

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            Aaron Lopresti cover process

            For you process fas, here are a couple of links to artist Aaron Lopresti’s blog, where he shows the process behind a few of his covers.

            Green Arrow #15 – What I find interesting about this one is that personally, I think the “B” concept out of the four roughs is much more bold and features a more striking perspective, but hey, i’m not the editor.

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            Justice League International #2 – So if you were the editor, which rough would you have picked?

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              Persia Blues – an artist’s perspective

              (Originally posted on the Ferret Press blog here)

              Brent made this great process post over on my other blog, and I felt it should be shared here as well. Take it away, Brent:

              I’ve just finished an amazing dream sequence for the upcoming graphic novel Persia Blues, written by Dara and drawn by yours truly. This is how I did it. (Not really a tutorial exactly but more of a show and tell)

              First i looked at the script and i did my breakdowns and thumbnails.

              Now I’ll show you all the pencils compared to the inks. These pages are done in the “here” part of the story, which is the fantasy world. So I’m using inks, inkwash, markers, and pencils.

              I used a real photo of a persian rug for the rug in panel 2, tweaking it in Photoshop and dropping it in as a texture. Same thing with the stars in Minoo’s hair.

              This is a double page spread. Added my standard cloud background and some spots for the White Demon. And some stars. but actually very little photoshop on this one. You may notice a few changes from the pencil stage to the finished art. Particularly with the warrior figure on the far right. i just wasn’t happy with the figure. So i fixed it. I’m happy with the results.

              I drew the crowd scene on a different piece of paper and just added it in when I was done. Also used my standard cloud background. (Years ago I drew a full sheet of clouds in pencil and I was so happy with it and unable to replicate it that i just keep using it over and over again as a background.

              Anyway that’s it. I’m lovong this project. All feedback is appreciated.

              And y’all check out our Kickstarter project. Dara’s working on it as we speak.

              Oh and as a side note here is my cloud background. Made it back in 2004 or 2005 for some unfinished project or another. I call it “stormy weather”. Now that you know about it, you will see it in my work ALL the time.

               

               

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                Persia Blues – a lettered page, with some missing figures

                I haven’t posted a Persia Blues update in a few weeks, so I thought I’d show off some more artwork. This is page 3. Art by my partner in crime Brent Bowman, writing/lettering by yours truly.

                Yes, those missing figures could be you!

                Which brings us to the unfinished figures on the page. This may not come as a big surprise, but we’re planning on running a Kickstarter campaign soon for the book. Yes, we already have a publisher lined up, and to their credit, they’re actually paying us an advance on the book. But the reality of the current publishing landscape (especially for indie graphics novels not coming out from a major publisher) is that there’s not much money in it. Which means the advance is nowhere near what Brent deserves to be compensated for all the time and effort that goes into drawing a 100+ page book. Hence, Kickstarter.

                Anyway, one of the incentives will be the opportunity to have your likeness drawn in the book, as one of the 3 mercenaries in the above scene. And you’ll also appear on the following three pages, in a knock-down, drag-out fight with our protagonists, Minoo and Tyler.

                So keep your eyes on this blog, or the new Persia Blues website (still under construction, but almost ready), for details on when the campaign kicks off, and what cool incentives you can score.

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                  Cullen Bunn on managing your time

                  Here’s another great process post for aspiring (and professional) writers. It comes from Cullen Bunn, writer and co-creator of The Sixth Gun from Oni Press, as well as a bunch of books from marvel Comics. The topic is time management, especially when you’re working on multiple projects and need to effectively and efficiently divide your working time between them all.

                  I use a cooking timer to keep myself on track. You can find software and apps to facilitate this method (Google “The Pomodoro Technique”) but I think a simple plastic timer and a cheap notebook work well. I divide my day up into thirty-five-minute segments. I call these segments “mods” thanks to a funny bit on The Office. The number of mods you complete in a day is completely up to you. I have a goal of completing 10–12 mods a day…

                  Click on the link above to read the rest of his process.

                  I have to say, I really like this method. I use a very informal version of this process for my own writing, but to be honest, I haven’t been doing a good job of it as of late. So I can see the advantages of really sticking to a concrete plan.

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                    Persia Blues – Anatomy of a cover, part 3 (of 3)

                    (go here for part 1, and part 2)

                    Sorry, I know this last part was a long time in the making. What can I say, busy, busy, busy. But let’s get to it…

                    When we sent in our last set of cover concepts, I thought we were pretty close to finalizing the design. However, our publisher had some misgivings about the emphasis on the architectural elements of the story, and our protagonist only appearing in headshots. He astutely pointed out that:

                    We need to have something more personal and focused on the heroine…don’t get tangled in story elements…

                    This made sense, especially given that with the book’s print dimensions of 6×9, we really did need a larger image of Minoo to catch the reader’s eye. But he did like the “tri-head” concept, so Brent and I discussed some more ideas and submitted another set of designs, this time featuring our protagonist front and center:

                    Terry liked this new design, so the finish line was finally in sight. Brent pencilled the final cover illustration, and before the painting stage we had a few more discussions with Terry about the final details. At this point, he wanted Brent to pay special attention to Minoo’s expressions:

                    A sense of urgency and the expressions on the faces are important…Danger/fear/resolve especially in her ancient incarnation, defiance in her present day incarnation…

                    Brent and I discussed some simple color schemes, and my better half (Wendy) provided us with a Pinterest board full of fashion looks for Minoo, and after months of hard work, we had an approved painted cover for Persia Blues:

                    I must admit, at times the process was frustrating and slow, but in the end I’m quite happy with the final design. And I can certainly understand the importance of getting the cover right, from our publisher’s point of view. Unlike a monthly comic book, Persia Blues will be primarily distributed through the book store market, and even with my limited knowledge of that trade, I know how much importance is placed on a cover image. This is a venue in which the corporate buyers for chains like Barnes & Noble have so much clout over the publishers, they can actually dictate cover designs right down to the colors used. As prestigious as NBM Publishing may be, they’re still a smaller publisher competing against the juggernauts for shelf space and recognition in book stores, which made this process all the more important.

                    Epilogue: so now that we had our cover, we needed a masthead/logo for the book. NBM’s art director, Martin, solicited some ideas from me before starting the task of designing the logo. I forwarded the working logos Brent and I had been using on the cover sketches, adding that ideally I wanted something modern looking, but with a Middle eastern vibe to the typography. An English font that borrowed stylistic elements from Farsi, if you will. Here’s Martin’s logo, which I totally dig:

                    So there you have it, an abridged account of how we came about with our book’s cover illustration. Believe it or not, the entire process took about 8 months, with the first batch of cover sketching going out on December 11, 2011, and the approved cover uploaded to NBM’s FTP site on August 28, 2012.

                    Next, I’ll share a few more pages of interior art…

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                      Scott Allie on storytelling

                      Dark Horse editor Scott Allie has a great post on his blog about storytelling (and the lack thereof) in comics. Here he gives an example of a simple conversation scene that is rendered less subtle and less interesting by the artist’s poor choices:

                      “In another story, negative space and closeups have become so much a part of the composition that specific actions—simple things, like a character picking up a drink (which he later hurls to the ground), or the fact that the characters are sitting together at a table, are lost because we’re so close on the characters that the table only shows up as a thick line across the bottom panel border, if at all, and the drink disappears for an entire page at a time because we’re too close to see anyone’s hands—even though the very succinct panel descriptions say things like, He gestures with his glass, or He leans across the table. The scene is not about the table—but the table provides important context that makes the scene make visual sense. If the panel description is that short, and the table was important enough to mention, it’s probably worth putting the table in the panel.”

                      There’s also a good Alan Moore anecdote from his days at Wildstorm.

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