This week I am answering questions all about sequential art. Sequential art can be a multitude of things, but it is most often used to refer to comic books and comic strips where one static image leads to the next to tell a story. There are many examples of this type of story telling, and it is a type of story that I am trying to get better at. So, this week, I asked some of my friends who are either in the comic book “industry” are just love comic books to send me some questions about “Sequential Art.”
1. Have you ever thought about doing a sketch card story?
I have… but the sketch card and notecard format is fairly limited in scope. I am afraid that the story telling would suffer with the lack of variation in the structure… oh, and I suck at consistency, so that would be an issue as well.
2. For me, if the art sucks, I put down the book. Are you more forgiving?
Only rarely. If I am invested in the book and the artist changes to a less competent one, I try to stick it out, but even then I often jump ship. I tend to follow artists around more than characters or writers.
3. Would you like to see an experiment where a legendary writer has a crap artist? We've already seen the reverse.
Not especially. I am sure it has happened, but writers of import typically can get a guarantee an at least competent artist.
5. What's the one thing you dread when preparing to draw something?
Eyes, mouths, and fingers
6. What's the greatest compliment you have received for your work?
Hmmm… When I did a drawing of my wife as a superhero, she was really happy with it and was surprised at how well I captured her physical likeness. It was very gratifying to not fuck that up.
7. What's one aspect of your work that you would like to push to the next level?
My consistency in specifics. By that I mean, if I draw Batman/Bruce Wayne in a panel, it would be nice if his face, build, and expressions were consistent in the next panel. I feel like I can draw a fairly competent Batman from drawing to drawing, but he looks different in each one.
8. What is sequential art?
Sequential Art is the telling of a story by using a set of static images in a specific order.
9. What is the earliest example?
I think there is evidence that the cave paintings at Lascaux are actually telling a story and not merely iconography of megafauna.
10. Just how awesome is Scott McCloud's book on the subject?
It is amazing. I have not read it all the way through, and I haven’t looked through it since I was in college art classes. Sequential art was beaten out of me by a studio art program.
11. Do you have a favorite book on the subject?
Well… it is mentioned in the next question.
12. Will Eisner's book... not a question. It is equally awesome.
Will Eisner’s book is genius… Will Eisner is genius
13. Why are comic books the size they are?
They are the size of a typical newspaper folded into eighths. They started out when newspaper readers took the “funny pages” from the papers and folded it into a booklet size. The strips fit very well in the format. Paperboys and newspaper stands noticed how many people folded the funny pages in that format and decided to collect the week’s comics together and sell them at the end of the week.
14. Why is bacon so good?
Why do bears shit in the woods? Bacon is just good. (It’s the cure and the fat content)
15. What differentiates Sequential Art from animation?
Sequential art is driven by the reader while in animation the pace is driven by the director.
16. So, what is your opinion of ‘guided view” within apps like “Comixology?”
For storytelling purposes, I think it is amazing, but for just consuming the art of a page or just letting the art within a comic book seep into your soul, it is not the most appropriate method of viewing the entire page.
17. What was the first comic you remember regularly reading in the Sunday newspaper?
Charles M Schultz’s Peanuts. My dad was a big fan of Snoopy and I remember reading that with him. Oddly enough, the Far Side was probably the most influencial… Gary Larson is a genius… even though his work often was not sequential.
18. Will Eisner wrote a book called “Comics and Sequential Art” much of which was about telling a story. Another Will who told stories was Will Rogers. Will Rogers was born in Oologah, Oklahoma. Oologah means Dark Cloud in the Cherokee language. The Cherokee language was used to pioneer the use of Native American languages to transmit code during WWI. This was later made famous by the Navajo “Wind Talkers” during WWII. There was a film made in 2002 called Wind Talkers that starred Nicolas Cage. Nick Cage is well known to be an avid comic book collector owning a massive collection. How many of these do you think were drawn by Will Eisner?
I really don’t think that many were. If i remember correctly, Nic Cage is a DC fan, so I would imagine that many of his prized collection would be noteable DC books. I don’t think Eisner ever drew on any DC titles, but I could be very mistaken. Kal-el... what a jack-knob
19. What is one thing you wished the uninitiated understood about sequential art?"
A good sequential artist does not necessarily have to be impressively adroit in their skill as an artist or their precision of linework etc… A good sequential artist can visually tell a story regardless of traditional artistic skill. There are some very good sequential artists out there, who cannot draw worth a damn.
20. Your opinion on Fibonacci series used in art or as seen in nature?
Well, the golden section is always a good place to start with laying out art, so there is always some Fibonacci-ing going on in most art. Rarely do you see art distributed in the integer fasion of the Fibonacci Sequence though. There just is not enough room on a page for an unending sequence that trends to an א null cardinality of infinity.
I am doing some pretty fun interview 20 Questions at the moment
Hopefully they will be ready fairly soon
I need to get my website up to snuff and my portfolio working
I have gone on vacation and have rested up
All is quiet on the Western Front
It turns out I am not that good with 6 to 9 year olds
I think I expect too much from their little unformed brains
I rock with 3’s and 4’s though
I am so happy we don’t have to deal with 3’s and 4’s right now
But 7 yr olds seem to be right up my wife’s alley
I ran on a bike path tonight
Running is stupid
And I am stupid for doing it