ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

You're reading his old blog-- so change your bookmarks to his NEW improved BLOG.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

HOW TO Graphic Novel Part IV: Finding the Shot

As you're working on your thumbnail layouts you need to consider the shot-- like a film-maker/cinematographer-- looking for the best shot takes a but of imagination and understanding.  Studying film is one of the best ways to improve your skills as a graphic novelist or comic book artist.

Let's take a look at these examples;  Say you want to show a city.

Your first thought should be-- what is a city?  Is it a modern city-- is it an old gothic style city?  Seaside, inland, all that jazz.  Once you've determined the type of city you have to consider the shot-- what angle do you want to use?  In this first example we clearly see that it's a fairly large city.  The big buildings let us know we're not in Smallville here.

But if you set your shot at what's called a "worm's eye view" you will give your reader the impression of the height and density of this city.  Going beyond the first shot that comes to your mind-- in this case a straight on shot of the buildings and considering a worm's eye view will improve your storytelling by helping your reader "feel" what's happening in your story.

Closeups give us a sense of what the character is feeling.  In this first example we have a Medium Shot-- usually encompassing the character and enough of it's element that we have both a setting and an environment-- in this case a restaurant.

A Closeup brings us in tighter to the subject-- giving the reader a feeling of intimacy towards the subject matter.  Closeups should be used only after a medium shot has established a characters placement in a given situation, otherwise it will confuse your reader.  It can be placed first and then a later panel reveals the medium shot if you want to get fancy.

Extreme Closeups are used when we want to get inside a character's thoughts or emotions.  Again, best used after we've already established location and situation.