Archive for the 'Art' Category

Nov 06 2013

Superheroine Costume Suggestions

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Modern superheroines are easily the most abused type of character in any story.  And while you’re likely aware that most of them are simply there to be cardboard love interests (all ravishingly beautiful, of course . . .), today I’m not going down that path.

 

Instead, today we’ll discuss superheroine clothing (or the lack thereof).

 

From Wonder Woman to Supergirl, costume designers seem to think the more bare skin the better.

 

As we all know, it’s pretty unpractical.  Still, for superheroes, they might not engage in a lot of hand-to-hand combat, therefore, there’s no reason for her to have plate armor from head to foot.  But that doesn’t give any reason to be wearing bikinis.

 

Obviously, any superhero or superheroine you’ll likely want to look good, some girls (or guys) might want to look hot, which would reflect in their suit.  But, this also means no clashing colors, elf shoes etc. etc. etc. all of which you can identify and learn more about on this article.  Nevertheless, with every variation of character you’ll need to modify your take.

 

Generally, lighter and brighter colors should be used for more youthful characters, and darker gloomier colors for older, more serious characters.  But aside from the specifics of each character you will have to decide for yourself, there are a few stereotypes in the looks of superheroine costumes you will want to avoid.

 

First and foremost, practicality, but we’ll have more on that later.

 

Second is that not every female in a story that’s supposed to be beautiful has to have skimpy clothing.

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31 responses so far

Jul 21 2012

Superhero Demotivationals

Iron Man Demotivational Poster

 

Batman Riddler Demotivational Poster

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Apr 27 2012

Levitating Bears?

Campus police officers in Colorado used tranquilizer darts and a trampoline to safely remove a bear hiding in a tree, leading to the photograph of an apparently levitating bear seen below and/or a Matrix-style battle royale.

 

12 responses so far

Mar 26 2012

How to Write Interesting Characters

Creative Writing Resources for English Class

Feel free to use this printout for your creative writing classes or whatever else you have in mind.

Below, I’ve included a text version, mainly to help Google “read” this.

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10 responses so far

Jan 30 2012

Witch Doctor has a very clever cover

Published by under Book Covers

Witch Doctor is a Lovecraftian medical thriller graphic novel.  According to one reviewer, “The metaphysics they reveal through the gruesome adventures in this volume has a weird internal consistency, but it’s so cockeyed and frankly revolting that I can honestly say it never occurred to me before they scarred me with it.”

 

I haven’t read it, so I can’t comment on the writing, but I think the cover is very informative. Witch Doctor’s cover does a very good job of marketing itself to prospective readers that would be interested (although I’m probably not one of them).  Even the logo is eye-catching.

 

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Dec 19 2011

Redesigning Robin

B. Mac likes to pick on Robin in 9 Easy-to-Fix Problems with Superhero Design. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a Robin fan, so let’s take a closer look at the Boy Wonder himself to see what went wrong and how effective changes to a character’s costume can create an entirely new visual story of a character.

 

Artists have changed Robin’s visual aesthetics many times over the years and few characters needed the changes as badly as he did. By comparing two different costumes, one of his early ones from the 1940s, to his appearance in the recent Young Justice cartoon, we can see that no character is beyond redemption with some changes to his costume. Both designs are of the same hero, using some of the same costume elements; however each costume tells a very different story about the character.

 

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11 responses so far

Dec 16 2011

Encouraging Writing Advice for Young Authors

Published by under Art,Writing Articles

 

From Ace of Spades.

4 responses so far

Apr 08 2011

“Uhh, sure, Spidey, but wouldn’t it be easier for you to come to me?”

Published by under Art,Comic Book Art

Spiderman street art

Kurt Wenner, a former NASA employee, now uses his mathematical skills on things that people actually care about. Like Spiderman optical illusions! Speaking of Spiderman…
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7 responses so far

Jan 24 2011

“An ape will die on every page!”

Published by under Book Covers,Comedy

Umm, okay.

7 responses so far

Aug 12 2010

Twilight Demotivational Poster

The New York Times uncovered evidence of serious detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay:

Guantanamo-Bay-Funny-Picture

How do you break a suicidal terrorist? Find something worse than death.

3 responses so far

Aug 04 2010

Demotivational Poster: Pink Batman

Batman Demotivational Poster: Pink Batsuit

As if the nipples on the Batsuit weren’t bad enough.  To be fair, though, it was the 1950s (Detective Comics #241).

4 responses so far

Aug 01 2010

How to Design a Logo for a Comic Book or Graphic Novel

1. Use a style appropriate to your series. Ideally the title identifies something about the series even before the viewer reads the title.

DISTINCTIVE:

TOO BLAND:

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Jul 20 2010

Rocking the iPad with Fingerpainting and Ironman

I also liked this one of Ironman.

3 responses so far

Jun 29 2010

Some tips on dealing with unpleasant-teammate situations

I saw this today on LinkedIn:

I paid a name artist five months ago in advance for a pin-up for [series name].  In fact, I’ve had several artists, mostly old friends… all consummate professionals.

Just this one artist, who seems to be a bad actor. At the time he said contact him in two weeks and he’d give me an update on the status. Two weeks later I emailed him — nothing. I’ve been emailing him every few weeks very politely at first. Still no response at all. My last couple of emails were more strongly worded and in my last one I told him I’d be telling everyone I know on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blog about it and name him by name. Hell, I’m thinking I’ll put out a press release, too.

What do you think? Does he get away with it, and I have a lesson learned, or do I go nuclear on his ass?

Don’t go public about backstage drama.  It can only make the situation worse.  First, verify what you can. Is he actually being delinquent? You would look like a damn idiot if you accused your artist of going AWOL and it turns out that he was actually in an emergency room after getting hit by a car. (It happens).  At the very least, do not stumble into a slander lawsuit until you actually know (rather than suspect) what is going on!

If you have an editor/publisher, address any concerns to them and discuss whether you need to replace your artist.  Unlike publically accusing your artist of fraud, replacing your artist does not open you up to a slander/libel lawsuit if it turns out his absence was totally innocuous.  If you don’t yet have an editor/publisher, make the determination on your own.  It will cost you time and money and you’ll probably have to scrap most of the work by the original artist.  It’s highly bothersome and usually unprofessional for an artist to go missing for several weeks, but switching to another artist may well be a cure worse than the disease.

Finally, besides getting back at your original artist, going public doesn’t actually help you in any way.  It certainly doesn’t make it any likelier that he’ll come up with the art for you.  It may raise questions about your professionalism and will probably make you look inept.  (Don’t give yourself a reputation for workplace drama).

Some other general ideas to minimize problems with your teammates:

  • When you work with freelancers, pay no more than half upfront and the rest on completion. This increases the artist’s incentive to complete the job.  It also limits the amount of money you lose if everything goes to hell.
  • Work out a schedule ahead of time. I’m not sure what the case was above, but making your expectations clear is usually helpful.
  • Maybe exchange phone numbers. You may be uncomfortable asking for this if you’ve never actually met your freelancer.  However, when you’ve committed yourself to paying somebody thousands of dollars, I think your business relationship is strong enough to justify this request.  (At the very least, as a matter of customer service).
  • Business etiquette: when should you call (rather than e-mail) your freelancer? Since a call is more intrusive than an e-mail, I would only call if your artist hasn’t responded to an urgent e-mail within 1-3 weeks.  For example: the artist misses a deadline by more than a week (without explaining why) and doesn’t respond to an e-mail requesting a status update.  If you call your artist, politely remind him about the schedule, ask if there’s anything you can do to help*, and ask about when he thinks he can have the art in to you.  *Unless he needs clarification, there probably won’t be, but offering is still friendly.

One response so far

Jun 19 2010

A directory of concept art

Published by under Art,Character Design

This is a pretty awesome collection of concept art.  Pretty much all of it is kickass, but here are a few pieces that caught my eye. Hat tip to David Thompson’s Culture, Ideas and Comic Books.

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6 responses so far

Jun 16 2010

How to draw M-4 carbines

Published by under Art,National service

The Wounded Artist Project has a helpful video here.

2 responses so far

Jun 09 2010

Doing Comic Book Covers Well: 5 Tips

1. Market what you have.  The genre should be clear at a glance and the artistic should be consistent with the mood and content.  For example, if the story is a grim and macabre horror, you’d probably want something that suggested what danger(s) the protagonist will face.  Some possibilities that come to mind include a creepy mansion looming in the background, fog obscuring something sinister behind somebody, some supernatural creature, etc. 

2.  It needs to stand out at a distance of 10+ feet.  The single most important audience segment for most comic book covers is prospective readers browsing through a comic book store.  Before they examine the product, you have to grab their attention.  Bold color combinations are one effective way to do so.  I find that scenes involving motion (particularly extraordinary motion, such as a Batman karate leap) tend to be more eye-catching.  Obviously, it helps if something interesting and/or unexpected is  happening.  More on that here.  Finally, the title/logo should be legible across the room (at least 10 feet). 

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2 responses so far

Jun 05 2010

Some features of Adobe CS5 that may help your comic book…

Published by under Art,Comic Book Art

Unfortunately, it’s $200 for the upgrade.  Ouch.  Nonetheless, some of the features look like dynamite. Here are some that might help your comic book work.

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May 04 2010

What do you think about this header draft?

Published by under Header Art

I’m getting ready to launch a separate website for my fiction work. Here’s a rough draft of the header for The Taxman Must Die. What do you think? (Note: it’ll probably be cut off because it’s wider than the viewing area. If so, you can click on it to see all of it).

Agent Orange, a Reptile with Sunglasses and Bulletproof Vest

I’m still waiting on the background and I think I can redo the text when I return home a few weekends from now.

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30 responses so far

Apr 22 2010

If you want a good artist for your comic book script, paying on-spec is not realistic

I saw this today on a comic book forum: “searching 4 artists who want to draw my comics’ covers. its NOT be a paid Job, but ur name will be mentioned with the artwork, and yes, it will commence our long term professional relationship.”

Artist: “Umm, how about you commence our long-term professional relationship by paying me? Also, why would I want to work with a writer that writes worse than I do?”

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2 responses so far

Feb 18 2010

YES


As far as supernatural fantasies starring teen heroines go, this is pretty close to perfect.  But red-blooded Americans of the non-girl variety would probably like this better.  The bloody handprints were a cheery touch.

And here’s probably the funniest Hitler-themed video I’ve seen in, umm, ever.

2 responses so far

Feb 14 2010

“The Taxman Must Die” Sample Pages

The Taxman Must Die is a wacky mix of an office comedy and a police thriller. Two unlikely investigators –an accountant and a mutant alligator–have to save the world. From themselves, mostly. Here’s the scene where the two main characters first meet! If you like the pages, please sign up for the raffle for a chance to win a free, signed copy when it comes out.

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25 responses so far

Feb 14 2010

Why does Photoshop hate me?

Published by under Art

I was doing my sample pages on Photoshop today and they looked fairly sober. When uploaded, they look like Pokemon on LSD.  Emily was having similar problems.  Any ideas?

UPDATE: The problem was that we were saving the files as CYMK rather than RGB. CYMK is the default setting on Photoshop because it prints out more cleanly, but uploading CYMK photos can cause color distortion. If you’re suffering from similar problems, go to Image > Mode > RGB in Photoshop.

8 responses so far

Feb 11 2010

An Artistic Thought Experiment for Writers: The Rejected Becomes the Rejecter!

Published by under Art,Writing Articles

Here’s an experiment to help you get into the time-strapped mindset of the publisher’s assistant or assistant editor evaluating your manuscript or comic book submission.  You’re an art editor that needs to select six works for the next stage of review.  But you only have one minute to decide. To make things easier on you (and my bandwidth), your boss has given you only an eye from each artist’s portfolio.  Pick your six favorites candidates and reject the rest.

Okay, do you have your six favorites ready? Then I have one key question for you…

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11 responses so far

Feb 09 2010

The colors are ready! What do you think?

Published by under Art,Comic Book Art

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17 responses so far

Feb 09 2010

How to Find an Artist for Your Comic Book

1.  Most artists won’t work with authors that write worse than they do. When you post your job listing on a website like DeviantArt or LinkedIn, you will be judged on the quality of your writing.  I’d recommend proofreading it. Avoid extraneous details that won’t matter to an artist.  Also, list your published works, if any.  (Experienced partners are usually less risky).

 

2.  The more specific, the better. “John has adventures” says much less about the art you want than “Haxley is a barbarian that has to mangle his way to the throne.”   If you have a two-sentence synopsis, use it.  For more advice on doing two-sentence synopses, please see this.

 

3.  What exactly do you need from the artist? If you’re doing a color comic with just one illustrator, you need pencils, inks, colors and letters.   How many pages do you need?  If you’re looking to put together a sample for publishers, you’ll probably want around 5 pages and possibly a cover.  Check the submissions guidelines for each publisher, of course.  If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need the entire issue, which will probably be 22+ pages per issue.

 

4.  Describe the sorts of characters and creatures you’ll need illustrated. Just regular humans?  A superhero whose power sets him on fire?  Supersoldiers in powersuits?  Fantasy creatures like griffins and dragons?  Werewolves and vampires?  Angels and demons?  Hydras and Zeus? Eldritch horrors?  Eldritch horrors tanning on the beach? Before you hire an artist, make sure he’s comfortable with every major character and the mood of the work.

 

5.  Will you need unusual props? For example, if you’re writing military sci-fi set in the 23th century, your artist will do a lot of exotic vehicles and weaponry.  If you’re writing a romantic comedy starring me, probably not so much.   Except for the Pimpmobile.

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15 responses so far

Feb 09 2010

Liz Argall has some advice about how to find an artist for your comic…

Check it out here!

No responses yet

Feb 06 2010

Page 1 is colored!

Published by under Comic Book Art

What do you think?

Please see all five pages here.

13 responses so far

Jan 29 2010

Some tips on checking your comic book’s art

When your team is putting together the comic book, you need to identify potential problems as soon as possible. If you decide that there’s a problem with the outlines but you’ve already gone to coloring, you’ll have to throw out some coloring work and probably some inking. Here are some problems that you need to spot early.

1. Check for continuity. Are the dimensions of the room consistent? Are the characters consistently portrayed? Are the characters as tall and wide as they’re supposed to be? Also, in the toning and coloring stages, please make sure that the lighting sources are consistent.

2. Character placement. Does the placement of the characters make sense? For example, if two characters are walking somewhere but only one of them knows the way, he should probably be in front. Does each character have enough space to perform his later actions? For example, we once had to redo a page because we were boxed in by the walls–it was impossible to have a superhero drop behind a character that was leaning against a wall.

3. Are the character expressions consistent with their lines of dialogue? One particularly tricky area here is when the character’s emotions change dramatically mid-panel. If your script goes something like this, you’re screwed.

Panel 1.
WIFE, annoyed: Your boss kept you late tonight. What gives?
HUSBAND: I got a promotion!
WIFE, excited: Hooray!

Since it’d be very difficult to show the wife being annoyed and excited at the same time, this panel is pretty much doomed.  This is a problem that you need to solve before the page goes to your artist.  For example, you could break this into two panels so that she can emote her annoyance and excitement separately.

4.  Is the amount of dialogue consistent with the panel’s pacing?  For example, if you’re doing an action panel of someone leaping at an enemy, giving them 25+ words of dialogue will damage the pace.  No one can plausibly say that many words in the span of a jump. Too many words will make the action feel slower and less exciting than it should be.   As a rule of thumb, the more intense and involved the action, the fewer words you should use.

5. If something changes, like a character drawing out a prop or something, is it clear where the change came from? For example, if John is unarmed in panel 1 and wielding a gun in the next, readers might wonder where the gun came from.   You could solve that by adding an intermediate panel of him reaching for the gun, or by using motion lines to show that his hand is moving from where his gun used to be.  Alternately, just show time passing or the scene changing.  For example, if panel 1 shows us a police officer driving with his gun holstered, it’ll make sense if his gun is drawn when he gets out to storm a building in panel 2.  We didn’t see him draw the gun, but the situation has changed–now he’s in a much more dangerous situation.

6. If a character has a prop or accessory, does it appear consistently? It’s really easy to lose track of what each character is holding.  Be careful.

Did this article help? If so, please submit it to Stumble!

7 responses so far

Jan 21 2010

If You Want to Get Published, Reading the Submission Guidelines is Not Optional

READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.

Courtesy of Miss Snark.

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