Can anyone actually define what is "good" Storytelling?
Whenever I show or post some of my artwork I hear a lot of "some small storytelling issues". Now, from ever book I have read from Eisner to McCloud
defines Storytelling as it is in comics as the ability for a reader to clearly "read" your art without the use of words on the page. I THINK I am accomplishing this because whenever I show my work to a layman they can follow along easily. Can anyone out there put a more concise definition on Comic Storytelling, I think it would help a lot of us Noobs out.
It might be more instructive for you to throw up an example of a page that you have heard about some "small storytelling issues" on, and maybe we could point out specific instances.
Here, check out this thread on the ConceptArt forums....Steve Rude, who is an amazing artist, gets picked to death by Alex Toth. And what's crazy is he's completely right. Steve has created pages that look to be fairly good, and when you see them with the eyes of Alex Toth, you realize they have a TON of problems...
Originally Posted by Comixjunky
Troy is right, we might be able to help more by responiding to specific drawings.
And yes, having art that is expressive and has momentum is a strong part.
Compelling the reader to turn the page is also essential.
There are a lot of things to consider when telling a good story, and one book I have found helpful is scene and structure because it lays out those components pretty clearly.
This is your artwork? Great stuff junky. But I can understand some of the storytelling issues.
It's hard for me to identify whats going on because there's no real clear continuity between panels.
For example, and this is minor, but in the first and third panels (of the first page) it looks like Gambit, Wolverine, and X-23 switch places between each other.
On the same page, you have an opening shot of the environment (establishing shot) comming immediately after the first panel (usually the establishing shot appears first).
There are also various instances throughout these pages where there are lots of close ups. These are good in small amounts, but this can cause the reader to lose their orientation of the characters within the scene. When you use close ups, give the reader their bearings back by pulling out to get a better view of the location.
I can recommend doing some homework on this stuff by reading up on some storyboarding books. Storyboarding (for movies and such) generally works the same as a comic book in terms of storytelling. This would be a good place to start learning some helpful tips.
Other than that, before you commit to a full size page board, do a bunch of thumbnail sketches of how you might want the scene to happen. (You might be doing this already, but if not it definitely helps).
Hope my tips do you some good.:)
Oh by the way, a good storyboarding book that I use is called Story by Robert McKee. Good read. It's got tips and guidlines (with illustrations) on how to tell a good visual story. I highly recommend it.
Older than Dirt
Max is correct. I'll add a few details, if I may.
The artwork itself is very nice, I especially like your use of shadows. Storytelling could stand a little improvement.
In the first panel, you've got everyone lined up in a neat row. Minor nitpick, but that's generally not something you want to do, having your characters look too "orderly". This panel would work better if they were placed a bit more randomly, some closer, some further back, and at differing angles.
Not-so-minor nitpick, same panel: it's part of the artist's job to lead the reader's eye to where you want it to go next. In this case, the neat row of faces leads the eye inexorably down and to the RIGHT side of the panel below, which is not where you want it to go.
And speaking of that panel: WHERE are the heroes, in relation to this scene? We don't know if they are on a hill overlooking the airport, down in a trench, or on another continent entirely. You need to clearly establish the relationship here. Secondly--BIG, big no-no with the Sentinel standing nearby. His head is cut off!! As a general rule, while it's okay to cut off bodyparts with the panel borders in a closeup, if you are going to show MOST of a human (or humanoid) figure, show it all. That applies to any bodypart, hands, feet, whatever. It goes a hundredfold for heads, though. Finally, notice how the Sentinel's left foot is juuuuussst touching the airplane. This is called a "tangent". Avoid tangents at all costs, as they confuse the eye when you are trying to create the effect of three dimensions in a 2D medium. Objects need to clearly and obviously be either in front of, or behind other objects...in this case, the foot needs to be moved so a good part of it is behind the plane, thereby establishing that the robot is further away from the reader than the plane.
Next panel, Max already pointed out the scrambling of the character's positions. I might add that Wolverine is too close to Gambit--his right shoulder would be occupying the same space as the Cajun's torso.
Next, Cyke shoots out his beam. Again we see the cutting off of bodyparts, in this case his lower jaw. Obviously this is a head shot, so you have to cut off his body, which is fine, but you should show all of his face. Especially since his mouth is stretched wide open, it doesn't look right without the jaw that goes with it. Also, is that his hand adjusting the visor? If so, it looks a bit too small.
Bottom panel, again, the top of the Sentinel's head is cut off. It's okay to cut off the body in a headshot, but you should show the entire head. This panel might also be more effective if the head was obviously coming off, rather than a small cloud on one side and debris on the other, to indicate extensive damage.
I'll add another thing here, which is really kind of a matter of taste. I think those bottom two panels work fine, with the exception of the points I raised. However, some editors will tell you that Cyke's head, or at least a small part of the side of his face/visor, should be visible in the bottom panel as well. Jim Shooter once got on my case for doing something similar. He said, "You should always show the ACTOR and the ACTED UPON in the same panel, so that there's absolutely no doubt as to who's doing what to whom. Some guy with a raygun could have jumped out and shot the Sentinel in that bottom panel. Sure, the reader can figure out that it was probably Cyke's eyebeam that did the damage, but he doesn't know that for certain, and it's always better to make sure the artwork is completely clear and unambiguous."
Now, as I said, I wouldn't have a problem with the layout as is, but be aware that opinions vary here.
If you want me to keep going, I'll go on to some of the other pages, otherwise I'll shut up now.
Yea Rik raised an issue that I hadn't noticed til now (concerning the cut-off body parts).
I'm noticing that in each page everything is confined to the border of the panels.
Though is is fine, you don't have to always do it this way. As long as it works toward the action or scene, feel free to have a figure come out of the border.
I can use the Sentinal getting shot by Cyclops as an example, rather than cut the head off, show the full head and have it stick out of the border. Stuff like that.
Mad ... but not angry
Okay first of you se to suggest trees behind your X-men, considering how Cyclops shoots the Sentinel in the back of the head, it suggests that they should be somwhere behind the Sentinel, but your establishing shot shows no trees anywhere.
The sentinel falls on the plane next. Of course the sentinel looks a bit too far away from the plane based on the establishing shot.
I have trouble following the soldiers and what they're doing, all I know is that at some point Wolverine gets behind one of them and ... apparently doesn't do anything.
Gambit attacks a truck, but it's unclear as to whether X-23 is attacking the same truck or not. What's going on in the fifth pannel? I see the driver, but he looks dead, which he obviously isn't judging by later pannels.
Your last page jumps around too much. Here's X-23 with gambit. Here she is with Wolverine. Here she is with Cyclops. Where are the guys going? They just sem to appear with no connection to each other. There's also a big jump between the second to last and last pannel with no flow or connection between them. It really looks like there needs to be a few more pannels inbetween those two to connect them.