Comics – The Story And Characters Are More Important Than The Art

2013 Artwork Fancy Comics Art Sketch

Although this is an article about making comics, I thought that I’d start by talking about computer games. Trust me, there’s a point to this….

One of the funny things about being someone who mostly just plays older computer games is that I have much lower standards when it comes to the graphics in games than many modern gamers do.

This is always amusing when I watch video reviews of more modern games and I think something like “Wow, they must have put a huge amount of effort and money into those amazingly realistic graphics” only for the reviewer to start criticising the graphics as being “old” or “low-budget” or whatever.

But, despite mostly playing games which have, quite frankly, ancient graphics I still have a hell of a lot of fun. This is mainly because the underlying game is usually fairly innovative, occasionally challenging and, almost without exception, just good fun. They are good games with 1990s graphics and they would probably be good games with 2010s graphics too.

If you want a more modern example, check out an indie game that was made a couple of years ago called “To The Moon“. This game uses extremely simple 1990s-style graphics and the gameplay is fairly simple too (you mostly just explore areas and find things), but the underlying story and concept behind the game is absolutely brilliant and totally unique. In fact, it’s hard to play this game without crying in a couple of parts – the story is just that dramatic and powerful. And, with modern graphics, it’d probably just be exactly the same.

Substituting flashy graphics for everything that actually makes a game enjoyable is apparently one of the major problems with some modern games. The same can be said for a lot of mega-budget Hollywood films too. The same can also be said for comics too, which brings me on to the main point of this article.

If you’re new to making comics, then don’t let the almost photo-realistic art in quite a few modern comics put you off. Yes, it probably takes years and years of practice to make art of that quality, but this isn’t a requirement for making comics. As long as your art clearly shows what is happening in your comic, then it doesn’t matter how simple it is.

Let me repeat that – as long as your art clearly shows what is happening in your comic, then it doesn’t matter how simple it is.

Yes, drawing the art is one of the most enjoyable parts of making comics, but the most important part of any comic is the story which is being told and the characters in it.

If it wasn’t, then everyone would have probably stopped reading comics back in the 1940s-1980s because the printing technology back then didn’t really allow for more complex art in mass-produced comics (and digital drawing/image editing was either in it’s infancy and/or completely unheard of back then too).

I’m still learning how to write comics fairly well (and it’s almost a totally different skill to writing prose fiction) and I still have a tendency to focus more on the art than the writing if I’m not careful. But, one of the things that I’ve realised (especially from playing lots of computer games) is that the art exists in order to enhance everything else rather than the other way round.

Put it this way – would you rather read a comic with astonishingly good art and a terribly-written storyline with forgettable stock characters or a comic with fairly basic art, but an absolutely brilliant storyline and memorably characters?

Yes, there are amazingly good comics with amazingly good art, but they would still be amazing comics even if the art was fairly basic. At the end of the day, the story and the characters are what really matters.

But, despite all I’ve said, you should still work on improving and practicing your art as regularly as you can. Even though it isn’t the most vital part of your comic, there is an amazing feeling of satisfaction which comes with looking at amazing art which you’ve made. Not to mention that, by practicing your art, you’ll also learn how to show things in a more clear and realistic way too.

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Sorry again that this article was so short, but I hope that it was useful 🙂

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One comment on “Comics – The Story And Characters Are More Important Than The Art

  1. […] A Story.“ – “Three Reasons To Read About Other Forms Of Creativity.“ – “Comics – The Story And Characters Are More Important Than The Art.“ – “Want To Write A Novel Or Make A Comic? Start Small.“ – “How To Avoid […]

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