Like with the past couple of articles, at the time of writing this, I’m busy making a comic called “The Horror Of Hardtalon Hall“, which will probably have been posted here in late October. Once again, here’s a random page from it:
Anyway, for today, I thought that I’d ramble briefly about one of the reasons why comics are one of the best storytelling mediums to work in. Personally, I’d argue that making a comic is vaguely similar to making an animated film – but making a comic is also a lot better than making an animation for a large number of reasons.
Like with animation, comics tell a story through a series of pictures and words. Like with animation, comics usually tend to use a rather cartoonish art style. However, comics can’t include things like background music and voice acting – but, given how expensive both of these things can be, I’d argue that this is a bonus.
In fact, comics basically make your audience’s imaginations supply the voice acting (which means that it’ll probably be of a better quality than actual voice acting would be).
So, not only do you save money on voice acting and imagination, but you also save a lot of time when you make a comic. Even if you’re using one of those fancy modern animation programs, you’re still going to have to create at least several frames of animation for each second of footage. You’re also going to have to plan your animation carefully in order to ensure that it’s actually practical to make.
With comics, all you really need to do is to draw a few of the most important “frames” and your audience’s imaginations will “fill in the gaps” between them.
To use a classic example, if you wanted to show your main character punching someone in an animation, you’ve have to work out how to make their whole body move realistically. You’d have to work out exactly how the other character would react etc… You’d probably spend quite a lot of time animating something that would only be on screen for a second.
However, if you’re making a comic, all you need to do is to draw one panel with your character’s arm drawn back and one panel with their fist extended (and the other character reacting to being punched). You’ve only shown the beginning and the end of that action, but your audience will know exactly what happened. In other words, a comic can do in two drawings what an animation can only do in 12+ drawings.
Talking of time, one other great thing about comics is that you have a lot more control over how fast the story progresses. Although each comic panel is a snapshot of a single moment in time, you can decide how far apart those moments are. Like with writing prose fiction, you can devote an entire page of a comic to anything from a single second to a thousand years.
However, with animation, you’re limited to real time. Yes, you can show a series of scenes that take place at different times but time will always pass at the same rate in an animation. A second of animation is a second of animation. Ten minutes of animation is ten minutes of animation. I’m sure you get the idea.
Finally, there’s the subject of tools and costs. To produce a comic, all you basically need are a pen and several sheets of paper. Yes, it helps to have a digital camera or a scanner (as well as an image editing program and possibly a graphics tablet), but all you need in order to produce a comic are a pen and paper. To produce anything more than a flick-book animation, you either need a computer and/or lots of film equipment.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂