Kiss me, you big dork

comics and illustrations

8,550 notes

beatonna:

Here is a sketch comic I made called Ducks, in five parts.
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Ducks is about part of my time working at a mining site in Fort McMurray, the events are from 2008.  It is a complicated place, it is not the same for all, and these are only my own experiences there.  It is a sketch because I want to test how I would tell these stories, and how I feel about sharing them.  A larger work gets talked about from time to time.  It is not a place I could describe in one or two stories.  Ducks is about a lot of things, and among these, it is about environmental destruction in an environment that includes humans.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.
-Kate

I’ve been reading these amazing comics and Kate Beaton drew and posted them. (Conveniently, they read really well on a phone, so I would stop wherever I was and just read the latest installment.)
These are the most subtle and nuanced comics I’ve read in a while, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze and learn from them.
There’s a danger that in analyzing something, you can ruin it, but I think it’s valuable. Still, you should read the comics before you read my post.
Here are my thoughts:
They are a perfect example of “show, don’t tell”. Beaton has points she wants to convey, but there’s no lecturing; there’s no character standing in for the opinions of the writer. It’s an easy trap to fall into—explaining yourself with words when the medium is pictures-and-words. Instead, Beaton tells the stories, and structures it so the repeated weight of what happens (deaths, rashes, freaked out hookers) draws you to her conclusion. (I think, in fact, the epilogue could have been skipped, though that last picture of the duck is so powerful, and the perfect punctuation to the story.)
The sketch as medium is a very immediate, emotive style. The simple style allows the reader to project him or herself into the characters much more than with very detailed, carefully rendered art. Beaton is particularly skilled with it—her face when she says “you worry too much, mom” is so evocative, and there are countless other examples in this piece.
The pacing is perfect. It is slow and ruminant, told in episodes that are each punctuated with a simple picture. It reads like chapters. Some episodes are very intense (the hooker, for example) and some are just portraits of the people who are there; they are balanced. Each episode serves a function is the greater thrust of the story, but most of them are subtle; the function isn’t obvious. (You never find yourself saying, “now here Kate Beaton wants me to think X…”)
The arc holds it all together. Not every episode is about the ducks, but Beaton keeps returning to it through the end. In the process, we get a nice parallel of the how much the company cares about ducks and how much they care about humans (not to mention the outside focus on the ducks but not the humans).
Ambiguity. As Beaton says, she has a lot of feelings. There’s human misery, but people are making money. Cedric sends money back home to his kids, and they have things he never had—but he never gets to see them.
Economy of words—Beaton uses as few words as possible to get the point across. At the same time, she liberally adds panels–silent panels, all in a row.
Reading and analyzing these comics makes me revisit my own work—which is very different, but there’s always something to learn. I could introduce a lot more subtlety.

beatonna:

Here is a sketch comic I made called Ducks, in five parts.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Ducks is about part of my time working at a mining site in Fort McMurray, the events are from 2008.  It is a complicated place, it is not the same for all, and these are only my own experiences there.  It is a sketch because I want to test how I would tell these stories, and how I feel about sharing them.  A larger work gets talked about from time to time.  It is not a place I could describe in one or two stories.  Ducks is about a lot of things, and among these, it is about environmental destruction in an environment that includes humans.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.

-Kate

I’ve been reading these amazing comics and Kate Beaton drew and posted them. (Conveniently, they read really well on a phone, so I would stop wherever I was and just read the latest installment.)

These are the most subtle and nuanced comics I’ve read in a while, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze and learn from them.

There’s a danger that in analyzing something, you can ruin it, but I think it’s valuable. Still, you should read the comics before you read my post.

Here are my thoughts:

  • They are a perfect example of “show, don’t tell”. Beaton has points she wants to convey, but there’s no lecturing; there’s no character standing in for the opinions of the writer. It’s an easy trap to fall into—explaining yourself with words when the medium is pictures-and-words. Instead, Beaton tells the stories, and structures it so the repeated weight of what happens (deaths, rashes, freaked out hookers) draws you to her conclusion. (I think, in fact, the epilogue could have been skipped, though that last picture of the duck is so powerful, and the perfect punctuation to the story.)
  • The sketch as medium is a very immediate, emotive style. The simple style allows the reader to project him or herself into the characters much more than with very detailed, carefully rendered art. Beaton is particularly skilled with it—her face when she says “you worry too much, mom” is so evocative, and there are countless other examples in this piece.
  • The pacing is perfect. It is slow and ruminant, told in episodes that are each punctuated with a simple picture. It reads like chapters. Some episodes are very intense (the hooker, for example) and some are just portraits of the people who are there; they are balanced. Each episode serves a function is the greater thrust of the story, but most of them are subtle; the function isn’t obvious. (You never find yourself saying, “now here Kate Beaton wants me to think X…”)
  • The arc holds it all together. Not every episode is about the ducks, but Beaton keeps returning to it through the end. In the process, we get a nice parallel of the how much the company cares about ducks and how much they care about humans (not to mention the outside focus on the ducks but not the humans).
  • Ambiguity. As Beaton says, she has a lot of feelings. There’s human misery, but people are making money. Cedric sends money back home to his kids, and they have things he never had—but he never gets to see them.
  • Economy of words—Beaton uses as few words as possible to get the point across. At the same time, she liberally adds panels–silent panels, all in a row.

Reading and analyzing these comics makes me revisit my own work—which is very different, but there’s always something to learn. I could introduce a lot more subtlety.

Filed under comics analysis how to make comics

62 notes

torontocomics:

TONY BREED is coming to TCAF!

"Tony Breed is the man behind the Ignatz-nominated web comic Finn and Charlie are Hitched. The slice-of-life comic tells the story of married gay couple and their friends, and over the years has addressed such topics as sausage smuggling, teenage romance, and indie rock beards…” - Full Bio at TCAF site

Artist’s Website: hitchedcomic.com

TCAF is The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, taking place May 9-11, 2014, in Toronto, Canada. More at http://torontocomics.com/

That’s right! Come find me at TCAF, Canada! And I’ll be debuting my new book, Everyone is Someone’s Fetish. Woohoo!

3,057 notes

spikedrewthis:

Hi, folks. Here’s a five-page preview of a mini I hope to have on sale next week. (People ask me for advice on a weekly basis, anyway; might as well consolidate it all into one handy package.) Stuff I plan to include:

  • What to ask the printer
  • How to calculate your goal properly
  • How to price and sell your books
  • Good backer bonus ideas
  • Your Frenemy The Post Office
  • Self-promotion

And so on and soforth.

It’ll probably run 30 or so pages- it’s roughed out that far, anyway- And I’ll be selling it for $5.00.

I’ll drop you folks an update when it’s finished. 

Spike is one of the people who gave me good advice for my own successful Kickstarter.

241 notes

reedicule:

This was an odd little idea I got while trying to draw Gibli fan art. I liked the character I created so much I decided to work with it on its own instead.

For me this is slightly autobiographical. I was raised in a world very different than the one I live in now. It was a world of fundamentalist fanaticism. The outside world in general was a mysterious place that I had only really gotten glimpses of as an outsider. 

Leaving my extremist birth family and making my way into the outside universe on my own was a bit like leaping off of a building into the sky, and I’m so glad I did.

IT’s funny I had started to make this comic in full color when I decided that simplicity in color, subject matter and style would all go together well. So here is a monochrome comic designed to be as simple as can be.

I love this!