Source: Google Image Search - fireman carry (site)
I ended up abandoning the idea of Allen knocking Mori out in favor of just grabbing her and running. Allen’s a big fellow - he’s about 6’ 5” - and I’m a little worried it might be too easy for him to accidentally hurt Mori if he attempted to do a knifehand strike to the neck or a sleeper hold. So, back to snatch and flee.
Attempts to figure out the pose before I begin working on the page tomorrow. I’ve never drawn someone carrying another like this before.
Mori is not happy about this affront to her dignity.
It’s all very well being blessed with FIERCE INTELLEGENCE. But that doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not tempered with COMPASSION, Timothy.
Drawing from films
Drawing from films is a ridiculously useful exercise. It’s not enough to watch films; it’s not enough to look at someone else’s drawings from films. If you want to be in story, there’s no excuse for not doing this.
The way this works: you draw tons of tiny little panels, tiny enough that you won’t be tempted to fuss about drawing details. You put on a movie - I recommend Raiders, E.T., or Jaws… but honestly if there’s some other movie you love enough to freeze frame the shit out of, do what works for you. It’s good to do this with a movie you already know by heart.
Hit play. Every time there’s a cut, you hit pause, draw the frame, and hit play til it cuts again. If there’s a pan or camera move, draw the first and last frames.
Note on movies: Spielberg is great for this because he’s both evocative and efficient. Michael Bay is good at what he does, but part of what he does is cut so often that you will be sorry you picked his movie to draw from. Haneke is magnificent at what he does, but cuts so little that you will wind up with three drawings of a chair. Peter Jackson… he’s great, but not efficient. If you love a Spielberg movie enough to spend a month with it, do yourself a favor and use Spielberg.
What to look for:
- Foreground, middle ground, background: where is the character? What is the point of the shot? What is it showing? What’s being used as a framing device? How does that help tie this shot into the geography of the scene? Is the background flat, or a location that lends itself to depth?
- Composition: How is the frame divided? What takes up most of the space? How are the angles and lines in the shot leading your eye?
- Reusing setups, economy: Does the film keep coming back to the same shot? The way liveaction works, that means they set up the camera and filmed one long take from that angle. Sometimes this includes a camera move, recomposing one long take into what look like separate shots. If you pay attention, you can catch them.
- Camera position, angle, height: Is the camera fixed at shoulder height? Eye height? Sitting on the floor? Angled up? Down? Is it shooting straight on towards a wall, or at an angle? Does it favor the floor or the ceiling?
- Lenses: wide-angle lens or long lens? Basic rule of thumb: If the character is large in frame and you can still see plenty of their surroundings, the lens is wide and the character is very close to camera. If the character’s surroundings seem to dwarf them, the lens is long (zoomed in).
- Lighting: Notice it, but don’t draw it. What in the scene is lit? How is this directing your eye? How many lights? Do they make sense in the scene, or do they just FEEL right?
This seems like a lot to keep in mind, and honestly, don’t worry about any of that. Draw 100 thumbnails at a time, pat yourself on the back, and you will start to notice these things as you go.
Don’t worry about the drawings, either. You can see from my drawings that these aren’t for show. They’re notes to yourself. They’re strictly for learning.
Now get out there and do a set! Tweet me at @lawnrocket and I’ll give you extra backpats for actually following through on it. Just be aware - your friends will look at you super weird when you start going off about how that one shot in Raiders was a pickup - it HAD to be - because it doesn’t make sense except for to string these other two shots together…
A cliché is NOT a trope.
A trope is NOT a cliché.
Tropes are things that are used over and over again. They’re conventional actions, people (archetypes), and things, that make up story the same way rhyming schemes and set meter make up poetry. Tropes aren’t bad. They’re a tool.
Cliché’s are thoughtless generic place holders. They’re frequently the first thought to occur you precisely because you’ve seen it so often. But the Clichéness is in the (lack of) thought, not the frequency.
When you worry that you are going to be cliché, what you’re worried about is that you haven’t thought enough about your story. You’ve taken the first thought that occurred to you and just taken it. Sometimes that’s good, that’s your storyteller instinct. But particularly at the beginning it’s easy to simply take your first thought because you don’t want to think any more about it. So, yes, you do tend to use tropes, and you tend to use the one that you have run into the most in a close situation because that’s easiest for your brain. And that’s bad: not the trope, how you used it.
What I’m telling you is that the Trope isn’t the problem. The problem is how much you’ve thought about it. A trope is a tried and true method for solving a story problem. A cliché is a tried and true story method misapplied. It’s the misapplication that is the problem.
My best piece of advice for dealing with cliché is to stop worrying if your method for solving your story’s problem has been done before. It has. And somebody did it before that. And someone else did it before them. But somehow it didn’t screw their story over. Funny that. Why would it inherently screw yours?
Instead worry if what you’ve done solves your story problem the best way that it can be solved for your particular tale. That’s when you’ve beat cliché: when you’ve mastered the extremely difficult art of correct application, which must be relearned for every individual problem. Not when you’ve miraculously mastered the impossibility of saying something new. Worry about your story, not anyone else’s. Of course what’s happening has been done before. But it’s been done right and its been done wrong. The people who did it right, did so by thinking very hard and rejecting anything that could be done better until it was good enough.
If your question is, “I’ve seen this done a million times. Should I….” Stop. It doesn’t matter. If your question is, “Why does this bore me?” Then you’re on the right track. And the answer isn’t just that it has been done before. It’s that it doesn’t work for your story. The answer that does work will have been just as used, it just won’t be the first thing to pop into your head. “What would make this interesting?” “What else could they do?” “What would have more meaning?” Those are the questions to ask yourself. That’s avoiding cliché, not going on a goose hunt just to avoid eating turkey.
Working out possible ideas for the covers of Issue 21 and the first issue of the side series. While I kind of like the basic ideas here, I think I’ll putter around and see if I can’t come up with a few more options.
Sorry about the photos. My scanner isn’t working at the moment so we’re going with cellphone pictures instead.
I’ve spent part of the morning so far looking into ways of safely rendering someone unconscious without using drugs. Nothing malicious, really. Just research for an upcoming page. So far it looks like a sleeper hold may be the best bet.
(Photo - Sleeperkid @ deviantART)
Sounds like it’ll knock someone under with little damage as long as it’s done properly. While the recovery time is quick, it should be long enough to get the person up and out of danger. The character in question has the training to disarm, so executing the hold correctly wouldn’t be a problem for him.
Meanwhile, the latest Batman Eternal shows Alfred using some type of neck/shoulder whack to put Julia under for a few minutes. This is closer to what I want - a sudden, unexpected action that quickly drops the character, but I haven’t found much info on such a move.
(Photo - Batman Eternal #21)
An outright bonk on the back of the head has the potential to be too dangerous - not just the initial point of impact but also the effects of the brain colliding with the front and then back of the skull from the force of the hit.
While I could resort to using magic, I’d prefer to avoid doing so if possible. It just seems a bit like a cop-out. Having the character in question actually take physical action could be used to show more about them as well as create a bit of tension to use later.
If nothing else, the character is big enough to grab someone and run so… I could always go that route, I suppose. Still not quite what I’m looking for, but better than using magic to solve the situation. It will involve a lot of flailing arms and shouting which could be fun to draw.
This really shouldn’t be an issue. Most comics just have someone getting whacked on the back of the skull with a tree branch or a fist and it’s all good. But I’m finding that when you have readers who like to debate whether something should or should not work in your comic, you end up doing a bit more research. It’s expected that you’ll attempt to get the details at least somewhat right. Fun, but time consuming.
Maybe there’s something in one of my self-defense books. Quick! To the bookshelves!