Welcome to Adventures in Cartooning, where I take some snippet of advice I found and relay it on to others in an attempt to spare someone else of having to make the same mistakes I did.

This past Thursday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend ‘Comic Creators’ at one of the local libraries. It featured two artists and one writer all based here in town. Kurtis Wiebe (The Intrepids, Green Wake), Riley Rossmo (Proof, Green Wake), and Tom Grummet (Superman, Incredible Hulk) were all in attendance and shared with everyone how they got into the comic industry as well as fielding questions from the audience. The panel was full of really interesting stuff, both from the writing side of things as well as the artistic side.  There was one part mentioned that I really found interesting.

While talking about scripts, the subject of stage direction came up. “How often do you give the artists instructions on how to lay out scripts?” one audience member asked. All three men said that the only instructions that are ever given/received are ones that are important to the story. A lot of the panels are just ‘Talking Heads’.  This is when the writer gives the dialogue and maybe a location. Both artists made it clear that those are the best panels to draw because it lets the artist be creative and have fun with the characters. A scene of two people in the kitchen can soon become two people sitting having coffee, making lunch or unloading a dishwasher.

This got me thinking about my own strip, and its admittedly lackluster backdrops and somewhat static characters. I should really try to put more effort into making an environment and having my characters interact with it. I think it will really add an extra level to the strip and bring it closer to a professional quality.