Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sprite based comics

Taking a trick from the animation world, I'm experimenting with sprite or clipart based comic design.  I started thinking about how people use the rage comics.  With a semi-limited pallet of images, people are making some very compelling and entertaining comics.  In the fashion of real world dialog very few variations in expression are really needed to convey what is happening.

My older version of the series was far too difficult to maintain.  I was averaging about 3 panels a week, and that was rushing.  I need to find a way to speed up the creative process.

My new experimental comic format will take the best of video game sprites, rage comics, and traditional hand drawn comics and merge them.  The image shown is my first prototype.  The head, mouth, eyes, and body were all drawn separately.  The goal is to build a wide and high quality series of templates that will be used to push the comic forward in a timely manner, but still look as good as my original series.  Perhaps better.

Each template is hand drawn, vectorized, and colored.  The face alone will break down to about 30 parts (per character) and can be assembled in minutes in various positions and expressions.  I'll keep adding to the template as needed and of course some panels will be completely original.  When the templates are done I should be able to build a page in a day.

This new format also opens the doors for a wider variety of medium mixing.  I suck terribly at drawing back grounds.  If you look at my older posts you can see for yourself.  By meticulously building each part of an image more details can be captured.  In the sample image, PJ's glasses are actually a tracing of real glasses.  The lenses are transparent and even have a reflection.  By mixing more real world items into the art I feel that using actually photographs of locations could possibly help blend the cartoon vs realism.  Expect to see me attempt to merge the characters in to the real world soon enough.

Upcoming comics will be in shorter form.  More like traditional Sunday comics.  In fact, I'm debating making each comic post on Sunday.  Nothing set in stone, however.
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