Manga Meadow

I’M ENJOYING my comics drawing course but I don’t want to forget the program that sparked this off, Manga Studio 4EX, so as I settled down at the end of the day I drew a familiar scene, the meadow and the wood beyond, in the unfamiliar medium of Manga Studio using my Intuous 4 pen tablet. It’s an awkward way to draw but it’s a good way to familiarise myself with the basic commands of the program such as selecting tool and colours, working with layers and exporting an image.

It’s never going to replace pen and watercolour but that isn’t the aim.

Pictures on Paper

Another of the ‘action within a drawing’ exercises; a newspaper page blowing in the wind. Hmm, I misread that; I went for the whole newspaper!

THE NEXT EXERCISE that Abel & Madden set you in Drawing Words & Writing Pictures is to draw a series of actions in a single panel – and to try and make the actions flow in their logical order.

The cause and effect in this tripped up/knocks over lamp is, I hope, reasonably unambiguous as the action proceeds from left to right, the way we usually read a drawing in the west, but the next frame, the stone thrower, involves a reciprocal action so it’s trickier.

Chain of Events

I had a couple of goes at the throws stone/gun misfires/lamp crashes on stone-thrower scenario. The big problem with my solution is that the crashing lamp is the first thing the reader sees but it’s actually supposed to be the climax of the chain of events.

Homework is to make up your own scenario. Thinking of slapstick action, I remembered Eric Sykes’ almost silent movie The Plank but I didn’t find it easy to set up even the most blindingly obvious stunt in my drawing.

I’m equally clueless in trying to come up with funny captions but – phew! – the great thing is that this is just a learning experience. My career doesn’t depend on finding a solution.

Perhaps I need a more ‘cartoony’ style, as these straightforward sketches have all the comic ambience of a health and safety instructional leaflet. Of course some artists, such as English illustrator Glen Baxter, have made a career out of getting comic effect from a quirkily straightforward retro style.