January 23, 2019

CCS Illustrations - Part 3: One-Week Cartooning Workout GIFs

In last week's post, I talked about developing the One-Week Cartooning Workout, a free email course with tips, tricks, exercises, examples and resources, with James Sturm for The Center for Cartoon Studies.  In addition to those spot illustrations which branded the course, I also designed a series of animated GIFs which demonstrated exercises or helped illustrate some of the concepts.

Day One - Four Panel Comic

The idea here was that you could draw your four-panel comic one panel at a time in linear sequence, or you could start by drawing the first and fourth panels and then fill in the middle two panels afterwards.

Day Two - Character Design

The goal for this exercise is to create two characters who are visually unique, but also speak with their own unique voices.  Starting with two different shapes is a great way to end up with two different character silhouettes.

Day Three - Thrice-Told Tales

A rule of thumb that I use when I am hunting around for a story to draw as a comic, is if I've verbally told a story at least three times (to friends/family/coworkers, etc.) than it is probably pretty entertaining, and I've had a chance to revise it through each retelling.  The goal here was to convey that idea and then use one such story as a writing prompt.

Day Four - Notecard Comics

James Sturm often uses blank notecards as panel templates.  It's a great technique because it is easy to rearrange the moments, or throw one out if you get a better idea, etc.  The goal was to demonstrate this way of working.

Day Five - Twenty-Four Panel Page Layouts

After the students script out comic story using 24 note cards, they are then prompted to turn that into a comic.  This GIF shows how 24 panels can be split up into a variety of layouts, which will have different densities and page counts.  It would work as a static graphic, but having each layout appear gives the viewer a moment to consider the layout.

Day Six - Draw Comics EVERY Day

Any success I've achieved as a cartoonist can be traced back to my practice of Drawing Comics EVERY Day, even if it's only for 15 minutes a day.  Again, this would work as a static image, but having each check mark tick off gives a stronger sense of sequence and time moving forward.

Day Seven - Seeking Feedback

This GIF communicates the importance of sharing your work (whether in person or online) and seeking constructive feedback.

If these exercises and concepts sound interesting, you can sign up for the One-Week Cartooning Workout at any time and it is absolutely free.  It's full of tips and tricks and examples and resources to help you get the ball rolling with your cartooning - check it out!

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