Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Sequential Art

On Monday, Will Eisner died.

When I used to be an agent for Star*Reach Productions, Mike Friedrich had me send out a copy of Will's Comics & Sequential Art to all our new clients. Mike felt that with Will's understanding of how comics work, our clients would have the solid foundation they needed as comic book artists.

I've met Will a few times, each time I regressed into total fan-girl. How could you not, in the company of such magnitude? Writerboy, fortunately, has a better handle on being a fan. He was once a judge for the Eisners and I don't think he slobbered once during the entire award ceremony. (I now regret I didn't bother going to a single award ceremony. Sure, my clients were sometimes nominated and in fact, the letterer for Nobody was nominated but when you're running a booth and have to take care of usually 20-30 clients who attend San Diego, you look forward to dancing AFTER the Eisners and not the ceremony itself.)

Mr. Eisner, know that when I was writing my portions of Nobody, I had you in mind (as well as Scott McCloud). I was ever conscious of the reader and the reason for that was entirely because of your Comics and Sequential Art. Also, know that whenever I did a review of artwork, I also invoked you for I totally bought into your vision of the artist/writer being the director of your own movie.

Now a little about Mr. Eisner's lessons:

The lazy Z: A comic book page is set up visually like a lazy z. The panel on the top left of the page should lead your eye to the next panel, then that one leads (points) your eyes down to the bottom left corner. The bottom right corner should lead your eye up to the next page or into turning the page. Lines of background can help lead the eye. Shapes can help lead the eye.

Utilizing the lazy Z = good UNDERSTANDABLE & USER-FRIENDLY storytelling.

Mr. Eisner knew the importance of directing your reader to where he wanted them to be. He'd use crazy camera angles, crazy fonts, anything to help aid in story-telling. It is because of Comics & Sequential Art that I realized lettering was in and of itself an artform. Looking at the various fonts he utilizes, you can see how the lettering itself was used to denote emotion, pacing, timing, etc.

Rest in peace, Mr. Eisner. And thanks for your lessons.

This reminds me, one day, I've got to write down all my thanks to various teachers over the years. What'll be strange about the list is how many of them worked for DC Comics at the time.

Filed under Facets & Galleries of Art.


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