ACTION! ACTION! ACTION!

This page is bursting with it, isn’t it? And just so you know, this page probably has one of the highest action-per-panel ratios in the whole book, except for the Apathea sequences… And maybe the sword fight between Neil & Nancy at the end.

Oh come on! Don’t act like I spoiled the ending for you. You’ve been reading and you can see how MK has totally been setting that up…

On a more serious note [ ha! ], I think one of the recurring themes of my posts will be to out myself as a hack and to share information with other budding young cartoonists who might be following this book on how they too can swindle & beguile their way into the comics industry.

Lesson for today: Action scenes are much easier to draw than almost everything else.  Here’s a couple of reasons why:

1.] People don’t see action everyday, so when it is drawn awkwardly, people don’t notice it as much. Here’s an example – You are drawing two scenes. One is of a person drinking coffee reading the newspaper, the other is of a person jump-kicking an alien in the face.

People see other people drinking coffee and reading the newspaper all the time, so if you don’t get the posture & acting right it’s going to be a glaring mistake that sticks out in the reader’s eye like a sore thumb and they’re going to think, ‘ That’s not how someone reads the newspaper! This artist is an idiot!’

Ninja-kicking and alien in the face? No one sees that all the time, so all you have to worry about is making it look cool and dynamic. All they need to think is, ‘Wow! Look how rad that looks!’

[another sub-note here: I find it harder to get some of the subtleties of the more mundane actions in your drawing, as opposed to the outrageous over-the-top-ness you get to throw in action scenes.]

2.] Action lines are a way to not draw backgrounds. Take panel 2 in this page, for instance.

and

3.] Action can be a way to draw less panels. A really quick lesson on pacing in comics – as a general rule of thumb, the more panels you use to describe an action, the longer it makes the action seem. So unless you’re trying to make the action drawn out for dramatic reasons, don’t show in four panels what you could show in two. See panels 1 & 2 of this page.

That’s it for now kids! And remember – Fake it ’till you make it!