Monday, August 27, 2007

"Working Methods Pt. 2"--My "Paddy" pages

Here are the first three pages I did for Scott Hampton's "Paddy" story as I mentioned in my August 24 post. I took a slightly different approach than Hampton or Levins in that I decided to stretch the story out over nine pages total ( the script only calls for three pages ). Although I would never do this in a professional setting, I thought it would be fun to take the liberty of doing this for purposes of storytelling.

My approach was to limit myself to only three panels per page. I personally prefer to do pages with not more than four panels, and I find anything over six panels to be kind of cluttery. There are exceptions of course, but the main idea is that each page should represent a "beat" in the story. It should represent a single idea that has a begining, middle and end. Too many different beats slows down the reader. It also diminishes the importance of each "beat". I like the Japanese "manga" approach to storytelling. They believe you should only spend a few seconds per page. The action in manga feels closer to "real time" because they don't try to crowd too many "beats" into a page, they allow the story to unfold ( of course, they can afford this luxury as manga have a much larger page count than American comics ).

Did this all on the computer in Photoshop. As much as I love my Wacom tablet, it's still a little weird to look up at your drawing on the screen while your hand is somewhere else. I developed a pain in my neck/shoulder from doing this for so many years. I was going to buy a Cintiq, but now I'm sort of looking at the new ModBook. I love the portability factor. Especially considering how much I traveled this year. Once I do that, my drawings will look a little less shakey and struggled over ( I hope ).

Anyhoo, it's been a fun exercise so far. It'll be fun to see other versions by different artists. Check out the book and try it yourself!


At Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 8:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger Dominic Bugatto said...

These are really nice pages. Great spotting of the blacks too.

At Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 12:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Great stuff all throughout your blog!!!!
keep it coming dood.....

At Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 5:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger Kelsey said...

Hey, thanks for the comments Benton! I love our approach to these pages and I totally agree with you about panel count. Unfortunately this is something that can only be done outside of the mainstream unless you’re working with like-minded writers and editors.

However panel count can be used to aid in story as well, like faster editing in a movie. You can really build tension and focus almost to the breaking point by adding panels exponentially with each page and then the payoff could be a splash.

I'm glad you participated in the exercise! I hear the story that Shultz, Brunner, and myself did was a script given to students at SCAD. I would love to go there and see what others are doing with it.

I love your Shadow piece by the way. :)


At Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 8:35:00 AM PDT, Blogger Urban Barbarian said...

Wow, Benton! You really have a command for storytelling and your execution is inspiring!

I agree with Kelsey - that Shadow illustration is really, really nice! Have you done a lot of comic book work?

At Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 10:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roberto Zaghi said...

Congrats for this work! Great atmosphere and figure drawings. I love the way you draw and ink the hands, the guy with the cigar in page 3 - panel 2 is amazing! There's a lot of depth everywhere, due to a great tone balance.
I've always felt some lack of confidence in drawing directly on the screen with the wacom pen, so I gave up, well you really achieved excellent results!
About the modbook, interesting! I've never seen it before, have you tried it?
bye - roberto

At Friday, August 31, 2007 at 12:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

dominic-Thanks! Spotting blacks is always kind of tricky. Absorbing a lot of Alex Toth has helped me tremendously in that department. He was a true master and an inspiration.

ccarman-Thanks for stopping by! A new face comiing in always makes it worth it for me to keep posting!

kelsey-Thanks for coming by! I really enjoy your work. I love the idea of the book and the different perspective you get. I enjoyed your version of "Time Troubling" very much. It would great to see a nice thick book with dozens of versions of the same story. At some point I'm sure someone will do it!

Glad you enjoyed the Shadow piece. I "like" it, but I don't "love" it. I'll probably do it over and post it here, only a bit less literal. I'd like to make it a little more bold and more abstract.

urbanbarbarian-Thanks for coming by! I love your work. Let me know when you guys have another "Drink -n- Draw"! You guys totally inspired me with your book ( see my June 26 post ). Don't you guys meet at Cat -n- Fiddle? Right in my neighborhood. Let me know..

roberto-It's always great to see someone come by who is a continent away. Gotta love the internet!
I've tried the Cintiq and loved it. I tried the Modbook for about 10 minutes and was pretty impressed. The screen is a bit small, but I draw small anyway-so it works for me. Unfortunately, the ModBook I was doodling on only had Corel Painter--which I am totally unfamiliar with--so it was hard to make a direct comparison with the Cintiq. I wasn't sure if the annoying little dancing cursor was a Painter thing, or a ModBook thing.
There is a demo in line here:


At Friday, August 31, 2007 at 4:00:00 PM PDT, Blogger BKO said...

WHo da Man? Benton is da Man! THese are really nice! It makes me want to see the rest of the story, so in my book, that makes it a success. SO when are you going to so your gangsta comic? I'm in if you ever want to so another fiasco!!

At Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 11:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger Roberto Zaghi said...

Thanks for the modbook vclip Benton, it seems very cool! I'm only a bit puzzled about drawing/coloring in ps without the keyboard hotkeys always at hand - anyway I'd like to try it!


At Monday, September 3, 2007 at 1:18:00 PM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

bko-If I ever do another anthology, of course you'd be one of the first I'd call. Your work is often singled out for high praise whenever I show someone a copy of "Babes In Space"! ( this happened just the other day, actually! ). For the immediate future, the plan is to collect all four of my 24 comics together in time for APE. Then, I plan to do an art/sketchbook thing in time for San Diego. After that, who knows? Babes In Space Two?

roberto zaghi-I undestand that the ModBook has a port to attach an external keyboard, or a wireless one. Yes--we gotta have those hotkeys!
BTW--I looked online and saw some of your stuff for Julia, Nathan Never, and Zona X--beautiful work!

urbanbarbarian-ooops--realized I didn't fully answer your post last time. Although comics were my first love, I haven't done a whole lot of them. When I was younger, I did some stuff for some small independents ( like Heroic Comics ) and have more recently contributed to some indy anthologies ( Komikwerks:Thrills and Chills , Zowie Deux: Tales of Tiki Terror ) as well as published my own anthology ( Babes in Space ). More mainstream companies ( like DC and Dark Horse ) have shown interest-- but nothing seems to have materialized as yet. I'll keep doing the self-published stuff in my spare time as the film work keeps me pretty busy ( and puts a roof over my head ). If someone wants to pay me to do comics sometime, I'm game--otherwise, I'm happy self-publishing too.

At Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 8:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger Saigonradio said...

Wow this is very inspiring. I'm not new to the comic world, but I am still learning. I recently read your posts on beats. I recently did a short story and I think i have too many beats. What books would you recommend on "how to panel"?

At Saturday, September 15, 2007 at 12:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

saigonradio-Thanks for coming by! Saw your blog! Cool stuff! Say hello to Big Bob MacKenzie for me over at Blue Sky. We worked together at ILM.

Can't think of any specific books on the whole panelling thing. I do remember an article about Paul Pope where the subject was mentioned during a discussion on the difference between Japanese and American comics. I remember being very inspired by that article, but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw it. It was either online or at The Comics Journal or something. Anyone out there reember the article?

At Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 2:50:00 PM PDT, Blogger crazy_asian_man said...

Blown away... how long did these take???

I totally agree with your comment on Manga style of storytelling in comics vs. the American style of cramming everything into a smaller page count--- though of course things seem to be changing more and more (though arbitrarily it seems).

Recently I've been buying up books on interviews with older creators of Marvel and DC, and they've been echoing some of what was said here: that the editors determined a giant chunk of how things were done above and beyond the artists and writers at both companies, sure it's still true today.

BTW... when are we going to see more of the kungfu comix??? :)

At Monday, September 17, 2007 at 10:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

crazyasianman-In terms of the kung fu comics, if you mean "Silent Swordsman" ( appeared in Komikswerk's "Thrills and Chills" anthology a couple of years ago )
I've sort of put that on hold for now.
I do have another kung fu character I plan on working on. This one takes place in the more recent Qing Dynasty as opposed to the more ancient Qin Dynasty of "Silent Swordsman". It takes place in America on the railroads. We'll see what happens--

At Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 12:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger warren said...


Just drifted over here via paul Rivoche's blog. I'm learning a lot! That whole thing with the beats per page is news to me - I'll try it out on the next batch.


PS - don't have to tell you your stuff is inspiring. But I just did.

At Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 11:25:00 AM PDT, Blogger c_marrinan said...

Nice storytelling there, bro! Very atmospheric down-to-earth noir look. The Toth influence is serving you well.

I just bought a dvd of 50's"B" noir flick "Narrow Margin" because of the great light and shadow, and composition of scenes. Good story too. I want to incorporate that look into some of my work.


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