Comixperimentation lab

m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
edited June 2015 in Artist's Corner
Hey guys, let's be artist artists. Comics can be a lot of things, but mostly we know them only as a strictly narrative art form dealing with concrete narratives that make sense. Sometimes I think this intense focus or expectations laid on story can be a bit tedious, and perhaps it's holding a lot of people back from doing cool stuff, not to mention limiting the potential of the comics medium itself. I say we ignore the conventions for a while and explore comics as well as drawing in this thread.

Maybe you'd like to experiment with the form itself
, or maybe you'd want to do something more abstract about a feeling
or something that is just an atmosphere
Just come up with something interesting. It doesn't have to be cool looking (hell, I encourage you to try and draw something ugly), there doesn't have to be a story, it doesn't necessarily need panels, shit it doesn't need to have anything you think a comic needs to have. Also, you don't even have to draw yourself:

I realize telling you guys to try and draw ugly, or stray away from conventional storytelling is a hard thing to do. When I began studying comics I was very adamant about making traditional stories and realistic artwork because I wanted so desperately to show off my skills, but it is awfully liberating to just let go of that pressure to create something intensely polished, and just fuck around on a piece of paper. So I guess this thread is also an exercise in trying to become more creatively loose and open minded. So yeah, just fuck around and have fun with this.

Some cool inspirational links:
edit: also: pop-up comics, god I wanna see more pop-up comics.

m3nace on


  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    I'll go first:
    Lately I've been very into playing around with the physicality of the panels themselves, deliberately making tangents and treating it as an object. It has very weird results sometimes. That's pretty much all I thought about when making this comic, the rest was just on intuition. I've been way too cerebral lately in terms of storytelling and artwork, so this is a nice change of pace.

    edit: on critiquing - since the merit of these works essentially relies on intention or whatever emerges from the work, let's keep crits to that. Say either the artist has an intention that can be portrayed more effectively, or something interesting emerges from the work that can be pushed further.

    m3nace on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I endorse the hell out of this thread. I will try and come up with something interesting for it

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    looks like I might have some time next month, so me too!

  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Yesss, this is exactly what I need. I feel so rigid and cautious in my approach, I really want to do something more surreal and something that just flows out of me instead of worrying about every detail.

  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    edited June 2015

    I do not know what it is the man in the bowler hat did to deserve it, but he certainly seems surprised. I shift+clicked a few panel borders, then drew each panel in order from left to right with no real thought as to what was coming next. I corrected a panel or two, but didn't stray all that far from the original sketch. Though it did turn out to be a coherent story, somewhat, so I don't know if I missed the point or what.

    acadia on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    Not at all dude. This is totally playing with the format since the panels have such erratic shapes. This makes it a bit confusing to read which I think is absolutely perfect for a shootout scene. Especially in the second tier, where it's almost like you're following a stray bullet's trajectory or something, with the way it zig zags around. If you want to push this further you could experiment with even wackier panel layouts, or maybe make a cut up out of it, like a beat poem, where you just remix all the drawings and let the comic talk for itself.

    m3nace on
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    I foresee myself having quite a bit of fun with this thread.

  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    thought i'd keep space goin

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    acadia on
  • miscellaneousinsanitymiscellaneousinsanity grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, i hurt peopleRegistered User regular
    edited June 2015
    and like a million other artists oh jeez i have so many people i need to look up

    a small selection of quotes:
    It was really good to get to see these guys breaking all the rules when we were kids. I believe that we should probably be breaking the rules for kids today to see, too.
    I’ve been saying the New Wave was a sort of renaissance for a while myself, actually. Manga is sort of like a game of telephone, in that it keeps getting distorted a little bit with each step. Guys like Ikki Kajiwara started showing up and they were so intense that manga starts to drift in their direction, and then after a while people forget what manga was like before. The artwork in manga loses a softness, a lightness to the lines — and it was the New Wave that helped us remember how nice that lightness is.
    But the thing is, he actually can draw film. Otomo told me that he’d already drawn from every angle there is, so he lost interest. He kept testing to see what he was capable of drawing, and in the end he managed to do it all, so he’s finished with drawing.
    Here they are trying to overcome these deadlines, and there they have in the room: “Waste the time away”. (laugh) That’s what I aspire to. So good.

    miscellaneousinsanity on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Okay, let's talk scroll format since both of you used it. What's your experiences with scroll format comics? Do you have any good (or bad) examples of the use of the scroll format?
    Boulet's Long Journey is one of those comics that like "A Day At The Circuits" really takes advantage of the format itself and plays around with it. Good fun. Boulet in general is insane, check out the stupidly well made 24 hours comic he made, it's like this shit just flows right out of him.

    Being digital the format also presents some cool new opportunities, such as parallaxing, used by David Helman simply but neatly here.

    To me reading them while scrolling on my mouse is probably the biggest drawback, just the sound of it is so fucking annoying as well as the jittery speed at which it scrolls and using a trackpad isn't much better. I suppose the ideal way to read these would be on a tablet or on your phone, since the speed at which you're scrolling feels so much more intuitive.

    Another thing about scroll comics that only have a single row is that you'll probably have to think more like a filmmaker than you used to. Say, stuff like match cuts - where you cut from one object to another with the same basic composition - could go and cause problems or create opportunities. The opportunities being in making the effect of the camera moving around or zooming feel more natural to the medium, while problems arise when you have a match cut in a conversation between two characters, and the reader will briefly mistake one character for the other.

  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    Love love love boulet. His 24 hour comic made me question relativity. There's just no way he made that thing in one day unless he slowed down time for himself in some way, it's just too good and polished and perfect. This, however, is probably the most impressive implementation of the vertical scroll comic I've ever seen. The story is cool, and the tech involved makes it super fun to read as well.

    I used it in this case because it was simple and quick to draw. I had one canvas, had all of my color swatches set up, had no panels to work out, just a single space to fill (as many times as I wished) and could then save each one as it's own image. I could probably continue that little comic indefinitely, with little planning.

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    Woah, that looks rad as hell. But yeah, again, using a scroll wheel kind of ruins it. Also, speaking of continuing it indefinitely, I have a friend who did something like this where it's basically just a camera moving through space called Endless Something. Sadly, and ironically, it ended after just 10 pages...

    m3nace on
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    Gotta get one o them smooth scroll wheels, man (though, I myself prefer the clicky ones -- it's that tactile feedback, like a button that's really satisfying to push).

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Gotta get on that minority report shit. Aight, back to comics. Btw, got my comixperiment featured on Comicsworkbook yesterday, hurray!

  • miscellaneousinsanitymiscellaneousinsanity grass grows, birds fly, sun shines, and brother, i hurt peopleRegistered User regular
    this is a more polished thing, it's a comic a friend and i did for a local anthology, but i wanna share it and didn't feel like dredging up my old thread

    definitely a different experience scrolling vertically than turning pages (it was designed for print)

    pretty much the most finished comic i've done so far, but the first one with just pencils—after getting acquainted with sam alden i was like 'wait. you can do that?'—so it's definitely something i want to experiment with more (need to try to loosen up, too, i have a habit of wanting to micromanage every single line)

    i could talk about this one for a while but i won't, got some smaller scale comics in the works so hopefully i'll have more stuff here soon

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I need to do this, I've been going through a thing as a writer where I keep going, "I should be drawing this stuff, not writing it," so.

    semi-permission to nag, I guess?

  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    This is awesome! Definitely going to try it out as well.
    Been wanting to try out a mix between traditional and digital lately. So this is the perfect place to try it out. Thanks so much for the opportunity.

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    This one felt good to make, and I still like the concept even if the product doesn't thrill me: Five panels, drawn in five, four, three, two, and one minute(s). Going in with just the ticking time bomb as my low-hanging-fruit, I'd love to see the concept followed through with more rules: a set story, fixed panel sizes, etc...


    Feels like a great way to practice some basic foundation- I know I've done better "fast" drawings, but this medium adds a different sort of pressure.

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Obstructions are a really good way of taking control over your creative process. Matt Madden and the rest of the 'Oubapo' are basically all about creating a set of rules for themselves when making comics and it has really interesting results, sometimes awesome stories come out of stuff like that. Also if you have the chance, watch Lars Von Trier and Jørgen Leth's 'Five obstructions' in which Trier challenges Leth to do five different movies with different rules for each.
    Oftentimes when you feel like you're stuck for ideas, what it is really is that you don't really have a place to begin or whatever, and having the framework of obstructions really helps you keep thinking of possibilities.

  • JolliJolli Registered User regular
    This thread is an awesome idea! I'll definitely try and come up with something to post on here. :P

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    I guess this counts as a comixperiment: made a version of page 1 from the Slitherwhap comic with 4 spot colors. All done by hand. Looks weird and it's not as clear as the other version, but it's an interesting process. Really forces you to think about color.

    If anyone wants an assignment to get going with this, here's one:
    make a 6, 9, or 12 panel grid on a piece of paper. Walk around your house, neighborhood or whatever and include at least one of each of the following:
    - a space
    - a close up
    - a long shot
    - movement
    - a pattern
    Now add some text, it can be your own or you can take it from wherever. Honestly, it can be that easy.

    m3nace on
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    These are all the things I could hear sitting at my desk

    Mostly different sources of white noise.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    edited June 2015
    If you had to craft a narrative using just faces, floating heads really (though heck, why not go simpler?) what would you find yourself drawn to? I find myself planning for easy violence or easy melodrama: faces that get progressively more battered and bloody, the only evidence of a brawl we're "missing out on," or the emotional close-ups of an ending relationship, a divorce and the child it affects, for instance. I feel like I'm fighting the nature of the thread: sticking to tropes and only varying the delivery. ...I already feel guilty for having this idea and not following through with an actual comic!

    Mightyhog on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    and so should you, this is as much a practical assignment, perhaps even more so, than a formalistic one. Get drawing!

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Alright alright I got off my lazy ass and did something! You're a good motivator. Stuck with the faces, tried a different narrative out...


    Hope it reads. He's sculpting! The most compelling things about faces to me seemed to be laughter and aging. Aging won out.

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Aah neat @Mightyhog great execution!

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    This thread is a great idea and it should stay alive. Comics in general are way outside my comfort zone, but since that's the whole point, I'll come up with something to contribute in the next few days!

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Paging @Iruka @tynic @tapeslinger @Mabelma @lyrium
    just to remind you that you want to do this! Remember, don't try to impress, so don't think too hard about it if that's what's stopping you.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm inking a 30 page comic right now, Unfortunately I cant post it till later.

    I'll try and get some extra energy off to doodle some dumb comics. It is shark week.

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Understand dudes, just in case u forgot. Don't feel like u need to do it for me or whatever, this is for you. Also, I am looking soooo forward to reading that thing Iruka!

  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Shiz!!! You're right, I need to do this! I'll get right on it :D Was thinking of doing something experimental with backgrounds yesterday, so I should definitely just get right on it. Thanks for the motivation!

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod

    I took these with my phone camera in candle light, they maybe huge and blurry. I guess 3am is probably a good time for dumb comics.

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular

    I was going to hand write the text behind the pictures but I was worried I'd mess up and accidentally write something terrible. So it's this instead!
    It says (according to google translate, which I have to take for granted, which is appropriate given the subject):

    It is difficult to get around.
    I'm smarter in English.
    It is strange not to know anything.
    I feel like a child.
    I am not able to read.
    I can hardly talk.
    I have only basic etiquette.
    At least everyone is really friendly.
    Very helpful and very patient.
    And the food is delicious.

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Kind of reminds me of Shaun Tan's 'The Arrival' what with the subject matter and the tactile quality of it. Also, if you'd messed up on the text I'm pretty sure that would've only added to it.

    Also, Iruka, keep drawing dags till you drop dead, love em.

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
  • acadiaacadia Registered User regular
    So I had a page I drew a few weeks ago, and I wanted to preface it with something as an exercise that was suggested to me ages ago, but decided I didn't want to spend more than 5 minutes on each panel. I may come back and clean these, maybe drop them into proper panels on a page!


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