Apparently one never stops learning. I been beating myself up mentally this past month because of creative issues ( Even I'm getting sick of my constant indecision's ) However one thing that's kept my spirits high is mingling with other artists. Not friends or family members, but total strangers who share the same passions as me.
One such stranger posted this pic and I thought this was genius.
This might seem embarrassing, but until I saw this I didn't know who Wally Wood was. If that sounds ignorant of a guy who loves comics, it really isn't. The amount of information one learns in their lives is nothing compared to the amount of information that's out there. It's impossible for anyone to know everything about anything. Even if it is up their alley.
Enough science, back to the image. I read the Wiki entry on Wally and found it interesting that his 22 panels is a must have for any sequential artist. Because lets face facts. dialog scenes are hard to make look interesting. Sure you could just have people standing there, but that's not dynamic. It's also extremely boring. My last attempt at writing ended in complete frustration when I had one scene that was nothing but dialog for 8 pages. Half of the comic. Ridiculous.
Even though Wally's 22 panels is a life saver for those all too dull moments, it wouldn't have helped my story, so it was back to the writing board. Looking at this pic makes me realize what I really want my comics to look like. Let's face it, comics with one constant view and characters just standing around with hints of body language are a dime a dozen. With a variety of views and angles from panel to panel the overall work looks better, no matter what style one uses.
That's not to say it's the secret to a comic's success. A lot of the comics and manga I like rarely mix up the panels in such a manner and go for " the safe bet " when it comes to conversations. It's more common however in the web comics I read which is probably why 99% of them all look the same no matter what art-style the creator chooses.
I guess what I'm trying to explain is what makes a comic appealing to the reader is a good mixture of the 3 main elements that make a comic a comic. The Writing, the Art, and the Structure. The ladder being a combination of other elements such as composition and flow. Good art and writing is nothing if a comic has poor structure. Even in comics with bad art or writing, if the structure is solid, it can outshine the other shortcomings.
I see this all the time on the internets. I'll see an artist who's light years ahead of me with their art, but when they do something sequential it looks flat and boring, even though the detail in their art is phenomenal. Where on the other end I see someone who has worse art then me, but when they do sequential work it blows away anything I can do because of the structure. And then there's others who fail hard at both yet somehow make a living off what they do.
Its more about what I want out of the work I do, not so much what I have to do. The 22 panels are there as a safety net to make me the artist I want to be. They aren't something written in stone that every artist should follow. Like I said, people make a living off doing things boring by using the same shot panel after panel. That's not what I want to be. For me drawing and structure are two different things that have to practiced on their own. Same goes for writing.
As I write this I have an image in my head of what a comic looks like divided up. 33% writing, 33% art, and 33% structure. The other 1% being something interesting a reader might want to read. Those numbers might not be accurate, but a comic can't survive on one thing alone. It's a combinations of little things that make them come to life and challenge the imagination of both the creator and the artist.
At least that's what I think comics are, and that's what I want my comics to be.