We are doing a bunch of story boarding at Moonbot for a feature film that is ramping up, and I've been learning a lot of the process from a new friend and mentor Stanley "Teach" Moore. I think that there are lots of rules in boarding that really helped clean up my drawings. I found that they tied my narratives together better, and honed in on action in my sequences. I'm drawing cleaner.
With that said I think this is an oportunity to tangent onto another sequential art form very dear to my heart...
I was perusing through Jeff Smith's "Bone", and breaking down some of the choices he made. I wondered what he was thinking when he drew them, and if some of the same things I was learning about boarding could apply to comics too, so I started messing around. Here is what I came up with.
Let me say that I am a big fan of Jeff Smith's work. These changes only reflect my personal opinion, and were done purely for the sake of exploration...
I took these two pages and picked a few panels that I thought could have played out differently.
|BONE copyright 2004, Jeff Smith|
the first panel,
- a rat creature is running
- it is night
These are the things that this drawing tells us, but as far as why the rat creature is running, or how important what he is doing is? I dont really get any of that from this drawing. I feel like this moment is somewhere between, epic/ominous/important, but not specifically any of them. This rat creature could just as easily be running for the bus stop as he is delivering an important message (which is the actual story point in the book)
what if we moved the "camera" down to his feet/hands?
what does that get us? Well for me, it feels faster now, and because I don't get all the information in the frame, I feel a stronger sense of urgency.
what if we pulled the camera further out?
what does that get us? I feel more removed from him. Does that make his task more secretive? Maybe. I feel like he is traveling farther, and that this mission is on a grander scale, because we see more of the environment.
what if we pushed the camera in?
what does that get us? Again, I feel like we are traveling faster, we are on this mission with him, and since we are closer, his eye line becomes more important We know he is looking forward, and off screen. This makes me ask. What is he looking at? Where is he going?
what if we messed with the values (his relationship to the environment)?
This feels more ominous, and secretive. What if we had a second panel, to imply some motion...
To me, you could stand to push the original drawing in a number of directions, that would clean up the narrative, or at least be more specific.
panels 4 & 5,
I think there are some successful things going on in this moment to moment action. It's cool that he left out the dialogue. We begin to understand more about why the rat creature in panel one was running. Information is obviously traveling by word of mouth. It's implied, and I dig that. But I tried some stuff.
What if the "camera" was rat creature P.O.V.?
what does that get us? We've taken away the exchange that happens between the panels, but we see him moving faster. These weren't successful explorations, but w/e they were fun to try.
this drawing has some nice posing for each of the characters, but perhaps we could push the framing to sell the idea with the composition too.
What if King Dok took up more of the frame?
this makes King Dok, a much imposing figure, and even gives us a new layer of information. This composition tells us that the information traveling through the "word of mouth" pipeline, is NOT good for our rat creatures.
I know that you can't treat comic panels as finitely as you can storyboards. There are a lot of large scale sweeping narrative choices in this book that I am only beginning to understand, but I thought it would be fun to break down some stuff and try a few iterations....
again, I'm not saying that these panels are better, just messin' around.
thanks for dropping by,