Sto­ry­telling tips for comic books

Lewis LaRosa talks about how to in­ter­pret scripts and lay out pages to em­pha­sise the ac­tion and en­hance the nar­ra­tive…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents - Lewis LaRosa Lo­ca­tion: US Lewis is a comic book artist whose work in­cludes launch­ing and de­sign­ing The Pu­n­isher MAX. He’s cur­rently ex­clu­sive to Valiant Comics, il­lus­trat­ing Blood­shot: Reborn. http://ifxm.ag/l-larosa

Lewis LaRosa de­vel­ops the ac­tion and a nar­ra­tive.

The comic book artist’s job is to vi­su­alise the writer’s script in the clear­est way pos­si­ble. If comics were films, the artist would di­rect, shoot, act, de­sign the cos­tumes, make the props and do the VFX. The amount of con­trol you have over the book is re­ally very ex­cit­ing.

Comics aren’t TV pro­grammes or films, and have their own sto­ry­telling tools. It’s amaz­ing how much the shape, size and or­der of the pan­els af­fect the nar­ra­tive. Lay­out alone plays a cru­cial part in mov­ing the reader’s eye, the pac­ing and rhythm of the ac­tion, the im­por­tance of cer­tain story beats, and whether or not a scene is peace­ful, full of dra­matic ten­sion, or dom­i­nated by crazy ac­tion.

There’s no one right way to in­ter­pret a script and vis­ually tell a story other than to make it easily read­able, as en­gag­ing as pos­si­ble, and true to the writer’s in­tent. Col­lab­o­rat­ing with your writer and editor – and even your inker and colourist – can re­ally be ben­e­fi­cial by not only mak­ing sure ev­ery­one’s on the same page, but for bounc­ing ideas around.

Us­ing Blood­shot is­sue 25 as an ex­am­ple, I’m go­ing to guide you through the dif­fer­ent lay­out and cam­era an­gle tech­niques a comic artist uses to pace the sto­ry­line, high­light­ing the ac­tion and the emo­tion along the way.

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