Digital Comics Club: Week 6

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Strike a Pose

Got your characters worked out? Know what style you’re drawing them in? Excellent!

In your comics, your characters are going to be doing all sorts of actions. Maybe they’ll be eating a delicious sandwich, or diving into a pool, or relaxing on a beanbag playing some video games. But wait – how do we know how to draw them doing those things?!

 

We build up the drawing step-by-step!

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Step 1: Gesture

With any action, it helps to start with a stick figure (or gesture) of that pose. Not sure how a pose looks? Get someone around you to pose for you and take a photo of them! You can also look up reference videos on Youtube if you’re not sure how to draw a certain movement (such as diving into a pool).

Remember: When you’re drawing your gesture, make sure to draw lightly so that you can erase it easily later on (or if you’re drawing digitally, draw on a different layer with lower opacity!).

 

Step 2: Structure

Once you have your gesture, it’s time to add the structure. These are the proportions of your character around the stick figure! How this looks will depend on your character design.

Again, you will want to draw this lightly, so that if you need to change anything you can do so easily.

BONUS TIP!

When designing your character, try drawing them from different angles. You can then use that as a reference when you’re adding structure to your gestures!

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Step 3: It’s Alive!

Once you’re happy with your gesture and structure, you can finish off your drawing! Ink it, colour it, live your life, be free.

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This may sound like a lot of work for just one drawing, and it is! Well done for going through all of these steps. As with most things, the more you practice, the easier it will get. We promise.

 

The above images (unless otherwise stated) are by Rebecca Horner.

Digital Comics Club: Week 5

The time has come for you to get your characters onto PAPER (or tablet!), using our Character Profile and Facial Expression sheets! What is your character’s ultimate goal? How does your character look when they’re sleepy? These sheets can help you work that out!

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Don’t worry if you don’t have answers to all of the questions. They’re just there to help you think about your characters in a different way!

Digital Comics Club: Week 4

Drawing… With Style!

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If you’ve been following along, you’ll have lots and lots of ideas for characters by now. The next thing to consider is the style you’ll draw them in!

Think of some ways that you could draw an eye:

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Is one better than another? No! They’re just different styles of drawing.

Now think of a really well known character – we’ll use Wonder Woman as an example. Most people can imagine a version of her in their heads, but what is it about her that makes her distinctly Wonder Woman?

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The answer is her character design!

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No human features, but still Wonder Woman!

She has recogniseable features –  her tiara, her gauntlets, the lasso of truth, the stars that adorn her outfit, as well as a colour scheme of red, blue, and gold. The drawings above (by Darwyn Cooke, Bilquis Evely, and Marguerite Sauvage) show us that she can be drawn in completely different styles, but we can still tell that she’s Wonder Woman.

How can we tell? The trick is to balance detail with shapes and colours. Bilquis Evely’s drawing has no colour but lots of detail. Marguerite Sauvage and Darwyn Cooke’s drawings have less detail, but distinct colours and shapes (while still being totally different from each other). Style is a magical thing!

What details can you add or take away from your characters, while still making sure they look like that character?

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The above images (unless otherwise stated) are by Rebecca Horner.

Digital Comics Club: Week 3

Let’s Make Some Characters!

There are a million billion different ways to come up with characters. Here are two of those million billion ways!

First up is an exercise we use called Person, Object, Place. All you have to do is choose one from each of the columns below, then draw that character! Easy peasy. You can get someone else to choose for you for an added challenge. You could also make your own list of people, objects, and places, then pick the options out of a hat!

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This exercise also works well for coming up with stories, which we will be talking more about in the upcoming weeks. What would a ballet dancer be doing with a frying pan on Mars? Why is a footballer at an airport holding a rubber duck? The stranger the combination, the better!

 

Animals + …Food?

Our second exercise takes inspiration from the foodimals of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – a masterclass in pun-based character design with gems such as cucumbirdy, shrimpanzee, hippotatomus, and many more! Again, choose one from each of the columns below, and COMBINE them into a strange new creature!

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Here are some we made earlier. What do you think their pun names would be?

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The above images are from Dundee Comic Creative Space’s ‘Let’s Make Comics’. Artwork by Rebecca Horner.

Digital Comics Club: Week 2

Here at DCCS, we follow the ABCD of drawing – Any Body Can Draw! All you need is something to draw with, and something to draw on. Do you need to already be a master comics artist like Jack Kirby, Bill Watterson, or Uderzo (RIP)? No! Every great artist started somewhere. So, without further ado…

 

Let’s Draw!

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Can’t find a ruler? You can make one by folding a piece of paper lengthways 3 or 4 times. This happens in workshops more often than you might think.

 

Start Simple

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You can use basic shapes and lines to make all kinds of characters!

Here’s a challenge – think about what your character is feeling. Are they happy, sad, confused? How can different facial features help to emphasise their personality? Have a go at making:

A friendly character

An evil character

A stylish alien character*

If you need some inspiration, you can use our selection of facial features below!

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*Maybe your alien could have multiple eyes/noses/mouths!
The above images are from Dundee Comic Creative Space’s ‘Let’s Make Comics’. Artwork by Rebecca Horner.

Digital Comics Club: Week 1!

And so, it begins! DCCS HQ is closed, and the team are working from home. For our first week, we’re starting with some basics – the bread and butter of comics making, if you will. What goes into a comic? What is it made of? Our DCCS mascots will show you!

 

What Makes a Comic?

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What do you think happened to Hamish above?

Was he being chased by a dinosaur? Was he trying to escape the wrath of an angry sibling? Did he get scared by the sound of the washing machine? Also, more importantly, how did he escape?!

It’s completely up to you! As the artist, you control what is seen and what is left to the imagination. You can also control…

Panel shapes!

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As Caticorn*  points out, panels can be all shapes and sizes! How many panels do you want on a page? Do different shapes work better than others? What could a star panel be used for? Play around with different things, and have fun!

*Caticorn was designed by Sen, one of our young comics makers!
These above images are from Dundee Comic Creative Space’s ‘Let’s Make Comics’. Artwork by Rebecca Horner.

More Comics Classes for adults

Poster advertising the Comics and Other Media module

Would you like to learn more about comics? Too old for DCCS Comics Clubs? Then you can sign up for the University of Dundee’s Humanities For All modules. 

Comics and Other Media (short course) starts on Saturday 25th January 2020 9.30am-12.30pm and runs for 5 fortnightly sessions. It takes place in DCCS and is taught by DCCS Coordinator Dr Damon Herd. The module combines a critical history of the comics and other media with practical exercises and assignments. The module content covers:
Comics and Literature
Comics and Film
Comics and Performance
Comics and Art

Students will also get the chance to make their own comics with some fun, creative exercises to start them off. No experience necessary.

The module can be taken on its own or as a continuation of EN11008 – Introduction to Comics.

The course is open to the public and University of Dundee students. Funding can be covered by SDS Individual Learning Accounts (ILA).

For more information email Damon at dherd@dundee.ac.uk or check out the University’s website where you can also book your place.

Comics Classes for adults

Poster for Intro to Comics module at University of DUndee
Art by Damon Herd with apologies to the original artists.

Would you like to learn more about comics? Too old for DCCS Comics Clubs? Then you can sign up for the University of Dundee’s Humanities For All modules. 

Introduction To Comics (short course) starts on Saturday 21st September 9.30am-12.30pm and runs for 5 fortnightly sessions. It takes place in DCCS and is taught by DCCS Coordinator Dr Damon Herd. The course covers Genre, Character, Story, Autobiography, International Comics Cultures, and more. Students will also get the chance to make their own comics with some fun, creative exercises to start them off. No previous experience is necessary.

The course is open to the public and University of Dundee students. Funding can be covered by SDS Individual Learning Accounts (ILA).

For more information email Damon at dherd@dundee.ac.uk or check out the University’s website where you can also book your place.

Fibromyalgia and Us

On Friday December 1st we were very pleased to host the launch for a new comic raising awareness of fibromyalgia. Produced by the University of Dundee and our very own Ink Pot Studio, the comic illustrates the ongoing life transitions of those who have fibromyalgia as well offering information about the condition.

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Cover by Ashling Larkin, coloured by Rebecca Horner

Project lead Professor Divya Jindal-Snape explains how the comic came about:

A pain clinic psychologist recently said to me that more needs to be done to raise the awareness of health care professionals about fibromyalgia. With some progress in research, there is a better understanding of fibromyalgia compared to what it was even two years ago. However, whether your own doctor, physiotherapist or other professionals understand this complex condition, still feels like a lottery. So one day lying in bed, with a fibromyalgia flare up, I started thinking of creating a comic about it. I fired off emails to a few people who all thankfully came on board.

This comic has been designed with the purpose of raising awareness of fibromyalgia amongst professionals, families, and communities. It illustrates the ongoing life transitions of those who have fibromyalgia as well as its impact on significant others. It highlights the importance of a strong support network to enable people to adapt to the multiple transitions triggered by fibromyalgia and flourish despite its substantial challenging consequences.

As well as Divya the contributors included health professionals, other people with the condition, comics scholars, and artists: Andrew Keiller, Lynn Kelly, Judith Langlands-Scott, Christopher Murray, Anj Snape, Jonathan B. Snape, Nik Snape, Freddie Warden, Bryan Whittingham, Elliot Balson (Artist), Zu Dominiak (Artist), Damon Herd (Artist), Rebecca Horner (Artist), Ashling Larkin (Artist), Norrie Millar (Artist), Helen Robinson (Artist), Letty Wilson (Artist).

The comic can be downloaded from the University website. If you would like a print copy please contact press@dundee.ac.uk

Charlie Adlard talk at DCCS

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Acclaimed comics artist, and the UK’s Comics Laureate, Charlie Adlard will be in Dundee at 6pm on Friday 10th November 2017 to give a talk on his career, and his work as Comics Laureate.

Charlie is best known as the artist of the hugely successful comic, The Walking Dead, which has been adapted into a massively popular television series. He has also worked on comics such as 2000AD, The X-Files, and various titles for both Marvel and DC.

The event, which is open to the public, will start and 6pm in Dundee Comics Creative Space and will take the form of a Q&A session, chaired by Professor Chris Murray, followed by a wine reception. If you’d like to meet Charlie Adlard and learn about his work in comics, and as Comics Laureate, please confirm attendance at our Facebook events page.