12 January 2008

On writing

Continuing the topic of writing I thought I’d write about methods of well known creators and how they go about writing.

I think this is an interesting topic due to the specific concerns and constraints of writing comics. If the art and writing go hand in hand then surely the only way to write comics is in story board like format or maybe you could say that drawing comics takes so long that you should script the story first to get it exactly right before you start sweating it out over the pages.
I’m not saying that if you use the right brand of note books or pens your writing will be better I just find it interesting the little quirks in the way different people approach creating.

I’ve read somewhere that Crumb writes his stories as he draws them and only works on 2-3 panels at a time until moving onto the next. He uses a stencil for the borders.

Harvey Pekar I'm sure still uses the page dividing and stick figure method.

Most mainstream comics where the work is divided between many different talents, a script is typed up and then given to an artist to draw.

I wanted to find some information on Daniel Clowes, as I think he’s one of the best comic writers out there today. I could only find this short quote from an interview

“Interviewer: What's your daily routine?
Daniel Clowes: I don't really have a set routine, but I tend to write during the day and draw at night.”

This seems to suggest that he writes separately to drawing. I’ll have to keep looking into this one.

I’ve also read that Craig Thompson first sketches out his stories in ballpoint pen on regular paper before he goes to the final art. I guess he makes changes in between these two stages. For more on that look at this post on his blog

I does seems like there are three main methods that I can discern so far.

1-The storyboard method, scripting the story in stick figures, rough sketches and such.

2-Typing or writing out dialogue and scene descriptions.

3-Writing the story as you go, the art and storyline develop together. I guess this is a form of ‘instalment’ writing?

That’s all for now, more comics and writing to come soon…

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