Creator Catalyst

Hey all,

I’ve touched on this topic a bit before in inspiration, but thought I’d go a bit more in depth.

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but looking back at my old sketchbooks, I didn’t start drawing characters that looked anything remotely like me (fat or black) until I was half way through high school. It got me thinking back to what caused the change. I realized the big shift happened after reading Sophie Campbell’s the Abandoned zombie horror comic. I picked it up after being surprised by the cover in the manga aisle of a Books-A-Million. The cover had a chubby black chick with a red mohawk, piercings, and a black eye. I was pretty floored and spent my food money to buy it (Worth it!). That comic changed my creative life and made me thirsty for my content like it.

I read and reread it multiple times and afterwards I tried to find anything else that she had done. I lucked out on her Deviant Art page where she had galleries full of character and creature designs with info on other comics she made!

Sophie’s art truly opened my mind to new possibilities on the types of characters I could create. I had never seen such a diverse cast of women being the leads of stories that were 100% up my aisle (Fiction, Fantasy, Horror & Sci-fi baby). She drew everyone so diversely from one another it kinda blew my mind. Tall, short, trans, skinny, fat, buck teeth, sunken eyes, disabled bodies, muscular, different races, and sexual orientations all represented and everything felt natural and just right. I was mad thirsty for more, but unfortunately there really wasn’t anything else like her at the time in my fields of interest that I could find.

After being down about not finding anyone else doing what Sophie was doing, I started to look to my own work. Yeah I know right! The power was in my hands all along, but Imma be real… the thought never occurred to me. I learned to draw from copying various cartoons and anime that I saw on tv (mainly dbz). If it didn’t exist in those shows, I didn’t have a frame of reference for it. After viewing my old sketchbooks I found I had 2 body types. Muscular and skinny bones lol. Then I took a look in the mirror and started drawing myself. Then I looked to my family and friends. Before I knew it, I was drawing all kinds of characters and started world building on my comic MagicalMashup!

It’s wild that I can pinpoint the exact catalyst that prompted the change to what I create now, but it was such a big eye opener that proved to me how important representation was for my developing creativity. If I hadn’t found Sophie’s work, I probably would have developed quite differently as an artist and that’s cray to think about. It makes me wonder about others and if there are those with similar stories, or not?

TLDR: Through creating stories featuring women of all shapes, colors, and walks of life, Sophie Campbell’s work helped me see that It was ok to create characters that looked like me and those around me (who most definitely don’t look like the average comic characters). This solidified to me that representation matters. Did you have a catalyst that got you thinking about what you were creating and why? In what ways has it impacted what you make now?

I’m happy with my development, but know I can do even further!!

Diversity is the spice of life and I love spice!- Lady T.

Who is saying what!? Word Bubbles and Order

Soooo I just wrapped up the first chapter of my comic MagicalMashup! (developer side, I literally just started posting pages last month) and on the last page of chapter one I couldn’t help but notice just how verbose it was. Junah, protagonist, is on a call with her three parents and there are chat bubbles crowding most of the page. Not only is it a wordy panel, but I also worry about readers being able to tell who is talking @.@. Each character has a unique way of speaking, but I’m not sure that’s enough to tell who’s saying what for bubbles that have shorter responses. I was going to go back and rework it (which would entail adding another 2-3 pages of chewing the fat that I don’t want to burn any more time on) but I have a time schedule to keep so I’m going to leave it.

For now…

Anyhow, I wanted to know how you all tackle the issue of word bubbles for characters off panel, or panels with lots of wording, as fellow comic creators (or connoisseurs of the comic art form)? Do you add/prefer color to tell who’s talking so never worry about this? Do you prefer/like little symbol to indicate a specific character is speaking? I’m curious to hear ya’lls thoughts and approaches to this. Examples welcomed!

TLDR: What approaches do ya’ll take (or prefer) when it comes to differentiating word bubbles between multiple characters speaking when some are off panel or crowding into one panel?

I feel like for this page I could have been more clear that Yaro is taking off page, but I don’t think i did a terrible job at it either.

Live do and learn, you’ll get better. – Lady T.

Backgrounds in comics what do?

IDK about ya’ll but backgrounds have always been something I’ve admired when I see them done, but dread the thought of doing them. I used to think it was a universal dread, like knowing you will have to get over the aversion to drawing hands, but have found out that’s not really the case. Some folks really go ham on backgrounds and love it.

I knew that in making my comic I’d have to draw some backgrounds, even if they were just in establishing shots, so I tried my best to find any program or tool that would help make it easier on me for creating that which I dread. I’ve found a few neat things that have helped me with interior design like using Planner 5D for structure layouts and rooms (It’s a pretty baller program by the way for folks who could use a lil assist in room layouts, but don’t want to completely build something from scratch like in SketchUp.) and well the Sims 3…back in the day when it there were tons of mods and support for it.

I’ve found that drawing backgrounds or landscapes is something I don’t mind doing when they are stand alone (and not based off of anything to grounded in reality), but when they have a reason to exist due to characters and being interreacted with I’m like…do what now? I know it’s something I’ll get more accustomed to as I do it more, I mean Chapter 1 of my comic MagicalMashup! starts with a house exterior in the middle of the woods as the first panel (that was a journey). Anyway, I’m curious to hear how others tackle the subject.

TLDR: Backgrounds are work. How do you approach backgrounds and settings in your comics or do you just not? Any tips or tools you’d recommend? Wanna express your joy or dread over making backgrounds? I’m all eyes heh.

I’ve gotten some pretty good advice on the matter, so I’m just going to go from there and. Challenge myself to draw my characters interacting with background elements.

Nothing to it but to do it. -Lady T.