Thursday, April 05, 2007

WAR BUDDIES - part 3 page 3


Page 3. I really enjoyed this page. A lot of research went into the background of the huts, the vegetables amd the people. I love the texture that Annette used on the third panel for the sacks. The way she coloured the detonators in panel one is great too. I decided to pull right back on panel 2 and play a bit of "Where's Wally". My idea is that Dallas is pretty sneaky so he should be hard to spot.

Curlymarie made a really good point. I talk about performance when I evaluate a character on the page or the stage or on the screen. A lot of the time comic artists are given direction in terms of dialogue, but rarely in terms of reactions to dialogue. It is at this point that the artist goes in and decides how that other character is feeling and expresses that in a way that is consistent with their next action or line of dialogue. For example, take panel 3. Here's a close up (and a picture I wanted to show off cos I spent a lot of time on it):

The script actually reads:

3 - Austin sits crouched down hidden by wooden crates holding a detonator. Behind him, oblivious to his presence, a man and woman stand talking-- smiling and laughing. They hold baskets of food in their hands. Austin looks at his watch.

I wanted to communicate a greater sense of conflict in Austin's eyes and presence. While Dallas has bullied him into this, I felt that it's not a total coercion. Instead of having him go all "Rambo "on us, I wanted him looking at us, asking us, "Am I doing the right thing?"

I felt that this expression foreshadows what happens next. When Austin tries to stop Dallas, we shouldn't be too surprised as we should see it in his eyes here.

This to me, is a character's performance. The little details that I like to add that round out the story. Just because a character isn't saying anything or being mentioned in the script doesn't mean that they're not reacting to what's going on in a way that is consistent with their character at the given moment.

Another interesting aspect to performance is dialogue. As an actor delivers dialogue, consider their range of expressions they use to communicate the emotion. As a comic book artist I have to consider that line of dialogue and find the one single expression that is consistent, emotive and communicates what's being said. As an aside I also like to have their mouth open so they look like they're speaking too. It's not easy.

Again, this is why I like to work with models. A good model will bring a level of performance to the role that creates a greater level of depth in the character. For this project I tended to model all of it myself. I was constrained by time. I have two friends that would have made a great models for Austin and Dallas (Lee and Alex - hi, guys... maybe next time), but time just didn't permit.


Sabre said...


To both you and Annette I say: Excellent work!

I loved the work and detail on "Road Kill", and am loving the work on the 'Nam series... Wonderful!

I guess I need to find more of your stuff, now.. eh? :)

Lee said...

The character reactions is something I see that sets apart background artists and storyteller artists.
A lot of background artists, who can have incredible art in their own right, seem to draw figures that are far enough away that you can't see a face or expression and they let the speech bubble tell the story. Storyteller artists put the expression in there to add to the story. I'm always impressed to see the later, and this Heroes story has a lot of it. Good work.

And you're forgiven for not using me to model Austin as long as you live up to your promise to do so when you ever get around to drawing Peter :)

Suanne said...

Jason, I've not been much of a comic book fan ... but, I am a Heroes fan. And, I'm really enjoying the Heroes graphic novels. And, that enjoyment has been much enhanced by your blog and participation in the 9th Wonders discussions. Thank you for sharing the back stories to your work. You are one talented dude!

Kelly J. Compeau said...

I was immediately drawn (no pun intended) to that depiction of Austin, crouched down, looking very uncertain, the anguish so evident in his expression. Nice job.


RyanGibsonStewart said...

I was most impressed with the conflict you portrayed in Austin. There's a real sense of wanting to fight the enemy and end the war, juxtaposed with his sense of humanity and guilt for taking the lives of civilians. The best war movies and literature portray both the external war (guns and bombs) and the internal war (conscience and questioning). It must be difficult to do that in six pages, but I caught that contrasting turmoil more in this novel than in the previous two.

Kudos on the C4 explosives, too. Yes, the detonation was cool, but so were the detonators.


HERO said...

Whoa! That is such a great talent to learn the "behind the scenes" of you creating these true-to-life depictions of characters, who, by their expressions, a viewer (like me) can understand what they may be thinking! Not wearin' one at the moment, but hat's off to you!

jasonb said...

sabre: You will find almost everything I've drawn in the last year or two on this blog. Later this year my first graphic novel, ZERO G will be out. I'm going to post some of the art soon.

lee: The trick is knowing when to pull back and when to go in. What serves the story better? And I promise I will get you for Peter. =)

Suanne: Hey, I'm a huge fan also. Anything I'm flattered that I can contribute to the whole Heroes thing in anyway that I can.

KJC: Thanks so much. I spent waaa-aay too much time on that image.

Ryan: It was all about Austin's anguish for me. That's what makes this story interesting. This story is about Austin's character arc. If I didn't communicate the anguish, I felt the story would have no heart.

Hero: Hahahaha! Thanks man!

Bram said...

Another great post!

I really enjoyed this part. It was exciting with the bomb about to go off. You really did a great job capturing the scene in the artwork.