Friday, September 14, 2012


  Welcome, Meat-Heads! If you remember, way back here, I talked about the importance of having solid breakdowns, because they are the foundation that your page is built on.  Today I'd like to come back to that a bit, and talk about a problem I ran into recently while drawing a page from Dead Meat #3, but first, let's see what the master has to say:


  Now...yes? You in the back with the tri-corner hat on? What does this have to do with anything? Well that's a very good question, so allow me to very roughly horn this clip into the shoe of remote relevance!

   FIRST you get the sugar, THEN you get the power, THEN you get the women. When creating comics, there are three main steps between concept and finished art: the script, the layouts (or breakdowns in this case), and the actual drawing. Each of these are used as methods of communication in a sort of "telephone game" to get the idea of the writer into the hands of the reader, and success is wholly dependent on clarity.

 -The script must clearly depict the story/action, so the artist can break it down visually.
 -The visual breakdowns must be clear so that when the finished art is drawn, there's a an idea of what the page will contain and look like.
 -The finished art must clearly get across all the story and action present in the script, combined with the visual ideas of the layout breakdowns.

  So what happens when one of those three communication avenues breakdown? Well much like the "telephone game," you end up with a confusing and incorrect end product.

   Now from here on out things get tricky because this problem I ran into was while drawing something from a later chapter of Dead Meat, so I'm gonna have to run some images by Headless Eric and see if things might have to be redacted, but I'll be as specific as I can.

  The page in question involved a lot of characters, and some pretty heavy action, and was a lot of fun to draw, and I was pretty happy with it when I finished it. I was getting prepped to start the next page, and it was then that I noticed a very sharp change in the scene between the final panel of the page I was working on, and the page that followed it. The last panel looked like this:

Clearly outside, with Mac probably saying something, with some undead Natives coming at him. No big, right? Well the next page started like this:

  Which is some characters, including Mac, running up stairs? What? Well I went back and looked at the script, and the dialogue and description very clearly has them going from outside, into a building. So where did the undead Natives come from? Well after looking back at my breakdowns, I found my problem. My breakdown for that panel looked like this:

 What the hell are those things in the background? People? Monsters? Englishmen looking to nick some sugar? They could be anything! I realized that given the action of the page, I just assumed they were undead Natives about to pose a threat. So as a result, I had to go back and draw a fix for it to be added later.

  Now I'm not saying your breakdowns have to be super tight, but what they do need to be is CLEAR. They may just seem like rough sketches, but you're going to have to refer to those sketches later when you're doing the finished art to let you know what's going on, and if you can't read your own layouts, you're going to make mistakes and it's going to slow you down. This is why, once again, I'd like to reinforce that the finished art is just the fun part. Breakdowns are where you do the real work. They are the foundation. They are the power.

 And without the power, you don't get the women.

 Until next time, Eat Dead Meat! **Did you like this post? Do you Like DEAD MEAT? Then like it/us on Facebook/follow us on Twitter, and please send me your comments!**

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