Stan Lees How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way Full Length

greetings true believers I'm Stan Lee co-author of how to draw comics the Marvel Way and creator of spider-man The Incredible Hulk and a whole caboodle of other comic book characters that my legendary modesty prevents me from mentioning now I'll be your host and guide as we journey together along the rambunctious road to comic book artistry which is to say it looks like we're stuck with each other for the next little while now then let's start with the basics and what can be more basic than having an artist teach us how to draw certainly better than a plumber and what artists can be better suited to this Titanic task than my co-author and good buddy none other than John Beus Emma thanks there now let's draw comics the marvel way first thing you'll need is a drawing service can be a table like this one or even a flat board you can place on your lap so next you'll need some drawing paper marble RSU two-ply bristol board large enough to accommodate artwork 10 by 15 inches you'll also need pushpins to keep your paper from slipping off the board thumbtacks work so low-tech of course you'll need a pencil you didn't think it would be so complicated did you now some artists prefer a soft lead pencil like the one John is using others of a more delicate bent select a finer hard lead like this one here there are many different pencil grades available which one you choose is up to you of course most professionals use an eraser like this it's called an kneaded eraser but since Marvel i'ts hardly ever make mistakes let's move on you'll need a simple drawing pen with a thin point for inking and bordering a brush is a must your best bet is a sable hair number three you'll also need a bottle of black India ink of course any good brand will do these brushes are very expensive and if you don't know how to clean them you can ruin them so what you do is swirl it around the water rub it up against the glass jar and gently rub it alongside the rag here you come to a fine point and let's not forget a supply of white opaque intent to cover those rare mistakes we make from time to time that's better your t-square is an invaluable tool for drawing borders and for keeping lines parallel a triangle too is a necessity for drawing right angles and working in perspective and don't forget an encompass for drawing perfect circles plus you might as well get a pencil compass to any or all of these tools of the trade are available at your favorite art supply store now just to make sure we're using the same language when we refer to things let's review the various names for many of the elements that make up a typical comic book page the first page of a story with a large introductory illustration is called the splash page letters drawn an outline with space for color to be added a called open letters copy which relates to a title is called a blurb the name of the story is naturally called the title and outlined around the lettering done in this jagged shape is called a splash balloon a single illustration on a page is called a panel the space between panels is called the gutter that I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that the zet is called a sound effect copy which represents what a character is thinking is logically enough a thought balloon the little connecting circles on the thought balloons are called bubbles I mean we'd feel silly calling them squares the regular speech indicators are the all-important dialog balloons the connecting arrows of the dialogue balloon showing who is speaking are called pointers the words in the balloons which are Leonard heavier than the other words are referred to as bold words or bold lettering and this is my favorite part where the Dames are we call it the credits just like in the movies all this technical stuff which nobody ever reads showing who publishes the mag and when and where usually found on the bottom of the first page is the indicia that don't blame me I didn't make up that word copy in which someone is talking to the reader but which is not within dialogue balloons is called a caption don't worry if you're not remembering everything this time one of the marvelous things about video cassettes is that you can go back later and watch it again put it on hold while you make all the notes you want to oh and by the way don't get impatient we'll get to the drawing part when you least expect it moving right along now we introduce you to an excellent example of one of Marvel's many widely heralded closeups so-called because the readers eye has moved it about as close as possible now this type of panel in which the readers view of the scene is from farther away enabling the figure to be seen from head to toe is called a medium shut and here you have a long shot in fact since it shows such an extreme wide-angle scene you might even call it a panoramic long shot without getting anyone angry at you when you're up above the scene looking down at it as at this panel what else could you possibly call it but a bird's-eye view now on the other hand when you're below the scene of the action where your eye level is somewhere near Spidey's heel as in this panel we're inclined to refer to it as a worm's eye view a drawing in which the details are obscured by solid black or any other single tone or color is called a silhouette and now that we agree upon the tools and the language let's get on to the heavy stuff let's start droid the most important thing is making a drawing look three-dimensional making it look solid in other words like it's occupying space will work on form using these three simple basic shapes to cube the sphere and a cylinder as we move along you'll see that every drawing is based on one or more of these three shapes here we see a simple hand gun without which there could hardly be any comic books TV action shows or movies and if you ever want to draw a western strip you'd better take particular note of effect that the barrel is really a cylinder the bullet chamber is a cylinder encased of the cube and the butt itself is based upon the basic shape of a cube obviously the details of the shapes are modified to suit the artists desire and the drawings purpose but the thing to remember is the actual sphere cube cylinder construction beneath the drawing in fact every object can be broken down into one or more of these three shapes take the automobile notice how there's a large cube representing the shape of the body with a smaller cube - noting the window and roof area and airplane is equally easy for me anyway I don't have to draw it the purpose of this is to train you to think through the objects you see see them as made up of any combination about three basic shapes the sphere the cube and is Sullivan a very important concept just about as important as make moines marvel of course well now we come to what I'm sure you've been breathlessly waiting for how everything we've learned relates to the human figure notice that in this drawing we use cubes for the ribcage and a hip area while cylinders form the basic construction of the arms and legs even the little band around his thigh follows the form of a cylinder few more lines and you've got daredevil one of Marvel's most popular superheroes here are some more spheres cell in the cube examples you do you notice how those shaded drawings look solid now even spheres cubes and cylinders can use some embellishment this is called shading gives an object a sense of solidity proper shading reinforces the feeling of dimension we can pause here if you wish and you can practice what you've learned so far or old potential producer of phantasmagoric picture panels you can grab your ruler your t-square and your triangle cause our next topic is perspective perspective is vitally necessary and making a scene look accurate in other words making things appear to be correctly placed in the foreground background and in between it's not an easy subject but you've got to master it in order to draw comics we'll make it as simple and clear as possible before we can even begin to understand perspective we must first learn the basic concept of a horizon line simply put the horizon line represents the viewers eye level that's the spot in the picture where your own eye would be if you were there observing the scene now this cube provides a simple example notice that the two side lines on top seem to be coming together the way train tracks appear to come together as they recede farther into the distance okay then let's continue drawing those two lines until they meet the point at which they meet is the natural horizon line that's our own eye level and since the lines converge at only one single point it's called naturally enough one-point perspective that seems pretty simple even I understand it now let's watch John turn the cube like this if we follow the new converging lines to their ultimate meeting place we get a two-point perspective with a horizon line slightly above the scene this is what our two-point perspective cube would look like with a horizon line exactly at eye level and here's how it appears with a horizon line below the cube of course you'll seldom use one simple cube for your perspective so let's see how these principles apply to the kind of scenes you might be drawing in this drawing despite the size of the scene and the number of the buildings you can see how everything converges toward one point therefore it's a one-point perspective you can probably guess what we're about to tell you the perspective lines are converging to two different points but along the same horizon line thus a two point perspective well it had to happen an example of three point perspective the point at which the converging lines come together and finally meet is called the vanishing point but here comes the tricky part look way up above the building there's a vanishing point too but it's merely an arbitrary point here's an example of a three-point perspective with a third vanishing point well below the horizon line three-point perspective drawings are really very common so practice them until they look right to you and remember even when the third vanishing point is at an arbitrary spot all of the perspective lines which do not fall on the horizon line must fall at the same arbitrary point or else the perspective will be all wrong for example let's say you want to draw the inside of a room sound simple huh but what about the furniture it's got to look natural like it belongs not like it's just floating that's what perspective is all about notice that the vanishing points are at eye level in order to have correct perspective no matter where the viewers eye level may be everything falls into place you might want to put the tape on pause and see if you can copy this next example notice the way the chair is angled differently than the other pieces of furniture in the room gives us a third a fourth vanishing point on the same horizon now try not to get impatient I know it seems complicated but it'll all make sense as we go on we hope learning perspective also means knowing how to tilt or turn objects without making them look distorted and here's how it's done we all know that a perfect circle will fit perfectly within a perfect square ah but if we change the position of the square the circle must also change it becomes an oval however because it's in perspective it still looks natural if we draw a cube which is nothing more than two squares in perspective side by side then draw two ovals within the squares and connect the ovals we end up with a wheel drawn at perfect perspective we thought you'd enjoy these particular shots because they show in typical marble scenes how we put the figures themselves into proper perspective now notice where the eye level is in each panel as well as the location of the various vanishing points now there might be something more important than figure-drawing in comic book artwork but we sure don't know what it is you can't have superhero comic books without superheroes and you can't have superheroes unless you draw their figures but there's more to it than just drawing figures you've got to be able to draw them the marvel way and that means as dramatically and as heroically as possible so here's where it all starts to pay off the average guy is about six and a half heads tall but look at this sketch of Reed Richards notice that he's 8 and 3/4 heads tall this extra height is one of the secrets that gives Marvel superheroes proportions which the world has come to expect he shows a good wide his hips a real narrow and as you'll see in a moment the male is drawn much more angular than the female another thing to remember the elbows fall just below the waist this is true of men and women and speaking of women where would Reed Richards be without his stunning sue notice that she too is eight three-quarters heads tall with her hips much wider in relation to her shoulders than they would be on a male obviously we do not emphasize the muscles on a woman now discover the difference between a normally proportion male and a heroically proportioned Marvel superhero note that the superhero is larger with broader shoulders more muscular arms and legs a heavier chest and even a more imposing stance there's nothing week looking about the fella standing next to Captain America but a superhero simply has to look more impressive more dramatic than the average guy an important point to remember is to always slightly exaggerate the heroic traits ignore or leave out any negative on dramatic qualities would you believe that virtually the same rules apply to the villains as to the heroes take a close look at these next two drawings of the dramatically demoniacal dr. doom the illustration on top is rather ordinary it lacks those special qualities which distinguish a Marvel panel however the second illustration is drawn in the dynamic Marvel style let's see what the differences are basically there's nothing wrong with the top figure but you can see how the one below is more exaggerated Doc's arms and legs are heavier more imposing his feet are planted further apart giving more majesty to his stance his tunic is flaring denoting action even though he's standing still his chest is larger and his hands are bigger and more powerful the differences are subtle but this is the way Marvel would do it train your eye to catch these elusive but essential variations still there are exceptions to every rule I'm sure you recognize the lovable thing but did you know he's only six heads high and here's the kingpin barely 5 heads high you see the trick is to make him look squat without making him look like a pantywaist incidentally the smaller the head in proportion to the body the heavier and more bulky the body will seem and now that we've studied the figure here's what you've all been waiting for most anyone can draw a stick figure they're simple they're fun but most importantly they're the easiest way for you to get the action and the position you want for your character now go ahead and practice oh wait seriously put the tape on pause and practice all you need to until you can create virtually any pose that you can think of then once you've mastered the stick figure add all bolts for the hips and ribcage the arms and legs are built by adding cylinders and continue refining the drawing remember to always draw through the figure by that I mean even if some portion of the body will be hidden by an arm or a leg draw it anyway like Iron Man here about to spring at some malicious miscreants you can eliminate what you've drawn later when you add the limb which will conceal it but you'll be certain that every part of the anatomy is in just the right position when you finish the filling in the details you erase the construction lines which have been drawn through and the result should look something like this final figure of old shell head yeah it should if you're John Beus Emeth but don't worry you'll get it with enough practice remember if it was easy everyone would be doing it now here's another example this time we've started with a stick figure at a typical spider-man pose notice the way his left knee is bending towards you that's called for shortening and it's done a lot in comic book artwork although we'll get to more about that later as you can see it's done mostly with basic cylinder shapes and those loose little lines until the figure starts to take shape then as you continue you will emphasize the important lines and you eventually lose the others as John says it's like being a sculptor and you're you're building this figure with clay this drawing process isn't easy but the more practice the easier it will become train your eye until the lines almost begin to form in your imagination before you put them on paper always build your drawing starting with a loose sketch it's the best way it's the professional way it's the Marvel way action it's a marble specialty a Marvel trademark now sharpen your pencil pilgrim because here's where we separate the men from the boys here's a series of poses depicting several different stages in the action of throwing a punch I want you to notice how the first drawing and the last seemed to have the most impact these are the shots of Marvel artists would use try drawing a series of six figures performing some action like running or throwing a ball depict as many different stages of that action as possible familiarize yourself with the moving body use as many lines as you need don't try to do a finish drawing just loosen up try to feel the action well don't just sit there true believers go ahead we'll wait for you hey I didn't say we'd wait all day all right compare your practice figures with these now note how the action has been caught in a few simple lines that's what you want to learn to do exaggerate your action keeping your figure loose supple always in motion the center line drug through the figure from top to bottom is always drawn first it gives you the curve or the swing that you want your figure to have always remember every pose has a certain rhythm to it with one simple center line you can determine that rhythm and then start building your entire figure around it now let's study some figures in motion and see which ones we like and which we don't and why both of these figures are rough sketches of someone running but notice how much more dramatically this figure is moving why because his center line has more swing impelling him forward with force and urgency now the same is true here both figures depict a reaction to a punch in the jaw this figure is perfectly clear but it simply isn't done in the Marvel style it lacks the movement and the sharply curved centerline of the other one notice how this figure loser the legs are bent and thrusting backwards as the arms jut forward notice how the head follows the centerline completing a graceful fluid curve now that's the marvel way and the same rules apply to figures which are just standing in these examples the smaller figures are okay but just okay they're not particularly dramatic they're not overly heroic and most importantly they're not very interesting but the larger figures showing the same poses are much more dramatic and heroic consequently they're more interesting here are some more examples the variations may not seem to be major and yet as simple a device as thrusting the head farther forward or spreading the legs farther apart can make all the difference they're simple loose free and easy and although each was done with just a few sketchy lines they're all marvel style drawings well I know you're anxious to start drawing a complete figure now so let's get to it john has reduced the process to five steps he's begun step 1 with a basic centerline to determine the pose and the action curve moving quickly to step 2 he's constructing the sketch using the spheres cubes and cylinders we studied earlier this is basic but it's very essential it's how the Marvel artists do it step 3 is to draw through the figure doodling and adding the basic details you'll need keep your pencil strokes loose light and graceful if a line isn't right don't worry just go over it lightly until it begins to assume the proper form and don't be afraid to have more lines than you'll want in the finished product at this point remember we're still building okay once you've got the doodling lines in for all the basic details study all the little sketch lines and now select the ones that you like the most go over those lines again bearing down harder on the pencil take your eraser and clean up the unwanted lines at this point your drawing should be beginning to take shape remember how we added black tones shading to our cube spheres and cylinders earlier on notice how John gives the figure foreman substance by the use of that same shading technique and don't worry if your first figure doesn't come out looking quite this polished if you're not satisfied go back and start over be patient why it might take as long as two or three days before you're as good as Big John you rarely see a marble figure that doesn't have some portion of its body foreshortened there is usually some part of the body that's tilted toward you or bent back away from you or angled in some other manner as these pictures illustrate when shapes are tilted away they seemed to become shorter here's a little demonstration you can try for yourself I'd like you to take a drinking glass and hold it in front of your eyes then tilt the glass away from you just so I want you to notice the body of the glass seems to shorten as you tilt it now that's foreshortening notice these cubes and cylinders are always shortened as they go away from you think of each figure as a bunch of connected building blocks the artists job is to arrange them in proper position making sure they're correctly foreshortened as they tilt away from the viewers eye these examples the line drawings reveal the building blocks of each panel pay attention to the perspective lines which illustrate precisely had a problems of foreshortening a solved I'd like you to look at the thighs or our black garbed bad guy now obviously in real life they'd be the same size but here his right thigh seems to have become considerably shorter than his left this is because it's tilted it's such a severe angle and pointed almost directly at us as revealed clearly in the Bloch building sketch now the same goes for this shot of the thing because they're drawn at extreme angles see how much shorter his left leg and his right arms seem to be it's this skillful use of foreshortening that'll make your figure really come to life and now it's time to draw the human head or even the inhuman head most everyone can draw heads and faces of some sort but now we're going to find out how to do them right the marvel way profile first it should generally fit into a square with just the nose and part of the chin protruding the eyes usually come midway in the skull between the top of the dome and the bottom of the chin now dividing the skull into four even quarters from top to bottom the nose will usually be in the second quarter up from the chin with the ears falling at about the same level now the front view notice the head isn't a perfect oval because the jaw has a slope which makes the bottom of the skull considerably narrower than the top look at these heads from different angles once you're familiar with the construction you'll be able to draw the head in any imaginable position let's begin with some basic tips heads are generally five eyes wide with one eye distance between the two eyes to determine the width of the mouth draw lines from the bridge of the nose touching the outside of the nostrils and where they cross the mouth line that is the width of the mouth then draw two more lines starting underneath the nose they should run through the lower lip right where it starts to turn up and where those lines touch the bottom of the head your Rika that's the width of the chin at this stage keep your heads simple no extra lines in the Ford or around the nose and chin keep the nose small and the chin strong and firm don't let the hair just lie there give it body thickness keep them out simple notice the curve of the upper lip and just a small simple line for the lower lip as you can see there are many different types of good-looking nails be they human them phibian or whatever practice the basic rules there are of course lots of very Asians but if you stick to the principles you'll be able to make any character heroic-looking no matter what his origin or facial expression drawing the good guys as somewhat formula rised but the bad guys hey that's a different story here's where you can let your imagination run wild as you know your average vile and vicious villain comes in all sizes and categories so when creating the head you can use any shape that grabs you square round wide whatever but just make sure that his look complements his personality and speaking of personalities let's turn our attention to the beautiful but difficult to draw Marvel women fortunately John is almost without peer when it comes to portraying sensuous femme fatales and his proof remember the five basic stunts beginning with a profile first the head is drawn within an imaginary Square then locate the eyes halfway down a face like this now you have a benchmark for the eye and the nose don't have a nose tilt out and up from the skull and it's rather short using a soft curved line place the cheek from the ear to the front of the skull halfway between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the chin notice also how John places the mouth well forward from the skull notice too that the lower lip is fuller than the upper lip while the upper lip juts out farther forward also see the angle lines showing the relationship between the lips the nose and the chin now draw the lady's eyebrow but not too low and employ a graceful curve like this bring the chin fold and find the proper positioning of the nostril by drawing a straight line from the mouth to the eye line I told you drawing the Marvel women is more difficult than drawing the male heroes but stick with us because it does get easier keep the foreign rounded never flat make the eyelashes a solid mass don't try and draw each little lash and keep the lady's hair full and fluffy I mean after all this is a marble woman you're drawing pal now we'll show you how to draw a front view like this first thought with a well proportioned egg shape don't worry if it takes a few tries to get the shape right draw the usual eyeline Midway on the skull placing the eyes on the line is a breeze when you remember the skull is five eyes wide and there's one eye width between them now draw the lines from the outside of the eyes to the center line of the head here is where you make your cheek lines and indicate the area for the mouth this is the homestretch folks about a third of the way up from the top of the lip to the eye line indicate the nose place graceful eyebrows well above the eyes and sketch the ears preferably one on each side of the head sharpen your pencils because here is where the real drawing begins there's no shortcut for this you've got to really draw the gals nose following Johnny's exquisite example always make certain that the nose is a little narrower than the width of one eye and make sure that it tilts upward once the nose is done you find the width of the mouth by drawing lines from the top of the nose past the nostrils the upper and lower lip are positioned by continuing the cheek line through the mouth area and all that remains is to add a gorgeous head of hair and erase your guidelines notice again that the eyelashes are a solid mass and the eyes are slightly higher at the outside than they are at the inside corners and there she is it's not so hard if you remember that one little word practice naturally being able to draw a head is really only a part of it the big thing is to animate it to put interesting expressions on the face these female heads were all constructed exactly like the one we just did but notice how I can change the expression simply by making slight alterations in the of the eyes of the eyebrows you can master it too if you follow these simple tips keep the female face simple use no extra expression lines on the forehead or around the mouth or nose study your own face of the mirror oh hi there well practice making different expressions and see what happens to your face when you do study those expressions you know most artists are their own best models the nice thing about it the only equipment you need is a mirror and of course a face as far as expressions go virtually the same rules apply both male and female heads so watch this segment repeatedly and apply the same principles to the various male characters you may wish to draw it's fun to change the rules and be creative but you have to master the rules first let's say a story calls for a sophisticated villainous well make the jawline a bit more angular and give the eyebrows a more sinister arch also raise the outside corners of the eyes and and straighten the nose just a bit see the difference she's still great-looking but by varying the rules just slightly we've made her different altogether and look at those swinging earrings for sophistication jewelry clothes hairdos and other accessories helped create the proper mood if you want to age her a bit simply round out the jawline and a slight double chin and with just one curved line of the each eye you can give the feeling of puffiness notice too that the earrings are smaller also suggesting maturity let's review a couple of things to make sure you've got it down right this is what the correct Marvel I should look like note the graceful curve of the eyebrow and the eyelashes as we mentioned are a single soft mess the eye itself tilts upwards just slightly whoever drew this I was certainly not a graduate of the marvels Skule individual eyelashes and eyes too long and narrow then definite no nose and if you let your eyes droop and draw eyebrows as a single curve well you're no marvel artist a proper marvel nose tilted upward and with small nostrils in contrast this nose is tilted up too much and the nostrils are too big this one has bumps a marbled nose is always one smooth line and the tip should not dip there is one word for how a mouth should look pleasing full lips are out this season and every season it Marvel and don't draw angular lips there's no grace or softness to them this is a Marvel mouth and chin see how the upper lip is placed farther forward than the lower one it's firm but don't put the upper lip too far forward I'll make it too thin and don't draw a weak chin this chin arrives ten minutes ahead of the rest of the head and the lips are too thick with the lower lip jutting too far forward everything in your picture must work in harmony to produce a halt otherwise things such as eyes noses chins and lips will draw attention to themselves at the expense of the rest of your drawing put it all together no matter what angle the head is in nose is always tilted up just slightly the eyebrow has a fluid curve and the lips are pleasingly full and soft I know it takes work but look at the results learn practice master the rules and who knows maybe someday I'll be doing a video with you and John will be out there taking notes could happen a work of art be it Rembrandt or buse Emma must have that magical ingredient of correct composition call it a layout call it design it all adds up to one vital point you've got to put your picture together so it's both pleasing to the eye and gets the message across clearly and interestingly the simpler the better that's the first rule of marble composition make your designs exciting and powerful but keep them easy to understand also notice how the important elements of this panel fall within the shaded area important elements are grouped together rather than scattered the shaded area or prime shapes are sensed by the artist as he draws never draw the shape first never squeeze elements inside of it the picture is sketched out with the shaded areas taking form in the artists mind sometimes after a picture is drawn too many important elements fall outside the basic shaded area now in such instances the artist just changes his drawing until everything falls within a pleasant unified mess you want to train your eye to find the patterns and you'll soon see that the most complicated picture will lend itself to similar analysis as soon as you look at it the camera angle is another vitally important element of design like a movie director you the artist must give the viewers eye the best possible shot here we see dr. strange entering a room it's a flat but exciting camera angle nothing dramatic or unusual about it but by changing the camera angle see how the scene has a sense of urgency of impending drama now here's good old Jay jonah Jameson yelling at Peter Parker on the phone it's okay but in a word blah now look at the intensity of this angle poor PD is really getting it now and here's dr. doom being as usual rotten self it tells the story but nothing more new camera angle new doctor dude you see it's more menacing it's more compelling you know word we now have a better layout let's see camera angles the way any ordinary comic book company might do it compared with the Marvel style we'll use an Avenger story as an example here's how it would look in an average comic book here a monster is breaking into Avengers headquarters next a reaction shot of our three heroes and here we see cap Iron Man and the vision rushing to do battle now that's old shell head taking a swing at the big bad bahama 'the and here we see the monster about to do our hero irreparable bodily harm now cap and the vision are pondering their next move these panels are drawn okay they tell the story the characters are recognizable but they're lacking in raw drama and sheer excitement that's because most of the layouts are too vertical to straight up and down and the heroes are too stiff they like the power that Marvel comics have you know we could go on forever but it's easier just to compare and see how it's done the Marvel way for example look at this close-up of the monster breaking in he looks like a monster he's dangerous menacing super-strong and deadly and the three heroes aren't standing around like a trio of simpletons with Iron Man in front there's a feeling of movement here due to the placement of the figures there's more action than the simple looking straight on panel see the action the drama the feeling of power generated by our heroes there's no comparison to the other examples uninspired side shot Iron Man slugging the monster the way a superhero should like he bends it here he doesn't look like a ballet dancer like in the other version are you starting to get the picture look here you can almost feel the power as Iron Man struggles to break free finally the two Avengers look much more graceful and tilt of their bodies gives the feeling of far more urgency and excitement now without any comments from us see if you can tell why the second version of the next examples are infinitely better than the first watch for interesting prospective shots at variety of the size of the figures and less emphasis of putting everything in the center of the panels and if you still can't tell the difference between the fair layouts of the good ones keep studying I mean we don't want you to end up working for the competition now here's where you can follow step by step exactly how a page is penciled for a Marvel comic book just a little video magic to give you an idea of what we're going to end up with now this is a Captain Britain story for a line of comic books we distribute in England let's follow the story as John lays it out this first panel shows Captain America followed by Captain Britain racing down a corridor on a rescue mission in this second panel the villainous red skull is aiming a gun at his enemy Nick Fury who's hovering above them Nick has held aloft by twin jet packs which he wears on his back Fury reacts in surprise as he hears his name called by Captain America now this panel is a shot of the skull firing his gun point-blank at poor ol Nick in panel four Nick drops to the floor as cap rushes in to help him panel five is a very dramatic angle of the skull siting down the barrel of a gun here's where we wrap it up Captain Britain holding his unique armoured staff charges to the rescue here's another look at how we build a panel always think of what you're doing as a process you are literally building pictures you start with the basics and then adding to it until you've got it no we don't expect you to work this fast even marvellous Johnny doesn't work this fast but to save a little time we're showing you the basics of how it's in speeded up action what we do want you to do however is practice everything in this tape until it all becomes second nature to you remember you can play this cassette over and over and if it wears out you can buy another one we won't worried a bit the cover is probably the single most important page of any comic book without which you cannot tell a book by it it's got to catch the eye and it's got to intrigue the potential reader after all if the reader doesn't pick it up it means one loss sale and Marvel doesn't like loss sales consequently more thought and work go into the cover than any other page usually the editor comes up with a basic idea and talks it over with the artist if there's time the artist will do a number of layouts until one final version is agreed upon now for some typical comments and criticisms that you might expect to hear from typical Marvel editors not that we need to imply there's anything typical about any aspect of Marvel Comics here's a sample layout for the cover of a magazine called Nova that didn't quite make it if you listen carefully you can hear the editors typical gentle kindly observations what's this garbage the figures of Nova and spider-man are too small they haven't got enough punch get back to the drawing board not bad but Nova's the star of the magazine why am i seeing is back where's the drama in that wrong there's too much wasted space on the right side of the cover Hey even though Spidey is just a guest star in this issue we got to see more of them of course it isn't always that negative once in a while you get something good like that's it we get a good view of both stars and they're larger than in layout number 1 hey and this is good perspective look the readers eye level is right up with the two heroes that's the one great job there are a few tricks to laying out a color that you need to know and here is some of them you've got to leave enough room at the top for the logo that's the magazine's title and don't draw anything important here on the extreme right side of the page or on the bottom that's where it's trimmed off at the printers it's sort of a no-man's land try to leave dead areas on the cover those are areas that are still exciting to the reader but they're unimportant enough to be covered over by dialog balloons or captions if the editor so decides always leave the drawing open for color is the expression that we use in the Marvel bullpen don't distract from the covers glorious use with too many black areas make the cover provocative enough so that the reader wants to buy the magazine but try not to give the ending away or tip the reader off to any surprises and now we're ready to put the final touch on a brilliant work we're ready to learn the art of inking your illustrations may be works of art but they can't be reproduced by the printer unless black India ink is applied to the original pencil drawing that means that someone has to ink over the initial penciled artwork with either a drawing pen or a paintbrush transforming each illustration into a carefully inked final product however an inker is not just a person who traces a pencil drawing the inker must be an artist himself or herself a gifted agur can make mediocre penciling look great but a mediocre eager kid also make great penciling look dull thinking requires concentration therefore you should make sure your posture is correct don't slouch over your drawing board sit up straight rolling lines with your brush is far more difficult than using a pen but the results are usually worth it just hold the ruler at about a 45 degree angle and run your brush along it like this by varying the pressure of your brush you can make loads of any thickness Lords ruled with a brush and not as stiff as those made with a ped actually they tend to have more character become equally adept at both pen and brush the brush requires more time to master but if you use a pen exclusively your finished drawings may seem stiff and lifeless now these examples of brush work are called feathering notice how some strokes go from thin to thick they're all done with the same brush merely by varying the pressure you use in case you're wondering John is using a Windsor Newton number three sable hair brush same brush different effect John is now using the side of the brush rather than the tip this is a very helpful technique for inking hair on a character's head for example experiment with your tools search for different effects use anything imaginable to get the effect you need open your mind that's what art is all about here's a Wellington --all see how the lines vary in thickness they're heavier on the underside of the bodies away from the light now this gives solidity to the figures and look how clear the picture is even though there are a number of figures at a wealth of little details you see a good anchor ensures that drawings will be understandable no matter how complicated they might be one way to achieve this is to use heavy blacks to make the figures stand out from the background here's the same paddle but it's overworked it's too dark and there are too many lines when it's reduced to comic book panel size it's going to be tough to understand too much texture has destroyed the basic beauty of the drawing and it's almost impossible read the other hand here's an example of the other extreme the inker here didn't use enough variety in his lives the blackened areas are too skimpy and spotty and they have no pattern his lines are almost all the same weight with no feeling of thick or thin the characters as you can see just seem to blend into the back around its its boringly blah now it's just as bad to keep a paddle to light as it is to overwork it the secret is to know when and where to place your strong black areas too little or too much will ruin your drawing the black areas here are concentrated on just one side of the figure this technique accomplishes two things first it gives a feeling of dimension second it directs the reader's attention to the characters face by framing it with massive black areas the figures here are drawn realistically see how bold and simple the heavy black shadows are again there's one bright light source illuminating one side of the body and casting the other side deep shadow keep your inking simple with just one definite light source in each panel now here the main purpose is to create a mood of fear and menace look at both panels now concentrate on the simplified panel the blackened areas are simple vertical or horizontal forms thereby creating a calm motionless see the dramatic exception is the large slanting black masses on the winged gargoyle which add a sudden feeling of shock of impending danger also look at the large vertical black designs within the fence bars they unify the picture now without them the whole design would seem to fall apart here the black designs seem to be jumping all over the place they're creating a feeling of chaos and action but the pattern although it's seemingly jumpy is really quite consistent it rivets your eye on the action and the black areas are arranged here to create a pleasing circular movement these two slashes across the bottom at action and unity here's our final example the light coming from the left is casting everything on the right in deep shadow the heavy black shadow area emphasizes the feeling of a horror story now just by looking at the design of the panel you know it's you were a romance trip notice the way the black areas in the background give a feeling of realism a detail without detracting from the two important figures this panel is heavy its melodramatic and yet it's clear in a word it's marvel in summation the pencil er draws his panels in what else pencil then they must be finished by the inker now it's up to the incre to decide where and how boldly to apply his black ink the incre figures prominently in determining the mood the design and the clarity of each panel thus when you seriously study comic-book artwork be conscious of two complimentary elements the basic pencil drawing and the inked version see and you thought it was going to be complicated that about wraps it up now obviously no one tape can substitute for an entire art course but we hope we have at least presented you a broad overview illustrating the most important elements of style drama and design that go into the making of a Marvel comic book now one last word before we turn you loose to unleash your talent upon a breathlessly waiting world to be a great artist and Marvel isn't interested in any other kind you've got to do three things draw draw and then draw some more no one can make you a great comic book artist you have to do it on your own you have to want it enough to be willing to work at it night and day it isn't easy but if you've got the stuff you won't let anything stop you and if one day you find yourself drawing for marble then we're lucky but even if we've simply helped illuminate an art form that we all enjoy it was still worthwhile so hang in there hero and take care of yourself remember the best lies just ahead