Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Croppin' n' Lockin' 

I was just thinking about how it's time to put up something new in the Workshop section of Parkerspace.com, where you can only learn about revising a cover. But just today, a friend from the Tothfans Forum, Gene Poonyo, wrote asking a question about that cover demo. Gene wanted to know the reasoning behind my statement on cropping anatomy near a joint. Here's the exchange:

I have one nagging question that I would like to ask you. The principle about not showing the joints unless you are going to show the whole limb that you mentioned in your workshop section is somewhat new to me. Could you please explain why? I would really appreciate it. Since I don’t have interaction with people who work in the comic book field things like that don’t come my way every day. I try educating myself about story telling techniques through books but little nuances like that are not covered in them.


On the joint-cropping: I probably shouldn't have made that sound like a complete rule, but I can explain my thinking, at least as it relates to a pretty girl's leg. Two reasons for cropping above the knee spring to mind. Cropping at the thigh, while the image is essentially just two lines, works better for me because the image at that point is more two-dimensional (I know, it all is, but bear with me) and functions as design for that reason. If I extended the shot below the knees, the anatomy would become more complex and imply more dimension, working against the design approach. Also the visual mass would shrink-- stopping at the thighs gives Vampirella's figure a good substantial support column, going to the calves would "weaken" that implied support.

This raises the question of whether we're using panels and covers as windows into the story, or arranging elements for design and composition in a less literal environment. I bounce back and forth between the two constantly, and hope they work together. I could explain this better if I'd had an art education, but I was an English major, and really I just rely on taste and instincts more than anything.

Feel free to chime in if any part of this exchange is something you think about.I usually don't know my stances on art theory until someone actually asks me a particular question. Are comic panels windows? Is it ever okay to crop a pretty girl anywhere?


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