Breccia Comics Drawing Teaching

Breccia page 4, no cliches

Breccia's page 4 of Algeria


Breccia doesn’t show us what we know. He uses shell casings to make the transition from Ahmed’s face across into the montage, into the past. Shell casings to direct the eye in from the right and focus on the monster face.

Shell casings to be horizontals that hold the diagonals of the montage together. The diagonals that focus on the soldiers back, the x of his straps crossing with the shell casings to wedge your eye in and hold it

Have you ever seen a story with shell casings made an important part of it?

Comics Drawing Flash Teaching

Archie Goodwin, the best editor in comics

I was thinking of Archie when I started an article on teaching Flash and programming. Perhaps because of the recent anniversary of his death. I only worked with him once on a three issue mini-series, so it wasn’t a long working relationship or deep in any way. He was relatively quiet and seemed shy, but then in a room filled with British artists drinking and a sprinkling of Americans, a rooster’s crow call ripped through the room. Everyone turned and looked, there was Archie, beer in hand with a couple of artists, blushing, and shrugging his shoulders.

He could discuss the illness that killed him with a factuality that was frightening. I didn’t know him well and processing something like that is obviously hard and went on over long periods of time, but he did it. To come to terms with mortality and illness and come out the other side is really heroic. I had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he stopped me in the hallway to talk about it. His small joke about not wanting what I have, he’d deal with what he knew, was a reassurance to me that has stuck profoundly, for almost fifteen years now.

In many of the comics he edited over the years he put in one page strips, mostly gags about himself.  So when he talked you always felt  he understood the whole craft of comics. Some people think comics are writing, some people think comics are drawing, but it’s the integration of the whole ting that makes them work. In teaching I want to produce students who understand their whole craft, and hopefully end up as good a person as Archie was.

I’m sorry I couldn’t sneak his name into the article somehow.

Comics Drawing

Batman and Doctor Doom

batman jumping off a building

A large package showed up from Belgium the other day, mystified Iopened it to find a copy of “Docteur Strange et Docteur Fatalis”, a paperback reprinting of a graphic novel that I did the finishes over Mike Mingola, Hellboy creator. The owner wanted an autograph and a drawing, this is the drawing. I probably should scan some of the pages too.

Mike hadn’t broken his style down into his current look yet, although his thumbnails were there, he just hadn’t figured out how to finish them yet. He had planned to ink the graphic novel himself but didn’t have the energy and time and wanted to get on with something else. So he asked me if I would ink and color it. Hanging out together turned into working together who would have thought?

I used airbrush, pens, brushes, splatter, watercolor and gouche. Mikes layouts were delicate and spidery drawings, not really pencils but more then enough to lay drawing on. We where kids, living alone, talking hours on the phone about marvel and comics and office politics and trying to figure out how to get those Mobius little squiggly lines and get wild with drawing. looking at the batman drawing and the novel I can see why i don’t work in mainstream comics anymore. My line is just to wild.

Mike was the artistically conservative one, an office favorite and becoming popular but still a little weird. Hellboy wasn’t even a thought in his head at that point. I was being a commie and doing Martian Manhunter probably the weirdest comic DC ever published, and not quite sure where I was headed either.

we was kids then…

Breccia Comics Drawing

Pg three of Breccia’s Algeria

Breccia toys with drawing to make you read. He covers Ahmed’s eyes, and turns the other “terrorists” into shadows. In panel two Phillippe’s back is slightly off center, it stops the arc of the ground into Ahmed’s hand of tendons and brushstrokes of equal weight as Phillippe’s body in the last panel isolating the middle. The tension in the tendons becoming the whole point of the sequence, while telling the story.