Monday, January 21, 2008

Batman SNOW 192 page 5

Tip 21: Use perspective instead of action lines.

It is a style point among comic books to draw horizontal parallel lines to show someone moving fast, and lines radiating from a central point to show a sharp movement to or from that central point. Seth, however, with his love of detail and the physical elements of a picture, rarely was willing to waste his picture space on lines that showed something that was not tangible (though sound words are in a different category). On this page, for example, there are several places where some sort of action lines would be expected, but the only one Seth used is the place in the center panel where a jagged shape shows the sharp impact of Batman's elbow with the person's head.
In that panel though, Seth used arms and legs, a stick, and Batman's cape, to show the violence and confusion of the action in the scene. Action lines could have shown where the impact was, but all these details of Seth's show not only that, but also the expressions and some of the character of each of the players. In Seth's art no person, no matter how small his role, is anonymous; each one has a personality.

On this page there are three other action panels, each of which could have been filled with lines to show movement. But, following his own rule, Seth used perspective instead, which very dramatically (especially in the upper left panel) shows where the action came from, where it is going, and the speed of it. The bottom center panel uses also the technique of tilting the horizon to show movement.

1 comment:

j_ay said...

Great action-esque page. And you’re *so* right about ‘action lines’ and the way Seth dictates the action _himself_.
These days I’d imagine this is getting to be even more of a lost art as the artists can dictate to the colourist to use the “blur” effect on the computer.
Which drives me crazy...