Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bill Griffith's 40 Best Tips

Pal Mike Lynch pointed me toward a blog post by Sherm Cohen that offers "Griffy's Top 40 List on Comics and Their Creation" by "Zippy" creator Bill Griffith (follow all that?). Griffith's list is a nice mix of plainly practical--such as a shopping list of his favorite art supplies or advice on protecting your rights--philosophical, and funny. I like pretty much every point, and he says some things that I've tried to say much better than I did. A few of my favorites:

9. The eyes are the gateway to the cartoon character's soul. Make sure pupil placement is where you need it to be.

10. Cartoon characters have souls.

22. When doing full-page comics, think of each page as a self-contained entity. Also think of each two-page spread as a graphic unit. Compose pages with clear narrative flow in mind, but use "tricks of the trade" to add interest (borderless panels, circular panels, L-shaped panels). use these sparingly and for story-telling effect, not as "eye candy." Never say "eye candy."

23. Comics can tell any kind of story. They're infinitely flexible. Comics will never disappear. New media do not replace existing media. "New" form free up existing forms, allowing them to do more interesting, less commercially driven things.

32. Don't reach out all the way to the reader--don't worry about being "obscure" or ambiguous--if you're sure of what you're doing, ask the reader to meet you halfway.

36. Manga is really great--to make fun of. [Griffith also wrote the same of superheroes and Disney so don't feel persecuted, manga fans.]

39. Don't just look at comics for inspiration and education. Look at great drawing wherever it appears . . .

40. Last but not least: Never listen to anyone else's advice on cartooning.

Good stuff consistent with my approach and experience. If you want to cartoon, check it out.


Sherwood Harrington said...

I wonder what #9 implies about Annie.

Brian Fies said...

"Her eyes is all blunked out!"

Zombification would explain Annie's lack of aging over 80-odd years.

Jim O'Kane said...

And I guess Dondi was the most soulful comic character in the history of the Universe?

Abbey said...

I'm a big fan of webcomics myself, and it's funny you should mention #40 because I know a lot of cartoonist who don't give a rat's ass when people are pointing their comics towards a direction they don't want to head at.