Just a brief post to note my limitations for future consideration (and perhaps development or avoidance…)
I am not good at precision, at measuring, or at understanding relational space and perspective. This is probably highly problematic if you want to work in the visual genre of superhero comics, but it may be workable for the funnies genre. Professional cartoonist Mel Calman professed to never having understood the vanishing point despite studying this at art school – he gave up attempts to understand this and still found ways to convey humorous messages (1986). His recognisable style is minimal in single or multiple panels, as below:
Last year, I registered to do a cartooning course with the London Art College and faltered at Unit 2 on Perspective and the vanishing point. It is now 8 months later and I’m still stuck at this point. Recently, I asked some American cartoonists online during an ‘Epic Sketch Time’ drawing session about the ‘vanishing point’ and they responded with insight and humour. Mark Monlux shared his comic strips of 2005, which were visual jokes that defied perspective for other cartoonists (these were jokes that I couldn’t understand for obvious reasons). Bill Morse recommended that I got a copy of David Chelsea’s ‘Perspective! For Comic Book Artists!’ – which I promptly ordered. These cartoonists are wonderful warm generous people, who laughed when I noted my disappointment that they didn’t respond by saying that the vanishing point doesn’t matter. The vanishing point clearly matters if you are a professional who needs to work with speed in response to vast design briefs for diverse genres. It remains to be seen how essential it is for my research and creative work…
This week, perspective became an issue when I had to create a cartoon in response to my Dad’s gag about his girlfriend always pointing out robins. I resolved this by considering how to make the relational sizes work with reference to the trees,
Perhaps there are ways around the problems of perspective in funnies, but nevertheless I’m not ready to give up yet, and will study Chelsea’s book before returning to Unit 2 of my beginners’ course on cartooning…
Calman, M (2015) Let’s Compromise and Say I’m Right – Calman on Love & Relationships. London: Souvenir Press
Calman, M (1986) What Else Do You do? Some Sketches from a Cartoonist’s Life. London: Methuen.
Chelsea, D. (1997) Perspective for Comic Book Artists. New York: Watson Guptill.