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Thread: Q & A with Richard Isanove, Dark Tower Comic Artist

  1. #26
    Other worlds Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick has a brilliant future Patrick's Avatar

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    Thanks for sharing that "insider's view," Richard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIsanove View Post
    Well, it really depends on the writer and the artist.

    Nowardays, most writers will deliver "full scripts". You get a description of the panel. what's happening and the dialog. There's a little bit of flexibility when it comes to adding or cutting a panel, but that's about it.
    That's how guys like Bendis or Jason Aaron do it. It usually comes to an average of one written page for one drawn page.

    I once worked on a story written by Alan Moore and it was more of a 1 written page per panel ratio ! In 1 panel of a 6 panel page, there was a woman working in a diner. Moore spent a whole page describing every single person sitting at the tables. Behind the woman was a shelf for the lost and found which was in no way important for the story. Still, he went on to talk about the history of each abandoned object. Since that panel wasn't very crucial and the page was already crowded, the penciller ended up drawing a waist up shot of the waitress with the shelf barely visible behind her.

    On the opposite side, is what they call the "Marvel way". It's how Stan Lee used to do it. He'd write a few sentences describing the villain of the day, a general outline, the main story points and how long the fight was supposed to last. The penciller would have quasi free reigns to turn it into sequential art. Then it was back to Stan who tightened it all up with the dialogs.


    On the art side, either form has it's challenge and rewards, i've heard of artist who end up feeling either restricted and confined or taken advantage of.

    On DT, what I get from Robin is a 12 to 20 pages long prose story, broken down into scenes. It allows for a lot of freedom in the layouts, but every element of the story is there as well as description of the different characters and locations, and some background information. When a cool idea comes up while drawing, she's more willing and ready to incorporate changes and suggestions then if she had already broken it down to panels. It's by far the best working experience I've ever had. The collaboration makes everyone feel really involved from top to bottom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    Thanks for sharing that "insider's view," Richard.
    Yes, thanks, Richard. That's awesome. Thank you so much for the insight.

    And the examples - thanks for invoking The Man ( Stan Lee is a hero of mine ).

    Can you tell us about how long it takes to ink an issue after you get a script?
    The Man In Black Fled Across The Desert...

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  3. #28
    Goldmember RIsanove is on a distinguished road

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    Hey Pam,
    sorry I skipped ahead, I'll get back to your other questions when I have a little more time.

    It usually takes me 3 to 5 days to finalize the layouts. I know they look goofy - it's kind of embarrassing when they show them at the end of the issues- but they're the foundation of the book. They establish the composition and the storytelling and once they're done I very rarely deviate. I first do 2 inches tall sketches in the margins of the script . I scan and enlarge them, tweak and finalize them. The stick figures you see at the end of the comics is already the 3rd pass.

    It's the most interesting part, turning words into images. Probably because of my background in Animation, I approach it like a story board: I want the images to tell the story by themselves. When I think I have everything locked in, Peter David comes in and his dialogs add another layer which I hadn't even imagined. Getting his script back after I sent him the layouts is my monthly moment of geek pleasure.

    When I was in high school, I dropped out of American comics to focus on girls. Then my first year in college, I had to take the train back from Paris and at the station I bought "the Death of Jean Dewolf", a Spiderman story written by Peter. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. It's also around that time that I first saw and loved Jae's work on Namor.

    Anyway, back to our topic...

    Depending on the complexity, it takes between 8 and 24 hours to draw a page and another 4 to 8 to color it. Makes for a few long days and sleepless nights.

    Cheers,
    Richard

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    Oh, that's great, Richard, thank you.

    You know, I love those storyboards and sketchbooks that they put at the end of the comics. It really helps to see the progression that has to take place. I have always equated them to film storyboards.

    I was wondering, have you ever had to move or remove something in a panel in order to make room for the dialog box, or do you have an idea ahead of time what you need to put where in order for all the elements to come together?]

    And it's nice to know that even comic artists have comic geek moments the same as we readers do.
    The Man In Black Fled Across The Desert...

    ...And The Gunslinger Followed.

    Im always on the Batman rule, sir. - Kate Kane / Detective Comics 857

    "It is the story, not he who tells it." Except to us collectors who have to put limits somewhere. - jhanic

    Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, The Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.

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    Do you dream in comic panels?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIsanove View Post
    Hi

    That said... I saw myself more as the "solo recordings of Ringo Starr" rather than the Backstreet Boys - but it's not as funny.
    HAHAHA, I'm pretty sure that was directed towards my very first post here where I said something about the Beatles and the Backstreet Boys in regards to the latest DT comics. That is awesome... made my day.

    You are a living legend Richard! You are not the Backstreet Boys or Ringo.., you're freakin John Lennon, man.

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    Richard - Do you ever sell your original DT comic art pages? I searched the web and couldn't find any listed anywhere.
    The Man In Black Fled Across The Desert...

    ...And The Gunslinger Followed.

    Im always on the Batman rule, sir. - Kate Kane / Detective Comics 857

    "It is the story, not he who tells it." Except to us collectors who have to put limits somewhere. - jhanic

    Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, The Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.

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    Mr Isanove,

    I came across this interesting article on Den of Geek concerning thought bubbles in comics.

    I've noticed that the Dark Tower comics have periods where characters speak monologues despite nobody else being present. I understand this is more a script decision than the artist's, but I just wondered what your thoughts on this might be, in the comic and in general.

    Personally I don't mind the absence of thought bubbles, although they don't particularly bother me either. It's something I've gotten quite used to in fact, but I've often thought the thoughts of the characters in the DT comics might have been dealt with better in other ways, i.e. perhaps placed in the captions, rather than chatting away, etc.

    Don't get me wrong it's not a major issue, I've largely enjoyed the comics including your work.

    I wondered if the monologues might have been a decision to give the comic a theatrical* feel. It feels like that to me.

    *I'm using 'theatrical' in the English sense rather than American. I.e. the kind where people act on stage rather than a movie theatre, which we call a cinema.

  9. #34
    Goldmember RIsanove is on a distinguished road

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    First of all I want to apologize for the long silence. I've just been very busy with work for the last few weeks. Finally, the last episode of "Fall of Gilead"will be out in stores this week, I think the first "Battle of Jericho Hill" should follow next week and we'll be back on schedule after that.


    Since you've already had the opportunity to draw Roland and his first Ka-Tet, who from the books would you like to draw?

    It would be cool to get a crack at Mordred and the Lobstrosities. monsters are always fun.

    When you're reading a book ( any book ), do you ever just sit and sketch a character you're reading about?!?

    Not really. You usually get a mental picture that you constantly adjust as you read on. That means that you can only really do an accurate sketch when you're done with the book.That said, I always think of what would be a cool scene to illustrate or how I'd story board a scene.

    I had to laugh when you wrote that you don't think you could "hold a real job". Don't you consider working in comics a real job?

    I really enjoy setting my own schedule, working around the clock or taking half a day off, and only being accountable for the final product. I can't stand office politics and I may have a little problem with authority as well as a short tolerance for annoying co-workers.

    Also, my wife's job requires her to spend a lot of time at the office. Working at home allows me to take care of the kids. My office is like a family room: they do their homework, artwork, go on the computer and we watch movies while I work. They also pose for me when needed.

    I also have a very short commute and there's no dress code.

  10. #35
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    How long does it take to draw a cover? Do you put in more time on a cover, than say, a whole interior page?

    The drawing part on a cover is about the same as the more complicated pages. The Coloring usually takes 2 or 3 times longer than on an interior page.

    I was wondering, have you ever had to move or remove something in a panel in order to make room for the dialog box, or do you have an idea ahead of time what you need to put where in order for all the elements to come together?]

    I usually have Peter's script in hand so I can estimate how much room will be needed for the dialog. Chris Eliopoulos does the best he can with what I give him. It has happened a couple time that it was easier for me to move a character slightly to the side to make room for a balloon than for Chris to try to cram it all in.

    Do you dream in comic panels?

    No, but it does happen once in a while that when I look at the sky and see a cool cloud pattern, my first thought is " who colored that?"


    You are a living legend Richard! You are not the Backstreet Boys or Ringo.., you're freakin John Lennon, man

    Thanks, but I'd settle for George Harrison?

    I came across this interesting article on Den of Geek concerning thought bubbles in comics.
    [...]
    I wondered if the monologues might have been a decision to give the comic a theatrical* feel. It feels like that to me.


    Someone dearly missed in this article (although to be fair, it seems to focus on British comics) is Frank Miller. His Dark Knight was mostly told using the "interior voices" of the characters. Not in puffy thoughts balloons but in color coded captions. Since for a lot of creators in the 80's US, Miller was redefining what was cool and Bad ass in Comics, the wimpy thought bubbles went the way of the Dodo.
    I would think the monologues in DT are a simply way to differentiate the voice of the narrator from the characters'. Maybe as comic book artists, we spend so much time by ourselves that we forget that it's not normal to speak out loud to yourself.
    Jae's approach (which I tentatively emulated) is very "theatrical" in that he represents depth with a succession of planes- much like the complicated set of a play- rather than using vanishing points. This, combined with the monologues and the panoramic panels probably all contribute to your feeling about the esthetic of the book.

    Thanks,
    -Richard

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    Wow, thanks Richard. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all our questions.

    Personally, Frank Miller is one of my all time favorites. I got into comics reading his Daredevil stuff and it still blows me away.

    Hmmm... still waiting to hear where we could purchase some original DT comics pages, though. I'd love to add one to my collection.

    Thanks again!
    The Man In Black Fled Across The Desert...

    ...And The Gunslinger Followed.

    Im always on the Batman rule, sir. - Kate Kane / Detective Comics 857

    "It is the story, not he who tells it." Except to us collectors who have to put limits somewhere. - jhanic

    Remember, Remember, The Fifth of November, The Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.

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    Yes, thank you for replying to my question. I like some of Frank Miller's work too particularly The Dark Knight Returns and his Sin City books. Now you mention it I see what you mean about his use of captions.

    I really liked your work in Fall of Gilead 6 by the way. I loved the design of General Grissom! I thought there was a samurai thing going on there with the helmet, but I've seen Roman gladiators with a similar style helmet too. (Minus the antlers in both cases of course. They were an effective creepy add-on though.)

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