What if comics had more drama ?
A Manifesto for Sequential Art
Creating believable drama in comics
I believe comics have yet to reach their potential as a medium.
When cinema first emerged as an art form there was a lot of stumbling around as the cinematic language was created. With notable exceptions it feels like the medium of comics has been stumbling for a long time and is still stumbling.
It has been said by some that true drama does not translate to comics.
I believe the comics medium needs to connect more with readers at an emotional level if it is to find a wider audience as the mediums of prose novels and film have.
My comics will stumble too but join me as I search for ways to add believable drama to comics. I might have to do things differently.
- Adam Lumb
Self imposed art rules
There are no rules in art. That’s stupid. But here are mine…
01. Moment to moment
“Acting” by characters portrayed in comics is underused. Moment to moment nuances, from eye movement to gesture, are necessary to create greater emotion and drama.
02. Lines and Letters
To encourage the suspension of disbelief, ensure speech bubbles and captions work with the art, the art will contain at least some black ink line work (otherwise a different approach to lettering is required). Lines also create energy (e.g. speed-lines) (Rule 02. can create obstacles to rule 01.).
To maintain the suspension of disbelief, atmosphere is created with light, mist and darkness. Character style is a balance between the realistic and abstract. Removing lines and letting the reader’s imagination picture something better. (Rule 03 contradicts rule 02.)
Comic art should be beautiful. This is subjective but this is a specific aspiration for my work. (I’ve seen beautiful art and poor stories, and great stories, drawn well in an ugly style. All this whilst following rules 01 - 03)
Sheffield | England
Story Art Studio
All my work is produced from my studio based in Sheffield in the UK, a city home to a vibrant arts scene. Here I focus on creating painted world for my own books (and sometimes other clients). I work both traditionally and digitally with the intention creating drama in comics that allows the reader to suspend their disbelief and immerse themselves in story.
I’m a trained picture editor and image consultant and have worked for many art galleries and in TV over the past 20 years. I have a degree in film, art and design specialising in use of images in driving book sales.
Down the Tubes
The origin of The Tide comic book and the Rich and Strange Imprint.
I set up the publishing imprint Rich and Strange Press to publish my books the way I wanted. With a focus on quality.
Very high quality product - like Jurassic Park “no expense spared”
The Tide is the first book from Rich and Strange Press. This book began in a library during a lunch break, next door to where I was working in an art gallery.
This book began in another library 20 years ago.
This book began in a hotel room.
The reality is that this book began in a lot of places over many years. It may not have actually taken 20 years to write (or 30 or 40...) but in many ways all of these years went in to creating this story.
It's crafted from a desire for a book I couldn't find. You see, I love mainstream media. I like my heroes and heroines beautiful. I like comics to be beautiful too. But I want stories with drama that matters. I want stories that turn pages but aren't afraid to let the story dictate the pace and length of the book. I don't feel the need to pare back comic book stories to fit a notion that comics need the fat cutting away. That's where the flavour is.
But a 20 year career in art galleries helping other artists bring their art to the world means I want something else from beautiful mainstream stories...
I want the books to be beautiful too. Beautifully crafted art books. Things to keep.
The tide is rising.