The secret of comics

twitter The secret of comics1facebook The secret of comics0google The secret of comics0pinterest The secret of comics0tumblr The secret of comicsreddit The secret of comics0stumbleupon The secret of comics0email The secret of comics

page1.0 The secret of comics
Speaking of Carson van Osten, we really just mentioned him so we could reprint, again, his guide to comics storytelling which is as simple and direct yet essential, in its own way, as Alex Toth’s Wally Wood’s 22 Panels that Always Work. Although it is specific to Disney characters in some ways, the universal truths it captures will stand many a young cartoonist in good stead.

See the whole thing here.
In the link, van Osten explains the history of the guide, which has been used by cartoonists and teachers for over 30 years to demonstrate the rudiments of comics storytelling:

I wrote and drew those sketches around 1975 and I’m so tickled to know that people still find them helpful today. It started as a slide presentation for my boss to show at the Disney meeting in Frankfurt. It went over so well that he asked me to expand on it when he returned. They printed 2000 copies and mailed it to all the Disney offices. My friend John Pomeroy asked for some to give to the animators at the studio. that was the time when the animation training program was going on. Frank Thomas saw it and used it for an animation class he was teaching at the Screen Cartoonists Guild. That’s how some sketches wound up in the book that he and Ollie wrote, “the Illusion of Life”.

Comments

  1. Butch Guice says:

    That would be Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always work, not Alex Toth.

  2. Heidi… many years ago, you handed me a photocopy of something similar, back in the days of Len Wein at Disney Comics. Was that based on this work?

    And those 22 panels can be found here:
    http://joeljohnson.com/archives/2006/08/wally_woods_22.html

    To tie Mr. Wood to Mr. Disney, I’ll just mention the NSFW “Disney Memorial Orgy”. Safe version described here:
    http://www.boingboing.net/2005/05/12/wally-wood-disney-me.html

  3. Crowley says:

    I believe it’s Wally Wood’s 22 panels that always work.

  4. Idiots says:

    Wally Wood is rolling over in his grave.

  5. It’s Wally Wood.

    I would object to flagging the panel called “wide open spaces” and calling it a problematic layout.

    Disney Studio book The Illusion Of Life (Johnston and Thomas) is required reading for everyone who seriously wants to make comics, regardless of talent or experience level– some of the best artists working in the 20th century went through Disney, much to learn from them: http://www.amazon.com/Illusion-Life-Disney-Animation/dp/0786860707

  6. jacob lyon goddard says:

    everybody beat me to “it’s Wally Wood”

  7. Great stuff. And yes, right up there with Wood’s “22 Panels.”

  8. God Bless old Wally Wood … but I really hope he’s joking about the “dumb writer” and pages of people talking.

    Yes, comics are a visual medium, and it’s always fun to look at weird planets and explosions, etc … but with no story, plot, or characters worth caring about, comics with great art eventually go away.

    I’d hate to think that some aspiring artist will take those words to heart, and begin the old writer vs illustrator cycle anew.

  9. Yes, some stupid artist might misinterpret the 22 Panels.

    Reading five pages of two people talking can get boring, just as a television show or movie of two people doing nothing but talking can get boring, no matter how scintillating the conversation. Wood’s 22 panels show techniques to keep the visual aspect interesting. (A twenty-third: One page, two heads or figures facing each other, with an interlocking chain of word balloons to be read straight down the middle. A twenty-fourth: One page, a big scene, with lots of word balloons around the characters.)

    Consider “Judgement Day” by Feldstein and Orlando
    http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/54803.html
    Lots of text in that story, and Orlando uses many of the 22 to make the visuals interesting.

Speak Your Mind

*