The artwork competition has now ended, and Tharg has picked a winner! Congratulations to Simon Penter - he gets a mention, and his artwork printed in 2000AD. Read the whole of his jokey Dredd story.
And congratulations also to runners-up Geoffrey Shane - for his page from Jahiliyah and Matt Timson - for his moody sewer-based strip
Each of them wins a selection of graphic novels and Big Finish audios. Tharg is picking his very favourite of the three right now, and the top prize winner will be revealed in 2000AD issue 1412, out on 20th October.
Aspiring comic artists may still find the guidelines below, supplied by 2000AD themselves, helpful in getting into the business though.
- Tell the story - show what's relevant.
- Lead the reader's eye across the page smoothly
- The first person to speak should always be on the left
- Make the characters act and react - get into their heads
- Chose visually interesting "camera angles" and vary them lots
- Always leave enough space for lettering - the top 25% of each panel at least
- Leave a decent gutter - equivalent to 5mm on an A3 piece of paper - between each panel
To demonstrate your ability as a comic artist, you need to show that you can tell a story, not paint a masterpiece. So, you'll be better off sending whole layouts of comic strip work - and don't worry - black and white is fine!
Make sure you leave plenty of room for the dialogue and captions in each panel - the more dialogue, the more 'dead space' you need to leave. As a rule of thumb, never put any significant imagery on the top quarter of the panel. Leaving no room for the lettering is the surest sign of an amateur.
The panels must also flow sequentially - the reader's eye should move through the story effortlessly. If it isn't obvious which panel comes next, you're not doing your job - which is to tell the story.
Telling the story means recognising what is the most important aspect of each individual panel and focusing the reader's attention on it in an interesting and dramatic way. Eye-level medium shots make for pretty boring visuals. Use a variety of "camera angles" to tell the story in the most interesting manner possible. If there's a dramatic action panel - blow it up! If it's a silent panel simply showing an expression on someone's face - make it a close-up. Bird's eye views, worms' eye views, close-ups, long shots - variety keeps it interesting. Knowing which type of panel to choose is part of the knack of good comics art.
You should also vary the weight of your inking to make foreground figures stand out - giving the image a depth of focus, rather than letting the foreground be swamped by the background detail.