The artwork is prepared differently than for most standard comic books. I use pencil, charcoal, ink washes and airbrush to give the pages a more ‘painted’ look than most comic book art has.
The approach to storytelling is out of the ordinary as well. Told primarily by Jakob Okafoor, the tales unfold through his eyes. Our primary character, The Conduit, never speaks. The reader never truly knows what his thoughts and is left to only surmise what moves him in any direction.
These are intentional devices intended to take the reader out of a familiar comfort zone.
Whether it’s because of technology or the widespread availability of comics, games, and movies, everything has become commonplace and standard. Nothing is fantastic any longer. We’ve lost the ability to be surprised.
I want to make things spectacular again and bring back the feeling of awe I remember from the comic books of my childhood.
Stick with me here, because this is a little counter-intuitive.
By emphasizing what is normal, when something unusual happens, it stands out. For the Tales of the Incredible Conduit series, I’ve reduced the field of view and limited the scopes of vision to a realistic level – what the character in the panel would see from his/her own viewpoint.
For example, picture an airplane hovering, unmoving, above a cluster of buildings and a crowded street. If you were standing on the street, looking up, this scenario would have astounding implications. There would be terrified questions. How is it that an airplane is floating? Will it fall? If it does, the explosion will be massive. How will we escape? We could all die!
Things seen from a character’s point of view have emotional impact.
Now picture this scene from above, at sky level, using a birds-eye view. This angle removes the scene from a view that would be realistic to an observer. We still see the airplane, and the streets below, but the consequences are removed and the stakes are lowered because the viewer has been emotionally distanced from the scene by the artist’s choice to use a perspective that cannot possibly be seen by the character.
Things seen from angles which would be impossible for the characters in the story to see have less impact, because you are seeing it from a big-picture, dispassionate level, not through their eyes. The sense of panic induced by introducing one unusual element to an otherwise average scene is gone, because from this point of view the main part of the panel is the plane.
Take a look at your pages.
- Where have you drawn a scene that your characters can’t see?
- Are there places where you could change the focus so it’s seen from your character’s point of view?
- What kind of impact would that leave on the reader?
- Would it add to their emotional connection to the character?
- Would it add a jolt of surprise to the scene?