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18

tips for comics artists by Moebius "brief


manual for cartoonist "

My 8house collaborator and impressive dude, Xurxo g Penalta translated this
Spanish Moebius list of advice for artists. I thought would be cool to post. (Thanks
Xurxo)
http: //www.jornada.unam.mx/1996/08/18/sem-moebius.html
o

1. When you draw you must clean yourself of deep feelings (hate, happiness,
ambition, etc)

2. It's important to educate the hand, attain obedience, to full fill ideas. but
careful with perfection, to much, as well as too much speed, as well as their
opposites are dangerous. to much looseness, instant drawings,aside from
mistakes, there's no will of the spirit, only the bodies.

3. Perspective is of sum importance, it;s a law of manipulation in the good


sense, to hypnotise the reader. it;s good to work in real spaces, more that
with photos, to exercise our reading of perspective.

4. Another thing to learn with affection is the study of the human body, the
positions, the types, the expressions, the arquitecture of bodies, the
difference between people. the drawing is very different when it come to a
male or a female, because in the male you can change a little the lines, it
supports to have some impressions. but with the female precision must be
perfect, if not she may turn ugly or upset. then no one buys our book! so for
the reader believes the story, the characters must have life and personality of
their own, gestures that come from character, from their diseases; the body
transforms with life and there's a message in the structure, in the distribution
of fat, in every muscle, in every fold of the face and body. it;s a study of life.

5. When you make a story you can start with out knowing everything, but
making notes (in the actual story) about the particular world of that story.
that way the reader recognizes and becomes interested. when a character
dies in a story, and that character has no story drawn in his face in his body,
in his dress, the reader does not care, there's no emotion. and then the
editors say: "your story is worthless, there's only one dead guys and I need
2) or 30 dead guys for it to work" but that is not true, if the dead guy, or
wounded guy or sick guys or whomever is in trouble has a real personality
that comes from study, from the artists capacity for observation, emotion will

emerge (empathy). In the study you develop an attention for others, a


compassion, and a love for humanity.
It's very important for the development of an artist, if he wants to be a
mirror, it must contain inside it;s consciousness the whole world, a mirror
that sees everything.
o

6. Jodorwosky says I don't like drawing dead horses. it;s very difficult. it's very
difficult to draw a body that sleeps, that's abandoned, because in comics
you're always studying action. it;s easier to draw people fighting thats way
Americans always draw superheroes. it;s more difficult to draw people
talking, because there are a series of movements, very small, but that have a
significance, and that accounts for more, because it need love, attention to
the other, to the little things that speak of personality, of life. the superheores
have no personality, all of them have the same gestures and movements
(pantomimes ferocity, running and fighting)

7. Equally important is the clothing of the characters, the state they;re in, the
materials, the textures are a vision of their experiences, of their lives, their
situation in the adventure, that can say a lot with out words. In a drew there's
a million folds, you must chose 2 or 3, but the good ones.

8. The style, the stylistically continuity of an artist is symbolical, it can be read


like the tarot. I chose as a joke the name Moebius, when I was 22, but in truth
there's a meaning to that. if you bring a t shirt with Don Quixote, that speaks
to me of who you are. in my case, I give importance to a drawing of relative
simplicity, that way subtle indications can be made.

9. When an artist, a drawing artist goes out on the street, he does not see the
same things other people see. what he sees is documentation about a way of
life, about people.

10. Another important element is composition. the composition on our stories


must be studied, because a page, or a painting, is a face that looks towards
(faces) the reader and that speaks to him. it's not a succession of panels with
out meaning. there's panels that are full and some that are empty, others that
have a vertical dynamic or a horizontal one, and on that there is intention. the
vertical excites (cheers), the horizontal calms, an oblique to the right , for us
westerners, represents the action heads towards the future, and oblique to
the left directs action toward the past. points (points of attention) represent a
dispersion of energy. something places in the middle focalises energy and
attention, it concentrates.

These are basic symbols for reading, that exercise a fascination, a hypnosis.
you must have a consciousness about rhythm, set traps for the reader to fall
on to, and if he falls, and gets lost and may move inside them with pleasure
because there's life. you must study the great painters, the ones that speak
with their paintings, of any school or period, that does not matter, and they

must be seen with that preoccupation for physical composition, but also
emotional. in what way the combination of lines on that artist touches us
directly in the heart.
o

11. Narration must harmonize with the drawing. there must be a visual
rhythm from the placement of words, plot must correctly maneuver cadence,
to compress or expand time. must weary of the election and direction of
characters. use them as a film director and study all different takes.

12. Careful with the devastating influence of north american comics in


mexico, they only study a little anatomy, dynamic composition, the monsters,
the fights, the screaming and teeth (grin). I like them as well, but there are
many other possibilities that must be explored.

13. There's a connection between music and drawing. but that depends also
on the personality and the moment. for perhaps 10 years I've been working in
silence, and for me the music is rhythm of the lines (the music he listens to).
To draw is sometimes to hunt for findings, an exact (fair, just) line is an
orgasm!

14. Color is a language that the artist (drawing artist) uses to manipulate the
readers attention and to create beauty. there's objective and subjective color,
the emotional states of the character influence the coloring and lighting can
change from one panel to the next, depending on the space represented and
the time of the day. the language of color must be studied with attention.

15. Especially at the beginning of a career, one should work on short stories
but of a very high quality. there's a better chance to finish them successfully
and place them on a book or with editors.

16. There are times when we are headed to failure knowingly, we choose a
theme, an existence, a technique that does not suit (convene) us. you must
not complain afterwards.

17. When new pages are sent to editors and see rejection, we should ask for
the reasons. we must study the reasons for failure and learn. it's not about
struggle with our limitations or with public or the publishers. it's more about
treating it like in aikido; the strength (power) of the attack is used to defeat
him with the same effort.

18. Now it is possible to find reader in any part of the planet. we must have
this present. to begin with, drawing is a way of personal communication, but
this does not imply that the artist must envelop himself in a bubble; it'
communication with the beings near us, with oneself, but also with unknown
people. Drawing is a medium to communicate with the great family we have
not met, the public, the world.

August 18th 1996 compiled by Perez Ruiz