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Common Mistakes in Comics

In reading comics, I have noticed that even the professionals make mistakes.  Not that my Narnia comics don't make the same sort of mistakes - they are pretty unprofessional in some ways, but these are some mistakes I have seen in professional comics that I should be careful to avoid.

1.  Building discrepancies: a building changing dimensions in between panels, it might look better for the overall picture, but it is confusing.

2.  Eye color: in one comic, the eye color of the main character changed between blue and brown within the same comic.  There are also many times that this happens with non-important parts of the comic art, I presume this happens because of fast approaching deadlines.  

3.  "My knee is talking to your elbow" - this sort of thing happens all the time where word balloons are placed in locations not near the character's head.  I do not know why people do this, it doesn't make sense.

All in all, though, with people trying to make comics about characters that have had continuing stories spanning decades, I think the professionals are doing a pretty good job.

As a reminder, Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May. 

Fifty Years

This week marks the fiftieth year since C.S. Lewis' death.  He is being honored by many people, including the people who run Westminster Abbey.  (And no, I have never been there, I've never been out of the United States, but I am in awe of this building.)  It is nice that he is being honored in this way because when he was alive, he was offered the Order of the British Empire and turned it down.
Even though, Lewis is being awarded all of these honors, I think the greatest honor would be that people still read and love his books.  If you go to any used bookstore, you will find lots of books written by people you have never heard of, but Lewis' books are still remembered.

TARDIS, Dawn Treader, and Sledge Patterns

These are some patterns I made a while back that are no longer on The Lion's Call website.  I am reposting them here, just so they will be here for reference.

The Dawn Treader was featured in the book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis, it took some Narnians and Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace to the edge of the Eastern Sea.

Print these pages:

I recommend you start at the hull and front and work up and back. You need to make the mast first, then cut a hole appropriate to the size in the deck.

The tabs barely seen to the sides are meant to be folded and glued to hold the ship.

You can make the sail out of cloth or paper.

Jadis' sledge appears in the book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis when Jadis tempts Edmund, and later, when Jadis tries to cut off the Pevensies and the Beavers from reaching Aslan at the Stone Table.

This is a sledge I drew up a pattern for based on Pauline Baynes' drawing. It is fairly simple and can be used for childhood crafts, elementary, sunday schools, model makers, and YouTube miniature-maker enthusiasts.

Print this page:

1. Fold the sledge baseboard to follow the curvature of the sledge and attach with glue, or cut off the foldable tabs and attach with tape.
2. Install the seats for Jadis and the dwarf.

Finished Product:


If you've been on The Lion's Call, you may have seen my Doctor Who in Narnia comics.  This a craft I made as well.

A Colorable Paper TARDIS Pattern:

A side view of the TARDIS:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/medialibrary/s2/images/1024/s2_10_wal_19.jpg?size=1024&promo=/doctorwho/medialibrary/s2/images/main-promo/s2_10_wal_19.jpg&purpose=Computerwallpaper&summary=Caught on camera.&info=&tag_file_id=s2_10_wal_16

The writing on the door:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/medialibrary/s2/images/1024/s2_03_wal_21.jpg?size=1024&promo=/doctorwho/medialibrary/s2/images/main-promo/s2_03_wal_21.jpg&purpose=Computerwallpaper&summary=Time to go.&info=&tag_file_id=s2_03_wal_19

Pages must be printed on the "exact size" setting or the one inch/centimeter marks must correspond accurately to all three pages.

If you want to put bases on the figurines so they can stand upright, you should not cut off the paper immediately under their feet.

1st, cut out the TARDIS sides and glue them together.
2nd, cut out the first roof and fold the side flaps down, gluing them to the interior.
3rd, cut out the 2nd and 3rd roofs, making two downward folds on each side to so each will stand above the underlying roof.
4th, do the same with each plackard as you did with the latter roofs.
5th, bend the base so that it has one horizontal side, four diagonal, and four vertical sides, then glue to the three non-door sides of the TARDIS.
6th, fold and glue the lamp together carefully.  The lamp in the photo is a cylinder with a four pointed roof.

Lastly, if you want to make the characters able to stand upright, you should cut two flaps in the space underneath the character's feet and cut out a base to glue the flaps to.

I also included Lewis and Tolkien figurines!

This is a good pattern if you have younger brothers or sisters that are looking for an interesting activity over the summer and is also good for people who like making models or visualizing their fanfictions.  The artist is not responsible for misuse of the pattern.

Have Fun!

Comic Books

For a number of months, I have been reading comic books to try to improve my comic-making skills.  I think they have helped.  Most of these have been superhero comic books because DC and Marvel usually have the most professional art in my opinion.  The thing is, comic books tend to try for dramatic images (some of the covers have cover art for shock value rather than it actually occuring in the story) and I think this has been gradually desensitizing me to creepy cover art.  An example is this cover.  There's nothing wrong with it, it's just that, from my perspective as a girl, I would've said it's too creepy a year ago and not checked it out.  http://www.comicbookresources.com/prev_img.php?pid=15059&cover=1   

The second thing that I would like to mention is that I am afraid I can get a little too wrapped up in fandom for characters.  You can have a character you really like, but then you run into a comic book that doesn't have the best morals, depending on the writer, but it nags at you because even though you know this is just one comic book, you still see it as a part of the overall story.

Anyway, it does make me wonder, some of my friends would probably feel shocked going into a comic shop or going through the comics shelves at the library.  Of course, my friends also go to see movies at theaters, even though there are movies also playing at the theater that they wouldn't watch.  I just have to try to find the good comics.

Still, I wish I knew of someone involved in comics who could give advice, particularly on how Christians should relate to comics, especially Christians who draw comics.  (If you are out there, this post has enabled anonymous comments.)
This past week has been great because of three things that happened.
1. The National Day of Prayer
2. Free Comic Book Day
3. The end of the semester is here.

The National Day of Prayer is important, it is deeply encouraging to know that other people are also praying for my country, and it reminds me to think about others.  Some people ask what the point of praying is if God already knows everything that has, is, and will happen.  I am not quite sure how to answer this question, but I do know that praying helps us to be closer to God, that the Bible instructs Christians to, and that we have examples all throughout Scripture of people like Moses praying for mercy from God.

Free Comic Book Day was exciting this year like it was last.  I enjoy seeing the different styles of artwork and my favorite free comics this year were: Superman: The Last Son of Krypton and Mouseguard.  And it happened on "May the Fourth Be with You" day.

However, I haven't even read all the comics I picked up due to me having to study for the ends of classes.  So, I still have some comics to look forward to, and the satisfaction of completing more classes.


As you know if you have been reading this blog, I like to draw comics.
Anyway, for a while, I just read comic books and graphic novels to compare my style with other styles and other than the Sunday Comics page I didn't have much fandom for them, at least, not compared to my fandom of Narnia etc. 
I particularly hadn't bothered to read superhero comics because:
1. Superhero comics are really designed to appeal to boys - not girls.
2. They art often made the heroes look prideful.

Eventually though, I checked out a Spider-man book because a friend had been waiting around for the Spider-man 3 movie to come out with as much expectation as I was waiting around for Prince Caspian (2008).
What I read surprised me, here was a character that tries to get good grades in school, help pay his Aunt May's bills, and use his gifts to fight crime.  On top of that he had to deal with bullies without revealing that he's Spider-man, being left out by his peers, self doubts, and working for a boss who despises his secret identity.  These plot points soon made me stop reading from an analytical point of view and instead change to fan reading reading comics for pure enjoyment.  (Then, remembering to look for drawing & story techniques I got to read the comics a second time!)

A Narnia Fan Comics Tutorial

A Narnia Fan-Comics Tutorial

Generate an Idea
It is difficult to come up with a formula for generating comics. Usually I think of them when I have time to “unwind” at the end of the day. However, this method probably also keeps cartoonists up at night all over the world whenever they feel they have a great idea.

A second method comes from the Caption Contests that used to be on this website. Inventing a silly Narnian caption for a movie still shot is good practice for linking pictures and jokes in your mind and it promotes good phrasing. As comedians know, a good joke told poorly or with excessive words is not particularly funny. Test your ability for captions with the picture below (or another).


In the back of your mind, you should have at least 2 contexts available for this picture. One should be The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe book context where we learn that the Professor was not at all surprised by the children’s adventure in Narnia (although this exact scene did not occur) and the other should be from the 2005 movie. Additionally, if you know of any relevant behind-the-movie information, this is also often useful in caption contests.
Next, you should look for any interesting visual ideas in the picture. One is the light shining behind the wardrobe, which is really coming from the window but appears to be from Narnia, especially considering the ending of the movie. The folded dust cloth beside the wardrobe is also significant.

Luthien’s Caption:
Lucy: “I just found a wood inside the wardrobe!”
Professor: “Yes, that is to be expected.”

My Caption:
Professor: “You won’t get into Narnia again by that route.”
Lucy: “I just want to find the coats.”
Professor: “Ah, yes, it is quite cold and drafty in this house. However, I don’t think it will be any good trying to go back through the wardrobe door to get the coats. Nor would the coats be much use by now if you did!”
Lucy: “Oh.”
Professor: “However, we can get some hot chocolate.”

My caption was sort of long for a caption contest, and because I just wrote it I can’t really tell if it is silly or not. However, in writing this one caption, I turned down at least five different ideas first; additionally, when I wrote the first line of the caption, I still didn’t know how the captions would conclude. The captions incorporated lines from the book, and hot chocolate from the movie, and the dilemma of a cold house that is plausible, yet not readily expected.

The best Narnia fan comics come from direct observation from reading the Chronicles or watching the movies and later suddenly thinking of an idea that only other fans would understand.


Another way to invent Narnia comics is by fiddling with a picture from a movie. On the previous comic page on this site people could comment anonymously on comics. With this comic it seemed like more people than usual did not catch the joke. I wonder if it could be that viewers might not notice the contrast of the black and white part of the picture with the rest of it.


If you are drawing a comic, instead of photo editing – or as Tooky did by “error-message” editing, it is useful to sketch out a draft to see where everything will go. Sometimes you will find out while making this draft that the comic needs a lot of reworking. It is also very likely that you will at least slightly change the dialogue to better fit the pictures. This is nothing to be ashamed about, in fact, it is similar to a process Marvel Comics® has used where the writer plots out the storyline, gives the unfinished script to the artist, and then later comes back with the exact dialogue after it has already been drawn.




Coloring by Hand
I do not really suggest this because it is time consuming and does not achieve very smooth results if you have a scanner like mine. Colored pencils are better for drawing realistic pictures rather than comics. Unless you can afford the special watercolor paper, watercolor paints will wrinkle your paper, whether it is drawing paper or cardstock (and you really should not try to use watercolor on thin computer paper). Watercolor paints can make a smooth finish, though. Soft pastels are very dusty, and are thus hard to scan. Oil pastels supply good colors.
Traditionally, artists’ ink pens can be used; they look like they would be nice to use. I do not have experience with them since they are about $4.00 a pen.

Pencil Colored Comic:

Watercolor Colored Comic:

Oil Pastel Colored Dawn Treader:

Coloring with Windows Paint
The first step is that you scan in a piece of b&w artwork into your computer in .tiff format, setting the scanner to b&w. .tiff format is apparently the format used in professional comics, and from my limited experience seems to provide less color bleeding* than .jpg.

*lines melding into the paper, causing an irresolute line.

After this, you turn the picture right side up and use the paint bucket to drop paint in the patches in-between the lines. With this style you have to be careful to leave no gaps in the lines in order to allow the color to also fill the next box. At the end, unless you used a very good scanner, there will be white specks all over the picture. The easy way to get rid of these is to resize the image, shrinking it to remove the specks and also to make the image into a smaller size that is clear, but is also small enough to easily load on a computer. The bad news is that if you want to load it onto Photobucket.com, you have to convert it back to .jpg.

Window’s Paint Colored Comic:

Coloring with Microsoft Digital Image Standard 2006:
This program of photo-editing software came with Word. The coloring techniques are rather different with it.
First we take an ordinary drawing.
I'm inlcuding a direct link so you can color the drawing step-by-step on your computer.

Beef up the contrast to make the lines a solid black.

Color the entire picture with the main background color by first lowering the brightness of the picture and then tinting it.

Use the edgefinder to single out the picture of the lion and then turn him gray again.

Brighten the lion and make him a gold color:

Use the freehand tool to select the mane – including the ear, press shift and then also select the tail. Copy these then paste them again and do not move them from their original place. Click the “antique” setting. Use the “adjust color” to give him a golden mane and tail tip. Use the wand to select the mane and click on effects, then transparency, then gradual, and choose the transparency setting that makes his mane darker in the back.

Use the freehand tool to select the grass, adding yellow and green to make it greener. Select the lion’s chin and make it white by using the brightness setting. Make the lion’s iris a more saturated yellow. Use the Wand to select all the blue areas and copy and paste them again. Lighten the blue, and then use the transparency setting to make everything except the center more transparent.

The End.

Special thanks to Luthien, Kristi, Lois, and Swanwhite for encouraging me to make Narnia comics

Murray Gold (Doctor Who)

This is my post where I talk about the music composer Murray Gold on the show Doctor Who.
I greatly enjoy his DW music, mainly because I think it captures the ideal of what music for outer space should sound like.  It gives the show the correct feel and emphasizes the action.  He can capture the silliness of Donna's signaling to the Doctor through glass with his music, show touching sadness at the end of the first Pandorica episode, shows the caring attitude of Rose Tyler, give a voice to the TARDIS, and give an exhillirating feeling to the episodes whenever the Doctor flies the TARDIS.  I also appreciate his balance between the strings and the brass sections of the orchestra.

Note: I have fixed the comment options for commentators, now my blog allows anonymous posts, and easy commenting for other bloggers.


This was the voter turnout in the U.S. general election in 2008 according to this website: http://elections.gmu.edu/voter_turnout.htm .
My question is, why do so many people not vote?  Probably some people are too busy or catch colds during the election, but not all.
Voting is a privilege, in the United States women have not even had that right for 100 years yet, and, if we are going to call ourselves a representative democracy we should at least do our best to try to make it to the polls.  


Spoken Words.

In the past year, I have managed to embarrass myself a couple times at school.  Both times, it was because my teachers wanted my opinion on topics that I wasn't interested in to begin with.  The problem is, I am still letting it bother me.  After I thought about it, I realized that I don't remember any of my fellow students ever saying anything embarrassing, so either I have forgotten about it, or they never did. 

On the other hand, this has helped me to be more understanding of public figures who on the spur of the moment say an embarrassing comment that the late night comedians repeat for ages on end.  Generally, someone is putting pressure on them to give an immediate response on a topic they might not know much about. 

I think the best way I can avoid this sort of thing in the future is to think through exactly what to say before I say it.

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,"  -James 1:19 (NIV)

EDIT:  So, after I posted this, I remembered a comparison from Narnia.

At the end of The Horse and His Boy, Bree suddenly decides to not continue his journey to Narnia, because Shasta was braver than he was and he says he will feel ashamed about it.  I suppose an our world version would be to not want to go to school (of course, I am still going to school).

Anyway, it is explained to Bree how he should go to Narnia and that it is only Bree's pride that has gotten in the way.  Now, I wonder if it my pride that is getting after me or not.