Page 218

January 19, 2011

Pfffff action scenes, why do I write these things. I think this may actually be the hardest page I’ve ever drawn, and that stupid train two pages ago was pretty difficult. Just thumbnailing it was kind of a nightmare. No grids for wacky panel sizes. D:

But hey, first Wednesday update! This is pretty cool. Awright. *sunglasses*

CCA, guys! C’monnnn.

34 Comments

Oh . . . that’s no ghost *disappointed tone* . . . it’s just a mage with awesome invisi-powers trying to kill Lethe . . .

*spit take*

What?!!!

And assassination attempt #1 . . . pass or fail? I guess we’ll find out Friday!

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In the last panel Lethe looks a bit…off. Don’t know why but it just doesn’t seem right. Other than that, this is an awesome scene, especially how you drew the mage “decloaking”. I can’t wait for the Friday update!

Also, on a side note, your CCA banner links back to this page, rather than to the CCA website, just thought I’d let ya know..

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I don’t see it myself, hmm. Does he just look off-model or actively weird? Anyway, thanks! :) And thanks for the heads up on the banner, stupid me forgot to put the URL in the anchor code. Fixed now.

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Sort of the “Uncanny Valley” effect, something just doesn’t seem right and I keep focusing on that. I guess the thing that sticks out to me the most is the angle of his…frown? scowl? It sort of says “deer in headlights” rather than “I’m going to punch this guy in the gut while simultaneously disarming him like the badass I am”.

But it’s always better to be the critic than the artist :P.

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While the artwork is cool and you definitely deserve the shades ;)

There is no way that Lethe could make that counter-move while falling backwards, as shown in the immediately preceding panel. His weight-center is way past his feet and it look as if one of his legs is actually in the air, losing him lateral stability as well. Likewise, his assailant is seriously off-balance, which he shouldn’t be. After all, he has had the time to plan his move.

You’ve mentioned before that fighting scenes are your particular bane since you are no martial artist. I might recommend some time at dojo, doing stick figures of sparring matches. Also, this spring, when the Tai CHi folks work out in the park, spend an afternoon drawing some stick figures of their workout, watching how they move. You don’t need to be a martial artist to understand the basics of human kinesthetics. Doing stck figures of a track & field meet or a gymnastics workout should also help.

You only need basic stick figures to help you understand balance and center.

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You seem to be under the impression that Rose (and perhaps the entire world) happens to live in the same city that you do. It is, in general, fairly unlikely that you can go to a given park and find students practicing martial arts there. Especially in Scotland.

As far as the characters being off-balance, you should bear in mind that this is how people move. I would recommend that you take your own advice, there. Go look at still images of runners, dancers, gymnasts, or martial artists. They’re ALL off-balance. The whole point of motion is that it is unstable. You put your next foot down to carry the momentum, and thus you move in a line- we call it walking. The classic example would be the first motion picture ever made- that of the running horse. you can find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Muybridge_race_horse_animated.gif
Note that it has all its hooves in the air at one time- this doesn’t mean it has learned to fly. It is simply moving from one unbalanced state to the next in rapid motion.

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Hey Slamlander, I addressed a lot of your points in a stupidly large comment near the bottom of the page. I just thought I should say that Skippy is correct, however – the concept of people here in Scotland doing Tai Chi in the park is almost laughable. Having spent a lot of time life drawing people in parks, I can tell you that this doesn’t happen in any of the cities I’ve lived in here. ;) Frisbee, maybe.

Your points about martial arts are all actually correct, but the issue is that this isn’t a portrayal of realistic martial arts and was never intended to be – it’s an exaggerated portrayal of movement in what is, in the end, a static medium. There are elements of animation theory that most successful comic artists (people I admire, at least) tend to use – squash and stretch, anticipation, and so on to get across movement when all one has to work with is static, 2D images. This is a pretty good primer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12_basic_principles_of_animation

I touch on this more below, but basically I’m not saying that there aren’t flaws in this action sequence, just that the unbalanced figures are entirely deliberate for a specific (and very important) reason.

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I think it looks pretty plausible, actually. It’s all happening in split-seconds, after all… not the kind of action the eye can really grasp. Lethe sees it coming, shakes the shock off in nanoseconds (I guess he had a lot of close combat training and experience), takes advantage of the other guy grabbing his shoulder (give stability with respects to the other, also allows one to move relative to the other without relying entirely on one’s legs) and pulls the other guy’s attack past himself. That’s why the attacker is off balance, his own momentum just got doubled, and the impact he expected never happened.
Only thing that could be cooler (and this is minor) would be if Lethe’s hand was visible at the edge of the image just before he grabs the other guy’s hand. As it is now, he’ll need to be extremely fast.

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Awesome dodge! I envy your art skills. This looks like it’s going to be awesome! BTW if you’re really not sure there are videos, and probably illustrations for martial arts moves. Just do some googling! Haha.

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Thanks! And believe it or not, I already tried googling for videos of martial artists. ;) They’re pretty much my primary reference when I’m trying to figure out the sequence of events for this sort of thing.

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I agree with Slam that the movements are a little off. However, there is a huge coolness factor (the “fading in” alone is epic, to say the least) in the page, and i guess the movements are a bit theatratical to increase the effect, too. (I mean, i guess you’d try to get behind, not come from the front, and a simple stab would do it, no need for a jump in the air…)Skippy, that’s not entirely right, you have to be in balance or be able to quickly regain it, otherwise you’d be constantly falling over while doing anything. And i’m pretty sure that’s not the case. (So basically you are inbalanced during short periods of time between two stable states. The photo can be taken at an inba moment, though, that’s true.)

On another note, it’s entirely up to the author how she moves the figures. This scene is breathtaking, i had to check it a second time to be sure what Slam is talking about. (Btw, you can block that way if you are quick enough to make 2 steps backwards and your legs are strong enough to keep you standing during the impact. Oh and on the next page Mr bad guy should totally fall on his face or on his back with the big momentum he has – if we keep nitpicking.) As long as it’s not disturbingly unreal and only we nitpicky types comment it, Kyethn does a perfect job.

Sorry for the long post and cheers for another great page!

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Perhaps the assassin had wanted to approach from behind, but when it looked as if he’d been spotted, he figured that a surprising leap attack would be a better option? And while it does look as if Lethe was falling backwards, it also looks as if the assassin grabbed Lethe’s right shoulder. And if the assassin wasn’t aiming to push Lethe backwards, that hold might have been enough to keep Lethe on his feet to parry the attack? Perhaps Lethe wasn’t falling backwards at all? Perhaps he was trying to throw himself backwards, but failed due to the assassin’s hold on his shoulder?

Either way I think this page is great. :-)

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Oh man, comments forever. I see everyone’s points – you’re all actually entirely correct. However! For me the overriding factor here is how the page actually plays out, and Casualsmile hit the nail on the head – the movement is exaggerated theatrically in order to better (and more dramatically) portray the events. This is the most important purpose of the comic, after all.

One of the first things I learned (and contrary to popular belief, I’ve done lots of life drawing of people in movement) about movement in comics is that you don’t draw the median movement – if someone is getting punched, you don’t draw the moment where the fist connects with the jaw. You show the fist getting pulled back, and then bam, next panel the person reeeeling back dramatically from the sheer force of the punch oh goddd, with the assailant’s fist way, way past the point of impact. I’m not claiming to be even moderately good at this, but you can see the difference so easily with examples, and I wish I had some good ones. I’ll probably try and find some to post up.

The problem with showing the moment where the fist connects with the jaw is that if you linger in that moment, especially if the characters are centered and balanced then it looks static – as if you walked up to someone and held your fist up to their jaw. Unbalanced simply is dramatic, it’s why the characters in this page look like they’re actually moving – Skippy is correct to a degree, it’s the unbalanced points in movement which define it, because you don’t get that kind of unbalancedness (not a word) when you’re standing still, or else you’d fall over.

I entiiiirely admit, this is grossly exaggerated – it is unnecessary for the assassin to jump-lunge at Lethe in a lot of ways (though plausible in others, as Gillsing suggested), Lethe probably wouldn’t lean back that far, and so on. But if the exaggeration makes the action more tangible (and I feel it does, though it’s up for debate) then I’m happy with it.

I also admit I don’t know a great deal about martial arts, but that’s less to do with the balance of the characters and more to do with the actual sequence of events – I think it’s plausible he would push the knife away from him like that, but I could definitely be wrong. Even changing the sequence of events, though, I would draw it in the same fashion – exaggerated and off-balance, because otherwise the action would look extremely rigid and static.

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I hear you and somewhat agree. However, I am arguing a slightly different point. Yes, dynamizm is served best by having the characters in transition between points of balance. Humans move between one point of balance and another. The transition between, however, is rather limited, during a fight. In Judo and Aikido, it is all about keeping your opponent off balance while you keep your own balance firmly in hand.

A lunge is actually a transition to move your weight center forward to a stable posture where your forward leg is supporting you. That leg may be airborn but it is moving to a designated stable position and the rear leg never leaves the ground. However, describing what I’m talking about is difficult, even as a writer.

Regrading the Wing Chun in the park comments, it happens regularly in Golden Gate park, Central park, parks in Boston, and even Colorado Springs. I simply assumed that there would be nothing stopping the practice in Scotland, sorrys.

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One reason I can think of for the “Flying lunge and a stab in the heart” method of assassination, is imagine the propaganda and political hullabaloo that would cause. Rather than a quick decloak and knife and the back followed by cloaking and running could backfire and make the Ashul government look bad/like cowards. However, if he decloaks and performs a flying ninja lunge and stabs him in the heart in a supposedly cleared train station it sends a message to the rest of the citizens of [insert name of world here] that the Ashul government wants to, they can, and will find you, and it won’t be pretty when they do.

Terrorism FTW right?

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Im loving Lethe hahaha.
I have to admit, I almost never notice any mistakes in anatomy or movement unless they’re really really obvious(like what I draw…) So I didn’t even think about Lethe being off balance and stuff… it just fir with the action of the page, it looks more dramatic I think.
BUT! I will say this: thanks to the people who said there’s something wrong with it, I have learned many new things today thanks to you Rose :)

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Also, completely out of context but… I love Lethe’s eyes(especially the close up) the blue is so different from your color palette :P

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Whoa… while I was looking for Lethe’s left hand, pre-grab, I saw who is obscured by the two grab panes… I wonder if there’s going to be collatteral damage… :0

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Ha! You are literally the only person (who hasn’t read the script) to pick up on that. So, you know, good job.

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Thanks! Pretty smoothly arranged, I must say. If I hadn’t been looking so thoroughly, this would definitely have been one of those “WTF?!?…flip pages back…OMG!!!” -experiences. So, you know, good job! This is a very cool story, very consistent-feeling universe (I like how there’s a dystopian feel to everything, be it a rainy run-down city or a hazy, sunlit 1001 nights -type palace), and the characters seem to come to life very quickly – the “I think I know this person” instead of the “I recognize those lines on the paper”. :D

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