Standardization of Artwork

James Williams James_Williams at
Fri May 6 14:50:54 CEST 1994

Harry Fluks wrote:

>Van Horn always drew his comics in 3 strips per page, when he worked
>for Disney Comics.  The stories he later did for Egmont (Denmark),
>where 4- strip, because that's Egmont's standard (and of Dutch editor
>GP too).

The stardardization of artwork in Disney comics has always bothered me. 
It wasn't until I read Scott McCloud's 'Understanding Comics' that I
could explain why.  A few years back, Will Eisner wrote a detailed
study of comics and coined the phrase Sequential Art.  In McCloud's
book, he shows that this definition applies to movies, cartoon, and
comics.  Each is a story told by a sequence of artwork.  Every frame in
a movie or cartoon is the same size, so the only way to control pacing
is through the use of time.  Time doesn't exist in comics, so there has
to be other ways to control the pacing.  One of the ways to do this is
by varing the size of different panels.  McCloud goes on to show how
the same scene can appear different to the reader just by changing the
size of the panels.  Are Egmont and GP limiting their artists abilities
to tell stories by forcing them to use standard page layouts? One of
the reasons that Don Rosa first caught my attention is because I
noticed that in some rows he uses 3 or 4 panels (instead of the
mandatory 2).

Another way you can control the pacing is through the number of words
used.  A sequence of 4 panels with no words has a different pacing than
a sequence of 4 panels each with 20 words.  There is an unwritten rule
in Disney comics that every panel must contain at least one piece of
dialog.  I'll ask again, is this limiting Disney artists abilities to
tell stories?

I'm not an artist, but I'd be curious to hear other peoples opinions --
especially Don Rosa's.

David -- When you write a story for Egmont, aren't you writing a full
script?  If so, how much control does the artist actually have over the
comic?  Do they simply follow the script or are they able to make
changes where they think appropriate?  Do you even talk to the artist?

Heidi -- How do you decide who draws which stories?  Obviously, Egmont's 
eight panel page wouldn't work for Disney Adventure Digest.  Does DAD
have its own art standards?  If so, how do you enforce them?

James Williams

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