3 Things I Learnt From an Eisner Winner

& Creation, Ranty.

Just before I embarked on creating Moth City, it thought it might be prudent to draw a comic first. You know, for good luck and stuff.

Luckily, Eisner winner Dylan Horrocks was coming to town to run a course on ‘Creating Comics.’ Damn I love a small world. Dylan Horrocks breaks the old cliché that those who can do, and those who can’t teach. Not only does he have a singular, honest voice as a writer and artist, but he knows everything about comics (and the artists who make them). He is a chatty, likeable and humorous teacher. His knowledge and love of comics is reflected in the plot of his book Hicksville, available for purchase here . You can also read his current work in progress (for free) at Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen


Some of Dylan's work

Below are notes that I took in the evenings after the classes:


1> “Mess the book up”

Dylan writes this at the beginning of each of his sketchbooks.  Loosen up, don’t be afraid of drawing or of making mistakes. You can always start again, remind yourself of this by making a hell of a mess before you start your first drawing – then scrunch it up and throw it out. All sketchbooks should be broken in with a hell of a mess to soil the ‘new car smell’ that holds us artists back.

A sketchbook should be for you to fail in, not to put behind glass as a testament to your perfection.


2> “Your hand is not a translator”

Despite what people will tell you, drawing is not a process of translating what’s in your head onto the page. It is a collaboration between your mind, your hand, your tools, your medium and perhaps even your mood. Even your paper stock has a say in the matter. You may never get it ‘just right’ so get over it. Getting upset because you have incorrect assumptions and expectations doesn’t help anyone.


3> “Tom Waits can’t sing like Rianna – but he sure can sing”

The way we draw is akin to the way we talk or sing, and no matter how hard we try we can’t change our voice. Everyone’s art-voice is different, and while we can train it with practice and experimentation, we cannot recreate the voice of others. Nor should we. Focus should be spent developing our own voice. Style, techniques and quirks will develop naturally from there. You may not end up singing like an angel, but everyone will know it’s you.


If you’re interested, this is a sneak peak of the comic I produced during Dylan’s course. You may recognise one of the characters…

An image from my mini comic about McCaw

[Click for larger view]

Read my comic here

One Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Tim

    Thanks to everyone who retweeted or shared this post, nice to get some folk along for the writing as well as the comics.

    Special thanks to Dylan Horrocks for allowing me to spread his wisdom on the world wide webs.