Griffy's Top 40

The following is excerpted from artist Bill Griffith's 40 tips for comics creators. As I was unable to find this as anything but in JPEG form online, I've typed out just a few of them. But you can read the rest here.

Occasionally I put parenthesis around words to show that they're interchangeable with "writing", "music", "photography", "video", "blogging", "sculpture" or whatever you do.

It can take years to find the right art supplies.

It can take years to find something to write about.

Punchlines are optional. They can also come anywhere in a story.

The best laugh is the one the reader has been unknowingly waiting for.

(Cartoon characters) have souls.

Rhythm is everything: the pacing of drawing, punchline and especially the "beat" of dialogue. Something can be truer or funnier if it's told with the right rhythm. "The right rhythm" is the one that just sounds best when you "hear" it being spoken.

The cartoonist is an auteur movie director. You write the strip, you cast it, you light it, you edit it, you have final cut. Problem is, you don't control distribution. You need a publisher for that.

When starting out, try to get in (print) as quickly as possible. Seeing your work in (print) is tremendously educational. All your mistakes leap out. Educational, but painful.

If your interest is in "real world" detail, keep a "morgue" (a file of photos of people, objects, landscapes, etc.) Take photos of things and people yourself, too. Remember, Google is your quickest image and data source assistant.

Camera angles are important. Move around the panel as you draw the story, looking at the same scene from different distances and angles. Use wide shots, one-shots (character alone in a panel), close-ups, dream sequences, surrealism, expressionism.

Disney is great - to make fun of.

Never send original art through the mail. Copy machines and high-rez scanners make perfect reproductions for sending purposes, through mail or online. Always keep copies of your stuff if you sell or give away the original art.

When you sell, tell the buyer they have no reproduction rights.

Don't think of the (readers) when you make your (comics). Please yourself and a few of your friends, and hope for the best.

Don't reach all the way out to the (reader) - don't worry about being obscure or ambiguous - if you're sure of what you're doing, ask the (reader) to meet you halfway.

Create a website. Print your website address somewhere in all of your work. Sell stuff through your website. Cut out the middleman.

Sitting at a (drawing) table for 37 years can be hard on the neck and upper back. Get up every half hour and stretch. Do neck and upper back stretching exercises every day as you get older.

Don't just look at (comics) for inspiration and education. Look at great drawing wherever it appears. I love to stare at: Reginald Marsh, Edward Hopper, Rembrandt's etchings, Callot's etchings, Thomas Rowlandson, Lucian Freud, Albrecht Durer, Alberto Giacometti, Rene Magritte, Jose Guadelupe Posada, Hiroshige and Hokusai.

Last but not least: Never listen to anyone else's advice on (cartooning).

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