Thunder Punch Daily 146 – Not “Cheating” Again…

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Podcasts, Thunder Punch Daily


I asked for it! I made a joke about “cheating” at my art, and it got some folks rising to defend or dispute the question of whether or not one can cheat at making comics. I give what can only be described as an affirmation for anyone who has ever been called a “cheater”, and try to explore where this misconception comes from.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Music for this show is by Eliott Drozd.
Audio hosting provided by Ka-Blam Digital Printing and IndyPlanet Digital

Voiceover by Tara Platt

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6 Responses to “Thunder Punch Daily 146 – Not “Cheating” Again…”
  1. Honoel says:

    I think there’s no such thing as cheating in creating comics. We all serve a higher purpose and that’s to tell a story the best way we can. Story is king. The rest is just tools.

  2. Awesome episode. If I had heard you use my name and link to my site it would have made me all the more happy, but that’s ok, hahaha. Glad I helped inspire an essay.

    Expanding on the topic some more:

    In CGI, there are a lot of little “cheats” that are just a necessity of the job. Many times we have little time to make really complex things. One common “cheat” in character modeling, for example, is that we rarely model beneath the clothes. We also only model one half of a character and then mirror it to the other side. We use arrays to make corridor scenes, make 3 to 5 slightly different trees to populate entire forests, “bake” lighting and shadows onto objects so we can save up on rendering times, etc, etc…

    I find myself using these “cheats” shamelessly and unapologetically in CGI, yet, when it comes to comics, for some reasons, things such as this; this “cheats”; do make me have a sense of guilt. I ignore while working on my graphic, but it is there non the less.

    Recently, Ryan Estrada shared a library of jungle assets on Google+, He explained he used it to populate backgrounds and save time. This was the one thing that finally made me up and ignore the guilt.

    Thinking on it a bit more, I realized that every single thing that can help you be faster and more efficient while maintaining the level of artistic achievement you demand on yourself in the resulting images can only be beneficial, in the end, saving time by using some “cheats” allows you to tell more stories and bring them to people faster and, probably, more steadily.

    This is something I already knew working in CGI but, for some reason, had to re-learn working on comics.

    Again, awesome episode!

  3. Bakamoichigei says:

    So you modeled a complex, and I’m going to guess recurring, object in 3D instead of drawing it? You aren’t doing anything the Japanese haven’t been doing for decades. There’s a reason Celsys ComicStudio– MangaStudio in the states, and don’t get me started on that –can import 3D geometry and turn it directly into toned lineart. (Or a sketch layer, if you want to then trace it.)

    There’s a couple pages devoted to process in the back of the Japanese first volume of Gantz, and it revealed that the backgrounds were CG, the props were CG, and CG stand-ins for characters are used for roughing. In the world of monthly (and sometimes WEEKLY!) serialized manga, especially ones with lots of action and detailed artwork, that’s become a very common and sometimes absolutely necessary workflow.

    Bottom line:
    The idea that it’s cheating is completely fallacious; ‘cheating’ implies that it gives you an advantage somehow, or compensates for a lack of artistic ability.

    A tool is a tool, and it’s up to the artist to know the how and why of the image they strive to make with the tools, whatever they may be. And in that sense, the result is only as good as the artistic ability of the user, regardless of how they choose to achieve it.

    Your goal is telling a story. As long as you’re doing a good job of that, what else is there? Anyone who says different is just being pedantic.

    Full disclosure:
    As an artist with extensive 3D modeling experience and absolutely no drawing ability, you can bet your ass if I wanted to illustrate something I’d use 3D as an ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR, not just a crutch. And I am 100% completely unapologetic about it. Anyone who wants to complain has an open invitation to do it better.