Page 45 Review by Stephen
From the creator of RACHEL RISING, STRANGERS IN PARADISE and ECHO, three of the most tenderly, dramatically and beautifully drawn series in comics, if I was going to take a comics art class from anyone, it would be Terry Moore.
The love - the heart and humanity - with which Terry Moore infuses his work shines through on every page, in every subtle piece of interactive body language and every single expression. That, above all, is what he has to teach you here. How to compose this, how to balance that and with which tools followed by how, practically, to get your comic printed, yes; but more than anything else, how to give your drawings soul.
Moreover he does so conversationally, entertainingly. Whenever we have a new Work Experience pupil join us for a week at Page 45 we spend the first day wandering round the shop and about town, discussing marketing, merchandising, customer service, the specific circumstances of the comicbook industry and Page 45's personal approach to it all. That way each young lady or man understands why they are about they are going to be putting into practise all the key skills we will teach then, and have enormous fun doing it. "Why" is so important, and that is precisely what Terry does here, and then shows you how.
Take the power of universally comprehended - not culturally determined - expressions:
"Your character can touch the hearts and minds of anybody on the planet with her expressions alone. If her heart is joyous or broken, we will see it - and get it - before she's even said a word. Expressions are that important.
"The girl of your dreams can look you right in the eyes and tell you what you want to hear, but if you don't see it in her face you won't believe a word she says."
So it is with the human body and particularly female anatomy for which the man is renowned. And I don't mean horrifically proportioned catwalk stick insects or over-endowed superheroines in ludicrous, low-cut bodices. I mean real women with real bodies, soft and sexy and curvaceous as anything with a little bit of give here and there.
"Sitting bottoms are not round. Most of the body weight is compressing the soft, fatty area."
True fact! Yet how often so I see characters perched on chairs drawn as if their asses were made out of unyielding pottery or plastic.
There's also an extensive class on comedy, and anyone who's read Terry's ECHO will expect an examination and artistic application of the ubiquitous Phi. What is Phi? It's a letter of the Greek alphabet and an extraordinary constant in nature. It is a ratio. It is a revelation.
Also a revelation, "Tools, tip and specs". Now, I haven't been a professional artist in two and a half decades, I wasn't much cop then, and I certainly never tried comics. Yet I found this chapter riveting and, Lord, will it save you so much time and frustration. We're talking brushes which do and don't hold ink, which papers bleed more than others, how to physically hold a brush for maximum control, printing proportions, the secrets of scanning and bitmaps and Greyscale, and why you should only use the top of your sheets for initial measurements: pads of paper aren't cut at exact right angles shock! Here's another surprise:
"That Q-tip is no accident. Q-tips are perfect for covering large areas with ink. I've seen Jim Lee use a tampon to draw Batman. I kid you not. And, it was one of the best Batman drawings I've even seen."