I reviewed this thing and re translated a lot of it as well as corrected stuff from the auto correct and my own rushed mistakes. some points are more clear now and some remain ambiguous, they also are unclear on the spanish version. it’d be great to listen to how he actually said all these things, as some of them have clearly a colloquial humour element, for the crowd; like the stuff about editor demanding higher body counts, readers not buying books with poorly drawn women, grinning superheroes, aikido or jodorowsky’s dead horse allegation … which is something he did often speaking in public.
"Brief Manual for Cartoonists" by Moebius
1. When drawing (by drawing), one must cleanse oneself of profound feelings; hate, happiness, ambition, etc.
2. It’s important to educate the hand, attain obedience, to fulfil our ideas; But we must be careful with perfection. To much perfection and too much speed, as well as their opposites are dangerous.
When there is to much ease (looseness, fluidity), as on instant drawings, aside from there being mistakes, there’s no will of the spirit but only the body.
3. Perspective is of sum importance, it is a law of manipulation in the good sense of the word, to hypnotise the reader.
It’s recommended to work on real spaces (directly from reality), more that with photographs, to exercise our reading of perspective.
4. Another thing to be learnt with affection is the study of the human body, the positions, the types, the expressions, the architecture of bodies, the difference between people.
Drawing is very different when it comes to a male or a female; because in the male you can change the lines a little, there are some imprecisions that it can support to have. But with the female precision must be perfect, if not it may become ugly or look upset. then they wont buy our book!
For the reader to believe the story, the characters must have life and a personality of their own, gestures that come from their character, from their diseases (illnesses);
The body transforms with life and there’s a message within the structure, in the distribution of fat, in every muscle, in every crease of the face and the body.
It is a study of life.
5. When a story is being made one can start without knowing everything, but making annotations (in the actual story) about the particular world of that story. That way the reader recognises himself and becomes interested (invested).
When a character dies in a cartoon, and such character does not have a story drawn in his face, in his body, in his attire, the reader does not care, there’s no emotion; Then the editors say: ”Your story is worthless! There’s only one dead guy and I need 20 or 30 dead guys for it to work!”. But that is not true, if the dead, or the wounded or the ill or whomever is in trouble has a real personality that comes from study, from the artists capacity for observation, emotion will emerge (empathy).
In these studies an attention for others is also developed, a compassion and a love for humanity (mankind).
It is very important for the development of an artist; If he wants to be a mirror, he must contain inside its consciousness the whole world, a mirror that sees (looks at) everything.
6. Jodorowsky says that I don’t like to draw dead horses. It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult to draw a body that sleeps, that’s abandoned, because in comics action is always being studied. it’s easier to draw people fighting, thats why Americans draw superheroes.
It’s more difficult to draw people talking, because there are a series of movements, very small, but that have a significance, and that accounts for (costs) more, because it requires a love, an attention to the other, to the little things that speak about personality, about life.
The superheroes have no personality, all of them have the same gestures and movements (pantomimes ferocity, running and fighting)
7. Equally important is the clothing of the characters, the state they’re in, the materials and the textures are a vision of their experiences, of their lives, of their situation within the adventure, that can say a lot with out words.
In a dress there are a thousand folds; 2 or 3 must be chosen, but the good ones.
8. The style, the stylistic continuity of an artist is symbolic, it can be read like the tarot.
I chose, as a joke, the name Moebius, when I was 22, but in truth (in reality) there is a significance to that. If you bring a t-shirt with a Don Quixote, that speaks to me of who you are.
In my case, I give importance to a type of drawing of relative simplicity, in this way subtle indications can be made.
9. When an artist, a drawing artist goes out on the street, he does not see the same things other people see (normal people). What he sees is documentation about the way of life, about the people.
10. Another important element is composition. Composition on our stories must be studied, because a page or a painting, is a face that looks towards (faces) the reader and that tells him something. It’s not a succession of panels with out meaning.
There are full panels and empty ones, others that have a vertical dynamism or a horizontal one and in all of that there is an intention. The vertical excites (cheers); the horizontal calms, an oblique to the right , for us westerners (western readers), represents the action that heads towards the future; an oblique to the left directs the action toward the past. Points (points of attention) represent a dispersion of energy. Something placed in the middle focalises the energy and the attention, it concentrates.
These are basic symbols for reading, that exert a fascination, a hypnosis (over the reader).
A awareness must be had about rhythm; set a trap for the reader to fall into and he falls, gets lost and moves inside it with pleasure, because there’s life (inside the trap).
The great painters must be studied, the ones that speak with their paintings, of any school or period, that does not matter, and they must be seen (studied) with that preoccupation for physical composition, but also emotional. In what way the combination of lines by that artist touches us directly in the heart.
11. Narration must harmonise with the drawing. There must be a visual rhythm even from the placement of words, plot must correctly manoeuvre cadence (tone), to compress or expand time.
Must be careful with the election (casting) and the direction of characters. Utilise them as a film director and study all the different takes.
12. Careful with the devastating influence of north american comics in Mexico, because they only study a little anatomy, dynamic composition, the monsters, the fights, the screams and teeth (grin).
I like them as well, but there are many other possibilities that must be explored.
13. There’s a connection between music and drawing. But that depends also on the personality and the moment.
For around 10 years I’ve been working in silence, and for me the music is rhythm of the lines (the music he listens to).
To draw is sometimes to hunt for findings; an exact (fair, just) line is an orgasm!
14. Color is a language that the artist (drawing artist) uses to manipulate the readers attention and to create beauty. There’s objective and subjective color, the emotional states (moods) of the characters influence the coloring and lighting can change from one panel to the next, depending on the space being represented and the time of the day.
The language of color must be studied with attention.
15. At the beginning of a career, specially, one should attempt to create short stories but of a very high quality. There’s a better chance to finish them successfully and place them on books (anthologies) or with editors.
16. There are times when knowingly we head to failure, we choose a theme (subject), an extension (page length), a technique that does not suit us (convene).
Must not complain afterwards.
17. When new pages are sent to the editors and are rejected, we should ask for the reasons. This reasons for failure must be studied and learn.
It’s not about the struggle, with our limitations or with public or the publishers. It’s more about treating it like in aikido; the strength (power) of who charges is used to knock him with a minimum effort.
18. Now it is possible to find readers in any part of the planet. We must have this present.
To begin with, drawing is a way of personal communication, but this does not imply that the artist must envelop himself in his own bubble; it’s communication with the beings closest to us, with oneself, but also with unknown people.
Drawing is a medium to communicate with the great family that we have not met, the public, the world.