It's been said in the past that in comics, the artist does the job of a dozen people on a film. The acting, the set design, the angles of the shots, the props -- it all comes down to choices made by artists when they're laying out a page, and when you've got that much going on, it's easy to make a mistake. Fortunately, help has arrived in the form of a seven-page Comic Artist's Toolkit!

Created by Disney artist Carson Van Osten and given to the web by animator Mark Kennedy, the Toolkit is a handy guide to common problems of perspective, staging, character design and even lettering comics, along with tips on how to solve or avoid them. It's also a beautiful example of Van Osten's work as he walks artists through page construction using his own expressive versions of the Disney characters, making it a must-read for anyone interested in how to make comics. Check out a few of the tips after the cut!In addition to the nifty dedication to Kennedy, the first page of the Toolkit runs down the common problems of page layout, complete with an increasingly disturbed Mickey and Goofy trying to deal with their panel. I'm not going to lie, Minnie Mouse trying to crawl in under her own dialogue is something I'd actually like to see in a comic, but only on purpose:

Next up are tips on drawing more realistic characters, and again, it's great just to watch Van Osten at work. I particularly like his treatment of Huey, Dewey and Louie, giving even three completely identical characters their own style of movement that makes them a lot more fun to see:

In his page on thumbnails, Van Osten brings up the idea that there can be multiple ways to draw a single action. Even a script as simple as "Donald Duck jumps into the pool" is open to different styles, each of which could fit the moment better:

The breakdown of Staging goes through the common styles of panels, and how they can each be best used to emphasize action. The contrast between Goofy's isolated faceplant and the same action in a more crowded panel is a great example of how the environment can change a whole scene:

And finally, a primer on perspective that helps get different angles into... well, you know:

It's not just great advice for Disney artists, it's great advice for anyone doing comics on how to make things more interesting. For more (and larger sizes that you can print out for your own version of the guide), check out Mark Kennedy's Temple of the Seven Camels!

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