by Maureen Sindiga
All comic artists use different art styles to pull their audience into their imaginative worlds. And choosing the right art style makes a big difference between a lousy and a great comic strip. Let’s peek at the most common art styles used to create magical comics.
One of the most popular subgenres of American comic books is the superhero style. This genre gained popularity in the 1930s, shot to the top of the charts in the 1940s, and has been America’s preeminent comic book art style ever since.
The storyline behind all superhero comics is a tale about a specific superhero and the world they live in. Typical characteristics of this art style include:
- A superhero character who has superhuman abilities.
- The superhero is the protagonist in the whole story.
- There’s a divide between good and evil; more often than not, the superhero has a moral obligation to protect the people.
Horror comics have significantly impacted the history of the comic book business and the horror film genre. The art for these comics is frequently superb because it sets comic creators free to let their fantasies run wild in a medium that embraces the fantastical and the illogical.
Most horror comics include stripes that feature mythical creatures like vampires, ghouls, monstrous killers, or excessive gore. And, while an illustrator might add such traditional characteristics in their comic, their absence is not a disadvantage. As Neil Gaiman does in Coraline, presenting horror in a softer, ghostly manner is just as striking as the slaughter and violence anticipated in a scary comic.
I find that horror comics have limitations since they can only depict so much in a limited number of panels. For the tale to continue and cover more, the artist must decide which details to include and which ones to leave out.
Manga is a comic art style originating from Japan. While the origin and heritage of this comic style date back to the early 1900s, many recent comics have adapted the late 19th-century version of this Japanese art style.
Although some full-color manga exists, most manga comics are produced in black and white due to time restrictions and creative considerations. This is also a manga way of keeping printing costs down.
Manga is often published in enormous manga magazines in Japan. These magazines can include multiple storylines, each presented in a single episode to be completed in the subsequent issue. This is the basic idea behind manga comic stripes.
Shonen, a type of manga style, targets a male audience and contains funny storylines with high action levels. Some manga are usually designed to be read from right to left to preserve the credibility of the original edition.
The term “fantasy comics” refers to illustrated strips rooted in a fictional setting or containing features or actors from outside our realm. Fantasy has been a fiction staple for generations, but it took off in the early 1940s.
Most epic comic artwork thrives in fantasy comics. Fantasy writers’ and artists’ imaginative realms and creatures lend themselves very well to exceptionally bright visual styles. Artists in this style let their imaginations run free instead of being bound by real-world physics or accurate depictions of the universe, and the results are amazing.
Humor comics are comedy trips. They contain hilarious plot lines to amuse and tickle the audience. This comic-style can use slapstick humor or subtle hilarity with some funny one-liners here and there. The end goal, however, is always to lighten the mood and bring forth positive vibes. Some famous humor comics include Angry Birds, Zombie Tramp, and the Simpsons.
The non-fiction art style is used by creators who want to depict real-world situations through art and special characters. Non-fiction cartooning has flourished as a suitable medium for investigating real-world themes and the textures of real-life experience, from science to politics, history to health care.
Slice-of-life comic books and graphic novels depict real human life in insightful ways. These can include autobiographies, love dramas, and historical fiction, among other things. While these comics can be thrilling and dramatic, the tale often focuses on something easily relatable to the reader.
While slice-of-life comics are famous among manga publications, they are also gaining appeal in western comics, particularly among older adolescents and people looking for a meditative read.
Many comic strip styles and genres cater to various individual interests. They provide opportunities for comic artists to share jokes, prolonged telenovela series, political comedy, imaginary parallel worlds, and historical morsels. Most also offer tacit or explicit comments on real, relatable life situations. Regardless of the comic style, the end goal is to help the reader comprehend the underlying personal, political, and cultural perspectives and leanings of the characters in the play.
Want to make comics of your own? Checkout some of our guides on what makes a great story.
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