The Sunday page
Each syndicate has certain requirements for the sizes and layouts of their Sunday pages which must be kept in mind if you plan to submit work to them. For instance, here is a Sunday “Penny” as it was drawn by Harry Haenigsen in black and white, but scaled down to fit the size of our book.
This, enlarged, would fill a half-page space in the Sunday paper. But, some papers want the feature in one-third page size and the syndicate must supply them. You notice that the entire upper line of drawing with the heading leads into the story, but is not vital to it. This line can be cut off, leaving the two bottom lines — which, with a small type-set heading, would then exactly fit one-third of a newspaper page. Mr. Haenigsen had to keep this in mind as he developed his gag. For the tabloid page size, photo-prints of the drawing are rearranged to make the over-all layout deeper than it is wide.
Usually any good black and white drawing will look well when it is colored. It pays, however, to keep color in mind when drawing Sunday pages. Careful attention to areas of whites and blacks can make a world of difference in the drawing when reproduced in color. Notice how economical of pen shading Mr. Haenigsen is in “Penny,” and how carefully he spots his blacks. This results in good, crisp color reproduction.
In making the printing plates, the engraver works from the master black and white drawing and a color giddy.. This color guide is a photo-stat of the drawing the size it will appear in the paper, and colored with water colors, colored inlOs or aniline dyes. Most syndicates have special artists who do nothing but make the color guides for the engraver and printer. However, some of the top men, Harry Haenigsen and Milton Caniff among them, insist on making their own color guides. The results justify their extra work.
Because of the syndicates’ production costs and the continual battle for space in the color comic pages, a newcomer’s chances of winning acceptance in this field right off the bat are very slim.
The usual procedure is for a cartoonist to build up a good backlog of readership with a daily strip or panel. When the editors feel that the demand is great enough, they will invite him to add a Sunday page to his chores. A number of magazine cartoonists have entered the Sunday comics via this system, but it is usually an invitation-only affair. Very few Sunday pages have leaped into the spotlight full-blown and stayed there.
A sense of color, Iike your composition sense, of which it is a part, is a personal thing which grows with use. As a cartoonist, most of your work will be done in black and white for black and white reproduction, and that is what this course is designed to teach you. But, on that happy day when your editors are ready to spend all that money for four-color plates of your work — be prepared.
Compose for your story
Here are two panels Milton Caniff drew to illustrate this business of composition for cartoonists. In the first he drew the scene in detail, spelling everything out pictorially. In the second panel most of the detail was omitted, leaving just enough to get the idea across. Also, moving the camera right up behind the rifleman’s shoulder puts the reader closer to the action, and gives him that important feeling of participation. Both panels are well composed, but the second is much better for the purpose. The important thing is to add power and clarity to the story. In case your Russian is rusty, the balloon reads: “The Americans
have taken the city — this way!”
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