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Creating Comics: Declan Shalvey reveals Moon Knight creation secrets

Over on YouTube, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou is the man behind Strip Panel Naked, a great series of “How To” videos analysing and breaking down comics art in detail, which includes items featuring Mike Mignola and Jordie Bellaire. His latest is the first of a series of Creators Edition special episodes – the first part of a chat with Declan Shalvey, artist for Marvel, DC and Image Comics, whose credits include Injection, Civil War II and, currently, All Star Batman.

In the video, Hassan and Declan talk through a page in Issue #1 of his Moon Knight run with Warren Ellis and Jordie Bellaire.

Moon Knight #1 - Splash

Moon Knight #1 - Street Scene

“I’ve had a lifelong love of comic books, and used to run IndieReviews back in 2006, which was a website looking at small press comics in the UK,” Hassan says of the project. “Now I work as a video editor and cameraman in between busy bouts of reading comics.

“I started ‘Strip Panel Naked’ because I wanted to see more in-depth analysis on comics and comic art. The response has been amazing, and has already started fostering more discussion.

“A lot of artists and writers in comics are often working with invisible tools,” he continues. “Controlling eyelines, reading speed, the way you understand character relationships and action. It’s a very unique art form, because like cinema it’s entirely visuals-based, but unlike cinema, you don’t have as much direct control on your audience. You have to utilise a lot of clever tricks to get your audience to do what you want them to, without it ever really feeling forced.

Moon Knight #1 - Titles“That’s what ‘Strip Panel Naked’ is all about. Each video is around 5-10 minutes, focusing on a particular issue and theme within that issue. That way we can really look in-depth at what and how the artist/writer/creative is doing.

So I’ve looked at topics such as Declan Shalvey Creating a Good Action ComicDavid Aja‘s Panel Density, and how Chris Samnee Controls Movement.

“A few times a week I also do breakdowns of interesting comic pages I’ve noticed. These are found on twitter (@HassanOE) but archived on this page, too.”

At the moment Hassan is releasing one video a week, each Saturday, but if he gets more support for the project over on Patreon that may mean, with the extra Patreon rewards, he’ll take a little longer in the coming months, and work on a 10-day or fortnightly schedule. Do check out his Patreon page if this is a project you’d like to back.

“Anything you can donate, whatever amount, goes into allowing more time to make these videos,” says Hassan. “From research, to editing, to creating the additional content. I really want ‘Strip Panel Naked’ to help foster conversation about the medium, and help myself and others get a deeper understanding of it all.”

Check out the Strip Panel Naked project here on YouTube

If you lie what you see, then consider supporting Hassan’s work on Patreon | Follow Hassan on Twitter @HassanOE where he also breaks down interesting comic pages as part of furthering his comic creation conversation

Find Declan Shalvey on tumblr | Follow Declan Shalvey on Twitter @declanshalvey

Moon Knight © Marvel Comics

About John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative" who is currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 25 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary, including DEATH'S HEAD II and WARHEADS. At Marvel he wrote strips for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, THUNDERCATS, DOCTOR WHO and co-created SHADOW RIDERS with Brian Williamson and Ross Dearsley. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. He has written comics for Marvel UK, Judge Dredd Megazine, Lucky Bag Comic, CGL (an Italian publisher), STRIP Magazine and ROK Comics; and edited some of Titan's British comics collections including Dan Dare and Charley's War. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.
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