Crossing the Line

I haven’t been snotty about art for a while.  Let me have my fun.

First, though, a disclaimer: my art isn’t always the best.  I know that.  Sometimes I’m sloppy, sometimes I get anatomy wrong, this that and the other thing.  However, I am not a paid professional.  I’m a perhaps talented amateur teaching himself his craft.

So there’s probably no reasonable excuse for the following cartoon to make its way to a newspaper:

I spotted this over at The Comics Curmudgeon and right away it bothered me.  As it’s not as obvious as some of the art problems I’ve noticed, I had to think about it for a while.  When it did hit, it was sort of like a thunderbolt in my head.

This Mark Trail strip crosses the line.  It breaks the 180 degree rule.

Clicking the last link will give you a better understanding of what I’m talking about, but for convenience’s sake, let me cut and paste a relevant bit:

The 180° rule is a basic guideline in film making that states that two characters (or other elements) in the same scene should always have the same left/right relationship to each other. If the camera passes over the imaginary axis connecting the two subjects, it is called crossing the line. The new shot, from the opposite side, is known as a reverse angle.

A good example of following this rule comes by comparing only the first and third panels, as below

The vet is always on the left side of the pup.  Thus the eye is given the continued impression of the pup running away from the vet.

Now let’s return the second panel to its place, drawing three arrows depicting the pup’s movements according to the presented comic:

Thus, in the second panel, unless the pup is zipping back and forth in the vet’s yard (which the caption suggests she isn’t), the vet is now on the pup’s right side.  Going against the reader’s first look of her and making it look like she’s running towards the vet and not away.

The way the comic should have been presented (and here I’m being my most arrogant) would be something like this:

This way everything moves smoothly from panel to panel in a nice line.

Incidentally, I want the name of that vet.  No way am I taking my puppies to him.  Leaving a door open like that.  May as well push the critter out the door.


5 Replies to “Crossing the Line”

  1. Hmm. But the narration box clearly states that Sassy is headed in the wrong direction. How better to show it?

  2. That’s an interesting point, Uncle Lumpy. I think, though, that with the caption and the third showing a little puppy heading towards the city, you’ve shown her situation without risking confusing the reader.

    Whether or not anyone else noticed this problem, or if it really is a problem at all, is another matter.

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