Saturday, November 28, 2009

hazel manzano's ten commanments for making a successful comic strip series

2009 komikon awards best cartoonist hazel manzano-chua of callwork fame dishes out some solid advice on what to do and not to do (example at left) if you want your four-panel strip to make it to the newspaper comics page.

especially noteworthy, and i think not nearly talked about enough, is tip #9: "Ipa- basa ulit sa mga kamag anak ang na revise mo nang script at drowing. Ganyan talaga kapag nagsisimula... Itapon mga strip na hindi nakakatuwa. Wag manghinayang."

we've got a load of talented artists, a handful of good writers, but practically no editors. and you need all three to make good comics. some disinterested opinion can spell the difference between a self-absorbed, precious work and something truly compelling.

like nathaniel hawthorne said, 'compose in white heat, edit in cold blood'--or at least ask your parents to.

and then there's #7: "Infomercial ba ang ginagawa niyong comic strip? Nakakawalang gana kasi magbasa ng [masyadong mahabang] script..."

the filipino is generally predisposed to wordiness, and comic strips are no exception. if i had a peso for every time i lost interest in a talky strip after the first paragraph, este, panel, i'd be free to do comics full-time.

even established cartoonists are not immune to this plague of glibness.

and finally, manzano-chua's article ends with some hard-nosed, tough love: not everyone is cut out to be a cartoonist.

"Hintayin ang mga reaksyon. More or less kapag may natanggap kang fan mail, isa itong senyales na magiging successful ang comics mo. Ituloy-tuloy mo na. Kapag wala ka pa ring fan mail or anything( reviews, good and bad) most likely sinasabi na sayo ng tadhana na ihinto na at sinasayang mo lang ang panahon mo sa paggawa ng comics."

What are the Elements of a Successful Comic Strip? by hazel manzano-chua


Anonymous said...

Who is Hazel Manzano to dish out advice? What she said is true though. A good cartoon strip needs a good editor. In her case, it's either her editor is blind or incompetent for work like this to see print. How did she get her job at the newspaper when her work is this bad? The figure work is bad, the composition is bad, and the perspective is bad. The writing is her saving grace, but good cartooning is not all about writing. Set her work beside someone like Pol Medina, Roni Santiago, Jess Abrera, Manix Abrera and tell me you are not puzzled by this as I am. Does she not see this? Isn't she ashamed to call herself a cartoonist when she draws like this? It's a disgrace to Philippine cartooning!

If she makes money out of this then good for her. Pero look the drawing. Diyos ko Hazel, mahiya ka naman. Pagandahin mo ang gawa mo!

-Nathan V.

mcoy said...


i think being published in a major daily--the cartoonist's holy grail--is plenty of qualification for hazel to dish out advice, pretty drawings or no. the fact that the bulletin approached her for publication makes her especially qualifed.

"good cartooning is not all about writing"-- i disagree. there have been hit comics with mediocre art (dilbert,xkcd) and great writing, but never one where the reverse is true.

Mark said...

Nice article po. Really helpful!
Wow, may nagagalit na po kay ate Hazel... ibig sabihin sikat na talaga siya! Congrats po and keep up the good work! Hinihintay na namin ang next Callworks

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