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An Indie Comic Master Uses Brilliant Understated Details to Tell His Story

You don’t have to get flashy in your comic to get the point across.
November 6, 2016, 1:05pm

A panel selection from Preacher #27, illustrated by Steve Dillon, with dialogue and color removed. Screencap via

This week’s session of Strip Panel Naked, the weekly comic masterclass through video, focuses on the incredible, economic storytelling of comic artist Steve Dillon. Dillon, who tragically passed away last month due to complications from a ruptured appendix, was known for illustrating some of the best, edgiest work for DC and beyond. This episode focuses on a single issue of Preacher, which follows a priest in small-town Texas who's been possessed by a supernatural creature. As Strip Panel Naked host Hass Otsmane-Elhaou describes in the video, “Dillon never over complicated his approach. His pages never seem as dynamic on the surface as you might find from other artists. Rarely would you see any crazy angles or characters getting thrown out of panels, or really extravagant panel design.”

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A panel selection from Preacher #27, illustrated by Steve Dillon, with dialogue and color removed. Screencap via

“A big part of his work,” explains Otsmane-Elhaou, “as you can see, is all about facial expressions, and that’s so much to do with why he is economical with his storytelling. He actually doesn’t need very much more than a face to tell you something important.” Dillon’s illustrative technique set the pace of every comic he worked on, far more than most of the writing that actually drove the story. “Dillon will be remembered as one of the best storytellers the comics medium has seen, and rightly so, because all he needed was an eye-level angle, a single point of focus, and his repertoire of facial expressions.”

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Learn more about Dillon’s economy of artwork, and get tips on how to effectively illustrate your own comics, by watching this week’s Strip Panel Naked below:

To see more, visit the Strip Panel Naked YouTube page, and check out its Patreon page to support the series.

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