So far this year has turned out to be pretty productive. Even though I have to tend to a lot of off line, non-comic related things (specifically art and writing for my wedding in June) that doesn’t mean I have completely put off doing anything comic related. This week I am putting my nose to the grind stone in order to get book two from Robot Friday completed. Cats in Space and other such nonsense should be up on the site by the end of the month. I also plan to get more comics posted to the site as well, just not as regular – for this month – as it should be. That brings me to the point of this post.
As I worked on Monday’s comic I spotted an opportunity for a blog post about line tangents. Tangents occur in geometry when a straight line just touches a curved line, when this happens it is called a Tangent. For the most part (at least according to me) tangents in art are a bad thing. I know that there are exceptions to the rule, but if I spot a tangent in my artwork I try to fix it if I can. Below is an example of a tangent from the Black Eye Pea strip and how I fixed it.
You can see that Hugo’s hand is just barely touching his stomach line. That is where the tangent is taking place and, believe it or not, your readers will subconsciously notice it and feel a little bit uneasy about your artwork. There is a large amount of psychology that goes into graphic design and illustration that working artists need to be aware of. Tangents can make your audience, readers or clients turn away from or reject designs without them even understanding why they don’t like the piece, but they just feel uneasy about the art and a large part of the feeling is taking place in their mind because of the tangent.
You can also see what I did to fix this bad tangent. It was a pretty simple fix and all I had to do was pull Hugo’s hand back just a little bit. Not only did it fix the tangent but it also make for a better looking composition inside the body shape and made his actions a little bit easier to read.
Tangents are easy to over look – especially for artists that may just be starting out or working on tight deadlines – but they are something you need to strive to be mindful of. For the most part, a tangent may not be that detrimental to your work most of the time, but keeping tangents to a minimum will help give your artwork a more polished and cohesive look overall.