What happens when a comic book artist with a very specific style approaches their work from an entirely different angle? Sometimes, the process of shifting the artist’s paradigm creates some of their strongest work. Tradd Moore’s illustration on the comic Zero, published by Image Comics, is unlike anything he’s done before. Written by Ales Kot with colors by Jordie Bellaire, the comic follows the story of Edward Zero, a spy who suddenly realizes he’s been working on the wrong side. This week’s mini-comics masterclass, Strip Panel Naked, continues with the third part of an ongoing conversation between host Hass Otsmane-Elhaou and artist Tradd Moore, and the two move from talking about free flowing comic action and non-traditional comic book layouts to a severe shift in style for Moore on Zero.
The new webisode focuses on a page drawn by Moore with a sixteen panel grid. “Compared to his other work,” Otsmane-Elhaou introduces in the video, “this page and this book stand out as something a little different, so Tradd and I delve into its composition, themes, panel choices, and working with the awesome Jordie Bellaire.”
And though it’s a huge departure, Moore explains, “You don’t want to get so wrapped up in whatever your aesthetic is that you can’t get your aesthetic across in different ways.” And it’s key to remember that comic illustrators don’t create in a vacuum, so if the artist’s usual aesthetic doesn’t mesh with the writing on the page, something’s got to give. “Ales, with this issue,” says Moore, “had very specific ideas with wanting to play a lot with grids. So even sometimes when he wouldn’t say exactly what was going on in detail with each panel, he would always, every page would start off with how many panels were on that page and whether or not it was a grid.”
To learn how Tradd Moore went on to create a work that was out of his comfort zone, and for tips on how to collaborate and push oneself and one’s own art, watch the full video essay/conversation below: