John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

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Monday Morning at the Drawing Table ... WTF?

Hooray for Presidents' Day! Saturday went by in a flash, but Sunday was a loooooong day, and I wasn't ready to face the world before 9:30.

But ... it's Monday! (Ack!)

But ... it's a three-day weekend! (*shaft of light beams down, angels proclaim "Halleluiah!"*)

Yesterday was spent mostly fighting with my old HP Pavilion, which still manages to have some files on it I need to transfer, doing laundry, and updating finances that haven't been properly attended to since last June. Yeeks. But I also did the rough draft for my Carpe Diem story.

I attended a panel at Dragon*Con by a professional comic book artist (whose name escapes me now, but he's worked for Marvel, D.C., Dark Horse, et al.). His layout technique is to take a sheet of ordinary typing paper, fold it into quarters, and do thumbnail roughs on that. Among other things, a quarter sheet isn't as intimidating as a big ol' 10 x 15 sheet of bristol! And doing it this way gives you an eye for how the whole page will look when put together -- so you don't fixate so much on a single panel or a "money shot" that the rest of the page has to be squeezed in around it.

So, I gave it a shot, and it really works! I'm pretty happy with the layouts I came up with. This is the second time I've ever done anything in comic-book format ... the first time was for the 2000 Fight Night Comics Crossover. That time I just did six identical-sized panels on every page, basically doing a stacked version of a comic strip instead of a proper comics page. Some of that was inexperience, but mostly it was because I was in a hurry -- I had all of a weekend to do three? four? pages! (It still came out a lot better than I expected.) But with CD, I'm going to go ahead and do it right. After all, I'm going to be up there next to redkam, who is incredible. 0.o At first I was going to try to match her character designs as closely as possible, but I just can't do it, I come off as a bad copy. So I'm going to make my own character models and just do the whole thing in my own style.

So today, I start doing the actual drawing. I've made an interesting discovery: artistically speaking -- and by no means do I intend to slight comic book artists here -- comic books are SO MUCH EASIER than comic strips, holy crap! So much SPACE! So much FLEXIBILITY! Such TINY, TINY WORD BALLOONS! For this comic, I'll be drawing sixteen panels ... some are HYOOGE, some are teeny. No monotony of "panel - panel - panel" here! This isn't even a particularly ground-breaking layout. Compared to redkam's or cody_frost's, it's remarkably pedestrian. But for somebody who usually has to work with the same three or four rectangles day in and day out, this is like a walk on the wild side!

I always kinda suspected it to be the case, but I didn't really get the full truth of it until now. It's ... quite a revelation!

-The Gneech
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