Monday, November 24, 2008

Accidental Epiphanies

These Sky strips have been enlightening. Because I had to change direction, I went a bit more experimental. While I scripted a draft of the comic, I chose to let the art and tone decide the dialog. A control freak letting go a bit? Woah.

What was supposed to be a straightforward Sky sarcasm strip ended up with a lot more character. Bud and Jacob got pushed off panel as the focus of the strip shifted to Sky chasing around the many Et children. The punchline was a lot more Sky than before. This time she happily lets the boys go off to destroy her daughter because it means she has one less kid to supervise! THAT'S the Sky I know! Her words always have an adorable darkness to them.

It also separates the characters of Ivy and Sky a bit. The two are quite similar in how they deal with the kids, so showing off Sky's dark side works. (In the panel preceeding the ones shown here, we see Sky has tossed her children in a room and locked the door.) Ivy is the standard "knowing and sarcastic parent" in the strip. She understands the minds of the kids better than anyone - allowing her to get right to the point - while Sky has to ask questions. By throwing in some subtle indicators, it helps characterize the parents until they get a story of their own.

Another symptom of experimenting: More complex drawings! Do you see that background? Is it not awesome? It's not, but it's there! Sometimes the complexity doesn't come from the drawing, but rather in the little things that happen when ideas are put on paper. In the first panel show here, Jacob wasn't supposed to be in it. I added him because he got cropped from the previous strip and I needed to show him as being there. The result: Bud's eyes (which were supposed to show a generic eye roll) and gesture seem to implicate Jacob as a foolish child. Ouch. That's harsh. It's also hilariously appropriate! The casual condemnation of Jacob continues!

Finally, I have suffered the consequences of casual math. I've been using pre-printed templates for the comic, which told me where to draw the lines. Then I shifted to a superior, cheaper and easier to procure template! Instead of giving me a direct template, it presented a ruler with a few notations. Since I'm doing four panel work, I threw in my seperators around the quarter markings. Last night I decided to line a few templates for the future. About halfway through I, for the first time, looked at the ruler markings for the first time. Because I was lazy and never did the math in my head, I've been drawing my lines an eighth of an inch off!

The strips are 13 inches long. The breaks are a quarter inch. There are three breaks in a four panel strip. That leaves a quarter inch to burn. I had noticed in my first templates of the first and third panels were slightly larger than the others, and I always wondered why. Obviously, it's so one can stack the four panels and have it appear correct. As I have been drawing them, the extra eighth of an inch was in the middle panels, which would screw up any stacking attempt. Worse, my being off in my lining put another eight of an inch in the already larger panels. This won't be noticable unless the strip is stacked - and I don't plan to do that - but the perfectionist in me cringes for that screw up. I'm not bothered enough to change the already-drawn templates, but I shall correct it in the future! Strips #27-38 will just have to be tainted forever.

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