Thumbnailing is usually the easiest part of a project for me. I don't have to sweat the details and can focus on just getting ideas down on paper. Itís the most creative part of the process, and I havenít managed to ďcorrectĒ all the energy out of it yet.
So I actually got these pretty close to finished a couple weeks ago. I decided to wait awhile and look back over them with fresh eyes just to make sure I hadn't missed any big problems, and I'm glad I did! Once I stitched all my "final" thumbnails together and read through them as a single comic, it dawned on me that the reader doesn't get a good look at the sorceress—the ostensible main character—until halfway through the comic.
In a very early draft, I had intentionally not shown her face until even later, but I feel like that signals to readers that she's not the main character, except in the same sense as the title "characters" of movies like Twister, Volcano, and Jaws. I don't want anyone to feel cheated when it shifts to her POV. So I redrew the beginning of page 2 to give her a nice medium shot establishing what she looks like.
I also had to rework page 3 a little to improve its pacing. That probably doesn't mean anything to you since I'm pretty sure I haven't shown or mentioned anything from page three. Just trust me, it's an improvement.
As for page five onward, I tried cutting most of the page like I mentioned in the previous update, and I like how it turned out. I have the pacing of rest of the comic figured out and itís flowing pretty well. Itís still pretty much following the one-story-beat-per-page rule. I'm now at seven pages total.
My goal with the pacing is to achieve the kind of feeling I get reading MAiZ, one of my favorite Webcomics. Each page leaves you eager for the next one, but still feels satisfying because thereís something happening on every page. I canít remember a MAiZ page that felt like padding or an artificial cliffhanger. My one-beat-per-page rule is my (admittedly somewhat artificial) way of approximating that feeling.
Beyond the thumbnails, I've made some progress on the sorceress' costume design. Still have to research period-appropriate shoes, though. I've also more or less finished the design of one of the bigger bits of set-dressing, which is also one of the few pieces of scenery I actually have to invent from whole cloth.
The next step is to get cracking on the rest of the location designs and set dressing stuff. It should be fairly simple, mundane stuff, but there will still be some work and research involved. After that, of course, costume designs. Then come the hard parts: Nailing down the compositions, and hammering everything into final drawings.