Line by Line

WIP Report: Necessity: Page 2 Progress with the Wrong Layout

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Tags: art, comics, Necessity comic, WIP report




I've been making pretty slow progress on the next page of the comic, and I've been fairly quiet about it because I don't want to spam everyone with incremental updates. But I just encountered a not-insignificant setback, so I think now's a good time for a progress report.

Back when I finished the thumbnails, you may recall, I said:

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.

So here's the problem: When I started working on the layout for page 2, I used the old thumbnail instead of the re-drawn one, and didn't notice until long after I'd started work on the pencils. In fact, the only reason I caught the error at all is that I was going back through my blog working on layout updates. I saw the part quoted above and realized that the page I was drawing did not begin with a medium shot of Viola. In the first row of panels, all you can see is her hand:

A panel of the squire charging at Viola, sword raised, and a panel of her catching the sword. Only her hand is seen in both panels, surrounded by a fire-like magic effect.

So I now have to replace those two panels with these three from the revised thumbnail:

Thumbnail panels: A medium shot of Viola with the nobleman behind her on the ground, the squire charging without Viola's hand visible, and Viola catching the sword at a different angle.

Losing panel 2 is no big deal, since I never really was quite happy with the magic effect and I'm pretty sure the blade is way out of proportion to her hand.

I'm a little sadder about panel 1, since it was the most complete panel so far. I was pretty proud of that hand, too. I'm hoping I can salvage part of the angry sword man, though obviously he needs some work too. I guess I'll find out, but the change has to be made either way. No point crying over spilled milk.

As a bonus, here's my first attempt at drawing his face in a later panel. It's not too bad, but the expression is completely wrong. Drawing expressions is hard.

A sketch of an anthropomorphic lion face with a cartoonishly exasperated expression

So how's the rest of the page going? Well, I'm spinning my wheels trying to get a grass-dirt transition looking passable and I'm about halfway done with a figure in panel four (soon to be five) but there's not a single background that's done yet. Overall, I'd say I had penciled about 32% of what the page would have looked like based on the earlier thumbnail. With re-drawing the top row, I'm maybe 11 or 12% done with the final page, not counting the extra work of combining the two sheets of paper into a single page somehow.