It's March now, and that means I'm more than halfway to my first deadline. So where do things stand?
Well, let's start with that first deadline itself: The thumbnails. The good news is that I have five pages pretty well nailed down. The layouts of some of them still need some work, but I've budgeted for that. That's what the separate layouts step is for.
The bad news is that I'm stuck on page 6. So far, every page has been a single story beat. Page one (of which I've already shown some draft thumbnails) shows the sorceress ambushing someone. Page two is a fight scene. Page three is a couple actions, but basically one story beat. Page four is another beat. Page five is a location change. Page six…?
It feels like mostly more connective tissue. Most or all of it would be devoted to moving the sorceress around the new location. But skipping it doesn't feel right, and without it, I'm not sure if things will line up right to get the last page looking the way I want. (I haven't nailed down how many pages will go in between yet, but I do have a fairly good idea of what the last page looks like.)
It just occurred to me as I was summarizing: Page five is more an establishing shot than a story beat. Nothing actually happens on that page other than the sorceress moving from one location to another. Perhaps that's the problem. I'm going to try trimming it down and combining pages 5 and 6, and see if I like that better. That might mean I can end the story on page 6. Or it may be page 7. I'll have to kill a darling, but maybe I can do a postmortem or something showcasing deleted content (or, if I get really ambitious, use it in a sequel).
As I said last time, this hasn't been all thumbnails all the time. I've also done a little bit of environment concept art. Sadly it was for that bit that I just decided to try to cut, so it probably won't be used.
On the bright side, I have put together a (more or less) proper model sheet for the main character. It's good enough to get the job done, anyway, despite some lingering anatomy issues. I had the bright idea to draw just half of the front-view, then mirror it in Krita/Photoshop/whatever. I hadn't noticed that the farther down I got from the head, the more the body sort of drifted away from the center line. It looked really weird after I mirrored it. I think I have it mostly fixed. Next time, I'll just do the front view all-digitally, so I can use Krita's mirroring tool from the start.
While working on that, I made some progress toward giving the sorceress an actual, recognizable face with plausible anatomy. A little reference turns out to go a long way!
The model sheet is currently a bit more, er, naked than I like to post, but I'll try to share it once I have a draft of the costume design. I've made a little progress on that front. The original design had a weird overlap in the front. This was my attempt to keep it from being a blatant Legend of Zelda knockoff, but doesn't really make sense either functionally or in terms of whether she could afford to waste fabric like that. So I'm working on a more traditional tunic design based (semi-loosely) on some pictures of actual medieval clothing. I'm also just going to lose those weird arm guard things. Given what we'll see in the comic, she doesn't really need them.
That pretty much wraps up what I've done so far. So where to from here?
I'll give you another report when I reach the first deadline, unless something cool and share-worthy happens in the meantime.