I actually finished this one by Monday, since I was so excited to draw it. Again, this was with the pencil tool and lots of redrawing, as opposed to reusing panels. I think that’s something that makes making this comic more fun, is the actual drawing of it. This sounds silly, I know, but what I mean is that there’s a lot more minutia that I have to focus on in order to make things work. Whether it’s drawing the background, making sure the inking is on the right layer so it’ll show up behind or inside the blobs, coloring, word balloons, etc, it’s never quite as fun as the actual drawing.
All right, now here comes some kind of dense comic theory type stuff, so you can cut out if that doesn’t interest you:
I want to talk about the first three panel make up. Readers should always read left to right, then top to bottom, just like they would in a book. This is made easiest when the panels line up in an orderly fashion (like the lower panels). The top three are confusing, because the reader doesn’t know if they should go to the right panel first, or to the lower panel first. I did this on purpose to create a sense of circling as the reader tries to navigate it, spending more time on those panels, when in all reality I wrote them to be read in either order. In retrospect, I don’t think I would do it again unless I had a better story or thematic reason to do so.
I also want to talk about using the uniform square panels repeating. After doing the panels as such for this comic, I’m not sure I like them. Their uniform nature does tend to make the eye wander, again leaving it curious which direction to go next (though certainly not to the same degree as the upper panels). I think this level of uniformity would be good for lists. What I mean by this is a series of a variety of objects or different states of a specific object, thus making the focus not on linear storytelling, but on what the key differences (or similarities) the object/s have in common. Sorry, that last sentence was a doozy. Frank Miller’s Sin City: The Hard Goodbye does this when listing off the weapons he picked up, with each panel having a simple object and a description, nothing more, and it works brilliantly. I really feel like the innate squareness is a key factor here–if nine rectangular panels were repeated I’m not sure the effect would be the same–but maybe it’s just me.