Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Another test page

After talking to jordangreywolf and koogrr further about the 24-hour comic idea, I decided to try a different approach with my next test page.

Greywolf mentioned that, if he ever did one, he'd do it all in silhouettes. This reminded me that my favorite black-and-white pieces are heavy on the use of black. Koogrr reinforced this with his 'when in doubt, go black' advice.

Now, I am a lousy inker. I am better with color than I ever will be with ink, because I simply don't love black and white enough. But I decided I wanted to try again anyway. So I went to a hobby shop and bought a few cheap ink pens -- I was all set to buy expensive ones, but the shop didn't have any -- including an extra-fat marker for coloring large areas.

I had decided to try not penciling at all, just going straight with inks. Sure, I make lots of mistakes that I can't fix in ink. On the other hand, it's a 24-hour comic, I don't have much time to fix mistakes anyway. I tried a few test panels, untimed, and decided that the straight-ink results were not significantly worse than inking over rushed pencils. Around 10PM, I decided to do another hour-long test.

This time, I turned on the timer with no idea what I was going to draw. No characters, no script, nothing floating around in my head. I'd been planning to do a test page all day, but had deliberately stopped myself from thinking "what will it be about?" (This is surprisingly difficult. On the other hand, it does give me renewed faith in my muse's ability to produce ideas on demand. "Muse! Idea! Now!" "Yes, Mistress! Here you go!")

Still, given that I needed to come up with the idea as well as script and draw it in sixty minutes, I ran with the first concept that popped into my brain.

The biggest disadvantage to the script I used is that I felt like I needed good art to go with it. Since it starts and closes with the words 'she's beautiful', the script rather demands art that lives up to it. My art would be hard-pressed to live up to it with a day of prep time, never mind the forty-five minutes or so that I had left over after jotting out the script.

So, I basically ran out of time with this one, which is why the bottom panel is mostly white. OK, technically all the words and all pictures are there, so I guess it counts, but it's not how I planned for it to look.

Things I learned: the second panel was the best, and I did do a little penciling for it. Originally, I'd told John, "Maybe I'll just do one figure per page with pencils, so that at least one panel will look good." But I think the ideal strategy isn't 'do one figure well in pencil' but rather to do minimal pencils for every panel. Just enough to block in where the figures go, no real details. I think I can manage the details all right in pen (or rather, no worse when I rush them in pen than when I rush them in pencil) but I've got too much of a tendancy to do swoopy lines when drawing on blank white space, and the swoopy lines often swoop through parts that, fifteen seconds later, I'll realize I wanted to leave blank.

Also, I need an even fatter marker (or possibly a brush and ink pot) because it still took too long to make areas solid black. And my current fat marker bleeds into adjacent areas of the same page. Some details got swallowed when I blacked the area next to them and the ink bled over.

The one thing I liked about this page and the previous one was the minimal verbage and lettering in them. I know my lettering is bad, and the thing that irritates me most in a comic is illegible handwriting. So I tried to make the words large and readable, and though there are some iffy spots, I think it's overall easy enough to follow the writing without eyestrain.

I think for my next attempt, I'll use 8"x10.5" paper, because I'm already sick of trying to get my 9x12" page centered on my scanner. Bah.

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