< Piro >
Sunday - October 1, 2006
There are all sorts of reasons that MT comics seem to take me anywhere from 5 to 12 to 600 hrs to draw. it puts a real wild card on my production schedule that has been irritating me (and you) for years. In looking at my processes, i find that i end up doing a lot of drawing that doesn't show up in the comic - Lots of things get cropped, covered by word bubbles, entire drawings get discarded, etc. Also, by doing all of the frames separately i feel like i often have problems with adjacency, flow... i spend time trying to balance and crop things in frames to get some sense of balance to the page. It's a system that works, but is beginning to feel really hackneyed to me. I decided that i want to experiment a little with how i actually make comics that might result in a little more efficiency, better layouts, and a better sense of control over the finished product.
While the layouts of MT comics aren't bad, they are pretty static. 3x3x3 or 2x2x2x2 with only slight variations. Part of what causes this is the roughly standardized rectangles that i create the frames in, often with only a vague idea of the frame's placement on the page. The result is that each frame is very much a 'next shot' kind of thing, and i loose many opportunities to adjust flow and different senses of time.. It suits the rather cinematic approach things that i have, but i have often wanted to try to meld my layouts together a little better, to make things even more readable.
To that end, i spent a chunk of yesterday playing with drawing everything on a single sheet of 11x17 paper. Luckily, they make Bright White inkjet paper in 11x17 :P I'm a true creature of habit, and having to rethink all of this has been a lot for my little brain to wrap itself around, but it's feeling like it should work fairly well. Yes, i've started over several times :P
My hope is that i'll have a better sense of the entire comic as i'm drawing it, and it also forces me to nail down the layout beforehand - i have this bad tendency to get stuck in my struggle to layout a particular comic and just start drawing. I've created a lot of really good comics this way, but the better ones have always been planned out.
So, anyways, it's delaying this comic, but i'm hoping that in the end i'll have a far more reliable system for creating these damn things. The next comic should be telling. I'm going to work on this today and over the weekend and see how well it all comes together. Thanks for your patience.
(Oh, don't expect wild and crazy layouts - for now, i'm keeping it simple. Not only because i don't want there to be a drastic break between this and previous comics, but because i need to get a feel for the process. to date i have never done a comic this way. And go figure - this is how comics are normally done. :P Oh, and i am NOT using fancy layout paper either - just normal bright white inkjet paper as always.)