I promise not to make this a space for self-deprecation, low-expectations, and regret, but there's a lot of clutter to be cleared in 1x07 "Indolent Insolence" and some difficulties need to be discussed. I started work on this page over half a year ago. The distended, six-month production time was complicated by some life changes, but also some legitimate poor choices. Errors, as errors do, have revealed to me what I value in this work and how I am going to rearrange my priorities going forward. So, full steam into this month's Full Bleed!
I wanted to try out a lot of new things with this page. After multiple two-hander entries, I knew I was building towards a group scene. I wanted to push the contents of a page with multiple panel types: top-down, panorama, repetition with subtle variations, gutter breaks for emphasis. All of this built to my largest page yet. Despite my sober opener, I am happy with quite a bit of it, particularly the faux-panorama in the second line, with its shift of perspective, and the Eve/Magda split panel exchange after it. It all required a lot of planning, measuring, remeasuring, and subtle nudging when the placement was not yet so. That level of design thought is important to me because I think of it as scaffolding. The more thought put into the layout, the more confident I am with its design; the more confident I am with its design, the better I know the pictorial and literal theme of the page; the better I know theme, the more intelligently and effectively I can stage the characters, choose the colors, weight the lines, etc. There are, however, a lot of things I would have liked to push further that I had to call "Time" on or obligate myself to another two months. In the end, I had to remind myself "This is a webcomic". By this, I don't mean that I should settle for less, but that webcomics are always evolving from entry to entry. Looking back just two pages, I can see massive leaps in quality in my work; no doubt you've looked back on your own work or work you enjoy and noticed a similar change. It is one my favorite aspects of the medium: You're as good as your last page, but, in six months, that page will be the middle of a twelve page, progressive portfolio. So, as I round into some of the faults and make changes accordingly, it's only a matter of time and my action that keeps me from resolving them.
Rendering. It's going to have to be the first thing to go. In this specific page, it went wrong because I ignored some basic principles of blocking light and winged it--which always costs you more time in corrections--but regardless, I need to simplify things greatly. For something that I'm trying to produce in relatively short form, it is the worst investment of time, as it requires a lot of skill and effort to make look good. When you've 22 panels of mostly soft, complex figurative forms, with a detailed level of inks, complexity quickly stacks up into complication. I'm not abandoning the idea entirely; I just feel that I need to return to the ground level, calibrate for my goals, and build back up, instead of thinking that I am going to magic-up Lackadaisy-level work right out of the gate.
Length. Where rendering was issue of poor planning and unchecked growth, length just makes things longer. This one is less concrete because there will be some pages that require length to sell the concept or an action or inherent drama, but I will be making a conscious effort to limit myself to a third of what 1x07 ended up being. That brevity will allow me to concentrate on what is inside a more manageable assortment of panels.
Figures. A lot of seated figures, so it's a little hard to assess, but I started making this comic because I like heightened character designs and I would like how far they can be pushed to heighten emotion without a reader losing investment. If you're following my Instagram, you'll probably see some of those exercises popping up.
Writing. Another semi-conscious choice. As I started this project, I had a soft idea of its shape and mostly in pictures, at that, so the first few pages were sparse on dialogue and exposition. I think I am going to hang onto some of that--visual medium, and all--but the world will be expanding sooner rather than later and I will be focusing on tightening up my script game.
That covers most of the major points. This Full Bleed carries the burden of being the first entry, with all of the incumbent preamble ramble, so look for further entries to be more present, informative, and fun as I hit my clip. Thank you to all my readers!
Be well, make well.