Consistency throughout a full chapter has been the focus of the last couple of days.
I spread out all the existing pages of chapter six on the floor – eleven so far – and started looking for breaks in continuity. I had a bad after taste after finishing the latest page. It felt like a downer in some way, boring, but I couldn’t easily pinpoint the problem. So with the whole chapter spread out on the floor, together with Silver, I began searching for the missing piece that would make it all better.
There’s a noticeable shift between pages three and four. I had a realisation that I could push myself so much further with better compositions and making more illustrative pages than what I had previously done. I decided to improve the comic’s mood and pacing by reducing the panel count per page by at least couple of panels. Now that I didn’t feel like I was cramming too much information on one page, I could concentrate on more interesting storytelling.
Looking at all the pages simultaneously, I noticed that this change in approach ended up having an impact on consistency of the chapter. Improving the compositions helped the pages immensely, but putting all my effort on the bigger picture and treating the whole page like an illustration made me gradually drop the little details and textures that felt so essencial to the first three pages. Fortunately adding texture is easy enough, it’s the last thing I ink on a page anyway. But the stinky last page still gets a full redo. With an emphasis on better composition AND detailing.
This happens to me sometimes when I focus on a new skill or approach. Since it isn’t like a second nature to me in the beginning, it automatically gets most of my attention. Everything else takes a second place until I’m either fluent in it or I notice the imbalance. I think it’s good to be aware of this when it happens, but to be honest, there probably is a good reason why your brain needs to give learning new skills priority over your old habits. Let it run it’s course and give it time to stabilise. It’ll be all the better when it becomes a part of the normal skill set.
All in all, this was a good reminder to look at the full story in addition to just the individual pages. Like with a painting, step back and look at all the pages simultaneously, you might see something new that wasn’t there when you were zoomed in on one page.
As a little side project I started making a small leather skull-bag. So far I’ve covered a skull replica in plastic wrap, drawn the seam lines and cut the pattern. Hopefully more updates on the progress next week! And check out the creepy picture Silver took: