Second Guessing

I am working on wrapping up the Photoshop work on “A Long Forgotten Fairytale” and writing and drawing a new story, to be included in the NEXT book.  I am not very far on the new story but I am really liking the writing so far.  It’s pretty funny, I think.  I was excited to start something new since the fairytale book was restarted twice as I was working on it.

Redoing pages and panels…or whole stories is a humbling experience.  Nothing makes you second guess your talents than having to redo something.  I mean, I’ve been drawing all my life, and have been doing Uptown Girl stories for over ten years.  Redoing something really annoys me.  I’ll redo something for various reasons.  If I redraw something because the first time I drew I was in a bit of a rush, well that’s one thing.  But when I look at something I did and I redo because IT SUCKS, well, that’s another thing.

Something that I pay attention to when I draw is if I am bored while I draw it.  The best stuff comes when I am excited.  But the story I’ve been working on now is making me bored, and it shows.  I might not even know I’m bored or it sucks for a couple days.

For example, look at page 1 from the current story.  Mind you, I haven’t cleaned it up in Photoshop yet or bordered off the panels, but you get the idea:

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Nothing too terrible about it.  Typical Uptown Girl story….simple drawing, minimum background, some crosshatching…but as I did more pages, I realized that I was bored drawing it.  I was bored of the layout.  I was bored drawing panel after panel after panel.  Which kind of scared me.  I mean, that’s what comics are, drawing panel after panel after panel.  My technique was also off.  I am not the best crosshatcher in the world, but it seemed that I was getting worse.  I noticed I was using crosshatching as a bit of a cheat to make the panel more interesting than it really was.

So I moped around for a day, and I decided I had better figure something out.  I am not done with doing Uptown Girl comics, or comics at all.  So I sat in my studio and looked at comics.  Some of the inspiration for the “new” Uptown Girl stories that started with 2011’s “Big City Secrets” was drawn from Kevin Cannon…

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Stan Sakai…

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and, to an extent, R. Crumb.

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I loved the texture, I love the crosshatching.  And it worked well for a while.  So I went the opposite way this time.  I looked at artwork that was deceptively simple, no texture, just solid back and white work,  James Kochalka, for example:

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…Paul Grist…

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…and Joost Swarte.

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I thought I’d give it a shot with Uptown Girl, at least for this story.  So I am…sigh…redrawing the whole thing.  This time I am only 8 pages in, as opposed to 70 when I restarted ‘A Long Forgotten Fairytale’ the second time.

So here’s the NEW page one.  I am also playing around with the panel format a bit.  I think I am heading down the right path, I am excited to draw each night…and that hasn’t happened for a while.

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And to the 6 people who read this blog, let me know what you think!

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