I have a few favorite bands, but there are probably just two that I am obsessed with. R.E.M. is one of those bands. I try to track down as much of their music as I can. Sure, I have all their studio albums, live albums and all that, but I love tracking down random songs that popped up on soundtracks, b-sides, demos and alternate versions of songs. I have a ton of R.E.M. stuff. I love finding a “new” song that was left off an album. Some of those outtakes are some of my favorite songs by them.
As a cartoonist, I’ve always identified with musicians about the creative process and how they look at their work. I felt very much like a musician this past week when I unearthed an Uptown Girl “outtake”. In 2012, I published ‘Uptown Girl – Little Adventures’. It collected about 30 short stories. Some of the stories were a page long, some were much longer. I had a lot of fun working on it but I was excited to start the next book, which would become ‘A Long Forgotten Fairytale’, which is out this May.
I had started a story that I expected to be around 40 pages or so. I had completed 9 pages of it before I set it aside and moved onto the next book. The other day I was going through some older artwork and I stumbled upon it. I was struck by how different the artwork was when I compared it to the page I had finished the night before.
This drawing is taken from the book I am working on now, which should be out in May of 2015.
The difference in the pages are pretty extreme. I had started to play around with a new page format, and the older story stuck to the standard panel format. I also did the older page on a smaller scale than what I work with now. The older story’s original artwork is about half the size I work with currently. There was also more crosshatching and I wasn’t doing a highlight in Uptown Girl’s boot (see the first panel in the first drawing). I was also using a brush for the spots that would be all black, whereas these days I rely on Photoshop.
I thought about redrawing these pages (or re-recording them if I were a musician) but I decided to keep them as is. I’ll finish the story using the same techniques, style and size as I did a couple years ago. I think it might be fun. I am probably wrong.