Being a cartoonist is a lot of fun. But it is also a lot of work. There are times when I am feeling lazy and I know I am not drawing something as well as I know I could. Sometimes I can cover up my laziness, like when I don’t feel like drawing a background, for example. I can simply color the rest of the panel black and be done with it. I know I shouldn’t do that, but it gets boring drawing the same scenery time and time again. Uptown Girl’s new book (The Long Forgotten Fairytale) takes place in a different location than Minneapolis and much of it happens in a forest. I hope to God I never have to draw another tree again.
On one hand, being lazy can save time, but more often than not, it ends up taking more time. When I sit down to draw, the first thing I do is look at what I drew the previous day. If I look at something and I know I was being lazy or if I know I can draw it better, I will likely end up redrawing it.
Last night’s drawing was a perfect example of being lazy. But in this case I was able to justify it. Here’s the finished page, before the lettering:
Not bad. I like it. I like the panel layout, I like the panel in the bottom left corner where it’s not really a panel. I like the stark contrast of the black and white. Yes, there are no backgrounds, but this scene takes place at night and…I am so tired of drawing the zoo this story takes place in.
But this is the page before I played around with it:
This is what the page looked like when I was done drawing for the night. If you compare the two, you’ll notice a few things:
The drawing on the right has a huge blank space in the lower right corner, perfect for one more panel. The left drawing it’s not as obvious as I lowered two panels and the layout and the negative space looks intentional.
It looks like I did this to avoid drawing one more panel. And that would be true. But I try to make each page I draw more or less self contained. The next thing that happens in the story takes place in a different scene and I don’t want to introduce a new scene or revert back to a character on the last panel of the page. Unless I want to and it serves the story. Doing that here wouldn’t make sense and the shift would be a little jarring. Were I to add a a panel to this page, it would end up being redundant or pointless.
I did stare at the page trying to think of SOMETHING to add, though. I think I stared at the page longer than it took to draw it.
Oh! This weekend is Springcon. I hope you can come. I will be there with copies of the new Uptown Girl book.