So this is the first page of Uptown Girl-The Lazarus Heart:
No wait, this is:
Sure, they look pretty similar, but here’s the major difference:
Yep, the first page is bigger. I got four pages into the book and I realized something was…off. I couldn’t figure it out and wasn’t really excited about working on it. So I took a few days off and worked on The Retros for a bit. Artistically the big difference between Uptown Girl and The Retros is the layout. When I started The Retros, I knew I didn’t want to do two different comics in the same way. Uptown Girl’s layout can be anything I want, big splash pages, three long vertical panels, nine panels on a page…but The Retros is a strict four panel page, like this:
Working this way forces me to think about layout and page design. It teaches me about page economy, making the most out of a panel, and ultimately out of a page. I try to have each page show a beginning, middle and end, in a way, similar to a daily comic strip. I won’t have a conversation start on the third panel of a page and continue onto the next page. Each page is meant to have a cliffhanger, I suppose. It is an intentional design, to have each page stand alone in a way, but also a part of a larger story. I am also working smaller. This is also intentional so I can learn a new way to draw and again, it forces me to think about a panel layout more. It’s a very frustrating but fun thing to try and work in several characters in a single panel, or convey a sense of scale for things in the background for example. Also, The Retros has nothing but square shaped panels, so rectangle shaped panels are not an option. Here’s a comparison between a typical Uptown Girl panel and a panel from The Retros:
I realized that after a few pages of Uptown Girl and then a few pages of The Retros that I wasn’t comfortable working big. I got so used to working on a smaller scale over the last year or so with The Retros. I decided to go back and redraw the Uptown Girl pages smaller. I liked these new pages very much.
Long time readers of this blog will probably remember me getting 40 pages into a previous Uptown Girl book (The Long-Forgotten Fairytale) and then going back to redraw it on a smaller scale and then getting 80 pages into it…only to go back and continue to draw (and redraw) the book in the original size. Yeah. That sucked. I don’t anticipate that happening this time. Over the last two years I’ve learned a lot about cartooning which made me happy and surprised. I didn’t realized I learned anything new until about a week ago. Since ‘Fairytale’ I’ve gotten better working smaller…it really comes down to knowing what to leave out.
As of today I am up to 7 pages of ‘The Lazarus Heart’. It’s going slowly but I expect to be back on track soon.