Let’s Try This Again

So this is the first page of Uptown Girl-The Lazarus Heart:

1st draft

No wait, this is:

2nd attempt

Sure, they look pretty similar, but here’s the major difference:

side by sideYep, 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:

3

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:

side by side 2Not a big difference, but big enough.

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.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Let’s Try This Again

  1. Pingback: If I Should Fall Behind | Tiny Boxes - comics by Bob Lipski

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