I finally finished this beast.
Here are just some thoughts on this piece:
I was trying to have a layout across the 7 pages that followed a certain pattern. There’s a big “panel” that starts the page and occupies most of the page, and then a couple of smaller panels that finish off the basic idea of the page. I didn’t want to make every page have exactly the same look, but I did want for it to have an overall pattern. Although it wasn’t completely planned, you can see how the panels go from strict (p.1) to a little “broken up” (p. 2 and 3) to more staggered (p. 4) to almost without panels (p. 5) and back to regular (pps. 6 and 7). I didn’t plan out the “arc” as a whole, but sort of dreamt it up as I drew page to page.
This arc is also in the “mirror” aspect of the piece. Obviously, this comic has a lot to do with self-image and how I see myself. So mirrors, glasses, screens, and windows are in the piece—although, admittedly, this aspect was somewhat subconscious on my part. I spent a lot of time looking at mirrors and pictures of myself. Clearly, I still have a lot to learn about self-portraiture; but on the up side, this was much stronger than the self-portraits seen in That Terrible Pain. You can also see the mirror aspect in the similarity between the 1st and last page. I think that if I had known how long this story was going to be I would have planned it out better, and some of these aspects would have come across more strongly. For example, I would have tried to make a little more use of the blacks to convey mood.
5) I like the panel-less aspect of this page, although it doesn’t work as well as I had hoped, partly because I was trying to cram a lot of different ideas on one page. The warped image that appears through the glasses doesn’t quite work for me. I liked the idea, but it just doesn’t look right.
6) I really liked this page in pencils. Once I started laying down the blacks, it kind of didn’t look as good (a common problem). In particular, I think that I would either have more darkness or a lot less. Once I started putting shadows in, it just didn’t look right, which is why it looks like I’ve got a really hairy chest. It’s supposed to be only a shadow.
7) The last page is a “negative” reflection of the first in that it not only mimics the layout, but it shows a darker figure on a white background. This was deliberate. I wanted a brighter page that symbolized that all was well, but to still have deep shadows—especially on the side of the head—in order to hint that maybe it wasn’t all good. I like this page, but I really struggled with how to do the shadows. I tried to make “softer” shadows by using thin lines, but I couldn’t quite make it work. Overall, it came out okay, but whenever I look at it, it seems like I have raccoon eyes.