For Whom the Bells (pp. 5-7)

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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.