Sunday, July 27, 2014

If you don't get it right the first time.....

Ok, i won't whine about being so busy and in ill health i can't update my blog... cause i always do that.  I hate to even mention anything about it.  So that is all i will say this time.

Anyway, what i wanted to talk a bit about is - if you don't get it right the first time, you might want to try again....

i got a script the other day, of course by Martin Powell - writer on Carson of Venus™, that said in one panel: Cut to a close-up of Nalte, wide-eyed with wonder.  So as the penciller/inker i have to translate that into some form of image.  Of course characters need to act in two ways. One way is thru the dialog, the spoken word or the thoughts in a caption block.  You know, caption blocks are the rectangular blocks of descriptors or thoughts in panels that help tell the story.  The other way for them to act is thru the body posture or body language of the character.  Think about that like the way actors in silent films push the limit and overact to get the point across.

In the Carson of Venus™ strip, the female character Nalte is on a quest with Carson Napier to find and rescue Duare, Carson's love in the story.  Anyway Nalte is a very strong and fiery character who has more or less fallen for Carson.  But, Carson only has eyes for Duare at first.  So i have to remember that when posing Nalte.  Thru her actions and expressions i am always trying to show a little of that forlorn love or lust.  During this current strip, Nalte watches as Carson takes on three armed zombies.  (That is right, Edgar Rice Burroughs in the 1930's was using zombies as an army of bad guys. Martin and i have dubbed them the "Zombies from Venus", cause that would make an awesome serial or film.)  So here is poor Nalte watching the man she wants showing off his prowess whooping up on these three zombies.  And she likes what she sees.  So i placed her partly in the shadows, as in the script the zombies have ignored her and ganged up on Carson.  And this was the original panel i created.

I wanted Nalte wide eyed, and i also thought that i would give her mouth that kind of 'hmmm, boy' like reaction.  This panel, well the idea was sound, didn't work out.  I tried more shadow and cross hatching, but nothing i did was crappy, and a lost cause.  The eyes didn't look right, they were also too far apart, the nose too small, and damn - just try drawing someone licking their lips and see how hard that really is to do.   i cut it out of the strip and now had a window to fill.  

So i thought i would go a bit more slutty. Pushing the acting, like in a silent movie.  So i pushed her head back, making her look thru her eyes in that over the cheek sexy look.  This also pushed the emphasis on her lips and tongue.  Which is still hard as hell to get right.  So this was the result. 

So i liked this version.  But then the more i thought about it and looked at it, the more slutty she seemed.  So i thought i would ask a couple of other people about this panel.  Well they got the same feeling i was feeling - too slutty.  And we can't have that.  So back to the drawing board.  And i was guided to more of a subtle up look with her, and this was the result...

So all you readers and fans out there - this is just a little peak into what a struggling comic artist goes thru on a daily basis.  If at first you don't succeed - go back to the drawing board !  Sometimes a drawing, a pose, some perspective, or atmosphere just doesn't work out like you want it.  So don't be afraid of that deadly tool : the eraser!!!  Sometimes you just have to start all over. And sometimes over and over...

Of course this adds to the time it takes to produce a page, a book, a story.  Some people just think it is all easy and just flows out in a few minutes.  But, there are so many processes in the production of a drawing or story.  Layout, design, posing, acting, anatomy and lighting are just a few of the things you have to try to be good at to tell your story.  

Just never give up.... keep drawing... keep drawing each day, day in and day out.  It doesn't matter if you are feeling bad, outright sick, tired, hot, cold, or depressed - you must try to draw each day.  You have to love it and crave it...... now go create something!!! 


  1. Hi, Tom!

    I am so happy to read another post from you.
    Remember, you are not whining, to us that care.

    I see how difficult it was to get the right look for Nalte, and the last one was the right choice, in my opinion.
    I do know it is not as easy as one drawing, for as long as I have watched your work, I have seen how much you put into whatever you work on.

    I'm thrilled once again to see more of your art. I am still enjoying seeing Carson every week. I'm your number one fan! Take care, my friend.

    Lloyd, Loyal Legionnaire...ALWAYS!

  2. Thanks for this post Tom. Now I don't feel so bad having assets named things like "giant_robot4" which reveals how many times I've re-done things. Captain Spectre video game is still in the works! I've posted some updated information here:

  3. I think you made the right decision as the third one does work the best. I wondered if Martin had already sent you the entire script from the start or he was piecemealing them out to you over a period of time. Evidently the later, but I like reading about some of the nuts and bolts of the behind-the-scene stuff like that.

    One of the other things I wondered was: If you had committed the first drawing of Nalte in shadow to the original page, or if you had done it on a separate sheet or sketch book, etc. more or less working out that decision before committing it to paper. If you actually did it on the original sheet, do you just erase it, white it out, or do a paste over of the panel? More nuts & bolts.

    Anyway still enjoying the Carson strip.

  4. Loyal Lloyd - as always thanks for being out there!! it does mean a lot to me, again as always....

    Roger - wow thanks i love those screen shots of the game!!! and i do appreciate you still working on it. as long as it is fun for you, go for it. looking forward to playing it some day....

    El..... thanks, well i did draw and ink that first panel on the board, but then decided to try it again.... so the next two were on separate boards....and since this is the digital age, they were scanned and placed in the original scan of the rest of the page. in the old days i would have cut a window where that old panel was and placed the new panel in the hole. digitally it is so much easier. and yes i usually get about three or four scripts from Martin at a time....he is writing a lot of the strips and a lot of other projects so he has it 'mapped' out in his head, then pumps it out to us artists in groups of scripts.