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stencil

i made myself a little stencil

stencil

it helps me make 4 in x 4 in squares in my sketchbook

using the stencil makes it faster than having to measure and mark the lines out every time

getting the courage to make comics, even if they’re ugly or messy, or don’t come out the way i want to has really come from reading lynda barry’s syllabus and hanging out at the  tumblr she uses to stay in contact with the comics class she teaches

if you’re thinking about making comics (or anything really) and you’re scared to, lynda barry is good company to have with you while you work

self-rejected steps strip

here’s a look at the first version of yesterday’s steps strip

reject

i hated it when i got done with it

the son character was too difficult to distinguish from the background

i tried a lot of different things to get the background to ‘fade back’

first i tried erasing it (you can see where the paper tore and i had to repair it with tape)

then i painted over it with white watercolor

the strip really looked like a mess to me, and i couldnt stand the sight of it, so i decided to redo it

i’m glad i did, because the second ‘published’ version fits in to the look of the other steps strips better

but now i love the look of the first version (how did that happen?)

i love the messiness – it could be a good look for a future project

here’s a look at the strip earlier in the process

looking at it now, i realize that this would have worked too

all i really needed to do was darken the kid to separate him from the tv and tv stand

i think  i panicked while working and fumbling with the watercolors

one of the things i need to do better is remember to slow down while i’m working

dialogue dilemmas and color quandries

I’ve struggled with the idea of using dialogue in ‘steps’ for awhile. I’ve used it a couple of times in one panel strips like this one and this one, but it has never felt right for the four panel strip.

So using it the other day was a personal milestone. I hope that it opens up more storytelling opportunities, and it still may, but the strip feels more powerful to me without the dialogue.

 

And with the added element of the dialogue, it became more difficult to juggle all of the other elements of the strip, especially color.

I published and replaced three versions of the airport strip before finally settling on the final.

Here’s a little of my thoughts behind each version.

 

20june2018

The first problem was version one of the strip just felt too crowded. The dad, especially, is too tall, giving the strip a rigidity that feels wrong.

So I went through and reduced the size of all the figures and backgrounds in the panels, giving a little more white space around everything.

It also felt like the big blob of blue on the plane in the final panel diminished the impact of little guy’s ‘I DON’T WANT TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE!’ by being too visually distracting.

 

20june2018-2

Now there’s a little more white space around all the figures, which makes me feel better.

I also decided to remove the color from the chair that the Woman Reading sits on in Panel 3 to better emphasize her.

But even after removing the blue of  the airplane in the final panel it still feels too crowded. Now what?

20june2018-3

I removed the lines in the background suggesting the doorway to the jetway out to the plane.

I also removed the color from the podium that the ticket handler stands behind, giving more emphasis to her, the dad, and the son.

The final change I made was to panel 1.

Though I really liked the blue and green on the backpack and shoes of Random Traveler #1, I decided to eliminate those colors when I couldn’t find another use for them in any of the remaining panels.

The last minor change was to the Reading Woman’s sweater to brown since that purple wasn’t being used elsewhere either.

(I remember my high school art teacher telling us that if you use a color, always use it twice so that it looks like we did it on purpose.)

See the final result here.