Monday, August 27, 2012

Original Art Sundays no. 137: Surrealist Cowgirls, It Does This, p. 10

This is a very screwy series of events leading up to this page. Owing to the hour, I will simply post the page now and amend with the details tomorrow.  Details below the page.
I began this page in July, while working summer teaching sessions. It's been done for a while now, and now it's time to post it.
The layout of the top tier was based on discussions with my former student and summer co-worker Jack Kotz. Originally I had envisioned it as an overhead high shot in 3 point perspective, but it just wasn't working.
The second tier was easy. I love the tender silliness of the bunny hand holding in the first panel of that tier. It's also telling that Louise is the one who's afflicted and she's helping Maggie.
The last tier wasn't working at all. I pictured a triumph panel.
It was working, but I wasn't completely happy with it. I couldn't get a combination of scale and emotional response that I liked.
While I really like the drawing of Louise's mule (who has yet to be named, probably apropos for a shape-shifter) , it takes up too much real estate. No room for the rest of the case, and with two more girls and the whale-mule Whalliam still left to include, I decided it just wasn't working.
So I stopped in mid-panel.
But I was only blocked for a day.
Near the end of the session, I was talking the problem over with co-worker and longtime friend Rana Raeuchle,  who suggested the long shot with scenic in the foreground.
She also showed me a doodling app for my iPhone, which I've found immensely useful in plotting layouts. I do need to get some form of stylus to use with it for detail work- not that I'll be doing anything that detailed with it, but control is our friend.
I had the brainstorm of adding the boot of our mystery man, who's been following the group clandestinely, and his familiar, the giant snail. Some nice foreshadowing there. It should be noted that this last panel was done in ink, a welcome departure. I've fallen into the habit of working with markers, and I found getting back to inks quite fulfilling, and yielding a better result than I anticipated.
the inked replacement panel!

The original Chiss
It was time to name the snail. I puttered in my bookshelf for a bit, and found Chiss in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, one of my favorite Baum volumes. Chiss is a giant porcupine who can throw quills in multiple directions. I liked the way it sounded, and the implied speed in the name worked well with preconceptions of a snail's slowness.
Even though I've been working with the Surrealist Cowgirls since 1994, I'm still learning who they are. I suppose that's what people mean when they say characters become real, but I'm reminded of the words of Jane Yolen: if you think your characters are real, try borrowing ten dollars from one of them.
The following page is now on the board. Now that the Cowgirls are on top of the ziggurat, the story takes an intriguing turn, as the quest to cure Kay Seurat-Seurat continues.