Sunday, May 28, 2017

Original Art Sundays No. 245: Sharp Invitations: Curt, p.4

Despite having a drunk total my car and bruise my poor body last night, I am delighted that I can post the next page today. I finished it last night about 2 hours before work, so all is good.
If you recall, our hapless heroine (me) was just getting to know her new boyfriend, but had a feeling something was wrong.
Hey, it's a relationship, so there's usually SOMETHING wrong at some point but this was ...different.
Next page:
 There's a lot that I like here, artistically and in terms of narrative.
One of the big issues I have with graphic memoir (which I'm teaching as a Continuing Education course at MCAD in a few weeks!) is the tendency to what Chuck Jones called "illustrated radio". The Master was referring to animation, of course, but the principle applies here. It's a text narrative in which the illustrations are either redundant or superfluous. This can lead to very static images, or worse yet, images that serve no purpose whatever. I've seen this in some very well-received graphic memoirs. The art is considered an afterthought.
The ideal, which was achieved in Special Exits, MAUS, Stuck Rubber Baby and Fun Home, is a hybrid of text and image that moves the reader along with the subject, rather than placing the reader outside the subject.
In this page, I've chosen a related action scene, which is actually a composite of two real world events, to offer an example of the threat alluded to in the text box. The second panel was originally a lovemaking scene, but I decided that this moment of anticipation and greeting had better action and conveyed a fuller sense of the relationship, such as it was.
For comparison, here's the original rough for this page:
Head shots convey relatively little emotion, despite having the face to work with. I'm constantly reminded of the philosophy of that Archie comics writer. Characters are always on stage, and should always be in a pose that suggests mood or action. Spear carriers should do more than carry spears.
Aesthetic concerns:
I elected to stick with pencils again, but it was a MUCH harder decision for this page. I had to really push to get the darks and weight I wanted from the panels. In retrospect, I could have done more with the background on the restaurant panel. What's there works, but it might work better with a bit more of an environment. The primary poses and attitudes in this panel are freely lifted from Scott McCloud's The Sculptor, page 20, but changed sufficiently that I can call them my own and maintain integrity.
Panel Two is all me. I've played with the Shadows in Open Doorways thing in my work as far back as Tranny Towers. I like the idea of a girl running to her lover- it's a classic- and in that moment, everything else disappears.
Drawing yourself is a challenge. I've represented my figure and hair more or less as I remember them from that time. Drawing that left arm gave me fits! Looking at it now, I can see it's still a bit long/big, but nowhere near as much as it was at first. I spent an hour trying to get the left hand right. Sometimes hands are easy for me, sometimes I just can't draw them. After combing several books for reference, I finally just went to the bathroom mirror, made the gesture and took a shot with my cel phone. It gave me sufficient resources to render a plausible hand.
That's it for this week, unless something comes up that I want to say before the next art entry. I'm on the mend from the aforementioned car crash, and foresee no obstacle to keeping on track with the next page.
I've also started a new story which will serve as an afterword to the completed book, but that's some 120+ pages away.
A suivre...