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comicocisty pt. 3 – the first scene

October 16, 2006

larger version

This was my initial attempt at the first scene for BFG. In this edition of comicocisty we’ll be looking at the editing process and how this sequence was changed after revisions.

I was really excited to be working on this comic for my co-op, and having input from two comics professionals pretty much set me on cloud nine.

With all the excitement and energy though, I probably got ahead of myself way too often. If in the past two posts you’ve noticed that I continue to mention the time and patience it takes to do this. Thats because if you don’t show care, you’ll just have more problems later on.
Which is not to say that I dislike the above work, only that there are quite alot of problems with it. Kind of like, the wonky little pet fish you had a kid, it was weird but you liked it anyways.

Heres page two:

larger version

Briefly, the first scene starts off with a girl (the titular character) running down a narrow alley. It’s dark and she’s out of breath, we do not see her pursuer but we know that things are pretty desperate. As the scene unfolds we see that she is being chased by bizzare shapes, the ‘ghosts’ as she’ll come to name them (inaccuratly). She makes a dash for a box to hid in, screaming, leave me alone! The captions, dialogue and sound effects are incomplete.

In case it isn’t clear, these we’re produced before I used the method described previously I got ahead of myself here, wanting to dig right in and start knocking out these pages. I also really wanted to show the guys that I was serious about this, which in my mind equated to showing them finished inked work.

Here in bullet point format are some of the suggestions and critiques they made:

~ a general lack of detail. You can see that in the first panel, I’m really brick obsessed, and progressively, loose interest or lack the commitment to maintain that same level of detail in the following pages. Also related, the ‘truth’ of the images is compromised, since I was drawing from my limited knowledge of alley-ways, you can see that whatever details there are, appear quite generic (like those cursed bricks!).

~ wonky composistion. Take a look at the last panel ont he first page, while the intent was to have her running deeper into an alley, you could also equally interpret it as being running out of it instead. This has to do with how i set up the shots and again, not giving enough information to the reader. At somepoint, there should have been a kind of set up to let readers know that this is taking place in an alley and that there is a dead end. Theres also some mad tangents going on all over the place.

~ emotions. I think I scored some decent brownie points for getting the right feeling, in particular they liked the big foot, (and my misspelled ‘spalsh’, good lord). Still, this scene can be improved further, by making some adjustments. Specifically, if those ghosts are supposed to be intimidating for the bee-eff-gee then why do they look so friendly? The rounded shapes conjures images of cartoons.

Overall, they thought it was a good first shot and a good exercise, and recommended to

s l o w d o w n

and just work on thumbnails. I guess my main concern was that they wouldn’t be able to decipher my mad scribbles, but I should have known better, they’re professionals!

Taking all of these into consideration, I went back and took another stab at the the first scene, here it is:

larger versions: 1 2-3 4-5 (some of the details and type might be illegible, but just consider that to be a security function to prevent copy-right infringement rather then just my lack of proper flickr know-how)

You can see the attempts made to correct some of these problems, first by setting up the scene of an alley and getting a better sense of space. Reference was important, but it goes without saying to not become a slave to it. I assembled a folder purely with this purpose, and used whatever details were necessary to get the sense of archtecture and space.

The design of the ghost has changed as well, and even the girl has changed. She lost the touque and scarf, but gained a hoody. Since this has more to do with character design, I’ll save that for another post.

I kind of half laughed and kicked myself when I saw the difference between the two. I think that having critiques with your work, while sometimes heartbreaking (not so much in this case) or intimidating can only help to improve what you’ve done. I’m indebted to Chip and Cameron for being as real and as critical as they were, it really made me sit up and get my stuff together.

For the sake of comparison, here are the two pages side by side (minus the full page panel 4 and the unrelated 5)

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