Saturday, January 24, 2015

Once you get it, it works.

I like acquiring a rhythm as I draw new pages every day. Each new page gets easier and flows better as I get into the zone, and by drawing every day, working on the story and seeing it grow in front of my eyes, my hand remembers the characters, the places, the mood. Still, working on a deadline can have its disadvantages, and I worry that sometimes having to finish a book that month, or even a page that day, might hurt your story in the end.

Wednesday, I went to sleep at 2AM because I stayed up late inking a page to finish that day's work. I usually work during the day, and my usual long days of labor end around 10PM, so Wednesday was a very long day even for my standards.

Yesterday, having a penciled page ready to ink if I had another very long day, I wasn't so sure finishing a page that day was the best choice for my story.

I wasn't happy with the last panel, and with the main character on that panel, to be precise. He wasn't badly drawn, he worked on the scene, but there was something weird about the body language. Something off. In a failed attempt to convey a natural pose, I ended up stiffing it, and had I inked it, it would be forever there, not quite there, not quite the pose that the character was supposed to have at that particular time. And one of the things I like most when drawing is getting the body language right, it's one of the strongest visual tools a storyteller has (one of the reasons Frank Quitely is SO GOOD is his complete control over the most sutil movement of his characters), so I decided, around 10:30PM, to stop drawing and rest. The next day I'd try again, talk it over with Bá, maybe do some preliminary sketches, or take some reference pictures.

That's what I did, and today, after going in and out of my "drawing zone", and indeed talking it over with Bá AND taking reference pictures, I finally got the pose I wanted, one I think tells the story even if there were no words on that panel.

It is almost 1AM. I am tired again, but happy. I don't think I'm going to ink any of these pages tonight, because I can still mess it up with the inking, and I also really enjoy inking and want to have fun while doing it, so I'll probably ink three pages tomorrow, and I'll be much more inspired because I got it right, and I waited and erased and redrew it over and over, and then I got it.

Once you get it, everything else works.


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