Passive Aggression

Meet Porucznik Czerep. A Porucznik is a junior officer, like a lieutenant…but the owl over there is Kapitan Bzik–and he outranks Czerep. He doesn’t like how Czerep is handling his duties at the border crossing. But he doesn’t like direct confrontation, either.

Reflections on the Process

  • I wanted to see what the comic looked like in a more detailed style. So I drew up two versions of Czerep, and went to some of my favorite online communities to ask for feedback. Lots of interesting and insightful ideas later, I decided to go for more detail and realism in the clothing, but favor spot-blacks over hatching.
  • This comic took 9-10 hours of nonstop work. That’s just what it’s going to take if I pay attention to details like realistic folds in the clothing, consistency of anatomy, etc.
  • Painting with the limited palette is much faster and easier if I keep a file of the palette open. I can just switch over to the window with the palette, grab a color, and return. Here’s the palette I made up:palette
  • I increased the “scratchiness” of the brush for the background inks. I did this by increasing the “scatter” on the secondary brush in “dual brush” mode. I like the overall effect, but I went a little overboard and actually went back in and took out some lines and hatching, since the first and fourth panel weren’t reading well.
  • That first panel has a lot going on. I originally had the windows colored in, and more linework defining grass and the siding on the building. But I took those out, and the result is, I think, that the panel reads better, despite being visually complex.
  • In color composition, I paid careful attention to how background colors offset and emphasized the characters. I didn’t want anyone blending into the backdrop. I changed the chef hat to the pale blue, introduced a window to frame Czerep in panel 2, and a few other moves.


A watcher on DeviantArt and a follower on Facebook spotted some grammatical errors in the Polish poster Bzik is nailing to the wall. Thanks Vineris and Mateusz!

3 throughts on "Passive Aggression"

  1. Perfect concept. I love everything – the way you anthropomorphized your characters, expressions, style, and the fact the action’s set in Poland :)
    And what you wrote about making this comic and comics in general – well, i’ve read that and felt like Żużel.. was created ESPECIALLY for me because that’s EXACTLY what I would like to read. I’m longing to see it ..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *