Thoughts on the Process
The art process for this comic is almost exactly the same as the previous one. I did try to experiment a bit more with perspective, especially in panel 5, which is a sort of bird’s-eye parallel projection.
And I tried something with color, but this meant I went “out of gamut.” I can’t say this comic uses twelve or fewer colors. I used the “burn” tool and lowered the intensity of the background behind Czerep, and used burn to shade Rudek’s face. I think the effect is subtle enough. But I’m torn on whether modifying the colors to aid visual legibility is cheating. The whole point of the limited palette is to force myself to think creatively. To problem-solve.
I guess the problem I set myself was not really about color. I didn’t want the unclaimed luggage in panel 4 to seem like it came out of nowhere, so I wanted it in the background of panel 1, which was already quite busy. So the problem was a compositional one–where to put the luggage so it doesn’t interfere with the legibility of Czerep’s action lines. Not sure I solved this problem 100%. What do you think? Leave me a comment below.
What I Learned
For me the takeaway on this comic is in the writing, not the art. I didn’t expect to come back to these characters — the two hapless Belarusian refugees. But I guess after this comic, I felt the need for closure. What happens? How bad of a guy is Czerep the Cat? What will Rudek do about this? Suddenly I had all these narrative-motivating questions. David Baboulene and other writing-about-writing types call them key questions.
So, it’s interesting: that need for closure, kind of opened the doors narrative-wise. All of a sudden, I had multiple ideas for story arcs. I had punchlines that suggested future situations. Now I feel like the ball is rolling.
I’ve been struggling to adapt to the gag format–to orient the pacing of these strips around punchlines. My impulses, in terms of writing, seem to steer me towards exploring characters or dramatic situations. Czerep taking out his anger on the Belarusian refugees came from that place. But now I think I’ve been having a tough time with gags because I’m conceptualizing them wrong. Maybe I can devise better gags if I can get them to come from those key questions.