A study in non-repro blue

14 January 2017

something amiss

This page had been nagging at me for most of last week and on Friday I finally bit the bullet and decided to redraw parts of it that just weren't working. One of the benefits to abandoning the weekly update schedule has meant that whereas before I had to learn to live with unsatisfactory panels for the sake of getting pages out on time, I now have the time to correct mistakes and re-think creative missteps. With the page in question, my niggles were all with the three panels on the second tier:
original version

In the first panel, the pose is awkward and unconvincing a problem I think of my not really being able to isolate a single moment to focus on and the second panel is similarly poorly staged and the figures awkwardly posed. Finally, the transition between the second and third panels isn't clear, time has passed but as it is, this doesn't feel suitably signposted. After trawling through old comics for inspiration and a bit of sketching this is the way I resolved the panels:
improved version

By bringing the camera in closer at the beginning the focus is now much more on Lenny's surprised response while I think the posing in the second panel is now a lot more fluid which adds to the comedy. Removing Jimmy's dialogue has allowed enough space to insert a caption panel that sets the final panel more clearly apart from the action that leads up to it. In going through the process of identifying a problem page and working through possible solutions I was reminded of Seth's idea that comics have maybe more to do with poetry and graphic design than they perhaps do with screenwriting and illustration, and that like graphic designers, cartoonists are first-and-foremost, problem solvers.

Nick Prolix (@nickprolix) is a writer, artist and cartoonist living in the Fens.

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