I want to make it clear that I have normal-sized thumbs. These "thumbnail" sketches take up about 4 x 6 inches or whatever would scale up to a comic page layout. I made them tiffs so I could add readable dialogue along the side and bottom since I was showing two issues of Emmaryn around. Probably a stupid thing to do.
Why? Because if you're going to show stuff around it should be your best work. It can be rough sketches but they should be cool enough to elicit a "wow." These are fine for planning and sharing my process, but if I was going to impress potential publishers I should've just written a full script. I know better now and if I had slowed down enough to think things through objectively I knew better then.
LEARN FROM MY SCARS!!!! Now let's move on:
Letting my animation background influence my page layouts may give them a different feel than most comic artists. But the first two panels of this page underline that there's a difference between storyboarding and graphic storytelling. These are storyboard sketches. They clearly map the action of what's going on.
But they're just diagrams of action. There have got to be better ways of drawing a troll's lunge and Mage eluding his grasp. Or just take the same action and move the camera around to give it a stronger dynamics.
In fact, the lunge, dodge and club swing could've all been done in a single panel! It would have a bigger wow factor and, more importantly, make the storypoint stronger, that Mage is keeping his cool while seemingly overmatched.
This page has the potential for lots of depth. It also features a bit of that animated story technique, especially in the bottom half. I must have had second thoughts about that because I penned in "replace" under the bottom left panel.
Maybe I wanted to show the other troll being dissolved by the bees. The final image is that of Mage. Even though I gave him a sense of humor, I wanted him to feel dangerous. Not just good at his job, but walking the edge of morality. That's what the new gremlin character, Pistol, is worrying about.
The idea was to have a small balloon in the last panel. Pistol is revealed as you turn the page which is fine but the balloon takes away from the dark mood.
The solution? This page has too much on it. It should be two pages so that the action can breathe. It would also allow for a more impressive reveal of Mage's sword.
Time and knowledge gives me a fresh perspective on these pages. I hope i can actually think this way as I'm laying out the pages next time. One page 6, the characters in panel one are too close to those in the panel directly under it. If the kids in panel three were smaller, more jeep would be seen which would have the added benefit of clarifying their location. Pistol is too close in size and position in panels one and two.
The danger in using thumbnails this way is that you draw the characters big to showcase them. But the bears in the bottom panel would be too large. They aren't that important to the moment. If I shrank them all, it'd leave room for more forest and would make the page more attractive.
The last page introduces more faerie tech. It plays out the whole punny "web" system that they use. But the more important thing is that it's pulling us back to Emmaryn's story. Mage Raven is a key player in the series. He, Emmaryn and Carbunkle are the stars so giving him seven or eight pages of introduction is worth it.
I really like the last bit. Pistol has been established as the reasonable one and even she sees that Emmaryn is a potential danger that may need eliminating. Emmaryn is now in the target zone which is a perfect place for a protagonist to be. -- Tad