Welcome to the Independent Art series, Episode 4, Mistake! This episode covers starting a new scene, angles, and making a mistake.
Independent Art Project
Cottonseeds 3, graphic novel, pages 5, 7, and 8
Independent Art Tools
Photoshop and internet research
I drew a big blank. What happens on Page 6? Does a character die? Is it a big fight scene? I can’t remember! When I went back to my script, I realized why I couldn’t remember.
I skipped a page.
In my script, page 5 is something else, I skipped to the following page, and called it page 6. How the Photoshop files looked, Page 4, Page 5. How the script looks: Page 4, Page 5, Page 6.
I made a mistake.
Making a mistake is humiliating and depressing. With a lot of effort, I snapped out of it, pushed aside my embarrassment. I’ll show you exactly what happened. TOP
I used to be really good at keeping track of numbers. Since sclerosis ate my brain, not so much. I forget sometimes that the skills I had aren’t there anymore. Making a mistake, such as skipping a whole page, forces me to remember.
The difference between how I used to be and how I am now, is that now I have to think about everything a lot. At the same time, I have the memory of keeping track of numbers without effort. The before and now is a constant conflict for me. TOP
Fixing the Mistake
Fortunately, adding the missing page isn’t a big deal. I used the art from Page 4, renamed files, adjusted the background, elements, and added different captions.
More good news. This means I’m one page closer to finishing the issue than I thought. Yay for me!
Page 7 Steps
It’s time to leave the underground and find out what’s happening with the other characters, which means starting a new scene. I had to purge my brain. Forget the first 5 pages and put them away. A new scene is like starting a new book. Then, after, piece it all together in a way that I hope makes sense to someone else beside me.
Step 1 – Picking the Angle
Page 7 jumps to a jail cell scene and I want something a bit different. There are so many different angles and perspectives that can be used in art whether it’s a graphic novel or a camera view. I’ve yet to find a website that has a list of all terms. Send me a message if you know site like that.
Usually, when I’m picking an angle, my thought process goes something like this:
You know that angle? That view? What’s the name of that angle again? It’s a different angle. The angle has to be… at an angle. What’s the term for that?! Dammit. Maybe google with help. Shit. Google doesn’t help. Lemme try a different search engine. Wait! What was that google search result I just closed?
I finally found the term for the angle I imagined. The Dutch Angle.
Step 2 – Picking the Sequence
I have a good idea of how this scene plays out. It’s simple. We’re now in jail. Figuring out how to get out of jail comes later. For now, this is a jail scene, with bars, lock, and no key.
And nothing happens. No action or movement.
I read my script again. There’s dialogue, but it’s static. Nothing moves. It seems I made a mistake again.
You might guess my bad habit at this point. I tend to get waaay ahead of myself. I’m so eager to get to the end of the issue that I forget obvious things like action.
Step 3 – Rewrite Page 7
My first idea is to split Page 7 into two pages. I’m not keen on that idea because it means adjusting page numbers (shudder), but visually it makes sense. It make sense emotionally, too.
What I really want to do right now is a primal scream, and not just any scream. A screeching, ripping, burst your ear drums, type of scream.
Can I pull that off in graphic novel format? There’s only one way to find out.
So I wrote a note. Primal scream, Page 6. What happens in jail, stays in jail, Page 7. Seriously. That’s a copy and paste of the note.
And I know the exact right glue that’s going to tie everything together. A ghost.
Page 8 Steps
I’m on a roll now.
Step 1 – Page 8 Layout
3 panel layout, with jail scene texture background. The script is written and prep work is done.
There’s one little problem.
I made the mistake of giving pages 8 and 9 waaay too much space. So I merged those two pages. It’s a good thing I split Page 7 into two pages. The final page count still works out to 22 pages.
Are you confused by the page count yet? I’m getting there.
Step 2 – Page 8 Rough Layout
Since this is new scene, I had to take my time. I’m getting confused enough with page counts as it, no point in adding layout confusion that would cause another mistake. So I drew a rough layout, 3 panels, and character positions/poses.
This layout turned out to be another mistake.
Step 3 – Page 8, Another Layout
With all the many mistakes and merged pages, I decided to say, fuck it, screw the script, angles, and layouts. I chose a simple 2 panel layout.
Step 4 – Page 8 Art
At this point, I worked with no breaks and kept going until the page is finished.
‘Til next time!