Monday, June 19, 2017


Miriam sent in these page roughs.
As comic artists we have to show THINGS.

There are some good sequences here, and the first page is the strongest, but the pages that follow seem slightly rushed in terms of pacing.

Here's what I would do.

For page one-- very minor.
I'd add a panel at the end of him taking a swig from the flask.  If we don't have this we don't know if he takes a drink or not.
You also forgot the gang symbol-- "I LOVE GANGS" is what I went with-- and if you look at the newly cropped panel 3 you'll see that this is a better composition.   Too much space with the existing one.

All right-- page two.
Whoa-- that's a lot of changes right? 
Yeah, but I think it helps.  You're in too much of a rush and you have some panels that are unclear.  In your existing version he's outside the car door but what's he doing?   He doesn't look like he's getting in.   I know he's checking out the money situation but the way it reads is he found this wallet outside this open car door that has appeared.

In panel 2 he's now standing outside the Liquor store-- did he transport there?  Is it in the same lot?  Santa is in the middle of the parking lot-- a phone rings in panel 3 and he walks over to Santa who is waving at a couple who is leaving the dollar store.

So here's how I would handle this.
Page TWO 
Even thought I talked about keeping the panel numbers to a minimum, even thought I talked about cutting stuff out if need be-- let's say we wanted to keep all this information and more importantly we want to place IMPORTANCE on elements in the story.  We do that by giving them some emphasis.

We also want to look at how we left the previous page and ask ourselves how it's connected to this one.

In page 1 he's left the place he works and he's walking down the steps, so at the start of page TWO I have him approaching his car in the lot.

In 2.2 I have him putting the key in the lock, and his hand shakes.  He's got a drinking problem after all.

2.3 He's in the car now-- we see the VIRGIL note and to add EMPHASIS to it his hand reaches up to it.  As an artist we have to make sure the reader gets that he's sitting inside the car-- so showing the dashboard there under the steering wheel is important.

2.4 He's pulled out onto the street.  I have trash in the street.  Old buildings, signage and the power cords overhead complete with the requisite pair of old tennis shoes tossed around them.  Trash on the street lets the reader know we're in the bad part of town.

2.5 from behind his car he's pulling into CHEAPO MALL << I try to never miss an opportunity to show signage-- signage is not only fun to do it's everywhere and will give your work an added element of realism.  Coming at him on the road is a truck and in the distance are more buildings and a bridge.  This is Gotham City right?

2.6 He pulls into the mini mall-- there's Santa-- I like the idea of the constant bell ringings-- Jinga Jinga Jing.  Liquor store to the left, The Pampered Pet to the right although all we can see is THE P.

2.7 Close on him in front of the liquor store, he's regarding the two sawbucks in his hand.  In the distance we see Santa from the side--with his GIVE bucket JINGA JINGA JING.

2.8 From inside the Liquor store looking out through the bottles, have some fun with the labels.  He's holding the money and licking his lips.

2.9 Closeup on the hand holding the two $5 bills

2.10 he drops one of the fives in the GIVE BUCKET

So what did we do here?

We eliminated the transporting.
We added time-- it took TIME to get from his job to the other store.
We added importance to those twin $5 bills because he holds onto them longer. 
We see that he COULD have spent the $5 on a bottle of Schapps, and he WANTED to.    That makes him giving to Santa that bigger.

One TRICK to use in sequential storytelling is to carry an object from panel to panel and scene to scene.  So in this page I'm doing it's his hat which goes through every shot.  It's also the car-- the key, the car, the money, the money, the money.  They hand off to each other.


All right.
Here's how I interpret the original;

He walks into the store and inside is another Santa with a give bucket.  Twilight Zone stuff man!  Meanwhile, somewhere else a car drives.

Now since I know the script-- I know this is not the intent.

So let's look at the changes;

3.1 Shot from above-- we see the mall, the liquor store--as an artist it'll be important we see those bottles in the window or at least the shape of some of them.

Snowy footprints show he has walked past Santa and his GIVE BUCKET and walked into the store.

3.2 Same shot-- only Santa's arm and front of his costume will move-- the angle of the front his shirt moves with his arm so we know TIME has passed.

3.3 Still moving Santa but now SAM comes out and waves at him as he goes by, he has a package or a bag under his arm.

3.4 Sam in the car-- takes the VIRGIL note down.

3.5 I like this panel, but I'm not sure a what's happening-- if it's him in the car there then movie it either so that it's rounding the corner or it's away from the curb-- the way it is now looks parked.  If it's parked-- is this his home?  Have the door open and he's getting out.

Nice work Miriam!!