First drawing of the troll for Hereville book 2

On February 17, 2012 · 0 Comments

The troll is a very fun character to ink. Especially that huge long curve under his belly; getting that line right, when I can get it right, is loads of fun. (Yes, this is what I find fun).

This shows both the rough sketch of the character on the page, and the completed drawing. (Jake hasn’t colored it yet, obviously).

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Book two in progress: A Couple of Fruma Outfits

On February 11, 2012 · 0 Comments

Hereville book two is now completely written and laid out (although there are a couple of pages I want to go back and fix), and I’m now at long last drawing actual pages. A bunch of pages are partway drawn, a few pages are complete, and — much to my excitement — the front cover is complete.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the publisher wants me to show you any of that stuff just yet. Definitely not the cover. Maybe I’ll start showing pages next week.

Meanwhile, here’s a couple of outfits that Fruma will wear in book 2:

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Hereville 2 Work-In-Progress: Dress Design

On January 25, 2012 · 3 Comments

Mirka wears the same dress for the first 45 pages of the graphic novel (although — spoiler alert! — by page 45 the dress will be torn and filthy). Unlike last time, where I just drew a dress on the first page and then had to repeat it, this time I’m trying to figure out what the dress looks like before I start drawing.

(Click on the image to see it bigger.)

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Hereville Book 2 Preview: Mirka, like the kitten of lore, hangs in there

On January 19, 2012 · 0 Comments

A drawing-in-progress of Mirka from Hereville book 2. I had a lot of trouble with her left foot — not so much drawing it as finding the right angle to draw it at. Those are three of the rejects there on the upper left.

Also, I initially drew Mirka with two right hands. Fortunately, Jake (my studio-mate, creator of the runaway webcomic hit Modest Medusa and Hereville’s colorist) pointed out the problem. Sadly, even after Jake pointed it out, I couldn’t see it; it took him a couple of minutes to convince me.

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Hereville book two work-in-progress: Mirka and the bullies

On December 12, 2011 · 9 Comments

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Preview: The First 15 Pages Of Hereville

On November 9, 2010 · Comments Off on Preview: The First 15 Pages Of Hereville

Click here to read a preview of the first fifteen pages of Hereville!

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Preview: Page 107, before and after

On October 25, 2010 · 2 Comments

Here’s a preview page from “Hereville.” These preview pages can have spoilers, so don’t look if you’d rather not see!

This time I’m showing one of the pages that got redrawn between the first version of Hereville, and the graphic novel. I show both versions, so you can see how they compare.

(Info on buying Hereville is here.)

Page 107 from the graphic novel:

Compare that to page 27 from the earlier, self-published “Hereville”:

Mostly just a new inking and coloring job, plus I did a fair amount of redrawing heads and faces in minor ways. But I also made a big change, replacing four panels from the original with one larger, rewritten panel.

Why the change? First of all, the way the cut panels were written felt a little “out of character” for Mirka — that kind of over-the-top sarcasm doesn’t seem like her. Having her yell like Lucy yelling at Linus seemed much better.

Secondly, to me having lots of long narrow panels on a page indicates tension. But having that many long narrow panels on this page struck me as going over-the-top with the tension for this point in the scene, and didn’t leave much room for building up to more tension later on in this scene. Cutting down from 9 to 6 panels “relaxes” this page a lot, to my eye. (So did getting rid of the not-very-meaningful trailing of Mirka to the edge of the page in the bottom row of panels).

Plus, I love the “pushing Zindel with the word balloon” effect (something I swiped from Dave Sim’s comic book Cerebus, although many other cartoonists have done it — most famously Charles Schulz in Peanuts). The new panel is one of my favorite panels in the entire book.

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Preview: Page 72

On October 18, 2010 · Comments Off on Preview: Page 72

Here’s a preview page from “Hereville.” These preview pages can have spoilers, so don’t look if you’d rather not see!

(Info on buying Hereville is here.)

Continue Reading…

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Preview: Page 23

On October 11, 2010 · 6 Comments

Here’s a preview page from “Hereville.” These preview pages can have spoilers, so don’t look if you’d rather not see!

(Info on buying Hereville is here.)

Continue Reading…

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Eisner and me

On August 18, 2010 · Comments Off on Eisner and me

In a sort of postscript to her School Library Journal review of Hereville, Elizabeth Bird mentioned Will Eisner’s landmark A Contract With God. That really, really pleased me.

I took a class from Eisner at School of Visual Arts, which is a privilege I wish I had appreciated more at the time. Eisner’s work — not so much his Spirit work, as the work he did in the last three decades of his life — is a frequent, conscious inspiration to me while I draw. Especially when it comes to drawing people, my never-met goal as a cartoonist is to make my figures as full of life as Eisner’s.

Eisner did have some weaknesses as a cartoonist, especially when it came to writing; his characterization could be thin, and his dialog was often clunky. At his worse, he used embarrassing stereotypes (don’t lend Life On Another Planet to any Italian friends you have). But his strengths — his page layouts, effortlessly leading the reader’s eye, and his astonishingly fluid, graceful drawing — put him in the top rank of all cartoonists who have ever set brush to paper.

In her review, discussing page layouts in Hereville, Elizabeth singles out a two-page sequence in which Mirka is visualizing a math problem. In that sequence, I was deliberately imitating Eisner’s 1990s work, in which he minimized the use of panel borders, instead letting elements of the panels provide the divisions between panels.

Here’s a page from Eisner’s Invisible People:

And here, for a perhaps unfortunate comparison, is one of the Hereville pages Elizabeth discussed in her review.

Related link: My 2005 obituary for Eisner.

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