Lots of discoveries on this page.

Color Discovery: So I’m messing around with my colors. The other day I was watching Anne Szabla of Bird Boy draw her new comic and I think I see how she got such great colors: a color layer at not quite 100% opacity and, underneath that, a gradient for each panel. That’s my best guess, but that’s what I tried here and it’s produced a nice sun-bleached look here for southern Vasgol in early spring.

Shading Discovery: And I decided to go for clean shadows outside, not just because it’s no longer overcast, but because fuzzy shadows were making me a bit sloppy.

Word Baloon Discovery: I can put a word balloon at the bottom of the rightmost panel in a row and it leads the eye down and left to the next row. Brilliant!

Scene Discovery: I’m tempted to open this page with, “Meanwhile, the narrator has realized that you are perfectly capable of detecting a scene change.”

I want to talk a little more about page composition for webcomics. Alan Moore, in his excellent minibook “Writing for Comics,” notes that scene transitions are where the suspension of disbelief is thinnest, so you need to be careful. Back in the 80s he advised transitional dialogue, usually in the form of “quote boxes” like what I used on the page immediately preceding this one because I was sick of drawing talking heads, or some other linking thematic motif that bridges the two scenes.

Of course that doesn’t work as well in webcomics, since it’s confusing to start a page with “…something in a text box from a previous page.” So webcomics–at least my webcomic–tend to transition from scene to scene with a near-audible CLUNK, since every day is a new page and the reader is assumed to be starting fresh.

Oh, and I have another cool comic to share with you next time, potentially as cool as Bird Boy. Remind me on Monday if I forget!