The layout for this panel/strip was originally very different. It was an overhead view, pulled way back, as “our heroes” fly over a landscape. There was supposed to be more dialogue, too, hence the boring design originally. I decided, since my landscape drawing is weak, that I’d look up some reference photos. I found one that was really beautiful, which lead to my changing this strip and shifting the dialogue to the next one. The actual picture is a bit different then what I drew, but I was only using it for inspiration. It was a similar camera angle with some mountains in the background, but it was the reverse angle and the landscape was full of rivers and lakes. I did the radial speedlines by hand on this one. Overall I’m pretty pleased with it. One of the last steps I did was to thicken up the outline around the characters to make them pop from the scenery a bit more. Despite my careful measuring, I got the panel proportions wrong once again. There wasn’t enough left over space to devise a filler panel, and I couldn’t come up with some clever graphic addition to fill the space, so I just left it as is. Maybe I’ll go back and change that at some point, or maybe it won’t matter at all when I bookify the strip.
I had a lot of fun with these panels. I also started measuring with an actual ruler to make sure my panel dimensions were more accurate, going from sketchbook to Photoshop. The perspective of the fish in panel 1 is a little screwy, as are some of the proportions of PMD and I in panel 2, but overall I like my lines and textures and details. With the exception of the foreground tree silhouette on the bottom right of the panel, I’m really happy with panel 3. By this point, I was spending a heck of a lot of time on each panel, which makes it tough to stay ahead of things, but it’s very satisfying. Even still, I’m much faster at turning around a panel with this level of detail than I was a year or more ago, so there’s some progress. A lot of it is about self confidence and just being able to let go of the mistakes and imperfections and move on to the next panel.
There was a rather large gap of time between my drawing panel 2 and panel 3. Like, several months. Life happened. Well, summer happened, which is short hand for “the kids are home, there’s multiple weeks of summer camp happening, family visiting, home renovations to complete…”. Much easier to say summer happened. Anyway, I’m fairly happy with the 3 panels. I was somewhat dreading panel 3 due to the tricky camera angle and the amount of detail, but once I laid pencil to paper, I had a lot of fun. It’s not perfect, it’s not even great, but I finished it and moved on. There’s definitely some tweaks I want to make whenever I get around to putting this into book format, like the weird panel dimension. I tried my best to measure and scale it accordingly, but I drew too wide, or not tall enough, or something. Rather than chop off some of my hard work, I opted to just drop that panel in in a noticeably different proportion. It almost accentuates the action…maybe not. Either way, it is what it is. I wanted to add something to the extra margins, like speedlines or just some black rectangles, but I opted not to. I’ll experiment with it before the next time your eyes see it.
Go, go, gadget…fish hands…Yup, this is a nod to the hours I spent watching cartoons as a kid, and in this instance, Inspector Gadget. Not necessarily one of my favorite shows, but one I watched and one that was memorable, and the reference fit this situation. It was fun drawing the close up of the hat and gizmos, because of my detail obsession. A bit headache inducing to make sure I was consistent from panel to panel, but still fun.
I’m happy with the line work overall, but not thrilled with my handling of the landscape. Masses of trees are something I struggle with, I think I get lazy in the rendering when it’s pencil or pen and ink, rather than something that covers larger areas per stroke like paint. Just another thing to work on.
This strip was originally supposed to be one full panel, panel 1, but I planned poorly on the page and got the dimensions wrong. When I dropped it into the strip template in Photoshop, I was left with some space to fill, so I added that extra panel, which worked out for the best, anyway. Happy little accidents.
I’ve become a lot more confident in my linework, and as a result, much happier with the results overall. Yes, I realize the stack of pancakes looks a bit like that fast food chain character (whose name escapes me at the moment…Mayor McCheese or something like that?), that wasn’t intentional like some of my other visual homages. I like PMD’s signs in the first two panels, I found them amusing.
I’m fairly pleased with my lines in this one, though the amount of detail I put into the fish and the texture I put into the pancakes gets time consuming. In the end, it’s mentally satisfying, though. As far as where the fish idea came from, well, it came from my brain (I speak about my brain as a separate entity so often that I may have to name it soon…). I woke up one morning with a vision echoing in my skull of a flying fish wearing steampunk-style goggles. Later that day, my brain elbowed me and suggested that he was supposed to show up in IPMDT. And really, who am I to argue with my brain? I always lose to it…
The origin of the steampunk fish is a somewhat standard one for my brain. I awoke one morning with a vision of a goggles-wearing, flying, steampunk goldfish. Later that day I realized he belonged in IPMDT, and he fit perfectly into the flow of the strip at this point. He had a name, which I thought I had written down somewhere, but I can’t currently find. I remember it being amusing, though. You’ll just have to trust me on that.
I had fun with the line work on this one, though I’m not thrilled with how I drew myself, particularly in panel 3. I think I was straying too far from my desire to keep things clean and simple, I got too noodley with the details, and made myself not only look old (well, older than I do in real life…I think) but I screwed my facial proportions up too much. I’m fairly pleased with the way panel 4 turned out, what with the hand drawn radial speedlines (rather than adding them with my custom brushes later) and the background.