These are the author’s notes for Drawings. Not the actual comic or the description. If you’re curious about the comic, then you’ve come to the right place. You can read through the somewhat lengthy note below, or you may feel free to leave a question in the comments section.
When you read my comic I’m hoping to draw you into an experience that you can relate to. Sure, maybe you haven’t had a two month period in which you lost your job, had a relationship end and then had your car stolen out of a public transport parking lot in broad daylight, right next to the city civic center. But I’m sure that nearly everyone has had, or will have, moments in their life that make you wonder if the world isn’t out to make your life miserable, and that’s the feeling I’m trying to capture in this, as of yet, incomplete work. And it’s not just the story I’m trying to capture, but also the mood; as a result the artwork took a rather long time.
All told, it is rather simple artwork you’re looking at; the characters are cartoonish, the backgrounds are faint, there isn’t much detail overall. It’s not abstract enough to give the characters a universal feeling, nor is it detailed enough to give the story a unique face to the character. I shot for somewhere in the middle, because –as I’ve already stated –this is a story that most people probably haven’t experienced firsthand; it’s based off of my own experiences, and so the characters are semi-abstract versions of people in my life. I avoided giving characters too much detail for two reasons. The obvious one is it would have taken so long that I would end up hating the project and wouldn’t be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t have drawing pads or anything to make the process quicker, and I change my mind about things with freakish regularity, as can be seen by the remnants of erased images and dialogue. The other reason I remained vague on details was so the essence of the story, the mood of it, was accessible to anyone who has had long rough patches like what is portrayed in the story. (I would like to note that some parts of the story are exaggerated and/or altered for the sake of interest.)
The lack of color is another artistic choice I selected to help convey the mood, which also goes hand in hand with the lack of detail; when life has you down, when unpleasant things keep piling up, details like that become a lot less important. If you’re wondering how you’re going to pay rent on your apartment you don’t really care what color, model or make the cars you’re walking by are. At least I’m assuming you probably wouldn’t care. I know I didn’t: they just looked like boxes. It also reflects the setting of the day that this happened for me. It was autumn, it was a chilly day and everything was overcast, giving a kind of darkened look to everything. Colors weren’t vibrant.
My appeals to the senses don’t extend beyond sight very much, but again, there’s a reason to that. I really don’t know why, but the world felt kind of deserted for the most part on that day, with only a handful of people really making an impression. Things were, for the most part, silent and static. The train car was nearly empty and I was the only person who got off the D-Line at the Englewood station. That’s something that just doesn’t happen very often. The car park was deserted as well. Accordingly, I couldn’t toss in the noisy clopping sounds of business women walking around in their heels, or some annoying kid listening to rap on his iPod much louder than he should have. I stuck with isolated noises that make more of an impact, again for the sake of the mood. It’s supposed to give you a detached, grey sort of feeling. Think numb.
Now the dialogue; this is actually the part of the comic that slowed me down the most. I have two sorts of stories I like writing: ones of a humorous theme and those of more somber –sometimes dark –substance. I’m not a fan of taking myself too seriously though, and as such I wanted to try to incorporate some comic relief into the story so as to avoid making this seem like a “feel sorry for me” story. That’s not the point of it. As such I included a narrative that is somewhat parallel, meaning that it conveys the focal character’s thoughts without really being all the related to the scenes, though at times I opted to go word-specific, in that I chose to describe some scenes, even if only loosely. The narrative elements are used to tell the more serious aspects of the story. Active dialogue is often interdependent, with it contributing to the meaning of the images and the images contributing to it. In some scenes the dialogue, and certain images, is used to keep the story from seeming too serious. It’s not slap-stick humor or anything like that; it’s just selected odd bits that are meant to give the reader a little breathing room. It’s something I often do, but this time it’s a little more tactful; Tales From the Farm actually gave me some ideas on how to slip things in like that without messing up the flow of the story.
Flow was another thing I wanted to work with, and if I follow-up on my plans to make a more artistically developed version of this story it will be done better. My main method of doing that was with panel work. I like having things close together with little in the way of negative space to help encourage you to keep reading on, though the small size of the paper I was using also had a hand in that. It’s meant to be easy for you to follow with distractions being minimal. The biggest breaks in flow probably came during panels that depict flashbacks (for lack of a better term.), hopefully you noticed that the penned in lines between panels were a bit darker, and also that I darkened the area around the scene. Not all that creative, I know, but it worked… Right?
I’m not going to tell you that this is the finalized version of my comic, nor am I going to try saying it’s perfect or better than what you could do or have done. If I’m honest, I’d be content to hear that I successfully captured the mood of the experience and presented it in a way that you could either relate to or, at the very least, appreciate. If I failed, don’t be afraid to tell me. I won’t kill myself, I promise. But I would like to hear how it could be improved upon. Is it too serious to be palatable? Is it not serious enough? Does the fact that it’s actually not complete ruin the experience of going over it? Is the artwork too abstract or not abstract enough? Would you like more sensory appeal? Does it need more character development? Does the story just bore you? Any concern or issue is valid as far as I’m concerned.
Thanks for reading the whole thing! If you did, that is. I know, it’s long. Questions? Leave them in the comments.