*** A mini-thread on fixing up dud comic panels ***

Sometimes it's not until you've had some distance between drawing a comic and re-reading it that you spot issues. In the case of Corbie issue 1 it took so long to draw that it was almost a completely different animal by the time I got to the last page.

Top panel is original page 3 art, beneath it is the redo. Read on and I'll point out everything that bugged me and what I did to fix it. (1/6)

The biggest issue was composition. Everyone's more-or-less on a single plane, the characters are all very small, and this was one of three panels in a row that were all like this.

Maxine's actions needed to be the focus here, so I brought her to the forefront. She's overlaid in front of the other girls to keep everything unified - the eye can follow the action in a direct line from Ruby (on the left), across to Maxine, her hitting Corinne's science fair project, and the dialogue / SFX. (2/6)


When Maxine hits the science project in the first frame, we see the impact after the event. It's not as dramatic because to the reader, the action has already happened.

Version 2 has Maxine following through with her hockey stick as she hits it. Much more immediate and feels like it's happening in the present moment. To get the action of the strike right, I looked at photographs of baseball players in mid-motion. (3/6)

In the original art, Josie and Ruby pummel Corinne with a golf club and a baseball bat, respectively. To me it was way too much, in fact it may have been my primary motivation for redoing this sequence.

In the redrawn panel, they hold Corinne back and make her watch as Maxine destroys her project. To me, this makes for a much more dramatic moment and helps to convey where Corinne is at the beginning of the story - powerless to do anything as Maxine & Co. walk over everyone. (4/6)

The background of the original panel was dropped as the scene had already been established, the focus instead became on making full use of the frame for the characters, action and dialogue. And of course, the colouring style had changed by this point and wasn't over-rendered anymore. I could have tried to colour this panel to match the earlier ones for better visual consistency, but that would have felt like a backwards step. (5/6)

If you're looking to learn about comic layouts and composition I highly recommend the (admittedly dated) How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way, and Will Eisner's three instructional books: "Comics & Sequential Art", "Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative", and "Expressive Anatomy for Comics & Narrative".

Let me know if you'd like to see more threads like this about making comics - hopefully this will be of use to you if you ever find you (Marge laugh) GOT THE DUD! (6/6)


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