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Steamroller Man
Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Ten

Steamroller Man

Starting from Comic #62: Issue Three, Page Ten
Issue Three, Page Ten
True Art Confessions: A Page of Paige

I always have mixed feelings about doing these Author Notes. Part of me wants to celebrate the things I'm happy with on each page, the drawing problems and weaknesses in my own technique that I feel I overcame (at least somewhat). Another part of me is worried that by doing so, I'll jinx myself, or open myself up to someone saying "not so fast, you're not quite there yet" (FYI: I know). I guess everyone who takes the artistic journey is always pushing to extend the boundaries of their own abilities, and also to keep their inner critic at bay. It is a struggle sometimes! All we can do is keep trying hard to improve.

That said, drawing Paige Wan has been a challenge and a struggle every single time I've drawn her. I've always found women more challenging to draw than men, and I find drawing "normal" people wearing street clothes much more challenging than drawing superheroes - all those folds in clothing! So she ticks off two of my weak points right there! The other struggle drawing Paige has been to teach myself how to draw Asian features, in a realistic rather than cartoony way - this is something I feel I just started to get a grasp on, here.

Some other notes:
Panel one was not originally planned as a silhouette, but since we were on the characters' backs, looking at essentially empty space (it's always hard to show something that's not there), I felt that silhouetting the image gave it a bit more visual power.

Panel two's pencils were done with Clip Studio Paint's handy Symmetry Ruler tool, but the inks were not - because no one's face in real life is perfectly symmetrical, I let the natural inconsistencies of my inks add a certain asymmetry to her face. The dialogue in these first two panels is putting the weight of story exposition once again on Paige's shoulders, dropping a few more hints as to the nature of the mysterious dimension beyond the Semple-Platt device.

Panel three sees the return of Jenny, Paige's lab assistant, whom we last saw running off to get help in issue two. I didn't plan to bring Jenny back when I was plotting out this issue, but as I thumbnailed out this page, it occurred to me that I had established that the building was full of scientists, and I had just shown that building inplo- sorry, imploding - and that it would be good to account for them all. So those silhouettes in the background of panel four are not ghosts! It's just my way of drawing a crowd without having to draw a crowd.

The genesis of panels five and six is kind of interesting - this joke was created in reverse. I came up with the "pronunciation police" line on this page first, and it was fine, but I felt it was lacking something. Originally, the final line on Page Nine was just "It still rhymes with slow motion." After writing the dialogue on this page, I actually went back and changed the previous page's line right before it posted, adding the "pronunciation police" part. This linked the two pages as Set-Up and Punchline, which I think made both pages stronger, and hopefully funnier.

Writing is rewriting, as they say!

Reader Comments

I dunno. INploded might catch on...
There was no escape route from the control room, but everyone escaped. Thus, there was no one at the controls.

Time for a safety audit...
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Issue Three, Page Eleven
This page starts with a punchline, which is somewhat unusual, I guess!

It was set up on the final panel of the previous page, and I think this is the first time in the comic that I've done a set-up/punchline across two pages. Until now I have always tried to keep the jokes contained to one page, given the episodic nature of the webcomic format. I certainly feel like I'm challenging myself as a writer and growing a bit by trying things like that. If you're new to the comic, the guy in panel one is Terry, the security guard, who was last seen in the previous issue! I thought it would be fun to bring him back. He survived!

I've said before that I find folds in clothing one of the most challenging things to draw. I feel like I got the folds working pretty well on this page, and certainly felt more comfortable drawing them than I usually do.

It took a couple of tries to get the crater in panel three right. My first attempt had a lot of debris strewn about but it didn't convey that the building was completely gone. There was not even much of a crater in that first pass - I realized that the Eco-Opt building probably had some subterranean levels. I pulled out my trade paperbacks of Akira, to see how the masterful Katsuhiro Otomo handled destruction on a massive scale. I certainly found some inspiration there. If you've never read Akira, I thoroughly recommend it - it's better than the movie!

One more reason I love working in Clip Studio Paint: I found a very handy "people brush" online and modified it slightly so I didn't have to draw all those bystanders one by one. A real time saver!

I hope you guys like this page - I'm pretty happy with it!

Reader Comments

It’s always such a delight to see an update from you! You’ve got interesting commentary as well, that’s something I’m trying to get better at. Sometimes it’s hard to have the energy to write anything but “here’s the page k thanks bye”
...........sort of, yeah.
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