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Steamroller Man
Issue Three
Issue Three, Page Seven

Steamroller Man

Starting from Comic #92: Issue Three, Page Seven
Issue Three, Page Seven
On the pages that seem like they’re going to be simple, like this one did, I think “ooh, I’m going to get this one done so much faster!” and then when I start to write these notes, I see the gap between the current date and the date of the last page and go “NOPE!” So thank you, faithful reader, for sticking with this comic, despite the erratic updates (I’m not even going to say “schedule” at this point).

For what it’s worth, the production of this page progressed rather smoothly, up to a point. I had plotted out this fight scene using a writing method I’d read about somewhere or other - starting at the end and writing the events in reverse chronological order. Basically writing backwards, in a sense. It worked beautifully, I got the entire fight scene plotted out very easily, four or five pages worth, which I think is further ahead of myself than I’ve ever been during Steamroller Man’s entire life as a comic!

From there it was on to the fun problem-solving stage of thumbnailing out the page layouts, which was flowing quite well too! This stage takes me a little longer than the plotting, usually, because as well as designing the page, this is where I’m doing my first pass at the actual script, working out what the characters are going to be saying in each panel. So as you can imagine, there were lots of steamroller, marshmallow and sleep/bedding puns being jotted down as the characters fought their way through the pages. Oh, the puns!

I found that penciling and inking the page also went smoothly. I’m usually not confident enough in my knowledge of anatomy to work without pulling out some reference, but this time I decided to wing it and I’m pretty happy with the results!

It was only when I got to the point of adding sound effects, of all things, that a wrench got thrown into the gears! Specifically, that “LEAP” effect in panel two! I just couldn’t get it looking quite right, to my eye. I experimented with different fonts, with drawing the letters by hand, with having the letters read downwards rather than sideways… I tried using onomatopoeic sound effects instead of the word “leap”, but what sound does a giant marshmallow make when it’s leaping into the air? SHWSHHH? SHWAA? That didn’t seem to be working either. I think I tried about twenty different effects until, in the interests of moving on, I settled for what you see on the page.

As Steamroller Man says, sometimes you just have to keep moving forward, even if you’re not quite sure it’s in the right direction!

Find my links to read the comic around the web, and follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram here!

Reader Comments

Oh, Marshmallow is connected to some machine???
Amazing artwork as always.
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Issue Three, Page Eight
Hello dear readers!

In yet another example of “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, this page had me kicking myself for coming up with a four-armed character with a head bigger than its body. A character whom I was intending to draw in all sorts of poses, fighting and grappling with two other characters, one of whom also had a huge head, and the other with a cape! Who’s stupid idea was this?!! Oh yeah… it was mine… D’OH!

I have quickly learned that drawing the Multi-Armed, Really Strong, Highly Mutated, Artificial Lifeform Living Only for Walloping, also known as M.A.R.S.H.M.A.L.L.O.W. in almost any pose where his arms have to do anything other than extend, spider-like, from his torso, is a compositional nightmare that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy! (Well, that’s an exaggeration. I probably would wish it on my worst enemy - you know who you are, and you’d deserve it!) I am constantly struggling with which arm should be in front, which behind, and how do I place all those arms so that they can do what I need them to and still stay out of the way of that bloody humongous head?!! It’s a bother, I tell you!

This page was the hardest challenge yet. My original thumbnail layout was very different. Fewer panels and much clearer action. M.A.R.S.H.M.A.L.L.O.W. posed on the left side of a wide panel, facing to the right with all his arms extended out in front of him as he swung Steamroller Man and Night Knight by their feet to smash into each other, over on the right side of the panel. It was easy to depict that action with a few rushed strokes of the pencil in the brainstorming stage, but once I started to try and pencil it, getting the proportions of each character right, figuring out how a large hand wrapping around an ankle would look, from both front and back - semi-accurate (or at least believable) anatomy - a cape flowing around - who is overlapping whom - which limbs are overlapping which - and that HEAD, THAT ACCURSED GIANT HEAD!!

As Charlie Brown once said, “AUGGHH!!”

It’s at moments like these that I’ve found it pays to step away from the computer for a bit and go back to doodling and noodling in my sketchbook, to see if I can approach the problem from a different angle. In the end I adopted a “details suggests the larger picture” approach. I decided to show the moments of the ankles getting grabbed and the heroes getting smashed together in close-up rather than in wide shots showing the full bodies of all three characters. The pose of M.A.R.S.H.M.A.L.L.O.W. holding the heroes up by the ankles was also pretty tricky to draw, but necessary to set up the following close-up panel, and certainly much more achievable than what I originally planned. My hope was that the images I did choose to show were clear enough that, when juxtaposed with the others in sequence, the reader’s imagination would do the heavy lifting that my artistic skills were not able to.

You, dear reader, will be the judge.

Thank you, as always, for reading Steamroller Man and sharing it with friends and family who you think might dig it! Follow me on the socials - go to https://linktr.ee/steamrollerman/ for all my links! I’ve also recently joined both Hive Social and Mastodon as @steamrollerman. On Mastodon I’m @steamrollerman@socel.net. So far, Hive seems a bit laggy and buggy, which makes it a bit frustrating to use, but I’m really enjoying the Mastodon experience and the rapidly-growing community over there! So if you’re on either of these sites, give me a follow!

On to the next page!

Reader Comments

Not my kind mathematical lesson.
My head hurts more from that math equation than it does from how Steamroller man and Night Knight getting their heads slammed into each other... okay maybe not but still.
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