BSTDM Page 52 and Open Mouths

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 52
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 52

I will take credit for suggesting that Eric fumbles around with his “book” and a predatory jerk waiter tries to swoop in. Maybe Alex would have thought of them anyway, and he ran with the ideas, just saying I suggested them.

Anyway, this was the first page of the scene that I finished.  It just jumped out at me and was easy to picture.  It was also fun to draw.  We’ve got some interesting expressions going on with the characters’ faces here.

Alex really described how each character was emotionally reacting to what was said in this scene and I found that to be a good source of inspiration.  That last panel of an over the top distraught and shocked Eric in close-up really cracks me up.  His befuddled, out of his element, no clue face in the top right panel is really good too.  I thought it was a nice touch to emphasize how focused on his own nerdy project he was rather than actually participating in the date.  Poor socially awkward fool.

That stare-down between Eric and Angel on the bottom left may be the best facial profiles I’ve ever drawn.  And those serious looks!  I did something there that I don’t normally do, but I see a lot of other comic book artists do all the time (and it usually bothers me), but I don’t have their mouths open even though they are speaking.

The moment depicted in a comic panel is supposed to be a single instance that represents a larger period of time, and this can be a tricky concept for the reader and the artist.  So even though their mouths our closed at that exact moment we can assume they were open long enough to see those words during that panel of time.  Sometimes I don’t think this works well, like when people say a long statement during a brief moment (like saying a sentence or two as they are struck by a punch in the middle of a heated fight, or a lengthy statement as they pour a small cup of coffee or something like that).  You have to be careful with how the time correlates.

But I do see the logic behind not having someone’s mouth open in every single panel if you’ve got a lot of dialogue, as it gives you more visual variety and freedom.  I just think sometimes it makes things a bit too unlike the real world and harder to relate to.  But I’ve been playing with it a little and like the idea of using it sparingly.

Oh, I also like the close-up of that smarmy waiter.  I think I did a nice job of displaying a few different subtle, and somewhat restrained emotions there (like mockery, sarcasm, self entertainment, belittling, arrogance, etc.).  Can you tell what unlikeable celebrity (whom I think naturally embodies many of those qualities) that I based him on?

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