TDM Page 62 and Depicting Actions

Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 62
Black Snow: Two Drink Minimum page 62

Another page that came about really quickly, continuing my hot streak!  This is a relatively quiet page, dialogue wise.   There was an unusual amount of “action” in the script for this section.  Alex has a tendency to focus on dialogue only, then describe emotions and sometimes describe little things that I have no idea how to translate to drawing.  They are more like movie moments, which is how I think he envisions these.

So that can be difficult.  I’m going to let you behind the scenes here and show you the script as written for this page (they aren’t usually written as pages, I just chop them up as I see fit).

Redemption steps forward, and suddenly we hear a CRASH!

Everyone is startled.

Shadowy Figure: What the hell was that?

Calhoun: Shut your damn mouth and stay in the shadows. F-5, come with me.

Calhoun and F-5 leave. Redemption and {censored} stand around in silence. Redemption looks like he is snarling, it hurts him so to be in the company of sinners.

That’s the type of thing I’m talking about.  How do you draw it?  Well, you see what I did.  It’s not easy.  First there’s them all hearing the sound, which sounds easy but is a little weird when drawing a group and one of them has to be coming forward.  Picking the exact moment of an action to depict is tricky in itself.  If you do it the Marvel way you pick the most extreme point of action and exaggerate that a bit.  It works, but it’s not really what I’m going for.

I want something grounded a little more in reality.  Low key and easy to relate to.  Here that means writing the sound effect with special font and having everyone turn in that direction.  I did make the shadowy figure more jumpy than the others, and Redemption reaching for his sword.  I tried to make each character react in their own way.

Next there is the wordless action of Calhoun and F-5 leaving.  Easy enough, I guess.  Though there are many ways to do it.  I went with a pretty simple one and just did a straight forward long shot of them walking away after saying they were going to leave.  I could have not shown anything and left it simply cut it at them saying they were leaving and not being in the next panel because they had already left, which I considered.  But I wanted to show them leaving so we continued to get a sense of the location.

After that we have the Black Snow Comics’ trademark awkward silence.  It is something we do a lot, but it is done with some real variety when it comes to what emotions they are trying to invoke.  Usually comedy, here tension.  So I went for a medium two shot of the odd pair standing quietly for a panel.

Last I had to try to portray Redemption’s snarl of contempt for being amongst people he doesn’t respect.  Alex loves to write these kind of internal emotions, and they can be fairly difficult to display externally through the characters.  What does a burnt up man dressed like a knight snarling in disgust look like?  You can see my best interpretation.

So these are the kind of things I deal with working with a writer instead of writing it myself.  In many ways it is a good thing as the final product is more varied because it is a mixture of our visions.  It also forces me to do new things that I may not necessarily try on my own.

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