TDM Page 68 and Emotions

Black Snow: TDM page 68
Black Snow: TDM page 68

This is one of my better overall pages as far as consistency of quality.  I’ve been all about depicting emotions for some time, but I think I may do it better here than ever before.  We really get to see some intense drama unfold.

Let’s break it down by panel.

Top left is a nice wide shot of Marie looking at Kurt’s dead body.  I don’t do a ton of wide shots, I typically stick with medium shots and close-ups that show off the character’s face.  Wide shots can be a little tricky, getting the character’s whole body and stance correct, placing them in the setting, etc.  It’s a different skill set that I’m still working on.  This one looks pretty good, and I think it captures a nice sense of drama.

It is supposed to be her staring dumbfounded, trying to emotionally process what is happening.  Hopefully it conveys at least some sense of that, though it is difficult to depict an internal process like that accurately.  Alex loves to write things that way too.  He doesn’t really write for a visual comic medium all the time, often scripting something that is a bit of a cross between a movie and a novel.

Top middle we have a very sad and scared Marie reacting to the realization that the danger is still very much real, and approaching her.  I really like how upset she looks here.  There’s some genuine emotions playing across her face.  Most of the time I’m drawing characters who are in some state of happy, sad or angry; so it’s nice when I get something a little different like scared.  Not that there aren’t a lot of fun variations of happy, sad or angry. And it’s fun to mix them together a bit.

I feel sorry for her when I look at that face, which is great.  It is really something special when you are able to draw something that evokes an emotional response, especially from yourself.  A lot of times the magic of a drawing can be lost on the one who actually draws it.  You look at it from a more technical standpoint, think about when you were creating it, and if you’re like me you critique it harshly.  This panel, and page as a whole really, I can look at the end product more from the view of a reader and judge it by it’s context to the story.

Top right is a chilling, dramatic, intense close-up of a now angry Marie.  Her fear has turned to scorn for this murderer in a mere instant.  There’s still some hints of sorrow, but rage seems to be steering the boat at this point.  This panel contains some of my more dramatic shading, with the shadows playing across her face.  This is also one of those closed mouth while still delivering dialogue poses that I am slowly embracing.  Sure it flies against some practical logistics, but it opens up a plethora of new territory to explore, especially for a fairly dialogue heavy comic.

Just a great panel, probably my favorite on the page.  It just feels like we are really looking at someone with a lot going on inside her head.

Next up is the middle left panel of Redemption giving Marie a wicked slap.  It looks painful.  I probably don’t need the movement lines here, as the action is pretty straight forward and deliberate.  They are something of a crutch for weak artists, and an old habit at this point.  Sometimes they are more necessary to convey what is happening and they really add something to the overall composition.  Sometimes they are probably detracting from a strong movement.  Hard to say.  When they aren’t there I usually miss them, though.

The middle right panel has a nice pairing with the snarling, possibly screaming Redemption angrily giving it to a sad, hurt but righteously angry Marie.  I really like Redemption there.  He cuts quite the intimidating figure.  I think it’s also the first time we’ve really seen him lose his composure.

The bottom left is a different, two-toned style that is more like my older work on the comic books.  I still like to bust it out when I think the atmosphere will benefit from such a stark, stylized contrast.  Here it suggests just small hints of highlight on a very dark field.  Mostly lightning highlights, but also some purely design inspired highlights.  Hopefully it enhances this moment of cruelty and menace from Redemption.  Perhaps the lack of shading really makes it stand out to the reader, which would be good as it is sort of an important moment.

Now the bottom middle is a return to fear for Marie, but this time it is supposed to be fear mixed with a resolute acceptance that her life is about to end.  We also get a better look at her slap wound, and the ever powerful single trailing tear.  I decided to keep Redemption in silhouette for a couple reasons.  One was to play off the darkness of the prior panel, but another reason was to make him appear as sinister as possible.  The fear of the unknown and all that.  Plus silhouettes are easy.  No, I’m not kidding.  They look cool and are good when I feel lazy.

Lastly we have Lightning Lad slumped over in pain in the bottom right panel.  He is supposed to be struggling to rise in the script, but I altered it a little and made him struggle just for consciousness.  I guess he could be struggling to sit up.  We just had a panel of Lightning Lad pulling himself up on the last page and I didn’t want to mimic it with anything too similar.

In my last post I discussed how it can be difficult to draw youth, but I think I did a pretty commendable job here.  In large part because I focused on how slight Lightning Lad is.  That is the skinniness of a teen who has not filled out yet.

I barely remember those years before I suddenly gained a bunch of bulk.  It’s all muscle!  Funny little story about that.  I remember meeting with Alex after school after not seeing him for a while (not sure how long, maybe a month or two), and in that time I had really filled out.  I may have also changed my hairstyle (possibly bleached or spiked, as it was the early 00’s).  Well, my good friend of around 5 years did not recognize me, looked past me and took a moment to register who I was when I said hello.  First thing he did was remark with some astonishment on my more muscular look, a sentiment I would hear echoed a lot by others.

Well, it was funny if you were there.  And me.

Anyway, Lightning Lad is posed really nicely there, and looks like the young prepubescent boy he was always supposed to be.  Oh, and in case it was not clear, the point of showing him at this moment is to tell the reader that he will not be saving Marie.  Poor girl.

Well, that’s a lot more than probably needed to be said about this page.  Hopefully you enjoyed it.  I won’t go so in-depth again for awhile.  I promise.

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