Four. And. A half. Hours. (I counted.) That’s how long it took me to pencil this page. Normally, I could pencil three mini pages in that time, or four if I was firing on all cylinders. And the result is not, of course, four times better than a typical page. I’m not even sure it’s any good. Part of that is because I’m too close to it, but I seriously doubt I’m going to come back in here tomorrow morning and decide it’s the best thing I’ve ever done, either.
Part of the problem is scale: The moa skeleton is very tall, and its head and Gideon’s head kind of have to be in the same panel. I had to find another way to do that and not repeat the structure of page 6.I’m certainly not going to claim this is the best way to do it, but this is a better page than the one described in the original breakdown. I think. So in my pathetically long working time, I came up with a new layout, rewrote all of Gideon’s exposition, and figured out a new way to deal with the moa skull so Moab looks like she is paying attention even before she has her ghostly flesh on. (I am so looking forward to drawing her as a “real” character!) That’s something; it would be pretty awful to spend all that time just copying my first sketch without any changes.
The small panel with the dialog between Jack and Gideon will be done in the ultra cartoony style of background conversations you see in Japanese comics, with the rest of the page drawn in my usual one-quarter-realistic style. I admire this convention, where characters can be drawn in two different styles on the same page, without breaking the suspension of disbelief. I’ve been doing this for a while, and I hope I can carry it off here.