Dramatic Shadow Power, Go!

So it’s been decided that the style of Dragon’s Fall will not actually be noir, since William has finally admitted that he doesn’t actually like noir, in contradiction to his previous statement. This is really all right with me, since I know that I want to start drawing the comic as soon as possible, and I can’t yet work consistently in a style that could really be described as noir. I have actually done quite a few panels for the first page. I would describe the style as a more dramatic, more detailed version of the fantasy style that I use in LleuGarnock. This is a compromise between jumping into a whole new style that takes me forever to get every panel right, and keeping in my comfort zone for the sake of a schedule. I really think it is the best way to go, and that I’ll still be pushing myself quite a bit.

I always planned to start with a moderate style like this so that I could try out new elements one at a time. I still want to try out a lot of noir elements, but I won’t be pushing it as far in that direction as I might otherwise have done. I guess this decision actually gives me more latitude, because I can try out elements of other styles too. This is a good story for style experimentation, because there are so many different moods that require different light and color effects. There are definitely some scenes that could go all-out noir, but we both love color too much to leave them completely barren. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to draw them, but the pages will have a lot more black ink than any page of LleuGarnock I’ve drawn.

Since my last entry it’s been suggested to me that if I want Dragon’s Fire to be real art, I should get used to my new style before we lock ourselves into an updating schedule. It was always my plan to take at least a month to prepare, but after that I think we’ll be diving in. One reason for this is that we both intend to use the schedule to motivate us to actually work. If I don’t have motivation, I don’t do art.

However, I plan on taking the time I need with each page. If I can’t maintain a once-a-week schedule and my standards, it’s the schedule that will be sacrificed. LleuGarnock is my exercise in efficient strokes and strict schedule. I know I can do it, so I don’t have to prove it to myself with Dragon’s Fall. DF is my exercise in art and visual drama.

The thing is, I can draw pretty well when I take the time. I’ve learned more from LleuGarnock than those pages let on. But I needed that strict schedule just to get myself to draw a lot of pictures. Drawing a lot of pictures was the key. I learned a lot from the repetition of drawing the same characters in similar poses over and over. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but for one thing I know a lot more about what matters and what doesn’t when you want two pictures to look like the same person. For another thing I know a lot more about what kind of lines my hands can draw smoothly and easily, and where to use them for the sake of speed, and where to take more time forming a line deliberately.

The linework in LleuGarnock is relatively minimalistic. To do justice to the drama and richness of Dragon’s Fall, I don’t have to go too far outside of what I can already do. I just need to put more into each panel, in terms of time, detail, thought, and research. The thing I feel the need to work on the most is building a page for dramatic effect, or I guess the essence of visual storytelling, how to string panels together to get the effect that you want. So in order to practice, I need to be drawing pages. There is nothing else I can do that would be more informative or useful.

LG just isn’t written in a way that allows me to explore the dramatic possibilities of the comic page, especially in the first three and a half chapters. That’s all right with me, because I had enough to chew on with the elements it did have that I had never really worked with before. LG is its own kind of beast, and although it always wants to be better, it doesn’t want to be Dragon’s Fall. It doesn’t want to be action-packed and trendy.

So yeah, in another couple of weeks I should have some concrete news about when the Dragon’s Fall site is going to launch. Here’s what I know about the site: It will be located at dragonsfallcomics.com, hosted on Webcomic Planet, and rated web-MA. WCP uses a comicpress structure, so I will have to learn a bunch of things about CSS. This is a good thing, because just knowing barebones HTML keeps tripping me up when I talk to other people, but I never have sufficient reason to learn CSS when I’m working on the LG site code.

I’m pretty excited. I’ll be even more excited when I can get this first page finished, and maybe a couple of covers. So I’m going to do some more drawing now. Bye!

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