Last week I completed the layouts to the 72 pages I envision for the first book of Maps. It's not super tight, but I have a great idea of what my comic is going to look and read like. It's my first real foray into different characters and different settings. I've had a lot of fun playing with the cuts from scene to scene, and in this book keep any setting change on its own separate page. I think that this will help keep the scenes clear to readers of all ages. Maybe not a hard rule for every book, but I think it's one I'll stick with in Maps.
A night or two ago I ran through the entire books layouts with Timothy and we went through and discussed what was good, what he'd like to see, and what just flat out didn't work. There were a few panels that needed to be reversed to move with the readers eyes. A few pages where full body shots would be stronger than the close ups I was using. Then there were bigger, more holistic bits of advice like diversifying my camera angles and using more establishing shots. The biggest critique was on one characters inclusion in the story. Timothy thought their narrative through line wasn't strong enough. That the character didn't add anything interesting to the story. I hadn't felt that way before, but I've started thinking about new ideas to implement with the female Tokolosh that could potentially add a bit of excitement to her inclusion in this book and really take the story into interesting places down the road.
This was a very cool process that I think we should probably do with every project. Bouncing ideas off of each other is a good idea whether the ideas are used or not. It gives you a chance to see your work in a different way, and gives you additional time to think about your work critically. The Comic Curve itself is an exercise in reflecting on my work, but the more I can dissect my process and shortcomings the better...I hope. Thanks, as always, for reading.