Last week I mentioned the four pager I did in an afternoon titled Vacation. If you haven't read this yet, it'd be worth checking out before continuing on with this Comic Curve. I'm really happy with this comic. There are a few things I'd change in retrospect but I feel like the comic has that universal cutesyness I'm aiming for.
The rickety bridge signifies the beginning of the turtle's journey. Turtle has to embark into new territory, the bridge sets a clear landmark to reach beyond. I signpost before the new adventure. On the way to Hatteras Island we crossed the repaired bridge that was destroyed in last years hurricane. It was a rickety looking thing, but gave my own vacation a very clear landmark to identify with. Welcome to Hatteras Island! I wanted Turtle's expedition to start in a similar fashion.
This is probably the least clear panel in the strip. I was trying to show Turtle ducking into his shell to hide from the crab. I think I should have shown the limbs or head of the turtle retracting partially into the shell rather than having him completely withdrawn with just the motion lines showing the action.
On a more positive note I like the crab and turtle designs. The crab is a more elaborate take on the crabs I drew in MERA. It is more anatomically correct although in hindsight I see they don't have any back flippers. I saw the husk of this crazy speckled crab out on the beach, but I thought a flat color would better fit the rest of the comic. I draw lots of turtles, I went with the beak face on this one. I used a hexagonal pattern on the shell. It was hard to stay on pattern especially working on the comic in between talking and painting with friends.
No one can hide forever, and as the water begins to rise Turtle realizes that ready or not adventure will come knocking. I attempted to create different textures with just a few inked lines. The water is more fluid with tiny circles for seafoam. The rock wall has sharper angles and fewer markings. The sand occasionally had little specks of ink, but in this panel I left it blank to help seperate that layer from the waves and wall. This is also one of the first times I feel I effectively used drop shadows on my characters. A little black underneath does a lot to ground Turtle into the panel.
I closed the comic with Turtle arriving back home to his log safe and sound, and as is true with any vacation, Turtle returns unscathed but exhausted. I think using the log and bridge in both the first and last page helped to bring the comic and narrative full circle. Turtle is no worse for wear, we've just gained one more experience. One more adventure. I like the pose of the turtle sleeping on it's forearms although I have a terrible tangent going from the forearm up Turtle's beak. A little more careful revisions, and I'd have been able to correct that when I was moving from the pencils to the inking.
Live, learn, create!
- Jon O'Briant