NOTE: This page may not make sense if you don't read the description!
First, I know the next page is a bit late. Although work has been busy, the real reason is that I stopped to play Diablo III for a week or so. Gonna have to mind the video games once I'm doing this stuff full-time. The next page should be along soon, though work will be much busier this coming week. It'll be worth the wait, I promise.
This is the page that was initially going to replace page 2. I scrapped it for a couple of reasons. One, it would have presented two similar page layouts to start with and two full front shots of the main villain. That's poor storytelling technique IMO. Second, it made for bad page composition and word-balloon placement; the heavy black areas are all on the left and bottom of the second panel, and the text would have been scrunched in the upper-right corner, which would have been awkward. The other option was to cover some of the art with the word balloons, but that would make it more confusing. And neither option would work will with the long vertical panel to the right. Forcing the reader's eyes through a page in a non-standard pattern breaks the immersion and is a major problem even with many professional comics. Anything that pulls the reader out of the story will make them enjoy the story less.
That said, the poses were pretty good and the proportions were alright (Schadenfreude's arms are out-of-proportion but it's not easy to notice at a glance). When the text flows properly even art that isn't perfect will suffice, but a poorly-laid out page like this one either forces the reader away from the art or gives them the time to look at it more closely than they would otherwise. Bad balloon and caption placement hurt your work!
As for the text of the conversation, it's just whatever I happened to write down as I laid out the word balloons. Why was I subconsciously thinking of donuts? Well, it's early morning and I'm a bit hungry...
A few other notes:
- Since it's in color, you can see the non-photo blue borders. This is actually drawn on a photocopied Blue Line Pro comic sheet, which I reduced to quarter-size. I put two of them side-by-side on a standard 8.5 x 11 inch sheet so that I can use them for layouts. But I'm actually kind of liking working this small. I bought a 100-pack of BLP's print-sized sheets, which are 8.5 x 14 with the lines set at actual print dimensions. I was thinking of using them for secondary comic book stories, but they may become my paper of choice in the future. We'll see.
- You might be able to notice that some of my inking falls outside of the panel borders, and that the panel borders are not very sharp. When I finish the page in Adobe Illustrator, I create a "panel mask" that is like a sheet of paper with the panels cut out of it. That way, any stray ink marks are covered, and the panels are nice and straight and uniform. In some cases I don't draw the panels in at all, or I ink them slightly larger than the final size. Digital finishing of comic book pages has really changed the way I work.
- The word balloons have a transparent fill for this page, which I added just in case there was any overlapping. Normally I set up my page with the artwork at the bottom, the word balloons above them, the lettering layer above that, and the panel layer at the top. This way I don't need to modify the word balloons to avoid the panel edges (see panel two above). The panel mask covers that, as well.