Din Krakatau: First Half

28 07 2008

About five hours ago 64th page of Din Krakatau has went online. This officially concludes half of the storyline.

Wow. 64 pages. The longest story I have ever finished. Or wait. I have not i finished it, not yet. This is just the half of it. Still, it’s an impressive achievement for someone who couldn’t finish a 10 page comic 2-3 years ago. What happens now is that I am taking a break to figure out the rest of the storyline (writing on the spot is all fine and stuff, but the closer I get to the end the bigger the chance it’ll be difficult to wrap it up the way I want it) while at the same time looking into the usual problem of “oops, need money to live”, which usually collides with w my creative processes.

Looking at these pages, I have went through several artistic changes. And I have attempted to improve constantly, making sure that the page I am working on is better than the older pages. Now, making every page better than the previous page is impossible, we all have better and worse days and some things are harder to draw, but I tried to make sure that there’s a noticeable quality jump every 10 or so pages.

In the beginning it was all about keeping a daily schedule. First page was a bit of a nightmare to do, I think it took me 5-6 hours alone to color it. Second one went a little bit faster though. Third one improved on the “painterly” look of the backgrounds while the 9th one was my foray into 9 panel grid. The fourth one was the page that got everyone all worked up and saying “hey, you should make it a regular webcomic”. So I did.

Page 5 had a lovely upper panel and not that great other  panels. And the statues were drawn better than the main character. Page six failed on the “swirling flashback” panel while having a nice “white background” panel, and page 7 was absolutely lazy in the pencilling/inking stage, as I fell back on filling it with “painted” green, but it had my first attempt at breaking the panel borders. And I screwed up the character’s proportions too. Page 8 has a minor transition problem to me (although I think it works) but it also features some artistic improvements and I have used the “coloring using two layers” approach for the first time (while shading the Polytacular).

Page 9 continued the action sequence and features some of the most warped heads I drew in the entire story, and what I considered to be a lame attempt at being funny. Apparently though most people who read it, liked that. At this point I was sick with filling all green bushes and blue sky. Page 10 was the first experiment with colored inks, which was followed by page 11, my first attempt at varying the line thickness. While it was fun to see the results, it was rather straining on my wrist, so I dropped that. On 12 I almost succumbed to switching to flat coloring (see last panel) and I also used my first gradient there (see the mountains on the sunrise panel).

Page 13 was very muddy, and at this point I have realized that this messy coloring has it’s place somewhere actually. It also features my first shy attempt at hand written/drawn sound effects. 14 is, even at this point, one of my fav pages. The panel layout, coloring and shading, all work very well together. 15 was an experiment in overlapping images on a grand scale, and also the first time I used textures to simplify the shading. 16 continued that, although I still used both approaches, as well as colored inks.

At this point my art was noticeably better than at the very beginning, although the jump wasn’t that great. Page 17 featured some lettering experiments and a ten panel layout. It’s also the bloodiest page so far. PAge 18 as a comparison was a drop in quality (although people told me they like how I drew the cop/guard). Page 19 meant more action and more handwritten sound effects, and also featured the idea that started an entire wave of various crazy ideas I had in this story so far. Page 20 featured an 11 panel page that was rather wordy, and introduced the second main character. If it wasn’t for the warped faces, I’d be really happy with that one.

Page 21 I remember as one of the most difficult to make. Not only it caused problems at every step, but at some point I wrote it over with the smaller online versions (originals are big enough for print). 22 featured return of action, and beginning of what could be called chapter 1 finale. Also, it’s the first car I drew in the entire story! Going crazy with sound effects from now on. 23 on the other hand had a rather unusual layout choice (which I rather like) and is followed with 24, that has more cars. It also has one of the most unclear panels in the entire story.

As much as I wanted 25 to work, apparently the car tossing bit is somewhat unclear and can confuse people. Other than that I was pretty proud with the layout. 26 was tightly filled with small panels but the best part on it is the hand holding the hammer in panel 4, where I shaded it properly. That tiny bit made me thinking of making some changes further along the line. 27 is another crazy hair idea, and 28 is 2/3rds awesome. At this point I was using textures irregularly and have been experimenting with different custom brushes for coloring than before.

Then comes 29, where I went weird with the sound effects as background and a rather bizarre first panel. And finally 30, which was an experiment. Most people seemed to like the result. This theoretically wrapped up the first chapter, but I wanted it to have 32 pages, so the next two pages featured a quickly assembled epilogue that also wrapped up an unfinished bit of plot from this chapter. Page 31 was somewhat lazy (but it worked the way I wanted it to), while page 32 was ALMOST a splash page (avoided that by adding a second smaller panel, haha).

And we’ll make a short break here, seeing how long this post is turning out to be.

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