Graphic Novel Development Journal, #2

Going on from my earlier thumbnails, page 2 sees the introduction of the knight proper. He sees a deer in a forest clearing, and attempts to shoot it, missing the deer. Laying out page 2 I had a certain idea of what I wanted to convey – the beauty of the deer in it’s natural surrounding, but something that looked very picturesque too – almost unnaturally so, with an air of the fairy tale. I think I conveyed this through the doubling of the knight’s eyes and the deer in panels 3 and 4, linking them visually. Furthermore, in panels 5-6, we see the knight readying his bow. Panel 7 is a close up of the deer’s mouth – I wanted to increase suspense, and suggest something inhuman about the setting.

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The third page begins with the arrow hittng the tree next to the deer. When I sketched it out, I had the deer with a shocked / surprised face, but this seemed comical, so I redrew it with a much more restrained, natural look. Once inked though, the face and the arrow have very little motion – The image is very static and not in a good way. Furthermore, whereas the patterned crosshatching in page 2 as a background for the forest worked, as seen above, it really didn’t on page 3 – I think there is simply too much of it.

Page 4 proved to be incredibly difficult to illustrate, and I think in retrospect will be a page that I want to redraw at some point. A lot of the difficulty came from the difference in size between the child and the soldier, and not just that but the fact that the child is lying on the ground and the soldier standing upright, with most of his body appearing off camera. The initial plan was for panels 1-3 to be from the same angle as panel 1: a straight on view that would emphasise the mundane nature of the violence depicted, as this soldier killed this child. That these things happen every day. Panel 4, which then was happening simultaneously with panel 2 and 3, was the knight looking on and not saying a word. However, as difficult as panel 1 was drawing, I didn’t want to repeat it as I felt once drawn the effect was mundane, but in a way that looked uninteresting. So I decided to reframe panels 2 and 3. Whilst the sequence works much better, the 4th panel now looks increasingly out of place as it kind of just sits there. The eye does not flow easily. It’s a flawed page, and I think in future will benefit from being redrawn and perhaps spread over two pages.

 

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