If it’s broke fix it – Critiquing Page 1 and how I’m fixing it

I’ve been reluctant to post for a while now. Partly because I’m not too sure how much I want to reveal about the story because I keep changing things. So far I have 8 pages penciled and two more roughed out. Originally I was going to post the pencils for page one a while ago. Then came to the conclusion that it was too crammed with the text that needed to be there.

I did a quick attempt at lettering it just to see and I was right. The easiest fix I tried was to cut the captions to salvage my work. Overall it felt too rushed so I scrapped that idea and turned page 1 into 3 pages. Which breathes better and lets the reader in, instead of throwing everything in your face. Luckily I could save a panel or two. I’m sure that there will be more spots that will demand a drastic re-write, but for now I think I’ve got a handle on chapter 1.

During this project I find myself rehashing ideas in my head at work all the time. A small tweak that can be made here, a scene change there. I could really use a few solid days to organize those stray thoughts into something coherent. Unfortunately I don’t think that is on the horizon at the moment. I am hoping to start doing my rough pencils in Manga Studio then printing them out and tightening them up. The expediency gained from resizing and rearranging elements on the fly instead of redrawing or changing things after I scan the pages would be a huge asset.

I find the balance of a page becomes more apparent as more panels get finished. It either works or it doesn’t, I’m not seeing much middle ground. Though I’m sure that knowledge comes with time, perhaps I’ll just have to keep going forward one panel at a time. One thing I have noticed is that working sequentially page after page is easier than working on multiple pages at the same time. When I went back to expand page one I hit a brick wall. Suddenly I had all sorts of new parts to add and design. That next page was already draw and now became page 4 (since I was midway through page seven at the time).

For me focus is the key, multitasking is fine but I need to have everything prioritized. Here’s the first version of page one as you can see there wasn’t much room left for text. I underestimated the space required for my captions even though I roughed in boxes and word balloons. What really made me want to expand this page was the scene change in the middle of it. The reader gets no information about what is going on or where the soldiers are. Anyway that’s enough personal critique for now, perhaps next time we can rip apart the second version.


Come on, tell me what you think?