Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Style Crisis!

Back in June I stopped posting new pages of my graphic novel The Rough Pearl so that I could go back and rework the drawings, which I'd decided were too loosey-goosey for my uptight tastes. I devoted hundreds of hours on lovely summer days to this obsessive task, hours which might have been more profitably spent playing with my young children, or romancing my wife, or drinking beer, etc.

Anyway, just when I had it almost done (there's about five messy pages still left, you'll probably be able to tell which ones if you read through it), I started to get really sick of the style I was using. I know, I know, ridiculous, right? Just get on with the damn thing!

But frankly, this was all part of a bigger issue I've been having with making comics - the old "realism" versus "cartooning" stylistic debate. When I started The Rough Pearl I imagined it as having a certain "noir" vibe with lots of shadows, as well as a little more gravitas than its prequel Fantastic Life, since it was about characters who were now older and working real jobs.

However, because of time constraints (I'm also doing another book, The Moon Prince, at the same time) I decided to draw The Rough Pearl in a cartoony style similar to Fantastic Life. Even though I liked the results, I always knew it wasn't honest to what I had originally wanted to do, and eventually this nagging, guilty feeling became impossible to ignore. So I did a test page in a more "realistic" style, and immediately realized this was the right way to draw the book. The upshot of all this: I'm going to redo every page from scratch!

Since I had 4 more pages done in the original "cartoony" style I'm going to go ahead and finish posting them, and I've also uploaded all the "polished" versions of the 30 previously posted  pages. Once I have those last few pages of the old "cartoony" version posted, I'm going to start posting the new "realistic" version from the beginning -- page 1. If you've been following the story and wondering where it would go, please accept my apologies for all these delays - I promise not to do it again!

Just for fun, here's the latest page of the "cartoony" version plus, as a bonus preview, the same page done in the new "realistic" style (click on either one for a full size version, and if you'd like to read the "cartoony" version from the beginning, please click HERE):

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