This morning, to distract myself from some terrible stuff, I went back in and did some clean-up work on my last drawing. I know it shouldn't, but it surprises me every time how much difference even tiny revisions can make. Here's a side-by-side before-and-after showing what I mean:
I went at his neck, right hip and arm, and left ear with an eraser, and that had already made a huge difference. Then I came back in to smooth out a few lines and shadows with the pencil. Just adding a dark line along the shadow of his lower spine makes him look much more upright. That and bringing up the line between his left arm and his upper back and just sharpening a few of the lines in his back have I think made a big difference - I didn't make his back any narrower, but he does somehow look thinner in the revised version. I also thickened his right forearm, and reworked the shading on his keister.
On the whole I am very pleased with the revisions. That said, I am about to go back in with my eraser and straighten up his right hip. I think that should be a straight line rather than the current curve.
In further effort to distract myself, I have been reading comics. A few of them I have been very very impressed by:
- Red Mother
This one opens with a mysterious traumatic injury during which the main character loses and eye. She begins seeing disturbing things that may be supernatural, but may just be a trauma response. The "real-world" panels are done in a very slick (think Archer or Frisky Dingo) art style, and the the "disturbing visions" panels are much grainier, and washed in red. The contrast in the art styles and the ambiguity in the narrative make for a VERY effective exploration of the emotional and mental consequences of trauma. I am astounded how good this is.
This one follows three troubled high school kids, all named Sam (Samuel, Samantha, Samir), who find and adopt an infant space alien and find they are mentally linked through him. The alien has some powers, and the kids get into a little trouble finding its parameters. I was ready for this to be a comic about how their mental link, their sudden state of having friends or at least people going through something similar to what each of them was going through, would suddenly render them all well-adjusted. Instead, there's a full issue devoted to each of them abusing the powers and seeing some aftermath. I'm very excited to see where this one is going next. This comic is not afraid of consequences.
Edited to point out someone else's review of another comic I very much admire.