Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Page 2 Pencils (Obstructed Story)

With apologies for the delay, here are my pencils for page 2 of the still-nameless obstructed story. On this page I had to avoid showing the faces of any character apart from that of our protagonist Stepan, while also including dialogue and interaction among multiple characters, at least one of whom had to make an entrance and at least one other of whom had to make an exit. (The penciled text may be hard to read, so I'll provide a transcription after the image.)

1) Stepan: I--My master said you could draw a map for him.
Arntham: A map of what?

2) Stepan: My master said you'd know, yourself.
Arntham: And just who is your master?

3) Stepan: Magister Ipthorin, of--
Arntham: --of Wynholm. I knew him well, once. Come, boy, to my lodgings.

4) Stepan: Arntham, how do you see the maps you draw?
Arntham: Naturally I can't, boy. Your question is foolish! But look here...

5) Arntham: I can feel the marks I grave into the parchment with a blade.
Stepan: I can barely see the grooves...

6) Arntham: Well, you have to learn how to--
Stepan: LOOK!

7) Assailant: You've seen enough! A blade for your grave, Arntham!
Arntham: Kalbi! Run, boy!
Stepan: Ay!

8) Voice off: Kalbi--no--
Stepan: Oof!

9) Two illegible balloons of off-panel speech.
Stepan [thinks]: ...landed bang on my chin...head's roaring...can't make out who's talking...

10) Stepan [thinks]: ...can't see straight...

11) Stepan [thinks]: ...when all at once everything clears up, to reveal Arntham dead on the floor and a dark figure in the doorway.

I took Isaac's advice to condense the conversation at the bazaar so that it now occupies a single tier, and I took advantage of the extra space to try to build up the assault of the mysterious assailant with a little more drama. I also tried to convey a better sense of Stepan's disorientation visually as well as verbally after he landed hard on his glass jaw.

Comments welcome!


Isaac said...

Nice pencils! You're putting me to shame in the graphics department. (And here I was, thinking that you'd draw down to my level...)

I really like the sense of space you've created, in panel four.

I think you could, with a helpful pronoun, still condense the dialogue in panel 2: "He said you'd know." / "Who is your master, then?"

I'm dubious about "bang on my chin," which sounds like a Britishism. (Fantasyland doesn't have to be British, does it?)

I don't mind Stepan telling Arntham to "LOOK!" when the assailant enters, but it seems strange for Arntham to be saying "But look here..." since he wants Stepan to use his other senses instead.

Those are my notes...

Mike said...

More late-breaking responses to old comments:

Thanks for pointing out the Britishism of "bang on my chin." Having lived in Old Blighty for three years, I sometimes fall back on English locutions without really being aware of it. I swear I don't mean to! I really tried to uphold my American accent over there! Anyway, I revised it away. (Though I did have Kalbi say "widdershins" on the next page; I just like that word, and it sounds like a fantasy term, if you know what I mean.)

As for Arntham saying "Look here," I've been struck in conversations with various blind acquaintances by their routine use of the language of sight. You're right that Arntham has a point to make here about using the sense of touch instead of sight, but he may also be using the phrase metaphorically, as even sighted persons do from time to time.

Anyway, it feels unseemly to be defending these little choices when my pages as a whole have benefited a lot from your more wholesale suggestions for revision. But I wouldn't want you to think I'm not mindful about such matters when I write them!