< Piro >
Tuesday - March 22, 2005
Yknow, its kind of weird to be disconnected from the net. We are so used to being able to look at things online without thinking about it, or automatically connecting to the net when we open our laptops in our homes that not having it it there can be oddly jarring.
I'm sitting here in our new home and I already have some respect for my new neighbors. All of the wireless connections i can see from here are encrypted and protected. No slipping online for me, but it's good to see that they are smart enough to enable at least some level of security enabled.
I've mentioned this a few times in the status bar and on the fredart site, but Seraphim and I are moving this weekend. I'm sitting here in the new, empty house that we are renting going over all the things that we need to do before we move in. It's an older place, and we have some painting we want to do before we move in, but Seraphim, the cats and I are really looking forward to finally moving into a bigger place. At least, i think the cats are looking forward to it.
As you might guess, this might (and probably will) effect the comic schedule over the next week - mainly friday's and monday's comic. I was originally planning to DPD or 4-panel both friday and monday's comic, but after the response to today's comic... i think i might keep it down to missing just one comic if i can.
While it is true that part of the reason i looked into revising monday's comic was because of a general sense that most readers were not happy with it, there is some artistic legitimacy to the changes i made. There were some problems with the original layout that caused a different effect than i intended. In fact, it was pretty clear that this was just one of those comics and one of those experiments that didn't communicate things the way i had intended. It happens sometimes.
So, in the interest of learning from it, I tweaked the comic a little as a kind of experiment to see what worked and what didn't, and maybe to understand what worked for me didn't work for so many others. Usually, my sense of things and the general readership is pretty close, it always puzzles me when i blow it like this :)
Pacing in a long-ranging comic can always be a problem. We all know what a disaster the pacing in the last chapter was, but so far chapter 6 has been moving along nicely. There is also the fact that i decided six months ago that i was being way too timid with the story and that i needed to stop holding back and just plow forward with things. So far, so good i thinkl. This particular comic worried me a little because pirowaffling is something we've seen a lot of over the past few years, and people have seen so much of it that i'm finding a surprising lack of tolerance for the kind of behavior that made up my high school and college years :) But, It was a story point i had to get through, so I put up the shields and plowed forward, experimenting a little to try to give it a different twist for once.
I wanted the art style here to show more of a comical nervousness than the normal piro-angst. As i often do with MT comics, i experimented a little. The first two frames are pretty typical MT frames, but the sequence of the call and Piro's hanging up on Kimiko's voice mail i felt would be best conveyed by an almost comical series of SD drawings.
From an artistic point of view, the main problem with the first comic is managing the passage and the rythm of time for the sequence of events presented. In the original comic, i used two copes of the same frame to show Piro frozen in his attempt to press the "send" button. Then two frames showing him grimacing about it and finally doing so in the 4th frame. From a sequence point of view this worked, but in the final comic, something really wasn't working right.
The problem really was a function of the limitations of the 650 x 875 pixel page that MT is based on - squeezing 5 frames into each of the last two rows was the right thing to do from a sequence point of view, but from a layout point of view... something wasn't working right. I specifically used the simpler art style so that those frames could be smaller... but look at how tall and narrow each was, and how overly regular each frame had to be in order to get them to fit. The effect is similar to that of placing several sequential images from a film next to each other. each frame is different, but the similarities overpower the differences and at a glance they all start to look the same.
It also has an odd effect of seeming to speed things up, not provide that sense of time i wanted. The amount of space in a frame can help give a feel for how much time is passing in that frame. The effect of the first version didn't give, to me, a good sense of time. the multiple frames gave an impression of rapid succession and had a motion and movement to it that wasn't really right for this scene.
if you look at the newer version, the change isn't really that major - i cut out the 'repeat' frames i was using to establish the idea of a continuing passages of time and spread things out to allow for some more flexibility in the layout. Piro now has some space around him in some of the frames now, and the contrast between tight and open frames helps give a sense of how fast or slow a scene might be going.
I also eliminated piro's sound as he gets Kimiko's voice mail. Why? Because i didnt want to show it in the first place. for some reason, in the original version, showing piro wih his mouth open and no sound didn't seem to work - but by providing a frame with much more of a 'pause' to it, i was able to remove it and still have it work, at least to me.
Now, does this new version REALLY work better? I don't know. It feels like it does, but i could be wrong. In sequence, much like many other so so comics i've done in the past, its not a big deal, but as a current pause point the comic isn't that great. It was interesting to think about what could have made it better, and to me did just by changing a few little things.
Anyways, pardon the experimient :) I have a busy day ahead, but im working on the comic. I think it's going to be pretty late tonight, and perhaps even tomorrow morning sometime, but it's a complex one and i hope it comes off better than this current monday comic did.