You may have noticed the comic has changed abruptly in style over the last two pages. This is because lately I’ve made a real effort to study what works and what doesn’t in compositions other than my own. (Read: I’ve spent a ton of time reading other, better, webcomics) and have decided to (ahem) borrow some layout ideas. OK, look, normally I had been using the panel layout tools in Manga Studio 5, and cutting up distinct layers for each panel. I didn’t much play with the layouts beyond a few of the prepackaged ones and a few that I had set up on my own. I think the convenience factor had actually led to a good deal of creative complacency and laziness on my part. SO, I started just thumbnailing and sketching my own layouts from scratch, and I gotta say, I like the results much better.
What’s really kind of weird is that the new method is actually much faster for me. I think because it gets my ideas on the page quickly and more cohesively. I’ve noticed it shaves about a half hour off my normally 2 hour time frame for page creation. Sometimes even a little more depending on complexity. You would think that using those fancy tools, with the built in layer separation would save time, but apparently it doesn’t. I think it may also have something to do with my artistic origins. I started off with traditional paper and pens and moved gradually into digital. Part of the reason I choose raster over vector graphics is the ability to emulate better, traditional media. This is just a continuation of that idea–working more like paper and pencil and pens means I’m creatively more at home, and can work faster and more efficiently, and a lot more personality seems to come through.
I’m not sure if all the backgrounds from here on out will be white instead of black (I’m thinking of some things to experiment with there as well, actually), but I think from here on out I’m going to go with this slightly sloppier but more personable style from now on. If you want, you can message me with how much you like or hate it, as feedback is always good. Cheers!