Friday, June 26, 2015 The composition physician.


Here's this week's comic for The subject this time is ongoing negotiations between the ECB and Greece over terms of the bailout.

The good folks at asked me to draw a parody of gameshow "Let's Make a Deal". This version was to feature Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as the contestant. They asked me to draw ECB President Mario Drahgi and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde as the hosts. In the background, I was asked to include two prize "doors" in front of which would be piles of Euros and piles of Greek drachmas.

Here's the sketch:

It was a tough layout. As usual, the biggest factor was the looming, end of the day deadline. Having been to the rodeo many times before, I have a pretty good idea of when each stage of the comic needs to be done in order to make the deadline and avoid working from 6 AM to 9 PM (I have actually done this on one or two comics and it's not good for me in any way, shape or form). At any rate, figuring out this layout meant striking a balance between the size of the characters, the visibility of the prize doors, and the various background elements.

Looking at it now, the layout seems awkward to me. I probably should have either grouped all three characters on one side and put the doors on the other side OR raised the characters up (drawing more of their legs, ooh la la) and thereby created more breathing room for the prize doors at the bottom while also taking up a little more of the basically unused space at the top (it's just filled with a big sign as is).

Here's the thing, and this isn't an excuse, it just is what it is: It wasn't like I dropped the ball on the layout because I was lazy or incompetent (though I'm immune to neither affliction). It's that I'm writing this postmortem (this is what I used to call the time after the deadline has passed back when I was doing newspaper cartoons). It's easy to play armchair quarterback and reflect on what I might have done differently, but the choices all need to be made very quickly while I'm working on these comics. Those choices about layout or color or whatever don't seem so clear when they're being made on the fly. So I'm going to cut myself a little slack, in spite of the fact that I wouldn't exactly consider this one to be a triumph.

Here's the final, btw:

Here's what I like about this comic: The color was fun, drawing the set was fun, and I think Tsipris and Lagarde's caricatures turned out pretty well. Draghi looks weird. Kind of pinched. I think I drew his eyes too small. It's a shame, because usually I really enjoy drawing him. Must have been rusty.

Anyhoo, what's done is done. Next week, depending on the comic, I'm going to put as much thought as I can into making the composition and posing of the characters more dynamic and interesting. This week's comic was a situation that happens once in a while: I put everything I had into it and it didn't turn out all that great. It's possible that I've just been looking at it for too long, though. All I can do is try to do better next time I'm up at the plate.

Until next week,


No comments: