Volume 2 Page 129
Posted December 1, 2016 at 12:01 am

Today, the conclusion of an ongoing Twitter rant about the issue of comics creators allotting more “developmental time”—or “dev time,” in game-design speak—to their work. Last time, I suggested that creators should sink any and/or all available “dev time” into 2nd or 3rd drafts of their all-important page roughs—or layouts, or thumbnails, or whatever the hell term you prefer. Now, onward to the big finale:

Due to perceived time pressures, many or possibly most creators end up going “FDOD” with their comic-page roughs—“First Draft, Only Draft.” And in truth, for some of us, just completing a first draft of a comic’s roughs can be a g-d ordeal. “Phew! Thank goodness that's over!” First-draft layouts rarely take very long—a few days, at most—but can be more stressful and taxing than a month’s worth of finished pencils. But I say that comics creators are shortchanging themselves by not going back and “re-roughing” a story’s thumbnails differently. 

When I suggest multiple rough-page drafts, many artists—including lazy, shiftless sorts like me—whine, “Man, I don’t have time for that.” Well, make the g-d time for 2nd drafts on your thumbnails, alleged comics creator! Besides, let’s face it, you probably do have the time. I’m pretty sure—in fact, certain—that your schedule doesn’t look like this weekly manga artist’s hellish regimen: http://www.comicsbeat.com/sample-work-schedule-of-a-manga-artist/

Are you a pin-up artist, or a comics creator? If the latter, then invest your g-d drawing-table time in improving your storytelling. Quit futzing around with fan art or “warm-up sketches,” and start futzing around with multiple drafts on your page layouts. 

I have other ideas for allotting “dev time” to comics’ work stages, but they’re “pie-in-the-sky” BS that’ll never happen in the real world. As in, more “dev time” so editors could wrangle writers, artists & letterers into avoiding the lettering mishaps that plague modern comics. That ain’t gonna happen, howeva, given how most editors are desperately juggling faaaaar too many comics edging waaaaaay too close to deadline disaster. 

Ah, but working up a 2nd draft of page layouts is a simple idea that almost all comics artists could easily tackle on their own initiative. So, then, why not make it happen, fellow comics creators?

End of rant! Next time, back to our regularly scheduled Empowered commentary.

-Adam Warren

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