Volume 2 Page 7
Posted June 14, 2016 at 12:01 am

By square footage, I quite like most of this title-page illustration. That is, the drawings of  blockheaded hero Syndablokk—whose 90s-tastic “supranym” was previously discussed here—and the as-yet-unnamed reptilian supervillain next to him worked out well, with the tilted angle and “zoomed-in” composition adding a decent level of dramatic impact to the shot. Howeva, I’m less impressed with the main drawing of Emp, which looks somewhat wonky to my present-day eye. Everything above her hips seems a bit “off” to me, from her too-long mane of hair to her too-narrow shoulders to her too-“tall” forehead. I suspect that said wonkiness was partly due to the fact that I very likely drew the rough sketch of Emp at the almost 45°angle of the finished piece, causing figure-drawing flaws that I might’ve noticed if I’d sketched her at a more straight-up-and-down angle before tilting her for the final version. Or maybe not, as my decade-ago thought processes are often opaque to me now. Regardless, I’m mildly chagrined that 2006-Era Me either never spotted the art glitches, or cavalierly chose to disregard ’em once I belatedly did.

Bigger issue: As I’ve said many times before, Empowered is all about embracing imperfection... and that sense of imperfection primarily applies to its artwork. On most of my previous comics work, as an artist I was a diehard perfectionist, prone to painstaking detail, elaborately redundant stages of work (as in: roughs, tighter layouts, lightboard transfer to artboards, finished pencils, inks, screentoning or color guides, etc.) and endless redrawing of flawed panels. This also meant that, as an artist, I was really frickin' slow. By contrast, on Empowered I move on to the finished page as quickly as possible, spending little time on meticulous preplanning and preliminary drawing—and, generally, no time whatsoever on redrawing, unless I've really screwed something up. This is partly an aesthetic choice, but mostly a practical one: I simply don't have the time and don't make enough money per page on Empowered to dick around with the time-intensive techniques I once used on much higher-paying mainstream work.

This approach has its good points, the main one being sheer speed of production: as I mentioned yesterday, the first four volumes of Empowered were published in a two-year span (well, give or take a month), meaning that a good chunk of 900 pages of comics work "dropped" during that stretch. This so far exceeds my old production rate as to be pretty much laughable, as I was only rarely able to write and draw 22-24pp per month of conventional-format comics, let alone every month for two years straight. However, this approach also has its bad points, with the main one being that I let a fair amount of less-than-ideal artwork see print, such as this page’s rather flawed shot of Emp.  

-Adam Warren

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