Grinding It Out

And Then One Day #9: Page 7 (Elephant Eater): Panel 1: There’s not a whole lot happening in this panel, but I do like the way that the characters are facing to their left, our right, because it pushes your eye right toward the next panel. It’s a very subtle reminder that nothing is really left to chance with Ryan’s style, every panel is filled with deliberate choices that work to service the story functionally or dramatically. Taking a look at the whole page, you can see how balanced it is. The relatively simpler panels are top left/bottom right, with the more lavishly rendered panels opposite, at the top right/bottom left positions. Also notice that every panel is a slightly different size/shape, with no two panels being exactly the same proportions, all in an effort to achieve that visual balance.

Panel 2: This is another extremely solid panel in terms of achieving depth. That obelisk on the right side of the panel is in the hard foreground with a very thick line weight. The main figures are in the mid-ground anchoring the reader’s eye in the panel, there’s a row of trees in the first level background, and then an even deeper background with a building in the far distance. Most artists might offer two layers of depth; typically some figures in the foreground which are the main focus, and then some paltry background details. However, Ryan being the extremely generous artist that he is, offers us not the standard two, but four layers.

Panel 3: While this panel is another that is intricately rendered with multiple layers of depth, it’s actually not the first thing I noticed. The first thing that caught my eye was that I don’t think I’ve ever seen this specific camera angle before. It made me realize that Ryan has been doing an admirable job of varying the camera placement and angles of the shots in order to keep things lively since this is largely a talking heads issue. The variety keeps engaging the reader’s eye, who, if it’s anything like mine, might be largely conditioned for more action-oriented stories. It’s a nice move.

Panel 4: I like the text in this last panel because it keeps calling into question the nature of truth, that nothing can be truly objective. Even empirical fact can be skewed by who is relaying the information and what medium is being used to convey the information presented. Everything is subject to influence, whether intentional or unintended.


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