Commentary to Ondine Page 4:
So for this page I colored the hair black, but then I didn’t draw the protagonist again for the next three pages, so when I finally had to draw and color him again, I forgot that I had made his hair black, and so I just left it uncolored. It wasn’t until the very end, when the comic returns to the real world, that I went back to these early pages for reference and realized what had happened. At first I considered coloring his hair black in the real world and white in the “dream” world, as another little artistic difference between the two. But I rejected that idea, mostly because I didn’t like how he looked with black hair. So, for consistency’s sake, I went back to this page and “corrected” the hair color to white.
There are a couple of noteworthy art design things going on in this page. For one, I introduce a color that is not grey, and I associate that color with the protagonist. This is in anticipation of the introduction of Ondine, who has her own color. The two major characters are thus assigned their individual colors, and I can use color as a way to signal something associated with one character over another. (As we’ll see, other design choices prevent me from exploiting this color division very much.)
The second big thing involves the panels. Up until this page, I maintained a significant border space between the panels and the edge of the page. This served two purposes: one, it creates a faint claustrophobic effect, wherein the images within the panels are constrained and crammed into a space that is smaller than the full page; and two, it suggests order and regularity. This is the real world, governed by immutable rules, and therefore the panels are bound by specific rules as well. In the first pages, the panels and compositions are very basic, and I don’t do anything elaborate or experimental with layouts.
This is the page that starts to change that. We get one “normal” panel fully introducing the protagonist (who, we now see, is completely uninterested in the lecture and not paying any attention), and immediately in the next panel, the rules start to break down. The panel edges curve, and the next two panels become circular rather than rectangular. Finally, the last panel actually does extend to the very edge of the page, signalling that we are breaking out of the rules of the real world and entering into somewhere else entirely.
The zoom into the eye is supposed to suggest that we are entering into the protagonists mind, or dream, or thoughts. It’s a well-worn trope in cinema and TV, but unlike in those media I didn’t have the luxury of a steady zoom shot. I think it still works, but it’s perhaps a little clunkier than I would prefer.
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