Hold up. Stop.
The proceeding article will make a lot more sense if you read my introductory article on my webcomic THE NEW DRACONIANS.
If you haven’t, feel free to immerse yourself HERE.
If you have…AWESOME. Let’s get to it shall we?
To quote Joanne the scammer, I needed something “ICONIC”.
That best describes my thoughts of what the opening panel to the New Draconians should invoke. I took visual cues from the manga classic Akira, and let a sprawling cityscape set the tone. If anything I probably drew the scene too pristine.
Welcome to the Manhattan of the future. Everything south of midtown is half submerged, waterways replace avenue and streets and elevated transit lines have replaced the subways. Life goes on.
Even the effects of climate change can’t stop New York City.
Harlem however, and the surrounding areas are still on solid ground and has become the financial and cultural epicenter of the metropolis. That’s where the Victory plaza building resides. Home to the city’s most affluent resident: Victor Jemison.
Part Baxter Building, part Avengers Tower; I wanted to design a structure that dwarfs the rest of the city. I have a real love/hate relationship when it comes to drawing backgrounds. Love the finished product; hate the actual grunt work of doing it.
With that being said, moving forward I’d best grit my teeth and bear it. Sprawling and elaborate backgrounds will become the hallmark of this series. Nothing fully immerses the reader more than an intense establishing shot.
Victor Jemison is no everyman, he’s very much apart of the “technocratic elite” and it’s through his eyes initially that we’re introduced to the world of the New Draconians. Visually I took the disheveled look of tech startup fashion chic and men that looked like me. He’s a big bear of a man whose equal parts are that of an arrested child and scholarly sage. His more pragmatic number two is David Alvarez, intuitively intelligent in ways that Victor is not and is extremely protective.
Let’s get this out in the open right now. I’m a fan of facial hair so don’t be surprised to see that many of the male supporting characters will have variations of a beard or mustache.
In closing, I could talk about penciling and inking [and I will in future page recaps] but for now I want to focus on coloring. I’ve colored my own work before, but never traditional comic pages. When this concept initially came to me I envisioned it being black and white with grey tones. Invoking a GHOST IN THE SHELL manga feel.
Then I said, what the hell. Embrace color.
I’m so glad I did! Laura Martin, Dave Stewart, Marte Garcia, these are the colorists in particular I decided to study. They are true masters of the craft. There’s never a time I don’t discover some new nuance that reveals itself when I look at their work. For my part I wanted to replicate an animation cell feel for the characters, while maintaining a more flat layered colored look to assist in the perception of foregrounds and backgrounds. It’s a skill I’m constantly refining but overall I’m happy with my progress. Still, I’ve got a ways to go in that department, be patient with me!