How to draw an alien attack.

Carrying on with my process of drawing poems as comics I put together one based on a poem about an alien attack. The poem itself is pretty brief, and I think I even posted it here at one point: “When the aliens attacked / They came in ships shaped like raisins. / It’s embarrassing, but we thought we’d kick their asses / Because of that one, slim fact.” Lends itself to illustration, really.

Various fun things came up during the process. The first of which was how to do more than just literally draw the stanzas of the poem. Going with a need to do comics with less text, I wanted to draw the implied consequences of the poem (ass-kicking by the aliens) in a really extended way… to kind of overdo it, or get across how comprehensive it was. So in some ways the comic is mostly a drawing of all the white space after the poem.

Then there was epic drawing and redrawing as I tried to draw skylines and make them look like they were being zapped by alien rays. It’s almost depressing how hard that was, but I think the solution of having them kind of disintegrating along the edges of the beams and just gone further in worked out alright. Probably a bit of a cliche, but from my less-than-amazing-technical-drawing-skills perspective, I was happy.

Finally, the question of how much of the text of the poem to include. I originally thought I’d have it drawn in more numerous panels with the poem serving as captions as it went along. Then I had the whole poem just sitting like a lump at the top. And then an editor of mine suggested dropped the second stanza altogether and effectively let it be implied by the first panel. Which, really, is what comics should do in the first place, right? It also allowed me to run the first stanza on as a single line and to just make it a title for the comics, rather than part of a poem. Though then it introduced the problem of making sure the people pointing at the raisin spaceships looked like they thought they could kick their asses. Not so sure if I nailed that one, but it’s good enough.

So, just goes to show, even a rather simple comic which intensely basic composition and so on can involve plenty of agonizing behind the scenes. Is that a good thing?

17 April 2010
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