Friday Fixup: Ahmed Raafat

FRIDAY FIXUP! I did another one! Ahmed sent me this page, caveat: this is for an Egyptian comic book so reads right to left, so I had to flip it before I could make sense of it, so from here on in I’m going to talk about this newly flipped version as though it’s the original (make sense? otherwise I’ll be talking about flipping things back to the way before and it’ll drive us all mad)

Anyway here’s Ahmed’s original (ie his page flipped to read left to right) and my amendments, notes, as ever… to follow..

Panel 1:

Ok, first off. This is clearly a night scene in a busy location, but owing to the stylistic choice of the buildings in panel one it felts too bright. So That was my first job – bringing the lighting down. I pushed all the buildings in to silhoutte in the background leaving the odd lit window as an indicater they’re buildings and then I masked off the top of the buildings and added a splatter stars (more than were originally there – some time ago I created an ink splatter and scanned it and turned it into a brush for Clip Studio Paint, this is my go to splatter brush for stars or blood or just chaos). The splatter allows us to read a continous set of straight lines for the roofs (rooves? roofeses?) Then I blacked out the floor. Next I wanted more crowding so I added another -I’m calling them – tucktucks just to beef it up, then I figured I needed depth, so I took the waiter guy and blew him up and moved him so he was taking up a big bit of the foreground (I fixed the cups he had in his hand which seemed to be tilting forward and about to spill) but him in isolation looked great, but it’s not really his story, is it? So I needed a good visual link to the next panel so I ended up poorly drawing the guy in panel two in panel one – just a suggestion to link these panels, panel 1: reach for cup. Panel two? drink from cup.

Panel 2: The glass looked like it was weirldy floating. Our hands and fingers curve around and take on the shape of the object they’re holding – as best as they’re able. The squishy flesh touching the object soaks into the shape of it increasing the surface area and grip, and on the exterior surface of your hand the bones wrap around and you’re seeing mostly bone and sinew on that side, but bone and sinew trying to be a cup holder. Unless it’s a light glass we will try and get as much of that glass in to our hands as we can. I also flipped this panel, there was a lot of symmetry going on with the next panel and I needed an easy way to disambiguate the two, I also think this is a neater way of hemming the second character in here.

Panel 3: The facial expressions on the smaller character here and the smaller character in the previous panel were nearly identical, so I needed a way to stop that. Decided that since the character turned up first off in a lot of shadow he should remain in a lot of shadow this further made it look different to the smaller character in the previous panel. I also blew up the other character in this panel, helping to add some depth to the scene.

Panel 4: I pushed him back in to ominous silhouette, we lose the facial expression, and maybe the intent – depending on the script, but really it felt much better to have him in all silhouette here, it looked cool and felt like a good moment on the last panel of the page.

I should point out, I’m really looking at these things out of context of overall script, so, arguably, I’m losing information and intent from the overall story, so it may well be that edits I suggest here are unworkable, but still, it’s fun to figure this stuff out, right? Anyway, as every YMMV!


Author: PJ

Belfast based Comic Artist who won’t shut up on twitter.