This post is to give you some insight into how my creative process works!
So... Instinct vs. intellectual understanding. Complex ideas are great. The only trouble with complex ideas is that you can't keep the whole idea in your conscious mind at the same time. So you need to just rely on the knowledge you already have, so you can build on it. The things you're thinking about actively, I call “intellectual understanding”; the things you already know, that you can use without thinking, I call “instinct”.
Of course, it's a good idea to go back and examine your instincts, from time to time.
I drew my last comic mostly by instinct. Especially the panel borders. I didn't think “What do I want this line to express and how do I accomplish that?”; I just thought “Hmm, this line doesn't look right... *redraw* ehh... *redraw* ooh, this works!”. In short, I had an instinct for what I wanted, but I didn't intellectually understand exactly what I wanted.
I love understanding things, so after I drew the comic, I went back and analyzed my own work! Here are some of my thoughts:
- The flared border at the bottom of the second panel echoes the powers Tritia's using in that panel. It makes the concept clear that Tritia is having an effect on stuff, especially with the way it stabs into the larger image below.
- The way the last panel is drawn “in front” of the others give it more emphasis (which is good, because part of the joke is the fact that such a mundane statement gets so much emphasis). It also puts it slightly outside the flow of the story, which is good, because the main flow is the fight with Tritia.
- The way Jeva's katana ignores panel borders. It's a bit of a running joke to draw the katana above things that it would normally be drawn below, but it also works for me here – in the first panel, it helps capture the interrupted-ness of the continuation from the previous page, and in the last panel, it helps accentuate Jeva's droopy-ness. If it was in the panel, I'd have to move the speech bubble up, and anyway, having things break the normal rules usually helps emphasize them. Oh! And I hadn't even thought about the fact that putting the speech bubble at the bottom, curving down, added to the overall effect of that panel.
- Some other things didn't work so well. For instance, there's no good reason for Sam's speech bubble to be all the way at the right side; it confuses the flow a little. That's something I can keep in mind when watching my habits of where I put speech bubbles. I also should have found a way to indicate more motion in the crevices (bits still falling off, perhaps?), to make it clear that Tritia just dug them. As it stands, you might think that they were there the whole time.
Anyway, one of the interesting things here is this: I'm finding it just as productive to study my own work as to study someone else's. That makes sense right now, because I've read a lot of comics already, but haven't written very many of them myself... yet!