Here’s the next page of the graphic novel I’m working on – Robert Smalls: A Life Reclaimed – Page 7!
For this page, I had a pretty clear idea how I wanted to look when I was scripting it, but then, after deciding that Lydia would be alone in her quarters when McKee arrived, I had to make a few changes to how this played out.
I wanted the layout to be slightly unsettling, to fit with McKee’s benevolent tone but sinister words; he’s saying he’ll do Lydia the kindness of not taking her son from her before he’s twelve years old! Even with this said, Lydia knows, as well as he does, that should he decide to take Robert and sell him before that, despite his promises, there isn’t a single thing she could do about it either! I wanted the layout to be slightly disconcerting, but to flow well. This is why the panels are irregular shapes, but I hope the shapes of them and the placement of the speech bubbles and the way they bleed out of the frames facilitates easy reading. Please let me know in the comments.
There will be a time jump of several years when the next drawn page starts, so I wanted to set that up, and also reinforce the idea that Lydia is painfully marking off those twelve years that McKee has promised her with Robert with the calendar pages behind the panels.
(About those calendar pages: I decided that I wanted them to actually be accurate to the months and years they show so then had a very tedious job of numbering each calendar page individually! I like how it came out though! I also hoped their placement would help rather than hinder the flow of what could be a visually confusing page. Having tried the page with and without them and I’m satisfied that they do help make the page a cohesive read.)
So, there you have it! The newest page of the Robert Smalls graphic novel! I think it’s my favourite page yet for aesthetics and emotional clarity.
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Unsung Superheroes is an ongoing project, creating graphic novels based on the stories of real-life historical figures whose stories may not be as well-known as they could be.
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