This is most likely the final full-page redraw that I’ll do on Steamroller Man Issue One. I’ve made some minor tweaks on almost every page between this one and Page Four (see my previous blog post, above). The changes were not large enough on those pages that I thought they deserved a blog post (mostly lettering corrections and a few minor art changes), but if anyone is interested, please leave a request in the comments for this post, and I’ll be happy to show them.
This page is now the first time the reader will see Tough Cookie, the Gingerbread Golem, in his true form. Revealing this to the audience in a more dramatic way was one of the main things I wanted to accomplish with this redrawing project. To this end, I knew I had to overhaul the composition of this page to make it more dynamic and dramatic.
The original composition was too staid; I remember being very concerned, back in 2018, with making sure the reader understood what was going on. Looking at it recently, I felt I had sacrificed dynamism for the sake of clarity. I experimented with entirely new compositions, first lowering, then raising the horizon line, but wasn’t happy with either direction. I finally decided to tilt the horizon so that the orientation of the whole piece was less vertical and more diagonal. To me, this gives the feeling that the viewer is being thrown off-balance by the action.
The original pose of the Golem was very stiff, and a prime example of what is called “twinning” in animation - a pose that looks very symmetrical, were an imaginary line to be drawn down the center of the body. This has the effect of making the drawing look flat and unnatural. So, armed with a few years experience at drawing the character, I attempted to make the new pose less symmetrical by having both arms and legs posed differently, and the figure’s line of action more diagonally oriented rather than upright. I drew him bigger than the original, for emphasis, and posed him as though stepping forward towards the reader. I decided to have his front foot cut off by the bottom of the frame - I think this enhances the feeling of action, and also creates a better sense of depth in the composition.
Overall I think this new image is a much more dramatic and exciting debut for the character, and I hope you do, too!
I also find a curious parallel between Tough Cookie and Thing, though on opposite sides of the justice scales.
You’ve got to be using traditional media to be getting that groovy paper and ink groove….no?
Yes, Tough Cookie is definitely my version of a Thing or Hulk character, a big brute who has a child-like personality.
As for traditional media - no, this is all digital! I use a program called Clip Studio Paint which is fantastic for drawing comics. Its inking tools replicate the feel and look of traditional ink pens and brushes really well. I'd love to be able to work in traditional media for this comic but I just don't have the space for that, currently. Also, as slow as I am already, I think working traditionally would slow me down even more.