Two pages from what was a very productive weekend. I have 22 more to go, so if I do two a week I’ll be done by mid-September. We’ll see.
I was debating, and still am, whether or not to add sound effect words to where this kid is running through the sewage puddle. I decided against it for now as I didn’t include them earlier in similar situations. Another thing I may do when I go back through this is add more garbage and building imperfections, the better to give the overall feel of the place. One habit that I had to train myself out of in doing comics is the urge to add a high amount of detail to the background, which clutters the image and distracts the reader from the subject, which is the people and especially the little kid. On the other hand, if the buildings are just cubes the whole thing loses realism and it looks like a vector graphic video game, so I have to strike a balance.
Page 75. We’ll see if I can get three done this weekend. I can certainly finish two.
I had originally intended not to include any names at all, but I think Hernandez is sufficiently generic for it to be clear that I’m not referring to an actual person. Like, “Smith.”
American Soldiers handing out candy to kids is very much a cliche, and one that conveniently omits the darker side of American wars overseas, but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate. I once gave a toddler a can of some kind of energy drink that was literally as big as his torso. If the caffeine didn’t kill him, I’ll bet his parents did by about three am. I also saw vehicle gunners go out of their way to get cases of out-of-code fruit (too old to serve on purpose, but not actually inedible) from the DFAC to wing at IPs/SOI at checkpoints. They were mainly blowing off steam at the entire country of Iraq, but the IPs would go running after the stuff because, hey, free peaches, so any hostile feelings were lost on them and probably no harm done, which is why I let them do it.
Page 74, which makes the book 3/4 complete. I’m hoping to get back to two a week after some recent disruption.
This is page 73 of my graphic novel about the Iraq War. I’ve gotten up to a point in the story — this kid running through the river of unspeakable filth in his street in search of a stick of gum or a cigarette from the Amrikkis — that happens to coincide with some of the concept art that I drew back in 2011 when I was first considering doing this. I’ve included it below for reference. The first and second images are the same scene drawn in, respectively, Corel Painter and actual ink on paper. I had initially toyed with the idea of doing this one at least partially in physical media rather than entirely digitally, but soon realized that I would probably drag my hand through not-quite-dry ink one too many times and end up stabbing myself in the face out of sheer frustration.
The third page is more ink on paper drawing, this time as practice at laying out panels in the more vertical format that I ultimately adopted. These are more sketches than actual scenes from this book, but you can see where I was going with it. Although I’m not proficient enough to use it for a big project, I can’t recommend Liquitex acrylic ink enough if you want to do watercolor-looking drawings without losing vividness. It also works well with a nib pen if you want to stick to pen and ink.
Page 72 of my graphic novel about the Iraq War. There are 27 more pages to go.
In a way, this road repair mission is a sort of extended allegory for the whole effort to stabilize Iraq: they don’t have the time, resources or motivation to fix the underlying problem, which isn’t even understood at the higher headquarters who ordered it fixed; the mission itself was ordered based on considerations that are wholly lost on the people executing it and aren’t really relevant; the people who live there are happy to see things fixed and are about to be disappointed when the richest country in the world does a half-assed job and leaves.
Write that down, kids — it’ll be on the test.