This is part of a three page sequence that shows them walking an increasingly great distance, looking for this guy’s house. I could probably have done this in one page, with three panels in it, but I think that making the reader flip a page really emphasizes the tedium, and I like doing larger artwork without having to worry if it works within a more complex page layout. Of course, that means that my stuff tends to skirt the line between “comic book” and “picture book,” but it’s not as if there’s some kind of comics-Pope* who’s going to kick me out if I do it the wrong way.
Looking at the backgrounds in these, and in the other book that I did about the Iraq War, I simplified the architecture and landscape into just a bunch of blocky buildings, assorted plants and power lines, in the interest of not cluttering the page. Below is a picture that was taken in the general vicinity of** where this story takes place; you can be the judge as to whether or not I got it right. It’s sort of a challenge not to draw too much detail and get too involved, especially with landscapes, which I enjoy painting when not doing comics, but when you consider that the whole thing is going to be 7×4 when it’s finally printed, too much detail is just going to get lost.
**actually this is 10-15 miles away, but it’s right along the Tigris river, so it’s the same type of terrain.