Been talking a lot these days about first take drawing. No underdrawing, no fuss, no “detailing”, no shitting – just deliberate marks on paper, then arranged into meaningful layout/narrative spreads.

I recently finished a 10 page story for the CW mag (B/W above) – made in exactly this way. I wanted to show a lot of wide natural vistas so, for ease, i used a grid of identically sized panels. This allowed me to put any drawing anywhere it needed to be for visual flow or narrative reasons. Each drawing was done with a story card construction mentality – to show what’s important in as much clarity and detail as was necessary, then move on to the next.

I also just self-published a 32 page comic, Hermit Crab Real Estate (Black/Orange above). In its original form, it suffered from a bunch of bad, literal, linearity problems during serialization, so i snatched it back and hacked the shit out of it. Every bit of new content added was a first take drawing. A deliberate, necessary image to move the story forward, or none at all. Less than half of the original content survived the editing process.

I’ve always had a tendency to overwork every single drawing, and have been consistently disappointed with the results. For me, the polish, and the mentality of polishing, were killing the work. This also led to overthinking elements of stylization to the point where they’d become barriers to reading narrative imagery clearly – style overshadowing the intent of the initial drawing.

Something to think about. Something I’ve been thinking a lot about, anyway.