To flit

With the size and mass of the citadel established, I asked for a travelogue of the girls flying their way in, penetrating the giant’s fortress unseen. We get our first glimpses of the frost giants, and a comedy act about the fae and the flit. The script called for ‘moody and ominous’ and the end product is a rather distinctly Latverian edifice.

DEE’S NOTES

The travelogue was a great idea and I love that it gave me the opportunity to have more fun drawing some fun acting with the teeny tiny figures that pushed the humor of their interaction. It also allowed us to show both how big and winding the city is and run a visual path throughout the page. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, CLICK HERE?

You feel me

Once up in the air, the sheer scope and scale of the frost giant citadel is laid out for the reader. While a crack in the glacier would have been more appropriate a locale for the seat of their empire, I wanted some grandeur to the frost giants with their cold, frozen hearts. This is a large, obviously painstakingly planned and constructed citadel that shows the strength of these mighty beings. This is the frost giants at the height of their power, before they became creatures of legend. When they were, instead, simply legendary.

That’s what I asked for out of this page. I got what I asked for, and I am impressed.

Plus boob joke. Here’s that the line art looked like for that piece, because it lost a lot of the charm in the ‘invisibility’ effect.

 

Well, okay, that’s a production drawing, because of the bluelines. But you get the idea. THAT DERP FACE OF LUST.

DEE’S NOTES

For the city, I took my idea for the concentric rings working out from the center and built the structure in basic shapes in the 3-D program, Sketch-Up, which allowed me to really set up the more intricate perspectives I wanted and tweak it before going into the actual art, which made this far easier than it would have been otherwise.

This was also a splash page in the script, but I pitched the two inset panels to really sell that boob joke, and it’s really good example of how well Sabrina and I work together. It’s always about what’s best for the page and what tells the story the way we want. Humor is a huge part of GGA, and I really loved getting to play with the visuals of this boob gag.

Land of the Giants The big reveal, where we get to see the giants in their entirety. After seeing this I thought perhaps the page order should have been reversed, with this preceding page 58. But while we got the heavily shadowed version on the last page, this is eyes adjusting to the limited lighting and us really getting the good look at just who’s down here, with some scale that is still not entirely the focus, given the camera angle

This is where Ronni gets clued in on what her mercy at the giant encampment produced, and how it has been perceived by the giants. This might be a bit confusing from a moral compass standpoint, but stay with us, gang. This sequence takes a few pages to play out, but I promise you we are going somewhere with it and it isn’t just about rubbing Kane’s nose in it.

DEE’S NOTES:

We don’t do splash pages all that often, but when we do, it’s usually pretty epic. This big reveal of the giants from the shadows, I decided to set from a low-angle shot where Ali Kazam and a normal-sized Ronni are large in the shot, but in perspective to hopefully reinforce just how big our new arrivals here are in proportion. It’s much the same trick I like to use to emphasize Ronni’s size when she grows and I think it’s effective and hopefully, a bit imposing here.

North she bade I am in love with this page. We get the giants looming out of the shadows while King Lars of the Hillbilly giants negotiates- remember, Ronni stole his maul? He’s even in Dirk Swann’s report to the Imperial Overlord, holding his crown in his hands and looking back at the camera.

According to the way giant society works, he would be the least among them, so him being the spokesman is because he’s the one they deemed expendable. I love Britomart’s restraining hand to the party, and that she’s willing to talk. Lawful, yes, but good.

So for those of you who could not understand why there was a giant black widow spider back in the Hillbilly Giant palisade? Now you know. The Witch did say the giants were moved by another force, and a darker force beyond that. Say what you will about the Witch of Washington, she was very economical about what she said, but none of it was inaccurate whatsoever.

I will freely admit, I am very proud of King Lars’ speech here, and Dee’s artwork really brought it home.

 

DEE’S NOTES:

 

With this page, there’s another visual and tonal shift in the style of the art. Going full-bore into the intensely deep, highly-rendered shadows on our giant here was just sooo much fun to draw. I really went a little overboard on the rendering, but I’m glad I did.

Using some radial line glowing from the sword also helped to separate the visual planes of the artwork here.

As you fall through the ice (cue David Gilmour guitar riff)

Of course, Ronni first tries to get big enough to get a grip and not fall, which just makes more of the ice give way. The Lexii reaction with the breaking of the 4th wall was all me, and Dee was of course down with it, and the shot of her diving after the party was way better than I had hoped for. Falling like feathers- what a concept, right? Then looming shadows as Halder gets in a rare line. He’s one of those characters who just never has anything to say until it’s relevant, so I try to make sure his lines count.

DEE’S NOTES:


In discussions with Sabrina, the primary creative direction here and in the next chunk of pages to come is that Britomart’s sword is the primary light source while they’re in the caves. It’s a great artistic challenge and has been fun to play with the dense shadows. Also, like the last page, that straight-up cartoon character shrug from Lexii was a lot of fun to draw.

DISQUS

We’re still wrestling with this, so bear with us. You can comment if you go check 2/3 of the way down the gold rectangle on the very bottom of the site, and look for ‘recent comments’. OR if you navigate to the previous page, you can see the comments there, and then if you navigate back to the current page the Disqus will be visible. If any of you out there have experience and a solution for this, we’re all ears.

Meanwhile, this is our workaraound. Feedback from the fans is what tells us how our work is received, and it’s an important part of the process, particularly in a longflow story like this. We look forward to hearing from you, and your perspectives, whether you think we are going great or off the mark on something, we love to hear.

In short, we’ve got a pain in the butt comments section, and we apologize. Under construction, please excuse our mess.

It’s A Trap!

DISQUS

We’re still wrestling with this, so bear with us. You can comment if you go check 2/3 of the way down the gold rectangle on the very bottom of the site, and look for ‘recent comments’. OR if you navigate to the previous page, you can see the comments there, and then if you navigate back to the current page the Disqus will be visible. If any of you out there have experience and a solution for this, we’re all ears.

Meanwhile, this is our workaraound. Feedback from the fans is what tells us how our work is received, and it’s an important part of the process, particularly in a longflow story like this. We look forward to hearing from you, and your perspectives, whether you think we are going great or off the mark on something, we love to hear.

In short, we’ve got a pain in the butt comments section, and we apologize. Under construction, please excuse our mess.

Also, is center aligned text irritating to read for you? Because I’m testing that with this post. Comment on this as well if you don’t mind. Again, feedback.

As for the page…

I dug the shrinking effect, as Dee explains below- it gives the impression without having to overclutter the page, yet it adds animation, motion and action to a page that is basically the same camera angle as a daily three-panel strip. I adore Britomart’s pontificating pose- as our webmaster pointed out, she’s literally doing the ‘Well, actually…’ pose here

Flynna. Cheeky!

Swann figures out the cycle while Flynna intuitively knows it’s a trap, and she’s right, as we see by the end of the page. Never argue with the expert padfoot, Ronni.

I insisted on panels 4 and 5 just being the change in Ronni’s posture and expression, because I love these comedic bits where the artwork sells the gag.

DEE’S NOTES:

While action sequences are a lot of fun to draw, I really love pages like this where I get to dig into the characters, do a little “acting” and play to the personalities and humor. I loved also, getting to play to my background in humor comic strips with Ronni’s gag where the ice cracks.

With this page, I’m also changing up how I render Ronni’s growing and shrinking. Rather than drawing the individual elements, I’ve decided to play with the software and do some selective radial blurring for growth panels where she’s not MOVING specifically in the effect.

Arriving at the Frost Giant citadel, Ronni drops off the party, then prepares to toss the snowball of ogres and ice trolls she’s collected into orbit. At which point she considers.

Sure, it’s the expedient thing to do. Sure, they’re probably marauding slavering unreasoning evil creatures.

But they aren’t threatening the survival of all other sentient life on the planet, now are they?

In the ends, her conscience wins, and she goes for a 7-10 split down the ravine. Still working on coming to grips with life and death here.

DEE’S NOTES: 

This is a page that we created largely in the story editing process and is a great example of how Sabrina and I collaborate. Much of this sequence was worked out in back and forth conversation where we decided to SHOW a bit of Ronni’s thought process here through her expressions.

It’s also the page with the most photo reference, where I used reference for Ronni’s bowling pose AND her pensive profile in panel 6. I have been having issues with Ronni’s face in profile and haven’t felt happy with almost any of them up until now, with few exceptions.

I’m really glad Sabrina nudged me to seek out some assistance in nailing the panel, because the result speaks for themselves, I believe. 🙂

Every once in a while she just needs to do a cartoony stunt that takes advantage of her size, and this was it. I love how Dee rendered her in the last panel- muscular and sexy! DEE’S NOTES:  This was just a really fun sequence to do. Ronni using her powers in a literal cartoon way to get a threat out of their path as they approach their destination. As SCALE was really in service to the GAG here, and the camera is largely centered on Ronni, we didn’t employ much in the way of blurring tricks, using only a slight bit of line color on the background to help emphasize distance. Plus, with the citadel at the top of the canyon, we didn’t want it feeling like it was too far away.
 
Lexii is delighted to be the same size as Ronni, having jumped off her shoulder when she was quite large, leaving Lexii with a different perspective on her favorite giant. Plus, return of the Arrow of Direction the Witch gave Ronni before she left for the quest! Been a while since we’ve seen that. I debated this scene for a bit, because it seemed unlikely. Paladins seldom release their warhorses, after all. But Britomart is the Right Hand of Vanu, and when she has a premonition, she listens to it. After all, God literally talks to her directly, and when that voice in her heart speaks, she listens. The script literally called for Buttercup to rear up heroically and the other two horses respond and run off with him, and I really feel I got exactly what I wanted here. Heroic horse leadership in action. Wellll, war unicorn, but whateva. DEE’S NOTES: HORSES!!!! As a student of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic art in New Jersey, one of my teachers was the classic artist, Jose Delbo, who pounded how to draw horses into all of his student’s heads. I did my best to remember those lessons and loved getting the chance to the chance to draw some here for their last page. It’s been a while since we’ve seen them, but Koen’s armor design for Britomart’s trusty steed here was SOOOO complex that I’m really glad they can’t go any further. Lol. I’d need hand surgery if I had to keep drawing this page after page. Lol