Well, we made it. Here are the last two pages of Toby. I don’t have a lot to say about them except that I think that they are probably the pages that I am most happy with; the pacing is good, the images are strong, and the dialogue feels right to me.
Thanks for reading! If you would like an actual real life copy of Toby for about 5 dolla bills (and that even includes shipping! say waaaaa?!) you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hey everyone, I’m back with what is apparently now a bi-weekly update! Actually, there is just a little too much goin on for me to really know exactly how often I’ll be updating, what with us havin a baby and all. Good news is I got 5 more annotated pages for your reading delight!
I have mixed feelings about this page. If I ever decide to make Toby: the Extended Version I would like to add some stuff about what happens between the whale taking the ship and Toby ending up in front of Poseidon. Did the whale take him there? Why can he breathe? What about the angler fish? Who knows what might’a ‘appened?
I had to redraw the second to last panel a bunch of times because I had trouble getting the “camera” angle right so that it would work with the flow of the dialogue. Personally I don’t like long tails on word balloons or ones with little umbilical cords connecting two balloons, so I have to be pretty conscious of where I place things so they will read top-bottom, left-right.
Here we also learn Darwin’s name, which I am particularly proud of. I just wish I had come up with a better design for his shell.
I did a couple panels with Toby doing the quick head turn like in the first one here. I like how they look but I couldn’t figure out how to include his ears in the motion and that still bothers me. I also hate and love how wordy Poseidon is. I think this is what a Greek god would be like if you met one; all pot bellied and overly verbose. His speeches could use some editing though.
I love Toby in the last panel. I wanted to do a bit where Toby questions why Poseidon needs to be tugged out of the water. I didn’t really have time for that though and I’m not even sure that is something that Toby would do. I think that look he has in the last panel sums up his feelings about the whole ordeal well enough.
I like the flow of this page. It starts in at the bottom left and then you read in a clockwise circle, going up and then back down. That sort of stuff is fun to try and tough to do without distracting from the story.
I can’t explain Zues’ right index finger, so don’t ask me.
Here is where we see the true nature of the gods, they are just petty little kids acting tough and important like everyone else.
I had to add a few pages at the last minute to get everything right on the folios so I did these two pages as single panels. That is a pretty lazy way to go about adding pages but I think they do fit the story since the gods are supposed be huge. I met with Katy Ellis O’Brian to go over the story and she encouraged me to add a lot of the blacks that are in the story and was particularly helpful in the composition of these pages.
Alright. That is all for this time. I am planning on putting the last two pages up Sunday or Monday just to make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle when MY BABY COMES! WOOT!
Sorry I missed last week, I was tragically stuck in Yachats, gleaning the wisdom of the sea from this guy, drinking various tasty beverages from here and here, considering the birds (more on that later this week), and generally soaking up Elizabeth’s company and attention before I am forced (happily mind you) to compete for it.
To make up for my absence, here are 6, count ’em 6, more pages of Toby! complete with commentary! all for the low, low price of free! That is, as a man on a beach in Mexico once said to me, cheaper than money!
The song in frame 1 is from Krazy Kat, which, to me, is the most amazing comic strip of all time. How that guy could do that much with just one joke repeating over and over is mind boggling. If you haven’t read it and are now going to go and check it out because of my glowing review, know that it will probably take you a good 20 pages to get in to it. It can be like a foreign language, intimidating and weird at first but once you pick it up you find a whole new world opens up. It is just great.
I think this page was a little rushed. I think that is because I still am not quite sure about how Toby talks. I was temped to give him some kind of colloquial drawl or something, but I couldn’t figure anything out that didn’t sound trite. My favorite bits with Toby are when you see in his facial expression how he feels or what he thinks.
Angler Fish! Woo! A big part of why I chose to do this story was because I thought it would give me a chance to draw a bunch of crazy sea creatures/monsters. When I first drew this page the angler fish was going to be the first of many of Poseidon’s minions to come after Toby because he didn’t have an open ocean visa. I still think that would have been a pretty fun story line to follow, but it would have taken a lot longer to get where I wanted to go with the story, and I didn’t have the time. I like the fist and last panels of this page a lot. The middle bits are a lot like the page before, a little stilted speech wise, but at least the story is sorta there.
Kraken Attack! Woo man! this is getting CRAZY! I love this page. The drawings aren’t all my best work but the whole thing is so chaotic and I think it gets the point across well. It is the kind of page where if all the panels were really well drawn it would probably detract from the story because it would slow the reading down. In the book this also comes right after the page turn, which makes it even more fun cuz you don’t get to see it coming. Page turns are totally awesome and the web just doesn’t do them justice.
You probably don’t need me to tell you this but Toby and the turtle are trying to free themselves from the kraken/giant squid which has essentially become chum at this point. For some reason I feel like that needed clarification. I really like the layout on this page, the only thing I think I would change is the lettering/ dialogue. My lettering throughout the story leaves much to be desired, but this page in particular grates on my nerves. It’s all so crammed in there too, I guess that is why you are supposed to get all your dialogue in before your drawings. C’est la vie. It’s still one of the cooler layouts I have done so far.
She blows! The white whale! I thought about having this actually be Moby Dick attacking the Kraken, but I decided that was reaching a little too much. It’s still a white sperm whale, and I think that is probably tribute enough. This two page spread is the mid point in the story, which works pretty well with the saddle stitched/stapled copies. It’s a good attention getting spot for the story to flop open to. You can’t see how awesome it is here though, so you’ll just have to get a copy to see what I mean.
In page 10 you can see the tug boat motor at the bottom of the ship. I actually did a fair amount of tug boat (or water tractor, if you prefer) research for the story, and man they are awesome machines. The motors on the bottom allow them to move in any direction, backways, frontways, sideways, slantways, freaking Wonka-vators of the sea! Check out tug boat ballet sometime or read up on the Voith Water Tractor.
That’s all for now. More next week!
Hey! More pages, just like I said!
Page 4 is one of the more interesting pages to watch people’s reaction to and often prompts people to ask, “So… what is the audience you are writing for?” Apparently donkey frat-boy urination is not an all-ages sorta thing, who knew?
I really like how the 3rd panel and the 5th work together without confusing the order. That was one of the big things I wanted to do with this comic, try to push my panels to do new and interesting things without losing readability.
On page 5 you can see that the name of Toby’s boat is “Caroline,” I chose a feminine name because I think the boat is something like Toby’s wife, the only thing that understands him. the name also comes from the names Carolus and Karel meaning “Free man,” which is what Toby wants to be but he is always getting tied to something.
More next week and if you are in Portland you should come on down to Reading Frenzy this Thursday at 7 where all of us Comics Jail folks will be reading from our 2011-12 Comics Cert. projects!
Here is the first installment of Toby. The story revolves around a surly tugboat captain and his quest to just be left alone. I will be updating a page or two weekly.
I really tried to really pack a lot of info into these first few pages. I wanted to establish a sense of Toby’s job and the people he has to deal with but I didn’t have time to really ease into the story so it turned out a bit choppy. The bar scene is based off of a the Tugboat Brewery Pub here in Portland, and all the characters except Toby are loosely based on the crew of fellow comics students who frequented that establishment.
You can check out the pages by clicking on the gallery here and then look at the larger versions by clicking on the images farther down.
I said I was gonna switch, but I’m not gonna. http://www.4istjohnson.tumblr.com is still in the works though. This is Toby. He and I are going to Olympia comics fest…today I guess it is. He may not be happy about it, but I’m making him go. I will be periodically posting bits of Toby’s adventures here, so you should come and visit here now and then to see them.