In mid-November, Steve Lieber, whom I know from my time as an intern at Periscope Studio, gave me some really solid advice. Emphasis on solid. Starting from about today’s page, I made a real commitment to constructive anatomy (that is, to building characters out of boxes, spheres and cylinders before adding their muscles, clothes, nose-rings, etc.).

I don’t know why this commitment was so slow in coming. “It will feel like you are wasting time,” predicted Steve, “but you are really saving time.” He’s certainly right about the first part – drawing all those shapes that will be covered up by clothes or even cut off by the panel borders certainly feels futile while your doing it… but I couldn’t be happier with the results.

But besides general laziness, I can think of one other reason why I might have been hesitant to construct my mannequins in three dimensions: I was worried about losing the “gestural” quality, the flowing curve of motion through the body so praised by animators (not that I really have this down either, but anyway). Sometimes thoroughly solid, constructed anatomy can end up looking a little stiff, just as hip, flowing cartooning can look totally malproportioned and flat. You’ll see plenty of examples of both problems in this comic, but I’m striving for a synthesis of the two like that achieved by “the greats.”

So while some of the drawings in the ensuing pages may seem a little rigid and awkward, I feel that by about page 120 (I’m pencilling 128 right now) I am back in a good place. All I’m saying is, I hope you don’t have a communicable foot disease…

…because those pages are gonna knock your socks off.