FUN FACT: This is the 100th page of Long John!

I’ve been lucky up until this point that the majority of scenes in the comic have been set amid either desolate landscapes, forests, or empty cabins. The only “lived-in” setting so far has been May’s store, but even then, not much time was spent there.

With the Broken Barrels Saloon––a place where we’ll be spending quite a bit of time in Chapter 4––I wanted to really give the impression that it was a place that has been around for awhile, one that has had a lot of foot traffic and history.

So, to lift the curtain a little bit, designing this place came to be over a few steps––first, layout the floor plan; second, who owns it? What’s their history? What stuff would they have to populate it? Third, let everything sag a little bit. Let some ends get frayed and whither.

It ended up being harder to draw, for sure, but every line actually felt like it added to the narrative. It’s not perfect, but it’s a huge step forward for me, artistically, and made for a really strong opening to the scene and the chapter. If you lay out everything clearly at the beginning, you can pull back later because the audience will fill in the details on their own.

I ended up very much liking the Broken Barrels Saloon––I’m very proud of it, actually, and I’m glad there’s a page that shows the dust bunnies in the nooks and crannies. Look around and you’ll see something new every time.