At the very last minute I decided to add three more pages to the beginning of the upcoming Chapter 5. I was hesitant because I knew that they would be a lot of work, but I realized it was work that needed to be done. They’re all pages establishing the scene, so it’s all about conveying a sense of scale and scope for where the chapter opens up.

These were so last minute because there had always been a nagging sense in the back of my brain that the chapter would be bolstered by some solid establishing shots. I knew it, but I didn’t want to draw it. When making comics––especially if you’re writing your own comics––you want to, obviously, draw what you enjoy drawing. For me, I enjoy drawing people. I try to do that as much as possible. I don’t enjoy drawing large cityscapes, complex machinery. Cars. Cars are hard.

But, then I went to the Eastern Sierra Nevadas last weekend for a research trip, and took the opportunity to visit the town of Bridgeport––a town briefly introduced in the middle of Chapter 4 (where we met The Rook)––where Chapter 5 opens. In Chapter 4, we visit Bridgeport at night, in the rain (a nice way to make drawing things you don’t enjoy drawing go faster), but this was going to be in the morning in broad daylight. So, the only way to avoid drawing it was to simply not draw a large establishing shot of the town. Maybe find a way to fake it, which is what I had done.

But while in Bridgeport, standing on the street I had Long John ride down, I realized that cutting corners was not only artistically cowardly, it harms the power of the story. The story of Chapter 5 deserves a big establishing shot. So, being there in the place motivated me to confront my artistic weakness and give it my best shot.

Of the three new pages, this page was the most complicated, but it turned out pretty well. It’s nice to know I can do a drawing on this scale and complexity and not have it turn into a complete mess. Furthermore, doing a drawing like this is much less scary than it was before (but not a cakewalk, either––let’s be clear about that). As I say at the end of the video (sorry for no HD quality there; I don’t know what happened), doing this made me a much stronger artist than I was at the start of this chapter, a reward that I am always striving for, even in my lazier moments.

Here is the fully inked page:

May be an illustration