Every time I re-think how I draw Tree, I mean from a technical/improving my art standpoint, I try to leave the original branches intact for the purpose of being somewhat consistent. The only branches I’ve added since the beginning are those two that hang down behind Crow’s head in panel 2. I added those because those shots just didn’t feel enough like he was in a tree without some more branches. So the branches move around a bit when I re-think it but I always try to leave the configuration more or less the same.
I used reference photos for Crow in panel 1. It’s always a challenge finding the exact pose I want but in this case it didn’t matter too much. For panels 2 and 3 I just referred back to the last strip and I feel like it turned out pretty well. It’s going to be more challenging when I try to have him do something unrealistic though like hold something with his wings. Guess I’ll tackle that problem when I get there. I tried to use reference photos for Tree but I couldn’t find any that really worked. So I just tried to keep in mind something I noticed about oaks which is that when they branch they tend to split evenly, even down the trunk. So you don’t really get one big trunk that branches off, but a truck that turns into branches as soon as it splits. Anyway I’m pretty happy with the way both Tree and Crow turned out here.
I don’t think I’ve really written much about this here, but I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since I was a kid. The thing is things that took fine motor skills and patience were never things that I was good at. I was always, and still am, such a klutz. Every time I try to build something it falls apart, and every time I try to fix something I break something else in the process. Every six months or so as a kid I would get inspired and try to draw, whether it was an idea for a comic or just a picture. Every time without fail I would spend a few hours before coming to the same realization; I could not draw and I’d never be an artist.
In high school I even took an art class hoping I could learn to draw better. I did learn a few things (which I’ve now mostly forgotten) but the teacher was pretty quick to dismiss me as someone who just couldn’t draw. I tried my hardest, and she was content to just give me a C for effort. That was pretty discouraging.
Anyway this kept happening into my adult life. It would happen less and less frequently, like once a year instead of twice. I’d get an idea for a webcomic and spend a few hours on a Saturday trying to do some concept art before realizing that I just couldn’t do it and I’d never be an artist of any sort.
So the fact that I’ve been doing this comic for almost a year, and that I haven’t given up and that my art keeps getting better, with today’s strip being, in my opinion, my pinnacle of achievement so far, is a tremendous source of pride for me. When I tell people I know in real life about Reincrownation I always warn them about the “crappy art,” but maybe someday soon I will no longer feel that need. It’s worth pointing out that while many people have suggested techniques and pointed out ways I could do things better (which is always appreciated!) no one has ever made me feel bad or silly about the art. Friends, family, and complete strangers alike have all been incredibly positive. Without that support I don’t know if I would still be doing this.