For a class assignment we were to make  an “emotional story” 2 pages using a style that is appropriate, and then recreate the same story in a style that creates an entirely different mood, preferably by parodying a particular artist or work.  For my “appropriate” style I riffed Jhonen Vasquez, though it definitely didn’t evoke the mood I was after.  I felt it sort of trivialized the message as a piece of teen angst.

vasquez1 vasquez2

Then, for the diverging style, I parodied Family Circus.  People seemed to have a better response to this one, they found it creepier, and therefore they concluded it works, but I disagree, in terms of creating the mood I wanted.  It’s more horror story creepy than emotionally haunting.



So then, we were to tell the story a 3rd time incorporating color.  I was pleased that I’d have a venue to tell the story as I originally imagined it.  Unfortunately my execution wasn’t the best, but to try to frame it positively, I want to experiment and use crayon.  First of all, I thought that if I used color in the figure, it would detract from the contrast created by the black and white of the figure, there are no colors that can create that same contrast.  I thought that Using color in the background would be most effective.  I imagined the golden gears as sort of a frankenstein motif on page 2, and the blue bed on page 2 to show a somberness and as complementary colors I thought it would work well.  The windows were in my original sketch but I’m not sure how effective they were in the end.  I also added a light color in the background to add a little warmth.  I suppose I could remove this and the windows digitally and would like feedback about this.

But I worry my big mistake was using crayon because even though I was able to control it, the flakes of wax got everywhere, and it seems impossible to do a thorough clean up and now they’re all over my scanner to boot.  But I thought it would be something new for me and also show how it takes plase in my mind, a sketchy, child-like world that you can’t fully grasp.

Additionally, it might have been better to keep the ink work and the color separate and then scan them in together, but that would mean I would have the physical comics page, and sometimes lining it up causes a slew of other difficulties.




Lastly, I thought that the crayon would be light enough to not over power the text on the second page, but that didn’t work out, so I digitally created text boxes.  I also didn’t like the way the eyes were lined up on page 1 so I adjusted that as well.




Please give feedback as I’m submitting it to a comics magazine and would like to salvage the piece despite my errors in execution.

Leave a comment


  1. I think the color one works best, possibly because it’s simpler and allows the story to work. The first one is too overwrought — the style comes through more than the story. The Family Circus one is going to affect people more quickly and get more attention, but it does so shallowly, based entirely on the clash of styles. It’s a cheap effect (but you executed it well). The color and the style of the third are nicely simple; they allow the tone of the text to have its effect and slowly reveal the unpleasantness. Also, I really like the final panel and the way the monster seems to be combining a loving embrace with an attack. That doesn’t come through in the previous versions.

    • I’m afraid you don’t understand. I want advice on fixing the color one, the black and white ones were just to show what the project was.

  2. I don’t see what’s wrong with it that needs fixing, exactly. Aside from saying, next time don’t use Crayola, it’s a difficult medium and it gets all over your scanner. 🙂

  3. I would probably suggest pastels, which are professional crayons, really. With fixative spray they’d probably make less of a mess. Maybe. Or colored pencils. Possibly even the watercolor kind. They can be fun.

  4. I’ve used all those…pastels really are nothing like crayons, but all those materials create the same “dust” especially pastels, but thanks for the suggestions. But I really was asking for advice on this piece, if I should remove the windows, etc.

  5. I don’t think you have anything to change – the text boxes increase the clarity. I think it looks great.

  6. I’m saying it doesn’t need changes. The windows are fine. The gears are fine. The lettering was fine without boxes, and with the boxes it’s also fine. Lining up the eyes doesn’t change much, either. Really. They’re good pages.


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