Week Six of Insufferable is up for your reading pleasure, and since artist Peter Krause is showing off some new storytelling tricks, let’s take a closer look at how they’re accomplished.
Layers. The secret word is “layers.” Here’s what I wrote for this week’s climactic sequence:
PANEL ONE: GALAHAD SITS BEFORE THE SHATTERED REMAINS AND THE MESS OF THE EXPLOSION, FACING THE MESSAGE–EITHER ON A CHAIR OR ON THE FLOOR, WHATEVER WORKS FOR YOU.
PANEL TWO: HE JUST COLLAPSES EMOTIONALLY, BEGINS SOBBING.
PANEL THREE: REVERSE-ANGLE, GALAHAD IN FOREGROUND, A SHADOWY OPEN DOORWAY BEHIND HIM.
PANEL THREE-A (ON A LAYER): SAME EXACT, EXCEPT WE RACK-FOCUS TO SEE THAT NOCTURNUS STANDS INSIDE THAT DOORWAY, LOOKING ON IMPASSIVELY.
PANEL ONE, ABOUT A THIRD OF A PAGE ON THE FAR LEFT OF THE SCREEN, THE REST WHITE; ON GALAHAD, WRECKED;
ON THE SWIPE, PANEL ONE STAYS EXACTLY IN PLACE, BUT PANEL TWO DROPS IN ON FAR RIGHT OF SCREEN–A TIGHT SHOT OF NOCTURNUS LOOKING ON;
ON THE SWIPE, A THIRD PANEL DROPS IN BETWEEN THESE TWO–TIGHT ON NOCTURNUS’S HAND EXTENDED;
ON THE SWIPE, PANEL TWO STAYS ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME BUT NOCTURNUS’S EYES CLOSE IN REGRET AND INDECISION;
ON THE FINAL SWIPE, PANEL THREE CHANGES INTO A SHOT OF THE HAND PULLING BACK.
PETE, THIS WORK FOR YOU?
Apparently, it worked for him, and he made it even better. Here’s what he drew (and what Nolan Woodard subsequently colored):
The rest was just Photoshop wizardry as, for instance, we laid Nocturnus’ full-figure behind weeping Galahad and then flattened the image into a new page that would, on the screen-swipe, take the place of the Nocturnus-less one. Similarly, we assembled the pieces of the hand-reaching-out sequence to create a series of beats, one new bit for each screen swipe. It’s a sequence that would be difficult to do in print this way, with these exact beats–at least, not without eating up a couple pages’ worth of real estate.
Each chapter, to one degree or another, goes through this process. Once the pieces of art are assembled into separate screens, we import Troy Peteri’s EPS lettering files (created in Adobe Illustrator) on top of them with a simple drag-and-drop. Easy stuff. Lori then creates a credits page for the download version of that week’s installment while I drag myself back to the keyboard and start the whole process anew.