OK, I have to confess that the development of this page was such a cluster-fudge that I really wasn’t able to plow through all these sketches and figure out which thoughts came first, so the chronology is based on my best recollections. I do know that the above sketches are the seed sketches merely by how simple they are. At this point in the story I was dealing with the emotional darkness that came over me before the Gods (I assume Shiva, primarily, for a number of highly personal reasons) chose to reach out to me. In the above sketches I am seen in sadness in a hotel room.
Here you can see that the above sketch (seen earlier) deals with this emotional moment but was drawn before the strong verticals were established.
Here the primary action, the taunting of the demon (actually, speaking through some asshole in Toronto) was appearing on the previous page.
By this point the strong verticals are clear, and the spirit of Shiva is there, but I was really still stuck on the idea that I had to show myself in sorrow in a bed in a hotel watching TV.
Here I am still playing with the same ideas, though the Shiva head is getting closer and the TV is now no longer his eyes but his third eye. I inked this sketch just to start to wear away some of the rust before I had to demo before students.
Still not there, still the demon is on the wrong page. But the diagonals are strong on the page as well.
Here we have the final page layout, again worked up in the little ashcan Tom and I had talked through to work out the storytelling issues. All the panels are in their proper places and the strong top and bottom diagonals that cross the three panels are still there even in the new layout. The story works better when the Demon (the moment of crisis) is on the same page as the moment of redemption. Notice that the left panels are still broken into two rather than on strong single vertical.
This, of course, is the final page, though still uninked–therefor unfinished. I again found a way, an inspired way, to maintain the Yantric element that has been an important part of this story arc. The Demon on the top left was a real struggle. I had worked, reworked, and erased myself silly. The first drawings seemed too rooted in the juvenile “bad ass” tradition of the old WOTC editorial mandates I had put up with for years. I am much more pleased with the mask-like solution presented. Watching me struggle with that single 3 x 3 moment left Tom asking why I didn’t just move on to another panel and come back to that. I told him that I knew the image was “in there” somewhere and I just had to keep looking until I found it. I did! Also, since this page will be facing the previous page I continued the diagonal that crossed panels so the viewer would be able to easily spot the little me in the bottom of the left-hand panel. Additionally, as with the earlier page, notice that the first panel is now one long unbroken vertical rather than two panels. Again, this solution came to me as I was well into drawing the final page.