My doppelgänger recently sent me a copy of his novel through his Kindle account. He’s been writing it in his spare time while teaching in South Korea. He wants me to send him a copy of what I have finished of Sacco. But I’m reluctant to do so. Not because I don’t want his opinion. It’s because the drawings from the first chapter are shit compared to my latest completed pages. Plus I’d like to pretend my storytelling skills have gotten better.
I mentioned this hesitation to him. He said it’s not uncommon- look at the Harry Potter books. J. K. Rowling’s craft in the first book was rougher and more jagged compared to the final installments.
He has a point. If the “ten-thousand-hour rule” is held to be true, then yes, any author should see improvement. Except novels are typed words. Their worth is contingent on if you know the language it’s printed in. A graphic novel’s worth is a bit more transparent.
Below are the first 2 pages I created in January 2009 overlapped by the 2 pages I completed inking this week (P172-173). I haven’t finished adding all the grey tones to the pages from this week. As for the 2009 pages, at that time I had just begun inking with a brush and constructing entire pages with several panels. Prior to this I normally did one-off illustrations with ink pens for freelance assignments. The 2009 pages aren’t in my final draft of Sacco. I’ve already redrawn them.
However I’m not the only illustrator/cartoonist whose style changes as their work progresses. Look at Bryan Lee O’Malley’s work from the first and sixth Scott Pilgrim book (below). There is a vast difference. Tighter lines, better form, more apparent panel edges and all his characters don’t look alike by the end of the story.