Tuesday 2 August 2022

The Wrap that Unravels

Hello Readers!

Well. What a journey it has been. I hope you've enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure you won't like the abruptness of this ending, but let me know (I can't imagine you, IG, not voicing your thoughts, good thing too!). 

In my defence, had I put in a bit more background and a panel here and there (which, I could still do, Your Honour) it might make a bit more sense and feel less abrupt. Anyway, here you go.  The final installment of Flight of Fancy.

Page 130

Page 131

You might not care about the artwork and I am delighted you don't stumble on the drawings and they help tell the story seamlessly such that you're in it, not seeing it.  That's great.

But I care about the artwork, which is why I put this thing up here; to (as you requested IG) tell a longer form story, to draw it and talk about the drawings and the process. I've never written or drawn a graphic novel.

That first panel has some of my favorite tricks - drawing cars and people small, as if they are models we're looking down on, but putting Fancy and Amar closer to the camera adds some nice depth and allowed me to put the dialogue in context.  Panels 2 and 3 are nicely drawn, especially the image of Fancy.  If her design wasn't settled before this (2nd last page), it wouldn't ever cement!

And page 131, inside the trailer. I really like these two panels - nice perspective, characters placed well. I had to draw and paste in a few more people into the photo (2nd last panel) which is why the blue lines are a bit of a jumble.

So... about the story and the way I told this ending, I really didn't want the shouting match and forced dialogue between Fancy and Lawrence in which he reveals why he did all this.  I don't believe those shouty shout-fests are realistic. I think they are there for the audience to understand why things were done.  If the storyteller did their job right (which I didn't) and shows a character's experience well enough (I should go back and add more from Lawrence's past), then they should piece together the reasons for the character's actions.

About Lawrence, he doesn't care if people know why he's done what he did, so why would he explain? For some reason he feels justified.  Isn't that how life is... why does anybody do anything, and do we even know why we, ourselves do things?  Not always completely.

Regarding Fancy's line about "a cork board covered in a spider's web of yarn strung between pictures and cryptic messages on post-it notes", I find that (cork board) is a tired image that speaks about someone's convoluted, often crazy plan. If you have to make a plan so convoluted that you can only keep it in your head by making one of these cat's cradle things, how do you put on your pants in the morning, and if the police have to make one up to figure something out, maybe they need to go to the "the simplest explanation is often the correct one". 

Lawrence might want to blow up as many jets as he can and wreck Fancy's life, but he's not crazy.

... and yes, I see as I write this post that Lawrence should not have said he didn't want to hurt Fancy and her mom.  He's obviously got a hate on for Fancy's (dead) father, so why not spread the hate around a bit further!

I did want to work in a thread against the Canadian Government and Canadians in general thinking they are helping when they should probably just stay out, especially in over-seas military conflicts.  I don't know, I'm no politician or global strategist, I just draw stuff.

So... there you go.  Again, I hope you enjoyed the ride. After all said and done I think it worked out pretty well, even though I didn't write out the story before hand. The only thing I wrote was one page of dialogue (about mid way through the story) and the epilogue. It is more fun, and more challenging, not to write it out ahead of time, but I think doing so would have helped the story turn out better, but I felt by doing so, I'd be killing my interest in drawing it - I needed to discover the story as I drew it.

So... what to draw next?!


  1. OMG -- it's OVER!


    What a whirlwind this has been. One page a week for about a year? And often several pages in big spurts -- and you've been making it up as you go along!

    My first thought is "what a TON of work!". My second thought it is "how the heck did you create such a tight story in such a loosey-goosey way?!!!"

    And the story IS tight and it IS very involving. You've created real, consistent characters who I care about and you've told a complex, twisty story with a deep ending. Wow!

    My only complaint about your ending is that it is very abrupt. You wrap things up a bit too quickly. You're right that you don't need a big shouting match at the climax but it should be clearer how Lawrence dies (how the heck does he die?) and that it's Fancy who has spectacularly stopped him.

    That said, the ending has a realism and thoughtfulness to it. A real message. We might think we're doing the right thing and helping other countries but we could be the real problem. Also, the bad guy in a story isn't always a bad guy.

    But forget all that, you want to talk art , so let's do it!

    Your art has been spectacularly consistent. Sure, I mean that your characters are all distinct and they look the same in every panel but - more importantly - you visually tell your story the same, satisfying way. You present action clearly, you inject emotion into every panel and you give us whooshy angles in the action scenes.

    Your locations and machinery are spot-on. The perspective on jets and jeeps and everything is always fantastically modelled. I especially love your "everything looks like toys" wide shots. You obviously love drawing them and I love seeing them. I think your "toy"bpanels are my favourites of all of the art in this story. They're just a pleasure to look at, poring over all of the details.

    My second favourite part of your art is the action in the jets. You have great angles and you've used contrails and streaming smoke and explosions to create a real sense of motion and speed. Your high arial shots, looking down over the countryside are spectacular and even a bit vertiginous (is that even a real word?)

    You challenge yourself to draw tough angles and very, VERY intricate scenarios and you never use 3D models or trace or cheat in any way. Every page says "I love drawing this"!

    And so, this story is pure James Wood. This is your gift to us. It's a nice, engaging story. It's beautiful art. It's a pure slice of your imagination and skill and interest and love. We're lucky to have it and to know you.

    Thanks for the great story, James. I can't wait to see what you do next!

    Illustrated Ghost

  2. So... what's next?

    I'm addicted, don't leave me hanging.

    ... hello?

    ... hello?!!

    Illustrated Ghost

  3. Okay, maybe I'm just suffering withdrawal, checking this site every day for something new but...

    Every day I see those last two pages of Flights of Fancy and the drawing of Fancy on the last panel of the first page always leaps out at me.

    There's something about that drawing. There are less facial features drawn, it's a nice angle for her face -- she looks pretty beautiful. It's a really nice drawing!

    Illustrated Ghost

  4. It's been a while since I've looked at it too. Thanks for the kind words about the drawings.

    Looking at it now, the ending feels like a bit of a cliff-hanger.

    It forces the audience to look at it and remember back (waaaay back) to when we saw the LAV busting through the city pursuing another vehicle and accidentally shooting up Lawrence's father.

    I like that it makes the audience do some work to figure out what happened, but do audiences want to work or do they want it all totally and clearly explained by the author?

  5. I think the ending is really good. It comes out of nowhere but it's great because it totally fits the difficult world our heroes live in.

    Everything is grey, rather than black and white and nobody is pure good or evil. It's impossible to be a total hero in this world and the ending reminds us all of the complexity of the situation.

    It's pretty deep and challenges the reader in very good ways! Don't change a thing!

    ... and start drawing again, willya?

    Illustrated Ghost


Thanks for your input!