An entire tribe of their own people is a pretty hefty down payment! Ashtor just wants to be sure it won’t be for nothing.


One of the regular little treats for me as we go through this story is that Rachel’s extensive animation and storyboarding background leads to some great expressions from our characters. When she has trouble envisioning a specific expression, it’s not uncommon to see several stabs at trying to nail that one, right moment in the character’s line where their face wraps perfectly around the mood we want to set for a panel.

Last week, Hardin’s expression in panel two was one of my favorites of Hardin because it gave such a wonderful window into his state of mind — but Ashtor’s expressions in the first three panels of this week’s page do more than show a specific moment or attitude that conveys the state of a character. These three panels show that wonderful progression leading from initial surprise, the natural segue into suspicion, and then that direct challenge. Sometimes even when there is no dialog in a panel, one can surmise sounds a character may be making — in panel two of this week’s page, one can almost hear that sharp, long intake of air as Ashtor leans back to collect himself.

I’ve mentioned in the past that showing a scene in the comic medium isn’t as easy as just picking moments in time and drawing them to tell a story — you’re consolidating many different actions, many different points in time, into a single tableau. Sometimes, though, it can be nice to show a series of back-to-back snapshots of time, a bit like a storyboard, when we want to show a progression of emotion or action in a very short period of time. We see this mostly in action sequences, but as with Hardin’s pause last week as he considered telling Ashtor why he was committing to a dangerous plan, and this week where Ashtor moves through several emotions before his response, it can work for slower-paced scenes as well.

This week we’ve got a bit of a surprise on the guest art front! The übertalented Jerome Jacinto is currently in the planning stages of a wonderful new Western Deep piece that will hopefully grace the upcoming hardcover release. As such, he has been sending me some fun doodles of Hardin and his Sratha-din to try and capture their looks and movements. This is one such doodle sheet:


Bevan’s high-flying pose in the center there is particularly awesome — you simply don’t mess with a dagger-wielding Ermehn in a hood! Hopefully I’ll be able to post some more concepts and doodles as time goes on. As always, if you have any fan-art or other fan-related works, we’d love to see them! Send them in to thewesterndeep (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll post them up with a page!

Hope you all had a happy New Year, and here’s to a wonderful upcoming year!