This page brings back a lot of memories for Rachel and me, since it was the very first page in any “Western Deep” story that received a splash of color. Back in 2009 when this happened, however, there was still a lot of experimentation and learning going on on both our parts. Showing the original version of this page to industry professionals at ComicCon led to some rather eye-opening moments that helped us re-evaluate the comic in nearly every way, right down to the webcomic delivery method we’re using today.

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The original version of this page, seen at the top, was the very first color experiment done with the world of the Four Kingdoms. At the time, we thought it looked great – but do you notice something? Yes, you’re probably noticing that everything is a rather narrow shade of green. That’s not all, of course – in this old version, Quinlan was actually a gray squirrel, meant to be a play on the standard Redwall squirrels all being red. The downside to this, we realized, is that gray-colored characters aren’t the most visually interesting characters. Since most of the story focuses on Quinlan, we decided to make him pop out of the frame a bit more, and that meant giving him red fur.

Another thing we noticed, in both the initial pass and the rejiggered version beneath it, is that the text box in the top-left obscured the scene quite a bit and stood out in all the wrong ways. We initially felt it was important to establish where the character was, but we solved this issue for the most part through the use of the prologue and the chapter header image telling the reader that Tamian reside in the forests of the Western Deep.

There are many other issues with the initial pass, which is why when we approached the webcomic draft of the story, Rachel completely redid the scene from the ground up. We wanted to focus more on Quinlan, so he is larger in the frame. There are more layers of foliage in the new page compared to the old one, and just more detail in general.

Fan-art this week comes from VarVau, who submitted this very nice piece of Quinlan in a more realistic style than we’re used to seeing in these parts!

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Thanks, VarVau! It’s awesome seeing our characters in cool new styles! He looks nicely bundled there, the quiver on his back – likely he’s engaged in some night watch vigil! Perhaps keeping an eye open for foes encroaching on his friends? It’s a great piece, VarVau – and thank you again!