Sora wo Sasuru: To Touch the Sky

Production Notes

November 2005 was the culmination of third-semester college finals. Faced with many options as to what to do for my Illustration I final, I, for whatever reason, chose the most difficult but potentially most fun option: a 6-page comic (including cover).
I immediately began devising plots, and one just seemed to yell to me: "draw me!" But soon I was faced with the reprocussions of this comic-making decision: I had two weeks to come up with characters, a complete story that could be drawn in 5 pages, and, of course, a way to balance doing this with other finals.

One can safely say that I did not spend much time developing any of the characters (visually, although their personalities seemed to take automatically), although for that I would say they came out well. I also did not spend much time on the story - it's one I hope to flesh out someday in hopes that it would make more sense. However, the comic itself, with drawing, coloring, lettering, getting feedback and all, took an ungodly amount of time to complete - as in, even with all things considered, it should not have taken me an entire two weeks to do them. I was employing the wrong tactics to complete them digitally, but a lesson was learned - not that I wasn't able to pull it off, anyway. Timeframes and grades came out great.

This comic underwent revision for my Illustration II portfolio, but not very much was changed - just a few small overlooks and little things I was picky about.

Anyway, comments on the pages:


This is the first picture I pursued a lot of critique on. I thus realized a lot that makes me super-picky about it; but in the end, I love the colors, myself. Probably would have come up with something better had I spent more time on the story. I actually had a better idea for a cover, but it was too hard for me to draw at the time.

Page 1

It was actually harder than I thought it'd be to convey Red's emotion in the fourth panel. (WHEE!) Also, that first-panel wall is far too clean. Took me a while to figure out a background color for the last panel, and I still don't quite like it. Despite, I like this page overall.
One might be a little confused without knowing that the dragons of this world can willingly shift their wings in and out - make them visible and invisible and whatnot. Never thought I'd create such a race, but anyway.

Page 2

I think the thing I like most about this page is the third panel. The last one didn't come out like I'd hoped it would due to technical errors, although after some revision I like it a lot more. Still, it was difficult at the time.

Page 3

I like the colors here, because they're a lot more limited. Again, panels like 2 and 4 are my favorites...for whatever reason. Henriku's face is odd in the first panel, and in the third panel, he looks a whole lot younger. This page's composition... it's odd, and it didn't come out JUST as I expected, but I still like it.

Page 4

The angst bag speaks! The giant dragon, his father indeed: and one might be lost without knowing that dragons of this world can take on human, anthro, or full forms at will, though those of the royal family are largest and most glorious.
Anyway, this page is a flashback. It's also my favorite page. Actually, it's two flashbacks, going in reverse order of time. Things could have been done better, especially the city panel, and the little girl panel's window reflection - but it was a great experiment. Sadly, in print this page came out looking crappy.

Page 5

This is a page I was 50/50 on for a while. My fondness for it grew and receeded, but in the end I like it - epsecially the sky. Originally there were going to be a lot more body shots in this page, but my professor helped me make it a lot more diverse - which was immensely important.
You don't know how much it confused me to draw Ryuujin - espcially when I didn't get to draw the rest of his body. Really, in full he would look a lot more interesting, and I would be able to make more sense of his ground-crouching. (Again, skipped through planning. For everything, I just drew what was in my head.)

Page 6

Originally pages 4 and 5 were going to be made in a way so that there would be no page 6. I didn't need page 6 - it was an extra. However, I would have hated the pacing without 6 pages, so that placed more stress on me. Luckily, page 6 wasn't very hard to do at all. Originally the sky was going to be like on the cover page, but I didn't like it. I should learn to actually draw clouds, hmm? Anyway, this is my second favorite page. Makes me wish I could fly.

Fun Extras

World/Background Notes
(Note that these may still not make sense.)

Dragons on this world, much like humans on Earth, control most of the world. Naldia Kingdom, the largest city in the world, is the Dragon Capital. In the young year of 2041, Henriku was the Prince - a normally quiet and soft-spoken (but deep-voiced) prince, age 18 that year, with glorious wings. He had always wanted to fly, but since before his time flying had been forbidden, and everyone but the Royal Family had to retract their wings at all times. (The RF's wings were considered glorious and sacred, so they always have theirs on display.)

When Henriku was a little younger, 16 in fact, he proposed to the masses that they fly again - which was met with great ire, despite his being sublime. The people did not much like the Royal Family at that time, and this did not improve things - and Ryuujin, bitter as he could be, punished his son.

Of course, Henriku had been told why the Dragons did not fly, and only left foolish birds to touch the sky: there was a time where the sky showed great rage against the world: where fiery rocks and hail rained down on the Dragon Capital, punishing all that dared taint the sky's vast majesty. Surely, they thought, the answer would be never to fly again.

Both logic and heart told Henriku that it had to be something else: that somewhere far away, a vast mountain erupted and sent its remnants far and wide. It is in a Dragon's heart to touch the sky. He could ignore it no longer; but people in this day and age hardly ever tell the story like the Old Man, nor do they speak of what happened to Henriku after his historical flight...

Fun Facts

Originally, Henriku was going to be called Henryk. Then I remembered I was going to go with an all-Japanese thing here: Japanese names, Japanese onomatopoeia, so forth. In the end, only the names stayed, because of the time crunch and laziness. I was going to do all that to not only branch out of my comfort zone but to have a bit of fun, too. :\

At first, I screwed up the comic's Japanese name. It took a long time to figure out how it would be written, and then it was wrong anyway. Correction was very good, first for obvious reasons, but then because once I had time to revise I could really experiment with writing kanji. And it's very hard - there may still be edits yet.

This comic was printed and assembled with some difficulty for Illustration I. It was printed at 5.5"x7", but it was very confusing at the time, as I only had myself, an exacto knife, and glue stick, without double-sided printing and without knowledge of imposition. It came out looking strangely... but I still have some fondness for it.

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