You Could Cut It With A Knife……..

You Could Cut It With A Knife……..

The Women comic strip

I was a layout editor in high school, so I was excited for the challenge of creating a comic strip from a movie scene. I mean, that’s basically what yearbook editing is, presenting a year’s worth of high school action into a single book of head shots.

I chose to work with my favorite movie “The Women,” which I used as inspiration before and selected the scene when Mary confronts her husband’s mistress. The greatest obstacle in using this scene was translating the tension between the women without the subtle nuances of the actresses. The movie has several action packed scenes, but I liked the idea of using design to drive home the mood, rather than action. There is very little moment in the scene and the women remain steely cold throughout the scene but the heat between their words is palatable.

I used Microsoft word to create the comic. I first screen shot different parts of the scene from a YouTube video. I worked panel by panel, determining size and alignment using a grid pattern, adding dialogue with text boxes, and cropping images as necessary. I then exported the pages to PDF form for use. At this point, I reviewed some colleagues work , namely Jordan’s From Screen to Page and Katelyn’s Screen to Page and determined my work didn’t look ‘drawn’ enough. Since the movie is black and white, I hadn’t altered the imaging at all. I went back and effected the images with the ‘paint brush’ effect in Microsoft word.

Stylist choices

I wanted the first frame, the first moment Mary declares who she to be seen as important. The reader should be aware this means something, even if they don’t know the story before this point. The imagery dominates half the page and Mary’s dialogue is almost centered and in a larger font than the rest of the strip. It’s also align directly with Crystal’s eye line, focusing the words like a laser towards her. I also kept the color black and white, but optioned to use warm, fiery colors for the dialogue boxes to establish the cold, yet tense nature of the exchange between the women.  

Next, my goal was to create the feeling of the air being sucked out of the room. Each woman realizes who the other is and lock into each intensely. In the movie this is created by individual close-ups, which I mimic in the strip, but I tightened the frame and off centered the image. In this vacuum of space I hope to create a sense that the woman are verbal moving closer, “at each other’s throats” so to speak. Te white space isolates them from the surrounding environment and the word bubbles invade personal space between them. But after these four frames, we pull back out and realize they haven’t moved an inch. There is still a vast amount space between them, indication the tension is all mental.

For the last three panels, we begin to see the slightest bit of action, which I try to illustrate by frame selection showing Crystal fidget. In juxtaposition, we see Mary hold her ground in a rather stoic fashion, yet both women continue to throw jabs verbally at one another. Additionally, Mary’s words stay steady and aimed at Crystal’s eye line, while Crystal’s dialogue is jumpy and misses the mark of Mary. Really, the whole dynamic is fabulous – credit to the director, not me! Crystal is physically higher up, but Mary’s demeanor throughout the scene gives her more power – brilliant, but I digress.

I hope you are as enthralled by the performances via my comic strip.

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