For this chapter I leaped into the challenge of telling a story efficiently, in a major departure to the long story arc we just went through. I had to set up the premise and get us to the first major plot point within one page. Meanwhile, I still needed to convey a sense of where these characters are at right now. What effect has Jen’s regression had on her marriage and her home life? How can readers come to understand this as easily and quickly as possible?

I had a much longer conversation written that explained every single reason why Sin was going to have to leave Jen alone with their youngest son. Why’s the family flying in for Thanksgiving dinner ON THANKSGIVING? Well, the snowstorm shown in “Class Warfare” (which occurred just two days prior to this) caused all sorts of chaos at the airports and many flights had to be rescheduled.

Why can’t Keris come home quickly? I originally wrote her as going to pick up emergency groceries, but I could see a reasonable argument being made for Sin to call her and tell her to come home because Trom was more important than cranberry sauce. But then I thought, why not just give Keris a job? Lots of people work retail on holidays. It sucks, but it’s also realistic. So it was a convenient way to keep her out of the picture. (As well as set up possible future character growth opportunities for her! Always a good idea.)

I threw most of this exposition out (it took up half the page) and condensed the key points into panel 1. The kiss on the cheek and Jen working through her feelings are the real story to tell here.

A lot of work goes into keeping a page simple!

After drawing 99% of Chapter 11 on my tablet screen, I went back to drawing on 11×17 bristol paper. During the early days of making Chapter 11, my living situation made drawing on the tablet more convenient, but in the time since then I set up a studio room with a drawing desk that was quite ideal. I came to feel annoyed drawing on the tablet so often, especially when drawing detailed backgrounds. Working on paper just comes easier to me, so the work goes much faster. I penciled and inked this entire page in under three hours. Doing this on the tablet probably would have taken an extra hour. The lines may not be as smooth or varied as I was able to achieve digitally, but the hope is that, with more practice, I can achieve that same look by drawing traditionally.