March 2012

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Here is the wrap-up. Thanks to everyone who has contributed comments (mostly offline) to improve this story. I am hoping this comes in handy for class next year.  If you find it useful for your classes, please let me know. If you re not a teacher or scientist, let  me know if any of this made sense. You can read the entire story over at the ATP post.

For those interested in process, I altered the visuals of the ending after I had finished inking. A full description can be found below the page.

ATP_08b_webTweaking the ending. Personally, I really like this ending. It made Lisa laugh out loud which is a pretty good indicator of success. Anyway, in the final version (above) the image from the penultimate panel is repeated for the last panel. However, the original final sequence looked like this:

Page_8_end_compareEverything is the same except that Wilbur is holding the dummy’s head in the last panel. This pose is the pose that I had always imagined drawing when I finished the script but it left me vaguely unsatisfied. Something was off, and I think the problem was the implied motion. A lot has to happen between the two panels: Wilbur has to turn, bend over and pick-up the head. For me, knowing  all of that had happened threw off the timing of the joke.  At some level I like the the “angry antenna” in the original, but the deadpan of the final version implies an ongoing exasperation that Wilbur has with the dummy, as if some rivalry exists between the two to which we are not privy. The timing on the second also feels right, now, and that is the most important aspect for an ending, in my opinion.

The penultimate page of this story was a bit of challenge. Recall that on page 6, there is a big scissor protein with its blades open in the center of the page. My original plan was to have the reader turn the page and have the scissors drawn the same size but now with the blades snapping closed. Unfortunately, the silhouette of a pair of closed scissor with the blades pointing down looks like a big set of manly naughty bits. After my inner middle schooler stopped snickering like an idiot, I redesigned the page with a sequence of close-ups. I hope it still reads well visually.  Poor Wilbur. For those that have read the photosynthesis story, you can see that this is becoming a theme for our fly hero.

UPDATED: Page 6 and 7 have been modified at the suggestion of my lovely wife and primary editor. Lisa pointed out two visual sticking points she thought could be improved. First, it seemed to her that putting the phosphate right at the hinge would block the blades from closing completely. Second, she didn’t feel there were enough positively charged amino acids in the handles for the phosphate to pull on. At first I resisted the suggestions. (Frankly, I didn’t want to do the work.) But, she was spot on. It is nice to be married to someone with good visual literacy. I have included the updated version below the original.

The story can be read from the beginning over at the ATP post.

ATP_07_webATP_07_web

We kick off Juniata’s spring break with page 6 of the ATP story. In this episode, we introduce a ginormous scissor-shaped protein to illustrate how ATP affects the function of another molecule. As I was inking the scissors, I was wondering about what exactly I was thinking. I have to redraw this a couple more times and I am already sick of all of the pluses and minuses. Only a few pages to go. Then I need to start writing the story of cellular respiration…

UPDATED: Page 6 and 7 have been modified at the suggestion of my lovely wife and primary editor. Lisa pointed out two visual sticking points she thought could be improved. First, it seemed to her that putting the phosphate right at the hinge would block the blades from closing completely. Second, she didn’t feel there were enough positively charged amino acids in the handles for the phosphate to pull on. At first I resisted the suggestions. (Frankly, I didn’t want to do the work.) But, she was spot on. It is nice to be married to someone with good visual literacy. I have included the updated version below the original.

You can read the story from the beginning on the ATP post.

ATP_06_webATP_06_web