What if the primary source text doesn’t give the whole story…?
NOTE: I’ve selected these sample pages from my notes, as shared @ my Patreon; Patrons can click on the images to see the full notes & resources. ~ M
TO THE FRONT: A Rushed Letter Home
Here’s a sample source text — A letter written by Freeman Colby on 28 April 1864 letter:
Clearly Colby writes this letter in a rush — He’s just letting his family know he’s thinking of them, & that he’s okay (so far)…
Here’s a sample page from Vol. 3, drawn from that same letter:
The moment I try to DRAW this scene, I realize how little Colby tells us about it. WHERE is he writing this letter? What does this place look/sound/smell/feel like? In order to draw the place, I can of course “make up” details (= historical fiction?), OR I can try to find some actual historical details about it…
SETTING: “Soldiers Rest, Alexandria, Va.”
Fortunately Colby’s letter gives us a general location: “Soldiers Rest, Alexandria, Va.” This was a common stopping point on the railroads to & from the front lines in central Virginia.
I can use specific details from this 1864 color lithograph to build a setting for Colby’s letter:
In these 2 pages (below), I imagine Colby looking around @ various setting details (found in the source image), & preparing to write:
(Whenever possible, I like to add lots of horse poop into my street scenes.)
Adding a third setting page, we can even zoom in on specific details from our source image. I use aspect panels to highlight actions that contribute to the overall environment:
REUNION: Jonas & Camp!
Colby doesn’t tell us HOW he reaches his regiment; I can only imagine his reunion with friend Jonas, based on camp details supplied in Roe’s regimental history:
ON THE MARCH: The Army of the Potomac
Now that Colby’s back with the regiment, he becomes our eyes & ears on the Army of the Potomac’s advance into Virginia.
To get a sense of what this enormous army looks like on the road, I’ll need several sources — Including the memoirs of General Grant…:
Plus the sketches of Harper’s artist Alfred Waud…:
From all these text & visual sources, I can build a 2-page spread to show how Colby & co. moved south across the central Virginian plain:
PRO-TIP: If the march moves from left to right (= the standard reading direction for English language comics), it gently pushes the reader along into the next pages…
NEXT: Into the Wilderness! >>
This work is PATRON-POWERED!