What Did I Learn?
Ruby is a schoolgirl who abruptly finds herself to be 9ft tall and 270 lbs, with various powers like super strength given to her as a result of an experiment gone awry. And she, like her mother before her, is working against the scientists that are responsible for her condition. It is a little heavy handed in the dialog on the abuses of science but the artist is working with what he calls ‘grim themes.’ Ruby’s World is not glossy but it is decent sci-fi with some poignant moments.
This comic is done in a sketchy, unfinished style with lots of line. It sure looks like hand drawn pen and marker to me which I prefer – it has a bit more character than using digital tools. Notice that all the characters have their own clearly defined look which is not as easy to do either. The panels read clearly – another neat trick to master – although sometimes the scratchy style obscures the action a little bit.
That style, however, does fit the tone of Ruby’s World very nicely and adds a little something more. This is a murky place full of compromises and harsh business. Artists often use a lot of blacks and shadows for works like this but the sketchy line built up creates a similar effect. Just some built up line around the eyes carries a good amount of emotional weight for an easy to use technique. Disclaimer: Of course, it always looks simpler than it actually is but you get the idea.
As you read through the archive, you can see little improvements all the time- like the line cleaning up a little bit here and the story flows more smoothly too. The dialog becomes more emotional and conversational and there is very little in the way of intruding exposition. Much is communicated by asides and other indirect methods. All good techniques to learn.
What Did I Learn?
Despite what many may think, regularly creating your own comic is a feat. Some scoff when a comic fails to employ commonly used methods or achieve some arbitrary polished standard. However, if we never try unorthodox methods or always aim for the same look, how can we ever grow beyond our current limits? At the very least, we can learn from each other’s working experiments. And I suspect there is some more to discover in the scientific experiments being conducted in Ruby’s World, so look it over and see if I’m right.