There's a lot more backstory in the first panel, referring to the night before with family friends who we never meet. One of my unofficial rules for "Smith vs. Smith" is that I want to keep the comic focused on Emma, myself and/or the cats and the relationships between the four of us. Part of the reason is to keep all these pages standalone (another "rule"). This is because most people admit to reading the comics from most recent to oldest, in "reverse" order when they first discover the site (which bugs me because that way the art gets worse as your read on). There are of course exceptions to both these "rules," but you get the idea.
So, I eliminated the backstory, starting in the middle of the story.
This is the inked page that I scanned for the comic. I wanted to repeat poses in the middle panel, so I left it blank originally, planning on copying and pasting figures from the first or last panel in Photoshop. You can also see that I only drew us sitting at the table. This was done for two reasons. One, it mimicked the agony of a hangover when you wish you could fast forward to when you are no longer hungover, or rewind to before the hangover, but you are stuck in the moment. It also allowed me to again mimic film language, with a slow push in of the "camera" as I slowly realize something is on Emma's mind.
I played around with the sizes of the characters in each panel, perfecting the change in size until I was happy.
I once again shared the comic with some friends and on a Facebook group. They pointed out that Emma didn't look hungover enough, so I redrew her completely in the first panel. Then I added the grays and shadows.
(There's a reason the panels go from skinny to wide to skinny, and it has to do with the narration captions, but I want to see if anyone picks up on it...)
On a personal note, today Emma and I fly to Canada. We will soon be starting our back-to-school year, with Emma attending art school and myself enrolled in Canada's only Comics and Graphic Novels course. We are both unbelievably excited! I can't wait for these comics to get even better!
- Matt Smith!