This strip gave me a fun challenge. The task: Show a crowd scene with hundreds of thousands of people, show distinctly Iranian architecture, show the main character, clearly defined, amidst it all Twittering.
Over the past few decades, Iranian architecture in downtown Iran hasn’t exactly been unique or inspiring. Block upon block of Eastern European style square apartments don’t scream “Middle East.” To show Lemont amidst the protesters but at the same time have him stand out, I’d have to zoom in so much that we’d lose the magnitude of the crowd. If I put him in the foreground, it would feel like he wasn’t a part of the scene. The protest wouldn’t envelop him, it would be a backdrop.
Kill two birds with one stone by exaggerating the boxy architecture and minimizing the color palette. Leaving all the buildings white and using sparse shadows evokes a sun-bleached environment. Even without the caption, it looks more Middle Eastern than it does Eastern European. It also blends them into the protesters in the bottom right. That, and having the buildings lean toward the protesters, gives the sense that the buildings themselves are actually protesters attending the rally. So Lemont being among the buildings (in the mid-section, not the foreground or background) is just as good as Lemont being among the protesters.
Then, to draw readers eyes to the right places, I just used the fact that Western readers read from left to right and up to down. I added the stark black caption in the upper left. the lower right corner practically touches a roofline, which leads the eye to Lemont. Then the “tap tap tap” trail leads the eye straight to the Twitter post, which, set against the tiny protesters and the tiny windows of the opposite side of the city square, creats a subtle 3-D effect. It enhances the sense that you’re looking at something extending far into the distance (so even though the protesters take up only a small fraction of the strip, they appear to be a huge crowd).
At least, I think it did all that. This strip was a lot of fun to draw.