Chapter 11: Kalwa and the Raptors is in many ways my personal baby of a chapter. First of all it was a standalone chapter that didn’t have to play a large role in the overall Kalwa plot (though it is where Kalwa received her leg scars)second, it allowed me to embrace my great love and affection for dinosaurs and third,it was the perfect excuse to draw/write the dinosaur story I always wanted.
Many of the jokes and plot threads all stem from some personal thoughts and personal affections on dinosaur stories and history. While most stories feature a powerful carnivore such as a T-Rex as the main dinosaur antagonist, I wished to give the antagonist role to my own personal favorite dinosaur the Velociraptor, which would make up for the lack of size with numbers, constantly putting Kalwa in jeopardy with relentless pursuit and forcing her to fight off the raptors one by one. In order to keep the pages within limit, and make it possible for Kalwa to fight off the raptors by herself, the raptors were made notably more vulnerable in that a simple blow could put one down, a fact that I discovered was correct long after the chapter was complete.
Even the jokes in the story were spawned from personal thoughts of my own, namely Kalwa’s desire (and eventual success) at wanting to pet a Velociraptor. Usually in stories people wind up petting herbivores such as Brachiosaurus or Triceratops, but I have yet to see a story where someone successfully pets a carnivores, thus leading to eventual conclusion at the end of the story. Also I personally collect stuffed/plastic raptor toys for room, so there was a bit of personality put into Kalwa when she said these lines. And of course, there was the infamous “clever girl” line which was a clear reference to Jurassic Park.
Art wise this was also a great opportunity to practice drawing forest land, which was a notable shift from buildings and desert. Admittedly trees have never been a strong point for me as an artist, thus I spent a lot of time looking at trees from my Naruto manga books. When your drawing comics, it’s not just about drawing the tree right, but how to interpret the details into a quick interpretation. This was also the first chapter to make use of heavy shading on the background, as technique that would be later be used for the White Chappel arch in chapters 16-20. The Dinosaurs were drawn with some fine detail and plenty of texture looks to simulate scales. Many of the dinosaurs were referenced using little figurines I’ve bought over the years, namely from the toy company’s PAPO and SAFARI.