Looking back on this page 2 years after drawing it – I still really dig it! That’s saying something, as I usually have a deep distaste for art that’s over a year old. It’s got some hallmarks of a good page, in my opinion — detail shots that emphasize emotion, or in this case, Marta’s lust — A nice warm/cold color contrast, half of the page is Marta’s fantasy, the other is reality and her inability to follow through — and some detailed backgrounds that really set the stage.
Variety is usually a good indicator that a page is successful. I used to think EVERYTHING needed to be detailed and EVERY panel needed something going on in the background, but I learned the hard way (and a few bad pages later) that it isn’t true. Simplicity and complexity need to be used in unison on most pages. Humans have an eye for variety.
I tend to think of Bad For Sleep as a stage play. The only characters that need to be “on stage” are the characters participating in the scene. I use very little background characters (The guy walking by in the background here is Jesse, by the way. Go listen to Brand New and you’ll understand), unless there is a scene that calls for a crowd, etc. In this same theatrical vein I like to design sections of town, buildings and rooms that are re-used frequently, just as if they were sets created to be used in a stage production. It’s really a way to make things seem dreamlike, which is important to this story, where dreams make up the fabric of Marta’s experiences.