When laying out a complex page, I leave a template open to show possible panel arrangements (6-panel grid, 8-panel grid, etc).
I draw each panel in the center, using as much space as I want, then size and position the panel in the grid according to how it fits best.
This way, I'm free to visualize each panel the way I see it best, rather than feeling inhibited by some predetermined size and shape. After arranging the panels, I may squeeze and stretch them into different sizes or shapes. Finally, I collapse the layers and pencil over that.
Here are other approaches I could have taken with Panel 6, depending how the other panels are sized and arranged, and what kind of pacing or emphasis I want.
When drawing repeating objects that overlap, don't draw one and then two halves of the other; this encourages unevenness.(1)
Draw all the foreground objects, or all that lean one way, then draw all the remaining objects on a second layer.(2)
Erase the overlap, merge layers.(3)
Related tip: when drawing repeated objects of similar shape, size, or angle, draw them all at once, rather than alternating with other local objects. This gets your hand in a rhythm that can bang out a lot of objects quickly. Alternating with other objects will slow you up.
So: if there are several small stones, a few flowers, more stones, more flowers...don't draw stones then flowers then stones. Draw all the stones first, leaving space for the flowers, then go back and draw all the flowers. The rhythm of each will increase your speed and accuracy.
There's a type of person who is smart and gifted, and learns from early childhood to aim for the stars, because "nothing is impossible."
When life's constraints prove otherwise, this person is crushed. Unable to bend and accept flaws, they break.
Comics attract this person.
I see so much heartbreak among young people who were taught they can achieve EVERYTHING, if only they work hard enough. When their dreams don't come true, they reach the inescapable conclusion: they didn't work hard enough. Their elders overestimated them. They must be failures.
As children, they enjoyed creating. No longer. Now creation is a drudgery and they enjoy *having created*, if at all. Nothing they do meets their high expectations. The happiness of their early efforts is a dangling carrot that their arms will never reach again.
Draw your signature legibly and attractively, along with the year, about the size of a playing card, and save it in your harddrive. Then you can resize it and drop it into any art you do in the coming year. Faster than signing every piece. Guaranteed legibility!
A TIFF of your signature can be moved around a piece of art until it looks right. You can squeeze or stretch it, or even change the color to suit the picture's color scheme (inverting it to white-on-black is also handy, for art with a lot of black).
Include the date so people can see that your recent work is better than your old work. Including the date also demonstrates to potential clients that you're productive. "Oh, she did all these this year!" Makes recent pieces look fresh, current.