Painful as it was, I drew up a quick alternative that focused on readable silhouettes, and it felt much better.
Finished off the "pencil" layer, feeling very proud of the snake pit of hands and arms. Next day, I realized it took too long to unpack what was happening. The silhouettes weren't working at all.
Tellurion is an ongoing personal project, a visual story, created and released sequentially. If you'd like to read the story-thus-far, start here: http://tellurion.ca/