Friday, November 9, 2012

How This Happened, pt. I

I wanted to try to write coherently about how I started working on my mini comic There Will Be Nothing Left, but everything started happening at once.  My process for this wasn’t very orderly, though I tried like hell to make it so.  Actually, the further along I got, the more everything took shape & started to make sense.  But, in the beginning, it looked like this.

·      I drew faces in my sketchbook for an hour or so, for three or four days.  After that, I started drawing bodies.  I knew, sort of vaguely, that the comic would have two or three characters so I wanted to try out a range of styles (sort of cartoony to sort of realistic) & just get some practice at making things look the way I wanted them to look (happy / sad / surprised / incredulous).  I’m not a master of subtle facial expressions by any stretch (you need to check out Seth or Adrian Tomine).  But this became just another limitation that helped me define what I was going to do (ie, no panels where the meaning was communicated through a complexly rendered bit lip, or a slight eye roll).  But I did get to a point where, with just a few lines, I could suggest an emotional state.  Then, varying those lines only slightly, I could vary the emotion as well.  It was pretty cool. 

I'm not this good.  Adrian Tomine is.

·      I wrote out a bunch of material.  Sometimes I wrote out little scenes in a very minimal way (more like stage directions, no dialogue or narration).  Eventually, I settled on a kind of arc that I wanted to draw – just really broad strokes of a story that I thought would allow me to draw something things that I both COULD draw & which I WANTED to draw.  This rough plot eventually got split up into the action of 3 issues, & I worked at really fleshing out each issue.  I knew they’d all be 8 pages, so after I had general plots for each issue, I broke down the action on a page by page basis, just writing down arcs that I thought would pay off & layer themselves in satisfying ways.

At this point, I had not worked out any actual character sketches, had no real dialogue or narration, and most importantly, I had no real idea about what I was trying to accomplish.  Even though I knew I didn’t want to just present a sort of slice of life autobiographical story, that’s kind of what I had roughed out.

The story, at this early stage, was mostly something that happened to me.  All of the faces I was drawing looked like mine.  Luckily, something happened to change the way this was shaping up.

But that’s what comes next.  For now, please remember you can buy a copy of THERE WILL BENOTHING LEFT for only a buck!  Please do!

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