Thursday, August 15, 2013

SECRET HISTORY #1 / Space is Infinite!

I’ve got a new 3-page comic up as part of the EverydayGenius Comics Month.  Big thanks to Adam Robinson (who runs the show there) & John Dermot Woods (who curated this mammoth month) & Jenny Fortin (who snuck me in the door).

I thought I’d run through a quick behind-the-scenes tour of my work on the comic, a kind of DVD commentary track.  You've all been cleared for the secret history of everything.

Before I tackle the individual pages, however, I want to say a little bit about my process overall.  The comic started as a poem, maybe 50 lines, & then I began laying out each comic page, figuring out how I wanted to pace, dramatize & deploy the action – or what the action might even be.  During this process, I cut the poem quite a bit & also - inexplicably - threw it in the recycling bin.  It's gone!

For lay out, I basically scratched some thumbnails on a yellow legal pad, just boxes stacked around over & over until I got the right flow & feel, the right sequence.  Then I created a document in Microsoft Word with the panel configuration I wanted which I printed directly on the paper.  I drew right on that, inside the printed panels.  These lay out sketch pages are also missing or I'd show them to you.  Trust me, they're not pretty!

I draw in pencil, using Prismacolor Black or Non-photo Blue, then ink over that using a Prismacolor or Micron pen.  I tend to like Micron for thicker lines & Prismalcolor for finer ones.  Of course, I use regular old Sharpie to ink the panel borders as well as create any dark patches needed in individual panels.  Not incredibly professional grade, but it works!

I’m most interested in working in black & white so even though this comic – solicited to appear on the web – could have taken advantage of all kinds of color washes, that just isn’t part of my vision for what I’m doing.

After I’ve completed a page, I scan it in – done!  Except the images ended up looking too crisp.  So I degraded each page by photocopying it a few times, messing with the toner, until I got it looking a little less slick.  This helped cover some minor imperfections (places where I had used white out, or hadn’t fully erased my pencil lines).  But more importantly I see my work (such as it is) fitting in with the rich history of zinesters & minicomic artists drawing rough & stapling the pages themselves.  I didn’t want to use a filter program to make my pages LOOK rough…I wanted it to be rough.

Longtime fans of my work, or at least those people who have had it inflicted upon them, will notice right away that I did NOT letter this story by hand.  I usually do, partly because I like the feel of it & partly because I’ve never found a font that doesn’t look too superhero.  This time, though, I went with a font modeled on Charles M. Schulz.  It’s readable & tender.

That's enough ramble for now.  I’ll pop back soon & tackle the secret history behind PAGE 1 of “Space is Infinite!”

Also, I've still got a few copies of THERE WILL BE NOTHINGLEFT for only $1.50!  This is the first issue of my long stalled series about a guy who spends eight pages walking through the snow & feeling conflicted about his life.  Order one now!

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