Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another Process Post

I've been working on the first 25 pages of the graphic novel.  After doing some research today, I may have to cut one page, depending on whether it is affordable to print the comic up smaller "montly" issues.  But, it certainly looks like print may just be too expensive to do unless it is all one volume, or if you are a major publisher that can afford to print a really large amount of issues.

So I'm pretty settled into the production process now.

Personally, I first start with a small pad of paper or notebook, where I just quickly try to jot down the story, page by page.  At this early stage, I'm not really doing much more then putting down some basic narrative, dialogue or plot ideas that map out the story.  I find it convenient to do it like this, because it's easy to carry around and work on it anywhere.

This drafting stage has been very beneficial to me.  The text is enough to remind me of what I plan on drawing in that page, and without thumbnails, it allows me to alter the mental layout of the page if it needs a different flow.

Some of this work could end up becoming scrap once I type it into the computer, using Libre Office, I've debated using google drive for this, but decided for now to keep everything on my own system.

Next I start typing the pages out into my desktop. I then print out these pages and place them all into a binder, organized into revision tabs.  This way I can again easily edit then anywhere, marking out and revising narration and speech.  I can also figure out if a page needs to be broken up into more pages, and start the thumbnails while I edit.

Although it is all maybe a little time consuming, I think it is actually extremely beneficial, and so I will continue to force myself to do it.  The best laid plans are well thought out in advance.

Once things are starting to make sense and I am ready to start making the pages, I first create the layouts for every page in Inkscape.  I then work with MyPaint to sketch the pages and then the GIMP to bring it all together.

So below, you'll see the basic roughed in page, with crude images to get a sense of placement. Just blocking in at this point.

 After I am happy enough with the rough images, and all the pages are roughed out. I then move on to tightening up the images.  For me, this has been where the look of the characters has started to be fleshed out more.  I've tried to sketch some of the supporting characters, but with little success, because it just feels out of context, and it seems I need the story and panels to really feel it all.
Some of the panels require the use of a the background being repeated.  So for this I've decided to just duplicate the "pencils" of the background into each panel with the GIMP.  Later I'll free hand the "inks" of each panel separately, to give each a unique visual stamp.
I hope to have the first 25 and the cover up by mid August. Hopefully I can hit that mark, and - fingers crossed - people read it.

As an aside, making a living as an artist is not all it's cracked up to be.  

Has it ever been?  

While I wouldn't say I'm starving - my kids aren't currently going hungry either - it would certainly be nice to have some more money to get a little more out of life.

Sure, I could always look for work with another company - which I have done in the past, and would certainly take any current proposals! - but the reward of creating my own personal artistic vision is too enticing to stop striving to do this book and any other project I choose to create.

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