This marks a bit of a milestone, because come Monday? I transition into my Japan scene that I've been contemplating since at least last year. Excited to finally get to it (and see what the results are)!
Still no rest for the wicked though. Gotta draft tomorrow's newsletter still, and do a couple thumbnail sketches for the commissions I'll be doing over the weekend.
Haven't exercised all week, but come tomorrow I'll work it into my daily routine again.
Eisner's COMICS AND SEQUENTIAL ART several years later when I was in college, along with McCloud's UNDERSTANDING COMICS, and probably a bunch of reads along the way. All very good books that deal with the craft of making comix, but I've read nothing—absolutely nothing—on what it takes to actually bring a comicbook out into the world.
“There are things on any given page that you know how to do, and there are things you don't know how to do. You have to do the things you know how to do smoothly and efficiently to buy yourself enough time to solve the problem you don't yet know how to solve.”
And then later:
“Once you have done everything on a page that you know how to do, the parts you don't know how to do become a surrounded enemy.”
It's an odd psychological trick that really does save you a shit ton of time. Oh the number of pages I'd attempted to solve the difficult parts on first, pages that would take up an entire week to finish. Stupid, stupid.
Y'know how there's a story-writing rule about making sure that by the end of your story, your characters have gone through big dramatic change from where they were at the beginning of the story?
Yeah, I'm kind of applying that rule to every single page of the graphic novel now. Whereas before... I could have an entire page showing a character running. Multiple panels of a character running, and that is it (page 22, I believe?). Mind you, that particular page I'm shaming is a beautiful-looking page, but if I could have a do-over, I'd probably at the very least show the character run from a significant point A to a significant point B. I s'pose that's part of why I ended up with 38+ page chapters!
Chapter 5 will likely be my shortest chapter thus far, no more than 20-22 pages, even though it covers a lot (i.e. Earth, the Moon, and Mars! 🤯).
What a very long, extensive learning experience this has been (But that's good. If there isn't a degree of learning experience in any project I undertake, I'm not so sure it's worth it).
2:15PM, and I've only finished rough pencils on a single page. Late start today. Will move onto the second before tightening up pencils on both. Should be plenty of time.
Noticing my style is becoming a lot more fluid and whimsical, a direct function of operating at speed as well as a change of inking tool (Loew-Cornell #2 brush series 795 Round instead of nibs and/or Staedler Liners).
I'm enjoying what I'm seeing. In a couple pages time though, I switch to a combination of both brush and nib (just as the current scene wraps up, and I move onto the next—which takes place in a different time and place and so calls for a switch in style).
All of these style switches will without a doubt come to inform my “usual” style, so I'm happy to work a little whimsy in there.
I'm also very happy to be getting faster.
To quote Dave Sim: “First you get good, then you get fast, then you get good and fast.”
Didn't get around to finishing pencils on that second page yesterday, so moved it over to today in addition to inking both of them.
Tomorrow I start pencils on two new ones, inks on Friday.
Opened commission requests which I'll work on over the weekends. This is something I'd been reluctant to do in the past tbh, worried that someone might want me to draw the fucking Batman, but the requests I've been getting so far have been pretty cool actually. One such request included “your favorite William Gibson protagonist” for example. 😈
(Granted, if someone really wants me to draw the fucking Batman, I'll draw the fucking Batman.)
Finally got me a copy! Surprisingly hard to come by, this one.
Slower day today. Barely finished penciling one page and it's already 4:00PM. Will try to knock out the second. Not a lot of detail on these two, but the layout is a bit tricky and it took me a minute to make sure they'd have the right reading flow.
Finished my 2 pages worth of inking at 11:30AM today!
Waking up at 5:00AM does have its perks. Been working from 6:00AM with only one half hour break for breakfast and coffee-brewing. Just got my shower in, and will whip up a little lunch and read me some comix before getting on with the second half of the work day: art things in the garage studio, packing orders, and a bit of writing.
It was a little over a year ago when I reached out to a few indy comix makers to form a collective, whereby we would release 8 monthly titles in PDF format via one dedicated platform, effectively resulting in 2 comix releases per week.
The idea seemed to have been met with great interest, initially, but then it—for whatever reason—just fizzled out.
Given that we practically haven't seen any new comix releases since the outbreak of COVID-19, seems to me like a collective of this sort would've been a really great thing to have around right about now.
Of course, I understand that digital-only releases will never suffice. Quality Collected editions would've been printed, and made predominantly available as direct-order specialty items via our platform. I understand the risk in attempting to bypass the traditional distribution structure, but from the looks of it... that structure has already more or less collapsed now anyway. And y'know, even if not, I'm not so sure it's a bad idea to be a producer of niche specialty things that can't easily be found in all the shops (a'la The Folio Society for books, or heck Allbirds for shoes).
I wouldn't attempt anything like that again though. Managing other people can be... uh, difficult. I'd rather build something that hinges entirely on my own singular output as outlined in Comix Engine 10. That way, if it fails or derails in any way, well then at least it's my fuck up alone (Will maybe start work on it in tandem with THE SOLAR GRID given that I now have the time and have managed to up my production speed).
Still, I think the other idea is a good one for whoever has the managerial bandwidth to pull it off.
9:10AM now. Woke up at 6:00AM after [finally] getting a good 9 hours of sleep! Will package and ship a few orders in the next hour, before getting back to the drawing table. And also have an op-ed to chip away at later in the day. Let's go.