Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The 2nd 24 Hour Comic - Part 2

So what happened? How did I "sorta" fail?

12 hours into the 24 hour period, I felt exhausted. I felt the same why I felt in the last few hours of the first 24 Hour Comic. I kept wondering why? What had I done wrong?

I reviewed the day and realized that I had been up for 20 hours. I chose to start the 24 Hour Comic around 8pm, so that when I was done I would be going to sleep at roughly the right bedtime and I would be most awake during the sensitive hours (1-6 am). This was the same plan I used for the first one, and it worked. So why not do it again?

But I did something different this time. Last time I layed in bed, sleeping until ~7pm. This time I got up much much earlier and did stuff all day before starting. Big mistake.

At 12 hours I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to make another 12 hours, oh maybe 2 or 3 hours, but not 12. I had already sketched the entire "story." So I figured if I went to bed, not thinking about the comic at all, and returned to it rested, I could finish it off in another 12 hour period - and it would be "like" I did a 24 Hour Comic.

This wasn't a 24 Hour Comic, as much as it was a 12 + 12 Hour Comic.

And then weirdly, I finished the comic, after resting, in 8 hours. I knew I should have spent 4 more hours detailing it and adding more. But my heart was no longer in it.

Probably because I am sadly frustrated with my own inner turmoil, I will never tell what all the images represent... but perhaps you will enjoy it anyway.

The 2nd 24 Hour Comic - Part 1

YAY Weddings!

I had another opportunity to write/draw a 24 Hour Comic, so, of course, I took it. I recommend reading it before continuing to read this blog entry.

24 Hour Comic #2: "LIFESCOPE"

Remember that no part of the 24 Hour Comic is meant to be created prior to the 24 hour period, so there was little for me to think about in my preparations. However, remembering how the last 24 Hour Comic went, I knew that I did not want to do a literal story.

The last 24 Hour Comic, "Bad Day At the Office," became very preachy, very quickly. I didn't want to write another story that, indirectly, told people how to live their lives. I thought the easiest way to do this was to tell a more abstract story.

And that was the word for the 2nd 24 Hour Comic, abstract.

As such I began with a section of a human's face that would normally not be examined intently. Then I let the images guide me, as I sketched the pages. But somewhere along the way, the images started having meaning. I followed those meanings...and soon found I was being preachy again.

Apparently I am a preachy guy, and when struggling with a deadline, rely on my internal whinings to direct me. I have little idea if this will be notable to any other reader, as I am unclear how much my scribblings make sense. What was your first impression from reading "LIFESCOPE"?

I broke this blog entry into two parts to reflect my experience...yea, I kinda failed to create a comic in 24 hours...well, sorta.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

24 Hour Comic Success!!!

Thank you. Thank you. PAX.

For those of you who do not know, PAX is an annual convention of video games and board games. My roommate went to this year's PAX and I finally got my 72+ hours.

On April 5, 2012 at 8:30pm I started my first foray into the "24 Hour Comic medium." (for more info on 24 Hour Comic) I had 24 Bainbridge boards, pencils, photo pencils, a variety of sized ink pens, a T square ruler, a ruler, a protractor, well, you get the point.

I deliberately did not read anyone's 24 Hour Comic, so that I would not be influenced by their approach. I stumbled through the process with only McCloud's guidelines. And ultimately I learned much about myself in the process.

For instance I am a very preachy person. Since I rejected my natural instinct to begin constructing a story until 8:30pm, the story I wrote reflected that which goes through my mind. I constructed and illustrated my angst and frustration, which as it turns out required me to lecture the reader about "life and the injustices therein." I'm not actually super happy about that. While I believe in a healthy discourse of ideas, I frown on forced belief structures. I found, by the end of it, I had constructed events to place my protagonist as the hero, even though the events were meant to be gray areas.

After 24 hours of penciling and inking, my hand was killing me. The last few hours were torture. Which makes me wonder a number of things: Will I get carpal tunnel syndrome? Do I need to be exercising my hand and fingers more? Do I have an intensely bad habit of placing too much pressure on my hand while drawing/writing? While it is probable that most artists feel the same physical pressure from a 24 Hour Comic...I've never spoken to any artist about such experiences.

When completed, I did read Scott McCloud's first 24 Hour Comic (available to read on his website here). While his had significantly better art (no surprise there...I mean, he has been doing this longer than me, significantly), his story seemed to lack a deeper meaning (than say my didactic story). This makes me wonder if next time I should focus more on creating the art from the beginning and worry less about the story or story structure. Hhhmmm...haven't decided on that one.

My 24 Hour Comic, entitled "Bad Day At the Office," can be found here. If you wish to read this or other comics by me: www.eyeofinfinity.com

Monday, October 17, 2011

Color I: The Basics and Flats

Currently I am working on a four part story to be published on my website, Eye of Infinity. Each part is 4-5 pages and illustrated in a typical comic book style. However this will be the first time I incorporate color.

Sure I used color in my previous story, The Incredible Growing Man, which can be read in its entirety on my website. However I created through color with that project. When I created the final image, it was with color, shapes of color with smaller shapes on top.

This project (which will be viewable on my website once completed) follows the traditional procedures of pencil, ink, color, lettering. I have currently finished the pencils and inks for part 1. Now I am working on the color.

I am using The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics as my teaching foundation. It suggests the following procedures: 1. Flats, 2. Gradient Fills, 3. Highlights, 4. Shadows. As you can imagine from the title I have not, as of yet, proceeded onto the Gradient Fills....yet.

The basics of color involve hue, complementary colors, value, intensity, and color temperature. It seems best to think of these concepts in tandem with the Flats, as they will be the colors that will dictate the Gradient Fills, Highlights, and Shadows. In many ways this is a relief, as I wont worry about the basics (as much) once I start modelling (term used to refer to Gradient Fills, Highlights, and Shadows).

However, as I sit here examining the first page filled in with flats....I can not decide if I have chosen the appropriate hues, intensities, values or complimentary colors. Gray sidewalks, red bricks, purple uniforms...I got the general ideas, but with such a plethora of variations on colors...could I not choose better?

The angst, the potential, the possibility gnaws at the back of my mind (tweak, tweak, tweak, just a few more tweaks until it is perfect). But it will never be perfect, not like this. I learn better from my mistakes. I will forge ahead; I will make those mistakes, and be better for them.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

24 Hours Is Not Enough Time!!!!!

When I moved to the current apartment I'm living in, I was on a Scott McCloud kick. So of course, I wanted to make a 24 Hour comic; however I moved to this apartment with a roommate.

Now it's not impossible to set aside 24 hours, despite one's roommate, to create a comic (or as I like to refer to it "to work"). But there's all that interruption and explanation that goes along with it too. I want to avoid that; I just do.

I decided the best time would be when my roomate was out of town. No explanations needed; no interruptions; I would have the entire apartment to myself. I began creating a detailed plan, so that I might leap on an opportunity quite quickly. I realized 24 hours/one day would not be enough. I would need a day before to prepare and a day afterwards to recover (I've pulled all-nighters before. I almost made 3 days straight once): a total of 3 days/72 hours.

4 years later my roommate has not been out of the apartment for more than 48 hours. Well, at least while I'm there. We have both gone to the same weddings, such trips lasted more than 48 hours. And I've left for x-mas vacation for weeks, so who knows what my roomate was doing.

Two weeks ago, my roommate was going out of town for 4 days. Finally!! My roommate came back the next day...without even letting me know.

No go.


some day I'll have 72 hours to create a 24 hour comic................

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Approach

I recently read a quick article fowarded to me, in which the author's recommendation for budding cartoonists (still sounds relatively applicable to budding comic book artitsts) was to forego large projects at the beginning, to focus on small projects and set goals. It seems like sound advice that I intend to take.

It is rather unfortunate as I was in the midst of a large project, that I will now lay aside for awhile. But I do have smaller projects in mind, so I am not at a loss. Plus I will post those pages of the large project on my website.

I also recently read Ditko, etc..... This comic offered me two insights that I was suspicious of, but being an amateur, I assumed I was paranoid about.

One of them is the immoral, or at least unethical, actions of large comic book companies. When people speak of comics, most will think of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, the Hulk, the X-Men or they will think of Marvel and D.C. They have been around for forever; they have integrated into our lives. Even when we hear about the unethical treatment of artists in the '90's by Marvel (which spawned Image) or when we hear (and see) the complete bastardization of Alan Moore's stories by DC films, we can not bring ourselves to boycott either of them (they hold us by the nuts). Reading, hearing, seeing these travesties to creators and art are still not first hand; some doubt must exist, as we do not witness these events first hand. Yet here marks another explosion against these "would-be gods". Steve Ditko (co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee, the iconic cover of Spider-Man swinging while holding a guy in his arms from Amazing Fantasy #15 - that's him) has been in the comic book industry for decades. He has worked with both Marvel and D.C. He is uniquely qualified to criticize the comic book industry. He does so in Ditko, etc...., viciously. This has re-affirmed my suspicions and reluctance to accept or even consider working with large comic companies (assuming an offer ever appeared).

The other insight was specifically in regards to the art. Ditko, etc.... is a black and white comic, which appears to be inked (probably from pencils?), but with no graytones added. It is at it's foundation what every comic art is BEFORE... What do I mean by BEFORE? When one reads a mainstream comic, they have seperate inkers, they have colorists, sometimes there are companies that do the lettering. There is much production value to make the comic look flashy and inviting. But here Steve Ditko makes a far superior artistic comic with just ink. It was because all this flash and snazziness was gone that I was able to accurately compare my current artistic skill to a seasoned professional. I mean, I'm not even in the same league, but I am better than I thought I was.

Both these insights have convinced me to pursue an independent comic career, as opposed to trying to impress DC or Marvel for a full-time steady job.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It takes sooo long....

Each page takes sooo long. It is quite frustrating to envision oneself completing a project, to become enthused through the power of possibility, only to find oneself completing a quarter of a tenth of a third of the project. How do professionals do it? How can they "see the future" and yet struggle through the present. Well for starters they delegate the various tasks to different individuals (writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, chief editor). In a September '94 Nova issue, a Bullpen Bulletin interviewed Sal Buscema, a comic legend (who has worked on Captain America, Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Rom the Space Knight, Spectacular Spider-man), regarding his reputation as a fast artist. The question was: What's the most number of pages you did in one day? " I did 13 pages of breakdowns in one day. But I couldn't see at the end of the day! I'm still fairly fast. I can do two pages of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day." I can do one page of pencils or inks in one 6-7 hour period....but then I'm an amateur. One day I will be able to do a whole page of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day! AND then 2 whole pages of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day!! Ah-ha ha ha ha ha ha. I don't expect to be as good or as quick as those who have worked in the industry for decades. But this has helped me to gain perspective. To give myself certain quantifiable goals.