I thought the start of this year was a slow one, but once February was over, time seemed to speed up – how is it nearly June? I really need to blog more, the lack of consistency is embarrassing!
So the challenge I mentioned in my last post was a comic that I wanted to create for the son of my friend, for his birthday, (if you look back through the tiny amount of posts, you will see that last year, I ‘kind of’ produced a picture book for his birthday – which was late!). I’ve not really attempted to create a comic before – I did a two page comic strip based on fears last year (mentioned two posts ago), but that was based on a very loose concept, where I created the story at the same time as the drawings. This time I wrote a basic story outline first (telling myself it would probably be no more than four A4 pages at the most), then I wrote it out in more detail, creating the narration and speech, and making a few quick scribbles of images that I might include.
(The story is an origin story, inspired by several other superhero stories, about a bunch of kids who love superheroes).
I’ve heard some comic creators/graphic novelists mention in interviews how they plan pages as they go, rather than planning all of the content and flow in advance, and this always sounded crazy to me. I am a big fan of planning and working out a structure to make sure everything … works! So it was strange to suddenly find myself winging it, planning each page as I got to it. I’m still not sure it was the best way to go about it, but as usual with birthday gifts, I knew if I took the time to plan it all out in advance, it would take me longer and I would miss the birthday. It turned out okay, I would have liked to have filled all the pages neatly into a multiple of four, but I ended up with one blank back page – I figured it couldn’t hurt, (of course it does hurt, every time I think about it, it irks me).
The four–page comic that I had envisioned turned out to have 23 pages. It took me much longer than I anticipated, partly because I took the opportunity to familiarise myself with Procreate at the same time (I also took the opportunity to get myself through Gilmore Girls while I coloured things). It was definitely a challenge (the comic, not Gilmore Girls… although), it is really hard to fit everything together, and I feel like I’m only at the beginning of a lesson in comic book fundamentals (as well as Procreate).
I am pleased with the end result, but I am also aware of how flawed it is – I have no idea how graphic/comic illustrators keep their details so consistent, I went through looking for mistakes multiple times and I still missed a whole bunch – but I think I have the bug now, I would like to do another, I want to learn more and I know I can do better! It’s just one more thing for the ‘to-do’ list.