Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exterior the Interior

City of Cards C2.28: HERE!

Continuing my revisions, here's an updated panel for Chapter One page 12:

The real goal is to get my interior environments to feel as polished as my exteriors. It's just a matter of practice and really, I can't tell you how many times I've tried to revise these office pages. One thing I always knew was that the dialogue was tight on the pages so I plan to space it out by adding a new page to spread out the dialogue (nothing new, just re-spacing the panels). Because of that, I need to add a second page to keep my page turns/spreads the same.

I'm actually really looking forward to the reworking of these pages. It's going to be a lot more involved than I'd originally anticipated but I think the results will be solid.

So quick, here's a status report of where I'm at:

Chapter One: Revision stage: 7/??? panels penciled.

Chapter Two: Initial stage: Inks and tones COMPLETE. Booyah!

Chapter Three: Initial stage: 14/43 pages penciled, inks started.

I actually have about 5 more pages of pencils finished on Chapter Three done in various forms, so we're in good shape on that. Less than two months till Chapter Three starts. Expect big changes.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rewind - Edit- Post

City of Cards C2.27: HERE!

First, my Valentine for anyone that hasn't seen it yet:

You can vote here if you want to see the original pencils for this picture.

This is one way Chapter One could have gone, but clearly didn't. Speaking of Chapter One...

So I accidentally looked at Chapter One while referencing inks for Chapter Two. It was going to happen eventually, but I've officially started on edits. Here's the pencils for an updated panel on page 16:

This will not mean a slow down on pages going up, it may just mean that I will also be reposting pages with updated art. I've got good reason to do this, and this is probably the best time to start.

The current plan is to have book one of City of Cards released in July of 2013. This will be the first four chapters of the series. As I am about 1/3 of the way penciled on Chapter Three if I start editing Chapters One and Two as I go along I'll hopefully be able to keep the art as consistent as possible while improving and continuing to draw new pages.

I plan to archive all the old pages so people can see the changes if they're interested and it'll also be nice in case people start to miss Ace and Plato because once Chapter Two is done, we'll be leaving them to meet some new characters until some time this fall.

And just in case I forgot to mention, I'm also posting through this sketch blog. I won't be posting anything there that won't be going up here as well, but there are a lot of awesome artists involved with it as well.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Febru-What Now?

City of Cards C2.26: Here!

Love this weeks page. No doubt, it's another one of my favorites and a great example of why I like the comics medium as my method story telling.

I always say, if you're going to make comics, know why you're choosing that over another art form and use it to its fullest. Or, at least, enjoy what the medium can offer because it can make it way more fun.

Did anyone check out the Adventure Time comic this week? Aaron Renier who did the art for my diploma from CCS did a back up story for issue one and it's pretty awesome. If you get a chance to read it it's well worth your time.

Valentine's Day is next week so I'll probably be posting a sketch up early next week. I may not have a lot of drawing time for anything other than comic but I still try to fit other pictures in when I can.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Something Familiar/Chapter Comics

City of Cards C2.25: Here!

You might notice that one of those panels looks kinda familiar. It's the image that the current header I'm using came from. A little insight into my process, that kinda clues you in to how far ahead I work. I actually drew that panel almost a year ago and inked and toned it probably back around in April.

Things are slowly starting to catch up, though, so most pages now are only inked about a month to two months ahead of time though pencils are usually done at least six months ahead, more or less since I don't work in a real specific order.

If you want to know how far ahead I write this story, then we're getting into years territory. One of my friends wrote a great analysis of story structure when composing long-form comics that are going to be viewed on the internet about taking into account speed of publishing, narrative arcs, and viewer attention when developing your stories in an issue format. You can read that here.

Now, my comic pretty much ignores all those helpful suggestions. What I'm going to talk about is what to do if you've decided to make a long-running chapter based narrative comic and to put that on the web, or more correctly, why you should plan ahead as much as possible and know what you're getting into. Have goals and be realistic about them.

1) What is your end publishing goal? Are you going to be putting this in book form? Is this going to be something that will remain solely on the web? If you are going to be making this into a book, you may find yourself having to account for spreads and format, page turns, and story flow in a way that might not always make for ideal online reading. Sometimes you'll find two pages read better together and you'll have to decide how to deal with that, especially if you only put up a page a week like I do. If print is your goal, don't lose sight of that, but know that sometimes it will make reading your comic online a much slower process.

2) Know where your story is going. This doesn't mean you have to have written every plot point and line of dialogue in stone, it just means that like having a publishing goal, knowing where your story is going will help keep you focused and will give your story a sense of purpose. When someone decides to settle in for the long-haul with your comic, let them feel like you have a direction. Otherwise, they might give up long before your story gets anywhere.

3) Be patient. Be patient with yourself, your readers, your lack of readers, and your comic. If you're patient with yourself you're more likely to produce better work. There is only so much you can do in a day. With your readers, give them time to see what you're up to and let them decide how they choose to react/interact with your work. If you feel like no one is reading your work, don't get discouraged. Know your work well enough to trust that it is going in a solid direction and continue to do more, better work. Your comic can only be made as fast as you can produce it, but if you plan on doing a project for several or more years, give the comic the time and dedication it deserves. Don't rush it in hopes that by speeding through the beginning you'll be doing your work a service.

4.1) Plan ahead. I kinda joke that it took me ten years to start this project and it'll take me ten years to finish it and it's not that far off from the truth. I put off actually drawing the comic until I felt like my drafstmanship skills had reached a basic level of competency. Most of my prep time involved writing, not even necessarily scripts, just dialogue and outlines and anything I could to get a sense of my story. Once I had written the first few chapters solidly and revised them I got other people to read and edit my scripts. By the time  I started my comic I had been able to really develop my world and my characters and that gives me confidence to keep working.

4.2) Plan ahead EVEN MORE. Do you have a job? Do you have friends? Do you have unforeseen circumstances that might make working on your comic difficult if not impossible? One of the main reasons I have the process that I do is because it allows me flexibility in my work hours. So long as I have my laptop and my tablet I can ink just about anywhere: airports, jury duty, coffee shops, hotel rooms... you name it! Penciling, however, usually requires I be at my lightbox with ideally one-two hours of uninterrupted work time. My penciling process is also much more involved and slow so I know to give myself extra time. I also know that there are going to be days when I just won't get to work on my comic, or maybe only fifteen minutes. Stuff like that has to be taken into account.

So there's my quick overview of what I've pretty much taken into consideration with this project. I'm not saying that everything I've said here has to apply to what you're doing, just that this is what has helped me. Someone that has been doing this longer than I have and is far more successful can probably give more advice but I figure any experience can be useful.