Friday, January 8, 2010

Making of a mini (week 1)

Once again, I plan on attending the coolest zine/mini comics show in the southeast. That's right I'm talking about Fluke! I have been trying to come up with a new mini-comic for a few months. I have had writer's block for a while. I wrote and drew 2 issues of Fantasy Adventure Quest. I learned a couple of really important lessons with that project. Firstly, I wasn't ready for that project, secondly I didn't properly set up a decent story. The whole thing was sort of flying by the seat of my pants. I also discovered that selling issue 2 was much more difficult than selling issue 1, I think the reason for this is I needed to convince people to buy issue 1 in order for them to have any interest in issue 2. I found myself really upset with the quality of the first comic and the second comic was a meandering story with uninspired and forced artwork. I have decided to drop the project and move onto shorter projects and eventually, work my way up to longer stories with more involved characters. FAQ was really ambitious and I am not ashamed of the project at all. It's just at this point I feel I could grow faster as a cartoonist if I were to work on shorter stories and move onto new projects without feeling like I'm abandoning a child or something. Anyway I am now working on something completely unrelated and self contained. It's a story kind of triggered by my short piece I did for Subterranean 2. It's a parody of Power Rangers. It's nothing too advanced, pretty basic plot loaded with jokes, robots, and fights. I would love to do something more cerebral, but alas, I'm sort of a dullard. That first picture in the top left corner of this post shows ya what I'm talking about. I kind of break down the beats of a story into page lengths and add them up. I also make little graphs of the climax, you can sort of see this in the bottom part of the page.

After I lay out the beats to the story, I break down each sequence of pages into really rough thumbnails and descriptions. I don't write the dialogue just yet. The way I approach dialogue is I kind of digest the actions of the page and write the dialogue in my head while I'm at work. I then do a tighter rough of each individual page right before I draw it. By this point I know my panel layouts, my dialogue, and my basic gestures. I put them all together in my tight roughs really quickly. To the right you can see my loose thumbnails of the first 4 pages, or the first "beat" of this mini comic. First I list the actions that are necessary to happen in each page, after that I draw quick roughs that mainly feature panel layouts and stick figures that go along with the actions listed above. I don't really expect anyone to really understand any of these little scribbles. I want to document my weekly progress on this book as a reminder to myself and encourage myself to keep posting material on the web. I'm not doing this to teach anyone how to make comics. Internet, please understand this, I'm a complete IDIOT. I have developed these techniques by myself. I have never taken any sort of comics writing class and I never really even took any sort of writing class besides grammar and composition classes. The goal for this project is to complete 2 pages of a comic per week, post my progress, and learn a little bit more about my process and how I can improve it. I plan to have this mini-comic complete two weeks before Fluke so I can have a little time for post-production and printing of this bastard. It will have a 2 color silkscreen cover and the first print run will be 50 copies. My price range is looking like $1.50-$2.00

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