Monday, September 21, 2015

The Launch!

It's happening! No, really, it's really happening. Go to to start reading this story. Four pages for the grand first upload, from then on it's regular updates of one page at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I hope you enjoy! (This blog will keep going, at least for awhile.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Getting closer.

There is now a title page:

A bit of color before I dive back into levels and charcoal again.


I have started drawing the pages. The method is as follows: pencil on vellum Bristol - scan, up the contrast, clean in PS (from what I hear, Manga Studio is better, but I know PS better) - print out on smooth Bristol - charcoal - scan again and do cleanup.

Pencils, post-levels.

Pencils w/ charcoal, post-levels.

I do this because A: I don't want to charcoal over pencils and B: even if I did the originals in ink,I would want to keep them pristine, because I'm hoping for an eventual print version in full color!
This is a little bit labor intensive, though. Hopefully I can work out a snappy routine.

As I type, 19 pages are penciled and I'm working on a "cover drawing". The drawing stage is both absolutely wonderful and absolutely nerve-wracking. My own shortcomings are staring me in the face, but so are the strengths, and seeing characters and sequences that were mostly just doodles, solidify and come to life, is such a thrill. Plus, when I finish this thing, I will hopefully be miles better than I am now. There's the carrot.

And then there's the matter of ships, and how nervous I am about drawing them and how liberating it is to finally get to the stage of "screw it, just throw some ropes and bird poop on there and move on" only to then dissolve into existential angst when you see that it's nowhere near the magnificent vessel you envisioned. Ships - not even once.

Wrapping up.

The last stretch of writing has felt like the longest one. A constant "almost done" without ever actually BEING done. Months and months of chipping away at errors and weak spots only to later find flaws in the fixes and so the cycle went on.

At one point, I had to take a break, so I did another M.R James adaptation; Wailing Well this time. It was fun, good practice and a welcome change of pace.

Special thanks to Dylan Meconis for her input! It can be hard to see the forest for the trees in a long project like this, and my regular editor (ie the husband) is often pressed for time. Having a third opinion was invaluable.

Anyway, things are moving along, finally!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Considerations of character design.

I finally got past a crucial conversation scene, but it took me a week and four drafts. The problem: lots of important information to be revealed, but it's talking heads and I'm boring myself after five panels. I used to love doing conversation scenes, but I've come to realize they can easily get legs and run away from you, especially when they serve as info-dump as well.

Five scenes are left to fine-tune before the final go-through.  

A pretty crucial problem is a particular relationship that I, for spoiler reasons, can't reveal yet, but it's at the very heart of the story and the very core of what drives one of the characters. However, it's a past relationship, not so much a current one, and I think flashbacks should be used only very sparingly and then handled with the utmost care. But if the relationship appears too theoretical, the air might go out of the story.

At least the visuals are a little more straight-forward. Here's what's new in character design:

Rada's physique was a little blah, a little ill-defined, a little wimpy, flat and inconsistent, so I got the advice to base it on a real person's, and who better than former MMA fighter Gina Carano? 

(That question is entirely rhetorical). 

So, something like:
I didn't realize just HOW MUCH it helps having a 
solid reference when it comes to drawing characters.
 She's much more of a joy to draw now. 

I have also made a size chart of the most important characters on land:

(Mr. Tall Bodyguard is now called Manfred. 
And here we can see Waldimar's older brother 
The King for the first time - suave and as well-kept as Waldimar isn't.)

With the merpeople, I've been trying to circumvent the little problem of gender distinction without slapping awkward-looking and un-hydrodynamic breasts on the females, so I introduced some curves. Not sure if it's too subtle. 

(Two ladies to the left, gentleman to the right.)

And on I go...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Moving closer

The writing is coming together, finally. I finally feel like the thing feels cohesive, which has been a problem with previous drafts. Oh, and I have a laptop now, which makes everything a lot easier - I can Photoshop or type whenever I waaant!

I've discovered that while some problems can be worked out by doing storyboards, some demand that you pull up a Word document and type them out. I'd write in the form of a mono-dialogue, starting with describing the problem and then reply to myself and it was somewhat creepy how often the answer would just come out that way. Like part of me had it all along and the other part just needed to ASK.

I also discovered that everyone's right about working SET hours. It really does help your focus. Whodathunk, right?

I would like to think that I'm 90% there, writing-wise. Knock on wood, because if there's anything I've learned, it's that patching one hole tends to make two more pop up.

Husband is working hard and doesn't have too much time to act editor, but he still kindly looks through the storyboards I give him. I fear the digital version of the script I prepared for him is very out-of-date at this point, though.

Once the writing is done, I will start on character sheets as well as figure out where to put the thing and how to present it. Page-by-page? Chapter-by-chapter?

Art-wise, I'm leaning towards doing the underwater scenes in ink/charcoal, while the land scenes will be in pencil/greytones. I was hesitant, but my husband insists I am more of a pencil artist (which I think was a very polite way of putting it) and as the always sage Dylan Meconis pointed out: they're two different worlds and that might as well be emphasized.

Underwater scenes, ink/charcoal:

Land scene, trying out pencil/greytone:

Bonus: Inked thumbnail of Rada diving to see the Witch.