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 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.
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.