Right now I’ve got a few different comics projects in the works and I plan to do some writing about them here. I’ll start with how each project came to be, and then I’ll continue with progress updates in the weeks and months to come. It’s been a while since this blog has seen the light, (in terms of seeing the light of day, not seeing the light in the epiphany sense…just so we’re clear), and this seemed a good way to get back into things.
First up is the project I’ve titled “30 til 30.”
I turned 30 in November of 2013, and in the months leading up to this seemingly important birthday I started to worry that I hadn’t accomplished all I’d hoped to by this point–namely on the comics front. A comics-making challenge seemed a good way to alleviate this anxiety, as it would mean jamming a little chunk of productivity into the waning days of my twenties. Also I felt like I needed a low-pressure project to get me into the mode of drawing regularly again, something I had trouble doing in the late summer and early fall.
So I decided: I would draw one single-page journal comic every day for the last month of my 20s. Hence the 30 til 30 title–30 days (approximately) until I’d reached 30 years of age. I laid down some ground rules in my introductory comic:
I tried my best to work as quickly as possible. I did all of the planning and drew all of the final comics in my 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook–planning on the left side of the book, comics on the right:
Keeping all the work in a sketchbook rather than drawing on my usual bristol board helped to keep the work feeling loose and low-pressure. Sometimes I would just jot down a few notes and draw from there:
Sometimes I’d write out text, and would sketch a little panel layout:
Usually changes would happen in the translation from sketch to finished page.
In any case, that second rule, the one about two hours per page–that one got thrown out of the window almost instantly. Even the loosest crowd scenes can take me over two hours, and even the quickest of ink wash/shading eats up time. So basically what would happen is I’d fall behind in drawing, and then fall behind in my notes, and then I’d have to go back and jot down what I’d remembered over the prior two or three days. I also ran out of pages in my sketchbook! So…here’s what the notes on each day had turned into by the end:
And, truth be told…I am still catching up with the last of these. Sometimes I am mad at myself for my long, slogging pace, and for the immediacy of memories that has been sacrificed as a result. But I’ve found that as I work on these comics, fleshing out my minimal sketches and sentence fragments, the days do come back to me. And I’m happy that I’ve stuck with it (and am continuing to stick). More comics to follow.