Monday, May 16, 2011

production process

With less than a month to go, final production is hectic for completing The Lost Girl. But it's easily the most satisfying stage.

The ugliest business is layouts and pencils. I seldom do straight black and white artwork; there's usually some polishing up with grayscale tones or colors once the lines are done. So I think subconsciously I leave out elements that would help b&w lineart stand out on its own, like crosshatching or even flat blacks. With Lost Girl i've tried to overcome those shortcomings, even just a little bit. But it remains that a great deal of the visuals are resting on my coloring skills, so I'm a little nervous as to how bright this'll all shine in the end.

After Johnny Bunko I was really seduced by working digitally with a tablet and photoshop. Lines are cleaner and the workspace is far more malleable. But I'm a slow worker to begin with, and being able to tinker endlessly at an intensely zoomed-in scale was pretty crippling to my production time. And no matter how good I was feeling at using a stylus, I lost a lot of sense of proportion and gesture-quality to sketches. After about 2 years of pounding the tablet, I went back to pencil and paper for the lineart, and it's worked pretty well. Whatever cleanliness and minute detailing I've lost is balanced by a better sense of the page, movement, and my own drawing comfort.

Still, a little digital spit and polish goes a long way. It feels good to see lettered, colored pages after looking at half-finished line art for months. And we're getting close to having a finished book!

Friday, May 13, 2011

"The Lost Girl", nearly found

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog.

I've been working pretty relentlessly since Christmas on Michael Mongillo's "The Lost Girl", a graphic novel that represents my first full-length, full-color foray into the world of comics. It's an exciting venture for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it's an altogether different sort of story than I've ever done before.

It tells the story of two characters: Joy, a young woman who's spent her entire life as an orphan raised by the state, setting out on her own, and Rurik, a young man who's on the run from his "family", as it were. After discovering the hard way that it's not exactly an easygoing, beautiful world out there, Joy and Rurik meet in the wild and strike a pact to fight for both's survival.

Daniel H. Pink's "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need" was my first full-size ogn, which utilized a cartoony, lighthearted style and, while it told a definite story, was also structured as a guidebook, complete with lessons and chapter summaries. The project was a massive crash-course in artwork, lettering, and publishing for me. There are a lot of things I would likely do differently if I had to do it all again, but the learning experience was valuable, and the end result...hey, not that bad!

"Lost Girl" is another leap forward. It's much (much) darker than "Johnny Bunko" in about every way possible, and a much bigger challenge in terms of artwork. Working from someone else's script is invaluable, as it pushes you to do more than you might motivate yourself to do, and here is no exception. "Lost Girl" is big, bloody, and loaded with a lot more than I've ever attempted before, as a new project ought to be.

It's also a perfect example of how I really ought to start working by committee, because doing every stage of art production yourself is a real bastard.

The project is nearing completion, slated for release this summer by Arcana. I'll keep this blog updated with details as we move forward.