Saturday, October 15, 2011

Back to Step 1

School has, as predicted, left me with very little time to work on Nwain.  However, this could be a good thing.

I've been discussing the plot with the boyfriend, and he pointed out that I was trying to fit the story into too small a space.  "Just tell your story, use as many pages as it takes," he said.  I was skeptical; I figured adding a bunch of pages would multiply the amount of work I'd have to do as an artist.  I want to work efficiently so I can actually complete this project.  The next day--the very next day!--my Storyboards teacher gave us a handout, with this written on it:
You cannot tell a full hero's journey in a short!  Do so at your peril.
 I'm beginning to think this is sound advice.  (By the way, that is the exact wording.  I don't think it's an exaggeration.)  I trust this advice.  I also know I want to write a full hero's journey.  I now know I can't do that in 22 pages.  So there we have it.  Nwain will have to be longer.  It goes against one of my original goals, but I can accept that.  It helps that I don't have a deadline for this thing.  It'll be finished when it's finished.  Probably in a few years.

Doodles have been cropping up in my notebooks and scrap papers.  There's quite a cast of characters, and it'll be good to have more room to get to know them.  I'll also have to work hard on visually designing a few.  Nwain's competition in the tournament, "Fire Sprite Girl" and "Defender Guy" (both unnamed as of yet), will need particular attention, lest they get stuck in the Mire of Miserable Cliches.  Hmm, maybe that can be a place in the Dreamworld.  The Mire of Miserable Cliches.  Full of depressed ninjas.

Okay, that's it.  I kept my promise!  It's only been two months since my last blog entry.  Hot dang.  See you around Turkey Day, maybe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thumbnailing Nwain

Despite 15 weeks of my summer being devoted to school, I have made some progress on Nwain.

I cut an unnecessary complication from the plot--a bout with monsters at the end that was in no way connected to the main storyline.  But!  We can't have a fantasy adventure without monsters, so never fear, there will still be a slathering demonic critter of some sort.  I simply can't sit by and let a monster go undesigned.  It'll just be more integrated with the story this way.

Now with the plot more settled in my head, I'm skipping on writing a full script for now.  I can envision the scenes and roughly what needs to happen in each.  I will write out a plan for what needs to happen on each page, so I can keep the number of pages at 22.  (I feel a deep need to be strict about that arbitrary number, even though this is a personal project and in all likelihood will never be picked up by a big comics publisher.  I don't have to play by their rules, but eh.  I'll take the challenge--ultimately, it means fewer pages to draw, which means I might actually finish this thing.)

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  So, I'm moving on straight to roughing out page layouts.  That helps me determine the rhythm of the panels, and that will help me write the dialogue.  I'm finding that, unlike animation, where dialogue has to be written and recorded before the drawing gets going, comics don't give a nit about lipsyncing.  I can draw and write nearly simultaneously, with pictures informing what I can do with the words, and vice versa.  It's pretty cool, and I'm having a blast doing it.

The other day, I used my mom's iPad to show Nwain pictures to people at Bonsai (a sushi place I've gone to since kidhood).  It seemed to hit a chord with some people, and one cool lady picked up on the Elfquest influences straight away.  I love Elfquest, so that made me really happy.  I suppose other strong influences would include Samurai Jack by Genndy Tartakovski and the Sandman by Neil Gaiman.

At anyrate.  I want to have the rough layouts done before school.  Hopefully I can sneak the first draft under a few noses and get some critique before moving on to the penciling stage.

That's it for this round!  Hopefully my next blogger post will be sooner than three months from now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nwain, My Comic Book Project

I'm starting a project for fun that I'm assuming will take quite a while to complete.  So I've been spreading my tentacles and touching base with my blogs (all of which I hardly maintain).  Just want to alert anyone who may be interested in following its progress.

I'm going to make a single-issue comic book, 22 pages long (the standard for comics), and make it available in print on actual paper.  I'll be writing, penciling, inking, coloring and lettering the whole thing.  Since I'm doing this in my minimal free time, I expect it to take a year at the least.  I will continue updating my blogs about its progress, though some will contain less information than others.  Blogspot seems most amenable to posts with lots of words, so I'll be using this space to explain what it is I am supposedly thinking.

First, I should tell you that this won't be a webcomic.  To try to be consistent with the art, I'll be drawing this thing non-linearly.  That is, I won't draw page 1 and then page 2 and page 3 after that.  I'll draw page 1, a page in the middle, and the last page, and then I'll work my way out from the important points.  It'll be like animating pose-to-pose instead of straight ahead--get the important pages done first, then handle the inbetweeny stuff.  So that precludes regular updates of actual pages, but once I'm done I will put the full book online so people can actually read it.

While on the subject of drawing, I have a clear idea of the direction I want to go with the art, and that's honestly the main reason I'm doing this.  I've been inspired lately by turn-of-the-century (or turn-of-the-last-century, really) illustrators like Rakham and Kay Neilson.  There's a web gallery on full of that stuff.  I'm also a fan of the modern day artist known as Bluefooted (see her(?)  deviantart gallery).  I'm sure I won't be the first, but I'd like to try this coloring/illustration style in a comic book format.

<--- Here, I tried roughly emulating bluefooted's method - draw and ink on paper, and color digitally.  A higher resolution version is on my deviant art.

This is just a test of the picture-making method to see if I could get something like what I want.  The actual drawing of actual pages is quite a while off yet.  I have to write the script first!

The story is that of Nwain, a reserved, bookish knight who quests through dreamland to follow a star.  She sees strange landscapes, meets odd people, and fights monsters along the way.  Sometimes, she finds places where she would rather like to settle, but her strict adherence to her quest usually prevents it.

Her requisite trusty steed, Sceadwian, is not a horse, but a bizarre composite animal with wolf and deer traits.  As this is dreamland, the creature shapeshifts--sometimes it's more like a wolf, sometimes more like a stag, but never a human.  It's slightly sentient, but its still a wild animal dominated by its instincts.  Sometimes, Sceadwian will go against the reigns and drag Nwain off track.  They have a sort of love-hate relationship.

I've got more specifics for the actual plot, but I don't want to spoil all of that just yet.  Mostly, I have to refine the ideas and get that darned script written.

Tally ho,

Thursday, January 13, 2011