Ok, so far I've sort of been winging this story. Yes, I've had the basic plot in my head and a lot of pages worked out already, but honestly I don;t have a clue where this thing is going. In some ways it has worked for me because I am not being bogged down trying to finish writing an entire story before drawing it. I've found a certain freedom in living in the edge without a safety net. The only problem is I am getting to a point where the story needs to move forward and I dont have a clear direction. I think it's tiem I started trying to plot out a larger arc for this little journey. A story diagram is nothing new. Many wroters use it as a tool.
The Monomyth or Hero's Jorney by Joseph Cambell is probably the most famous.
Recently I've been very interested in Dan Harmon's story diagrams.
As well as Kurt Vonnegut's "Shapes of Stories".
They all feature some similarities. I've started working on my own hybrid of these becasue I didn't feel like any one of them held the key to my story. While I am a big fan of these types of tools to help facilitate a story, if you do use one of these, don't let it hamper you or restrict your creativity. They are simply tools to be used as you best see fit. allow them to bring your story out not hamper you in any way. I like to imagine any structure tools as guide rails to keep me on track, not roadblocks.
Just wanted to share some pencils for the page I am currently working on. You won't see this for a while but it is shaping up to be the best page so far (IMHO).
It's funny how these pages are coming together for me. For the most part I don't have a preconceived notion of what a page is going to look like before I start working on it. I sort of start with the story beats for the page or the main idea for it, and then start to fool around with different ways that I might best convey that idea. I used to think that every sketch had to be a finished quality piece and it took me a long time to understand the need for thumbnails and multiple attempts at the same thing. I think the first time I ever heard about thumbnails was from Phil Hester at Wizard World Chicago about ten years ago. He was hosting a "How to Draw" panel and I happened to sit in on it. Phil is a terrific artists and a really great teacher too. He also happens to be a hell of a nice guy. I learned a lot in that hour. Mostly I learned that I had a lot to learn about drawing (and I still do). A big part of why I am doing this comic is to learn and i feel like every page teaches me something new. Someday I might actually get one of these pages right.
I've spent so much time reading books on scripting that I'm pretty sure that I could write one. I'm convinced that while there is certainly some good information in the many, many books on the subject, ultimately you have to find your own system that works. I've gone through many different processes myself, most of which involve long outlines, plotting, character arcs, breakdowns, etc. For POSSESSED, I have decided to eliminate a lot of the steps in an attempt to speed things up and not get bogged down in the process. For most of the pages I have simplified things into a few steps:
It's sort of a modified Marvel style of scripting, except I am doing everythign myself instead of handing things over to an artist. So far this has helped me keep things moving. In the past I found that trying to write a finished script would create so many road blocks that rarely did anythign get finished. This way, I don;t really have a choice - I have to just keep going.
Like I said, this is what I have found works for me, for this project. You have to find your own style.
Yes, this comic is restricted. This is a story designed for adults and as such will contain many things that ironically, are "mature". Although knowing myself, this comic is bound to be pretty immature too.
As a parent, I wanted to make sure that that is clear as possible when comign to the site. I've never understood the hub-bub about putting a rating sticker on comics, games, movies, etc. People seem to get up-in-arms and want to call out censorship, but to me I have no problem making sure that people are aware my comic is not intended to beread by children. Will it be the worst thing for some child if he happens to read this? I doubt it, but I don;t feel the need to contribute to any child's lossof innocense. I have done my best as a parent to make a balance for my kids so that they keep that magical part of them as long as possible, while not keeping them in a bubble. Only time will tell if I've done a good job. Until then, you can't say I didn't warn you.
Going to try and post some process stuff here for those that might be interested.
I feel like I am still learning so much about being an artist. The internet is such a great resource for information, advice, tutorials, etc. I spend way too much time filtering through endless blog posts, videos, etc trying to find that next little thing that might help me be a tiny bit better. It all comes down to just doing the work.
I could draw as a kid, but I wasted too much time not improving, not working on being better. Better late than never I suppose. I feel like I've come a long way in the past few years, but have so much more to learn and do.
I'm gong to try and share aome of the more helpful tidbts here. Some of this may be extremely basic for you, some of it might be completely foreign like it was to me. Feel free to share any of your own tips if you have them. I'm always looking to learn.
One of the concepts that was new to me was character maodel sheets. For those that don't know already, this is somethign very common in animation, game design, etc. Keeping a character consistant looking throughout a book or even a few pages has laways been a struggle for me. Doing a character model sheet is very helpful. You can put your character through his/her paces before trying to render them in your pages. Sort of a test drive. Go online and you can find a tonof these model sheets. There are some especially good ones from Alex Toth. Whenever I am having trouble with a characeter its probably because I stubbornly or lazily refused to put in the work necessary beforehand.