Two recent passings that struck a chord: The great Moebius, who had a huge influence on me (and most of my generation probably). Also very sad to hear of the loss of Peter Bergman of Firesign Theatre fame. I had the pleasure of spending time with Peter at a conference in Colorado about 15 years ago and was able to tell him how much his work had shaped my teen years. Moebius, I met only once (at Comic-Con). I told him he changed my life and he just laughed and said “I’m so sorry!”
That’s all for now. Back to the Cintiq. Many pages yet to draw, so you won’t hear from me much for a while, but I hope it’ll be worth the wait.
You can also find me on both Twitter and Google+ (where I pop-up a little more often than here).
Do you live in LA, Ventura, Santa Barbara or Kern County? Willing to drive to Thousand Oaks, CA this Sunday afternoon (Aug 14)?
I’ve got a difficult page coming up that requires an unusual crowd shot and I’ve decided I need photo reference. Aiming for 2-3pm. If you’d like to participate, please email me and I’ll send more details.
Here’s a cool idea: Rene Engström and Rasmus Gran have a long distance relationship and have decided to chronicle it in parallel diary comics (I would say it’s a unique idea, but I’ve actually seen at least one other!).
From the site:
“Every Tuesday, since the 16th of March, Rasmus Gran and myself have documented our lives in the form of autobiographical comic strips. We have quite the buffer now so we feel pretty good about finally launching the comic. Our hopes are to give a little glimpse into the lives of a modern family spread out over the Swedish landscape, from downtown Östersund to Möllevången in Malmö. Sometimes we do things together but a large part of the time we have to live our lives apart.”
In other news, my host in Barcelona, David Macho Gomez, is launching Spanish comics site spanishinq.com.
And finally, on the work front, I’ve now finished the second rough draft of my graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). Next step: Beginning many months of finished art (and probably going back to make some more changes to the roughs, but that’s to be expected.) Wish me luck!
I’m even okay with the ’60s Batman-style sound effects! Thanks, everyone I’ve ever known for telling me about this as soon as I got home.
Oh, and hey, as long as it’s Random Friday, I’ve got a question: I’m dying to find a reeeeeally old music video from the ’80s—maybe even pre-MTV. It had a funky, electronic song (possibly no words) with black and white, photocopy-style animation. There was a recurring assembly line motif with hamburgers and hands and that creepy masonic eye/pyramid thing. Really cool and jerky, almost like it was made by a robot Terry Gilliam. Does anyone remember this video? I’d love to find it out there somewhere but I don’t know anything about the director or even the musician(s) involved.
As some of you might have guessed, based on past blog entries, music is very important to our whole family. Sky is going to Coachella this year with a friend of ours and I’m envious, but after Italy, I’m going to be too eager to get back to work on the book, so I’ve got to miss it yet again.
I love that my daughter has been listening to bands like Passion Pit, Hot Chip, and Vampire Weekend* (all at Coachella) while simultaneously getting into Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, on LP no less—and that I had nothing to do with those last two. Well, any of them technically, (though I did discover Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros before her).
I used music constantly while working on the first draft of the layouts for the new book. I had several different playlists for different kinds of scenes and I’d go for long walks trying to imagine sequences, while letting the music sustain the mood I was going for.
Recently though, I mentioned this to my Mom over the phone and she said she hoped I took the headphones off once in a while to listen to the sounds around me too. (Which is both reasonable, and exactly the kind of thing you count on a Mom to say.)
Funny thing is, though, I’ve discovered that music actually distracts me during those walks now that I’ve entered the rewriting stage of the layouts. Keeping a sustained mood through music actually makes it harder to step back and consider the structure of a scene or set of scenes in my head, and how to change them for the better, or to implement the suggestions of my panel of “kibitzers.”
That trance I needed to put myself in while conceiving sequences would now prevent me from evaluating those scenes objectively. More proof, if any was needed, that we need to appeal to different aspects of our creative personality at different stages of the creative process.
Hm. This post is like a Simpsons episode. One thing leads to another and…
See you Monday!
*Pop Quiz: If I added Peter Gabriel’s name to those three band names and asked you which of the four was not like the others, which would you pick and why?
As I’ve been working on my Manhattan and Brooklyn-based story from far away, I’ve been building a mental map of life in the city today, but it still has plenty of holes in it and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve lived there myself.
For anyone out there living in working in Manhattan and Brooklyn especially, I’d be curious to hear about the neighborhoods you live in and why you chose to live there.
[Note: No disrespect intended to Queens and the other boroughs (see first comment), the story just happens to take place mostly in those two. That said, I’d be curious to hear from all five boroughs just for the perspective.]
Just for fun, here’s a distant screenshot of all 466 pages of my rough draft layouts for my upcoming graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). This is as close as I can bring you right now, but as work goes on in the coming months, I promise to show some actual art.
It’s a testament to the speed of today’s processors—well, 2007’s processors—that what you’re looking at actually exists in a single file and if zoomed in, the lettering is readable. To get a sense of the scale, each of those dark gray rectangles is a two-page spread chapter divider.
When heading into rewrites and restructuring, it’s always helped me to step back and look at “the big picture.” For all my previous projects, including the all-digital Making Comics, I had to depend on paper layouts to get that kind of topsight, but for this project it’s all pixels from start to finish.
Oh, and yes, I still plan to make it shorter during the next two months, even though I had to adjust the count upwards from the last blog post.
Belated Happy Birthday to Ivy! We went to Disneyland for her birthday on Tuesday after a very full day of work Monday, and yesterday was a lot printing and mailing, so I didn’t get much blogging, tweeting, or, um… facing… in this week.
Round One of the “rough draft” for the graphic novel is done! I’ll be working on revisions/rewrites for the next couple of months and then, starting in March, I’ll be doing finished art for two years. The book is currently at a whopping 461 pages, but I’m hoping it’ll get shorter in revisions. (Note that my “rough draft” is basically just a rough sketched-out version of what the finished book will look like, all captions and balloons in).
Fun fact: My roughs are done forty pages at a time in a single photoshop document so I can slide panels back and forth and think of the flow more organically and not let the page dictate pacing too much. They’re really big files!
The whole family is getting into the Avett Brothers this year.
Winter and I finally finished watching Deathnote on DVD. All the kids in anime club were yelling at her to finish it already so they could talk about it. That is one crazy show! (And oh, man, that opening theme and animation for Season 2…)
Still loving Mad Men.
The preview for Iron Man 2 makes me feel 14 years old again. In a good way.
Best comic of the year? For me, probably Asterios Polyp, but now that I have a bit of free time, I need to read a few more contenders.
Creatively, I thought 2009 was a great year for comics, music, and movies. Financially, though, it sucked donkey balls for a lot of people in our community. Let’s hope ’10 is better.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be finishing the first draft of the layouts for my graphic novel (working title, The Sculptor). Then on to revisions through February and production of the actual artwork over the course of two more years (it’s about 400 pages). It’ll be done in early 2012 (and yeah, 3 years for a GN may be a long time but hey, at least it’s still quicker than Habibi).
I’m not talking about The Sculptor much on this forum yet because it’s too early, but I’ve been more consumed by this project than anything I’ve ever done, so it’s definitely on my mind night and day. If First Second and I decide to share any of its progress visually next year, you’ll read about it here first. For now though, enjoy all the other great GNs on the market and know that I’m working seven days a week, eleven hours a day on this book when not answering email or traveling.
Speaking of which: My email inbox remains an ongoing avalanche, so please forgive me if my responses have been sluggish. I really am trying to answer all those various requests and urgent messages as fast as I can, there are just so many of them. Seriously, picture Ringo Starr in that Simpson’s episode where he gets around to Marge’s fan mail. That’s me.
I’ll be updating the travel sidebar soon, with upcoming engagements in Portland, Pennsylvania, Indiana (again) and London (twice). Not all are public, but I’ll try to give you fair warning if I’m coming to your city or school.
I’m still in New York, taking thousands of reference photos for the graphic novel. The two-day seminar (Friday and Saturday) was packed and energized; a great class with a lot of talent and spirit. Now it’s just me and my camera for a couple of days. I promise they’re not all of high horizon line rainy sidewalks like the above, but damn, I do love me some high horizon line rainy sidewalks…
Originally planned as a solitary expedition, this part of my trip still had me crossing paths with some old friends including Tracy White and baby Suniva, Heidi MacDonald and beau Ben, and the Legendary Brian Dewan who was showing his work with a bunch of terrific cartoonists Thursday night as part of the Cartoon Carousel series (which is very cool, though I’m not sure how to explain it, and I’m not sure if they have a website). Also saw a slew of great artists, old and new, at S.V.A.’s great Fresh Meat show Saturday and met briefly with the astounding Shaun Tan at the tail end of his signing at Books of Wonder.
Dropped out of sight a bit, web-wise these last few days, but it was for a good reason. I’ve been thinking non-stop about the graphic novel and the role of this city in the story. It’ll be a long time before I can show you guys anything from the book, but I hope it’ll be worth the wait. I still have a few trips to go (including fun ones like next week’s TCAF), but there’s big part of me now that just wants to draw and draw and draw and draw and draw and draw.