Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life Happens

Happy belated New Year!

 In these last months, I've been working on an idea for a brand new project and couldn't wait for the beginning of the year to share about it. Unfortunately 3 hours into the new year, I broke my right ankle. I'm still on the mend and have another 6-7 weeks before I can put any weight on it.  This makes hard to work on my desktop without been able to keep my leg lifted, so I figure that I might as well take this opportunity to explain my year-long absence on this blog, before going into this new year with an entirely new genre of work.

 Let me start by admitting that getting back to blogging is hard for me since I've avoid it for so long.  but in a nutshell, life happens, and I needed to take a break to reflect on my comic project, and possibly move on to other exciting things.
 2 factors were the reasons for the absence from bloggin: Lost of files, and re-evaluation of my comic project.

When things seem to unravel, it's hard not to let doubts creep in.  The enjoyment of a project becomes stale and the loss of energy and focus creeps in. I didn't even know how to put into words my frustrations, and other interests were starting to shape up, and I needed time to think things through.

Deleting  the wrong files.
      Late January last year, I noticed  my computer slowing down considerably, so I purchased an external drive to store all my drawings, my comic files, and finished pages.  But first I did a lot deep-cleaning on my desktop, my hard drive as well as deleting some social network accounts and Unfortunately, I also deleted my good files such as my wordless files and my original pages and kept only the copies. I soon found out that without the originals, I couldn't open the copies. Hard lesson to learn.
It pretty much took the wind out of my sails.  Fortunately, I remembered that I had not deleted   my comic from Tumblr account. So I managed to salvage all but 2 pages.  I was so relieved.

Re-evaluating my project.
      The next step was to carefully re-evaluate my first 21 pages which are the initial introduction of my comic of The Queen of Knots.

Even before the trouble with my files and lost sketches began, I had this feeling that I need to stop and re-evaluate my work to see what kind of changes I should make before rebuilding my momentum.

 I found 7 Strengths (what works for me) these were mainly the story structure

I liked the story and its ending. 
I liked the colors and the wispy ethereal style that I chose to reflect my characters' world. 
I liked that all my characters and their pets can be easily identified with. 
I liked how the of story flows. 
I liked the "journey" that my protagonist finds herself in. 
I liked how each character had his or her role in the plot. 
I liked how the story is not only poignant but also funny with absurd results. 
 5 weaknesses, were mainly problems from the visual aspect. 
 I knew that I would need to address before continuing with this project.

  1. The format
When I first started the comic I wanted it to be a webcomic so I decided to use a square format, in this way the reader would not have to scroll down the screen to read the whole page. But now I'm starting to think what if I want to publish this comic, it would look a lot better, more graceful, and more logical to a use a vertical format, which would also allow more room for the word bubbles.

2 typos
I noticed that I had  typos in some of the panels. Since the word bubbles are slightly transparent showing the background through them (which I love), the only way to correct them is to redo those particular panels. 
      I had kept a file of the comic with wordless speech bubbles, but unfortunately, those were some of the files that I mistakenly deleted. 
Another concern I have is my dialogues don't seem to have that native American speaker sound. I'm always concerned that my native accent is coming through the dialog.

3 My characters looked too uniform.
Originally I wanted all my characters to wear very minimalistic clothing that would help them blend into any decors and not be noticed by humans. Now I feel that their uniformity takes away the opportunity to give each of them unique visual cues. Their clothing could still be made from spiders silk but given the world they in, this would be an ideal opportunity to make their clothing as outlandish and fun as possible.

4 The length of the comic.
Is a 90-page comic too long for children 5-8? The story has lots of ups and down with at least 10 characters not counting their pets, similar to a bunch kids from a cul-de-sac.  Still the question remains; is a 90-page book too long for young children?

5 I'm not sure that I like the title: The queen of Knots.  It sounds almost too staticky.  But it's not uncommon to change  titles at the very end of a book project.

Now that I understand the strengths and weakness of my comic, and the necessity to redo the whole project am I prepared for the challenge??  No, not really, at least not right now.

I have a smaller project that has been on my mind for the last 6 months.  It's a 32-page picture book that I would love to try out, so I've decided to put my comic on hold, but more about on my next blog posts.

Meanwhile, I'd love to know, has anyone of you abandoned a blog in the middle of a project?  Was it hard to get back on the blog?
Did you ever have to shelf a project? what were your reasons, or did you feel like you had to give any reasons to your readers.
Personally, explaining things as honestly as possible helps me clean my head, move on, and look forward to a fresh new start.
Thank you for reading, I'd love to hear from you

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Failure as part of the creative process

I'm not saying that this experiment is a failure, on the contrary, I feel that I gained from understanding when an idea does not work.

 These are examples of the old book and pages that I've created.
My thought was to use these mock pages as background for my comic.

At first I was really excited with this idea, but I now see that it's not working with the art style because the illustrations have a fluid glass look that does not lend itself to the crinkled paper.

However, I can see using this "book" as background for other drawings and possibly turn it into an other project, so it's not all lost.  Besides, trying things out even if it doesn't work is part of the creative process.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Feedback needed.


I'm back to working on my comic, 
 Last October I began experiencing pain do to sciatica problems and had to focused on getting therapy, and avoiding sitting as long as possible.

During that time I thought a lot about my project and how I'd like to add visual interest to the pages  by inserting the pages into a background with text similar to old mediaeval manuscripts, to make the story more magical fairytale like.

This is where I need your feedback.

So now I'm testing out this new format, and I sure could use everyone's opinion.  (Don't worry about the text, they're just nonsense words for now  )

Each pages background would be unique and I like the idea of a of the "ink" look used for the text, but:   
1.)  Does the image work with this page style?  
      what would make it better?

2.)  In your opinion, do you think that a bit of colors should be added to the first letter of the paragraph like in some medieval manuscript?  

3.)  What about small illustrated details on that first letter, does it add or distract?

Should they be related to the illustration?

I imagine posting 2 pages at a time to make it look like an open book.

I'd love to hear from you, any suggestions are very welcome.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

making page 21 of webcomic The Queen Of Knots


Page 21 from my webcomic The Queen of Knots
Time to practice is now

It's been a while since I posted on this blog,  but I'm resolved to post more often.  

This comic, The Queen Of Knots is my passion project, and as I have stated on earlyer post, my very first comic, so I'm learning as I go. 
I started drawing the first pages in late April and tryed posting a page a week since June on but at times I fall behind. 

As I've said, it's a learning experience, so perhaps sharing this page's process will encourage others to start there own comic, so here we go:

For this page I wanted to show the strong contrast between Emma's  fun-loving brothers and her bad mood stemmed from a nightmare in which they a had a part in it.

 So in this is my first layout attempt: I placed Emma squarely  in the middle to show her displeasure.  Also, I use either 3D models from DAZ or fro Manga  as pose references.

For my illustrations I transferred a simple drawing to my ASKetch app and added the textures, shade, and using sketchy lines for the style I'm looking for.

Here I'm still working on the layout.  There are 4-5 individual layers that I could move around until I was satisfied with the layout.  Later I also added background, placing it under my drawing layers.

For backgrounds, I'll use my own photos that I manipulate on photoshop or combining drawings with them such as on page16,  or just draw my background as on page 17 or 5

In my final layout, I decided reduce Emma's importance by placing her to the left, as if she felt outnumbered, and giving the viewer a sense of her self-imposed isolation.  
I also tried contrasting colors: high key playful colors against low key moody colors, to depict the characters state of mind.

Hope this post has inspired you to start your passion project. If you have any questions about this process don't hesitate to ask me.   Remember, we're learning together.  :-)