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March 4th, 2005

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09:47 am - Awesome and Cool news!
This is probably of interest only to fellow Realists only so I'll post it here. I've finally finished the first 10% of my "graffikk nuhvelle"! That's right, a meaty 22 pages of a presumable 220 (or so) are completely done!

"Big flippin' deal" seems like an appropriate response, I suppose. Some Realists probably didn't even know I was a "graphic novelist" in the first place; others probably reasonably assumed I was further along. But for me being able to say I've finally finished these pages feels momumental. It's taken me about seven and a half months (!) to get even this much done, and while I haven't been putting in sixty hour weeks on the thing or anything, I've been working on it pretty regularly.

So why did it take so long, you wonder? First off I'm working a full time job, and in addition to the comic I try to devote some of my free time to the study of Japanese.(I want to finally be able to understand "Tenchi Muyo" in its native language after all!) But "those in the know" know (by definition) that my "full-time job" affords me a LOT of free time and that the comic only has four panels per page. So how the hey could it take so long?

A big part of it is in the editing. I can't really be sure but I wouldn't be surprised if I've spent half of those seven and a half months just editing the drawings and text. I started drawing the thing before I really had a grasp on how the characters looked and as such they changed from panel-to-panel in a way that I felt was disruptive (it bothered me anyway). And of course there was all the nitpicking about the text in the speech bubbles that you writers of prose probably know all too well.

But on a more fundemental level, the very format and style itself had to be crafted and that was a slow process. I must have gone through four or five different styles before I finally settled on how I wanted to represent sound effects, and the spacing of the gutters and the page size also went through revisions. The very style of the characters' faces themselves changed a couple times, requiring me to redo the faces of basically every main character two or three times. And then there was a point at about page 15 where I decided I needed to add an extra tint to the whole thing which required me to go back and change each and every panel to adjust for the change. The story itself has been revised several times and is still decidedly a work in progress.

When I think of all the bullshit I've done, it sort of adds up, all the time this thing took. You could probably make a very good case that all my anal retentive editing wasn't worth all the effort (my girlfriend thinks I'm crazy, for example), and I'd agree with you if the comic was only going to be 40 pages long. But since I'm going to be working on this thing for a long, long time yet, I have to be able to look at those first pages and think they look okay or I'll never be able to finish the whole thing (might not be anyway, but...)

I can't remember but I think I calculated once that if I continue at this pace it would take me like six or seven years to finish the whole thing. In fact I had originally hoped to be where I am now six months ago. But now that most of the format issues are sorted out, I should be able to work at a... well... slightly quicker pace. Sigh.

Sorry to blather on, but like I said finishing these piddly 22 pages feels like a huge deal to me and I needed to rant about it. Bless those of you who read the whole thing!


(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 4th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)

Re: those are 22 pages you won't have to do again!*

Reading this I got worried.
Thank god you're not doing a web comic.
[User Picture]
Date:March 5th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC)

Re: those are 22 pages you won't have to do again!*

God no. The reason it's on the computer is to make the editing and the spot colors easier to do. I'm drawing the whole thing by hand with the intention of printing it up the old fashioned way.

Don't get me wrong; there ARE reasons to worry about this comic. But it'd be too depressing to catalogue them so you'll have to use your imagination.

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