"Why not try a web comic?" That's what my wife asked me very recently during yet another conversation about next steps for my work and where to go with it and how to do it, and blah, blah, blah. Really, she is a very patient woman.
What? I balked. I couldn't possibly. "Do you even know how complex that is?" I asked her in disbelief. "I can't do that."
You see, seven to eight years ago, I bought a "how-to" book with the intention of starting something similar, got intimidated and backed off. That same year, I also began writing the beginning of a novel. Both big projects were abandoned because I was too frightened that I would fail.
But, ever encouraging, and more stubborn than me (I love that about her), she didn't let it go. "You've been building your skill set and challenging yourself for the past three years. I think you could do it and grow even more."
I didn't say much, but her words stuck with me. Why not try? It wouldn't hurt, right? Worst case scenario, I'd learn something and improve my figure drawing skills. So, I opened up the Google Doc with my old manuscript in it, all 50,000 words of it, unfinished (sigh) and began to read to see if it was something I was even still interested in revisiting. I also dusted off the old how-to book I mentioned and began re-reading it.
As a side note, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in writing and illustrating any kind of visual storytelling. It's easy to understand. Scott teaches by showing and is pretty stinking funny while doing it.
He explains several different processes to get started. (Among lots of other things.) Anyway, ever cautious and full of self doubt, I started with the script. After chunking my rough, unfinished manuscript up into pieces, I decided to start working a "chunk" or chapter at a time.
Here's what my chicken scratched script/storyboard looks like.
Not very pretty, right? It got enough of my initial ideas down that I could begin the work of laying out pages and the rough placement of figures and settings in each frame. I'm a newbie. I wholly, 100% admit I don't know what I'm doing and I'm learning as I go.
But, in the spirit of learning, I cracked out this book. My faithful, figure drawing go-to. Be warned, it is filled with naked people. If that kind of thing bothers you, find a different figure drawing book (there are lots out there) because there is a whole chapter on drawing private parts. If it doesn't bother you, yay! This is a great resource and has useful illustrations of how the skeletal and musculature systems work and affect the body in different poses and positions.
And, when I really get stuck, I use real life models. For example, I yell for my wife and she very patiently lets me pose her, snap a picture from the angle I need and send her on her way. (Like I said, she is a very patient woman.)
All that pulled together, I've managed to just about finish a layout of the first chapter and use some light pencil work to plan each frame. Nothing is fully rendered yet. I still have to work out facial expressions, clothing details, etc. But, the planning is done...well, relatively done. I'll take that as an accomplishment up to this point. So, you can get an idea of what I'm talking about, here are a few pictures of various pages.
I've got a long way to go and so far it's a challenging and painstaking process, but worst case scenario, I learn some new stuff, right? So, here goes nothin.'