As most people who follow my bits ‘n’ bobs know by now, I have a webcomic. What many may not know is that I’ve had to teach myself to draw, essentially from scratch. It’s been three solid years of going through multiple sketch pads a month, as I try to create a link between my mind and body; all so that what I see in my mind is, more or less, what appears on the page.
It really hasn’t been easy. Add together the facts that my eyesight is very…unbalanced, with some nerve damage in my hands, and a general lack of graphical artistic talent; well you can see the problem.
But last week, and again today, I’ve found it all much, much easier. Something had just clicked, and I suppose after 3 years of struggle is should have by now. And with that click came the realisation that I needed to change a few of the ways I do each webcomic page.
So today has been a first day for a few things…Acidgirlish.
I’ve switched from roughing out on A4 to A3. This was so I could mark out the proportions of the box the comic sits in on the site. I got rather sick of doing shitloads of drawing only to end up with it cut out at the end.
I’ve also switched from using a 2b pencil for everything to a 3h for rough out, and 2b for lining…that’s proving very, very awkward after 3 years of doing everything with 2b’s; but it’s actually lending a pretty cool finished product. (or as finished as the rough outs ever are.)
I’ve started working in a well-defined “hard” box. Meaning that everything I draw on paper ends up in the comic on the webpage. This is a little odd feeling in a good way. It gives me a very defined space to work inside, which makes laying out so much easier.
And finally this is my first time very harshly limiting my rough out time. 1 hour per panel to do the four stages of rough out I use. I just managed it with the 1st panel of the next page, I actually had 30 seconds to spare. And guess what? My rough out work was so much better than usual. The time limit means I don’t have time to mess about trying to get this line, or that line perfect. The rough lines end up more…real because I’m just letting my mind and body to get on with it; much less conscious thinking involved, and far less worrying about whether it’s “right”.
In short in the past two weeks I’ve progressed so much as a developing artist that for once even I can see it. Me, the super self-critical creative person can see genuine progress in the development of my own artistic style…hell one of these days I might even feel comfortable describing myself as an artist!
So all that said, the new page will be up on Thursday the 3rd. And for the second time ever (last week being the first) I’m finding myself feeling confident in my own creation. It still feels, surprising to actually feel nearly as confident in my artwork as I usually am in my writing, alien even. I’m so used to not being sure whether something is right or not, that feeling instinctively that even if it’s not how someone else would do it, it is right, my version of right, it’s shocking. And hugely enjoyable. I highly recommend it.