Category: Writing

August 2018 – Art Prompt

What's up

Let me kick off the post by playing catch up on my thought processes. I really need to just post more often. Many apologies for posting a day late. My kids are on school holiday and have commandeered my computer. By the time they were in bed and I realized I forgot to post this month’s prompt it was late and I was beyond tired.  

Yes, I need to post more often. Didn’t I say that? I get bogged down in projects, kids, housework and boring real life stuff and I neglect my blog. I want to start posting more interesting content throughout the month. I am thinking in the way of tutorials or something. Not sure if I will keep it to text or start a video blog. I’m kinda camera shy, so let me think on it some more. 

Prompt

The topics for this month’s prompts are : Urban Legends, Strange But True, Ghost Stories, True Crime. In my process I often develop my characters and stories at the same time. These prompts can easily be used for writing or drawing inspiration. Every place has a story (sometimes several) in one or more these topics. If you think you don’t have any local legends or happenings you’re wrong. Do some digging, you’ll  be surprised what you come up with. 

When I was a little bitty kid we had part of an old house foundation in our yard. It looked like a low stone wall. Every spring daffodils bloomed around it. My sister and I loved to go pick them. When I was older I found out that the woman who lived in that house was stabbed to death by her husband. He ended up going to a mental institution. Nobody wanted to live in a house where someone was murdered, so it was torn down. The killer was the uncle of the man who we rented our property from. This story has made it’s way into my own stories.

If you aren’t feeling inspired by your local history, don’t hesitate to look  further afield. All cultures around the world have their own stories and legends. Some of them are seriously weird. Research. Do one for each day of the week. Write a story or draw a picture based on what you find. Enjoy!

Urban Legends: Probably one of the most well known urban legends is that of Bloody Mary. Every city across America (across the world, even) has an urban legend. They are often based in some truer story that happened locally or was borrowed from another region. Finding out how true a legend is is most of the fun of researching urban legends. Bonus points for finding ones as close to home as possible. They are usually the most obscure. The world needs fresh story ideas. 

Strange But True: Our world is full of unsolved mysteries that make absolutely no sense and baffle authorities. These are the stories that are behind every good conspiracy theory. One of my favorites is that of Dyatlov Pass in Russia. If you don’t know it, I won’t spoil it. You have to experience it for yourself.

A lesser known but similar story occurred in the late 70s in California. It is called the American Dyatlov Pass or the Yuba City incident. Again, these kinds of weird stories are everywhere if you are willing to devote some time to looking for them.

Ghost Stories/ Hauntings: I love a good ghost story. Everywhere I have ever been, including the reserved and practical Netherlands, has a ghost story and at least one haunted house. Don’t believe me? Most Dutch people don’t know it, but the most haunted house in the Netherlands is in a village called Monster. How cool is that? They don’t know because they aren’t looking. The first thing I do when I come to a new area is research local legends and hauntings. Everywhere is pretty much like everywhere else without them. Before you resort to the internet for inspiration, try to find your town’s local haunted house and find out why people think it is haunted. 

True Crime: We have all heard the saying “The truth is stranger than fiction”. Meet Ed Gein. In the 1950s he was your average old guy next door/ handyman type. He was considered a bit odd but well liked. He entertained neighborhood kids and liked to cook for his friends. He is also the inspiration for Leatherface, Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. 

Every culture throughout time has these types of people. They live next door. They appear normal. No one would suspect them until…..

Lesser known, but just as disturbing accounts include Takahiro Shiraishi- Tokyo, Anatoly Moskvin- Russia, Elias Xitavhudzi- Africa, and until it was made popular by American Horror Story, Marie Delphine (Macarty) LaLaurie- New Orleans. 

In the instance of true crime it is often better to be inspired by but tactful when using these stories. This is especially true if the events are recent. Still living family and friends of victims will likely always be grieving their losses. Please be respectful.  

100 Days of Making Comics – Days 3&4

I think as far as challenge rules go I am supposed to update every day. If I don’t post here I will probably mention something on Twitter. Yesterday I worked on the project for about 2 hours or so and finished the script and thumbnails.   

The story(s) I am working on for this project are short. If I post every little thing it’s going to kind of give it all away.  I already feel like I am in Spoiler Hell, but here goes with some of the doodles I was working on today. I worked on it for about 2 hours off and on, doing sketches and coming up with references. 

I settled on a name for my story today- “1917”.  It is set in rural Arkansas in the year 1917. I’m from Arkansas. Write about what you know, right? Stephen King has Castle Rock, I have Ravenden. Quite a few of my spooky stories take place there. Well, it was kind of a spooky place to grow up.

 

 

I’m starting to think about the layout of the farm and the style of the barn and farmhouse. 

 

 

 

I’m still working on character design. I’m also playing around with different media trying to establish a feel. Had a fleeting moment today where I debated on doing it in black and white, but I decided to go with color, although it will probably be a fairly muted palette.  

For a horror fan I am actually kind of squeamish. I love (sarcasm) finding reference material for all of my gory death scenes.  In this case I was already prepared. There is a well known case in the town where I was born, about a man named George Cheverie.  He was hanged without a trial, by an angry mob after he shot the town marshal  during a dispute where he was accused of stealing a log.  The event was photographed by the locals and copies are a matter of public record. Not even the most sinister or weird thing to happen there. Told you it was a creepy place to grow up.  I have lots of material to work with. 

 

 

So that’s where I am for today. probably post an update in a few days. Don’t forget to check back on the 1st for the new list of art prompts. 

100 Days of Making Comics – Day 2

This is going to be short and sweet. I managed to get some progress done on the thumbnailing today. Rearranged some of the story info. I spent just about 30 minutes on the project today this morning before I went out. I had intended to spend a few hours on it tonight, but my oldest (grown) daughter needed some mom time. She lives in the states and I don’t get to see her much. When she needs me I make a point to be there for her. She might be 27, but she will always be my baby.

The rest of my day was spent on an epic 40 mile (round trip) bicycle ride to a neighboring town to see a dinosaur museum with my  little kids. I think I had more fun than they did. I came away with a ton of pics. Some I am sure will come in handy as reference pics for future projects. James Gurney eat your heart out! 

I think the collest thing about these pictures is the scale. The statues are to scale of the real dinos. The skeleton is real. This was my first time seeing a real T-Rex skeleton so it was pretty exciting. 

100 Days of Making Comics Challenge #1

Today marks, what I am considering, my first official day of the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge. First order of business- clean up my studio. I haven’t been in here much in the last few months. Mostly I have been working at the computer downstairs. Art supplies get tracked up and down. Usually instead of being put away they get piled on the lightbox or in my chair. My kids love to ransack this room for my pens and paint brushes. There is a fine layer of dust on everything.  And most of all,  I noticed the windows are absolutely filthy. 

After an hour of organizing and dusting I finally managed to get to work on the actual comic.  I know I said a few posts back I was done with the script and the thumbnailing, but I decided I wanted to flesh out the story more. Ghastly McNasty’s comment on my Halloween comic, “Java Dreams”, was streaming through my head, “Girl walks into restaurant, girl dies. But it’s weird enough to work.” This is a Southern Gothic tale. It needs some atmosphere and a bit of back story. 

Sometimes I write my script on my computer. Especially if it’s going to be long. I usually write them out in three acts, like a movie script, and plan my plot points and action accordingly. For short stories I work a little differently. Usually I do the script and thumbnails at the same time.

This sketchbook is my travel doodles book. I carry it around with me. The paper is thin and crappy and the cover is Pepto pink.  I am not precious about the stuff that goes in this book. I scribble story ideas and super rough sketches in it. When I get an idea of where I am going I switch to (I wrote typing lol – old af!)  copy paper.  Then I start fiddling with page layout, turns and script changes.

Now I am setting up my drawing board with some of the sketches I worked on previously. I want to work on my character designs some more. Do some turn arounds. Plan the look of the farm. I have created a mood board on Pinterest and have started stashing some reference pictures. 

My kids just went to bed (hallelujah). Without interruptions every five minutes maybe I can actually get into the zone and work some more on the thumbnails before I go to bed. I just wanted to get this blog post done so I don’t break the challenge rules on day 1. So far today my total time invested working just on the comic is about an hour.

100 Days of Making Comics

 I was perusing YouTube today and came across this awesome video by illustrator/ comic artist, Kevin Cross. He is the creator of 100 Days of Making Comics challengeA comics creation challenge you say? Where do I sign up? Facebook, actually – but there are rules. 

 – Challenge Requirements –

1. Comic Project that you haven’t been making enough time for.

2. At least 30-minutes of work towards the comic each day.

3. Everyday for 100 Consecutive Days. (100 days in a row).

4. Make a daily video/blog to hold yourself accountable.

5. Post it in the group.

You can see the full write up for the challenge on their Facebook page in the “About This Group” section.

I have several projects hanging around here collecting dust. My biggest problem is that I put way too much pressure on myself to deliver the exact perfect artwork, perfect page layout and perfect story. The inner critic takes over and pretty soon I am paralyzed with questions and doubt:

Is my story too much like someone else’s?

Does this artwork suck?

Is this the right style for the project?

Are my page layouts boring?

Are my character poses and scenes boring/ predictable?  

Ok, enough of this shit. Get a grip, already! It probably does suck and it’s not going to get better without practice. That’s what this site is all about- accountability, daily practice, reaching goals. My ultimate goal: create comics.  So what’s the problem? No excuses. I’m doing this!

This is a character sketch for the comic I want to start working on. I mentioned it in my last blog post, but then inner critic. I have the story complete, sans script changes. I have made a few revisions already and fleshed the story out a little more. I still haven’t come up with a title. It is a short horror story, taking place on a farm in rural Arkansas 1917. 

As a last thought, I still have the monthly prompt coming up on June 1st. The post is already written. For those of you not interested in doing comic art, fear not! I will keep up with the art prompt lists as I work on the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge. 

The Pines: Reboot

    Now that I have my script for Colony: Origins completed, and have been hard at work improving my drawing and painting skills, I have come to the conclusion I need to work on comic creation and hone my skills. 

    I have been trying to come up with some story ideas. One of them was Java Dreams, the other is reworking a story I wrote several years ago called The Pines.  The Pines is a Southern Gothic horror story. I’m still hammering out details. I am making a lot of changes to the story. I liked the basic plot of the story but there was something really wrong with it.

    After going over all the notes I can find (my original complete script is lost so I only have first attempt artwork and 25 pages of thumbnails with dialogue to work from) I came to the conclusion that the pacing is really manic. It almost goes Once upon a time – the end. What was I thinking?  Most of the time you have to cut parts of a story to make it more coherent, I actually have to add more story to my story.

    

Original Artwork

    The next thing to tackle is the artwork. With the original comic I spent very little time in character design and really rushed my page output. The result was really terrible artwork. 

    This time I am spending more time developing the look of the characters. Overall, fairly similar in general appearance, but more cleaned up, and tighter drawing. The original scratchy pencils weren’t doing it for me. I think I was trying to go for a grunge look.

    Another thing I’ve discovered is that, after years of avoiding trying it, I love inking with a brush. I think initially the notion that I wouldn’t be able to make fine lines or that I wouldn’t have as much control kept me from giving it a go. Now i’m wishing I would have tried it years ago. My new best friends are Chinese calligraphy brushes.  

    

       Recently I joined the Comic Fury community. I’ve been picking up quite a bit of info on comic creation from those guys. One of the most important topics touched on was output. The standard output for an online comic seems to be about a page a week. I was rushing doing the penciling trying to put out at least three pages a day.

    Now that I feel like I can slow it down and do it right. I am more likely to publish my comic in coherent chunks. I don’t want to publish something in mid thought. That’s not my idea of a cliffhanger. My aim is to update weekly, but if it takes longer that’s ok. I really am more interested in doing as good a job as I can rather than having a huge output of rubbish.  

    So script writing is where I am right now. Once I have the script completed I will begin updating the comic once every week or so until the story is complete. Stay tuned. 

New Look