Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Fail Full of Win  

So I just spent the last 24 hours, give or take, doing a 24 Hour Comics Day, an attempt to do a 24 page comic from blank to finished page in 24 hours. I, my buddy Nate, and his buddy Jon started work at 10 on Saturday and worked towards 10 on Sunday (well, actually, Jon started at 6 and worked towards 6 because he keeps different hours). Fueled entirely by pizza, diet cola, and a variety of healthy and unhealthy snacks in a continuing rotation, each of us attempted to produce our own brand new comic book, with no prior effort spent on plot, script or drawings other than thinking.

Our results: FAIL. But it was a good failure. As far as final product went, we didn't have much to show: each of us produced around two finished pages. I was just shy of finishing my second page when I quit at 9:30am, Jon finished 2 when he quit at 5, and Nathan had finished two pages and two half pages when he quit around 8:30. But the byproducts were far more impressive.

I produced a complete story, 26 complete pages of storyboards, and two pages of script for the trickiest dialogue sequences. Jon also produced a complete story, 24 pages of storyboards, and about 5 pages of script. Nathan had a complete story, but during the completion of the pages he became increasingly ruthless about his story and became convinced that he could restructure it better to tell a better story - so he perhaps learned more about his process than any of us.

What I learned about my process is that I'm getting better about taking story ideas, extracting a theme, structuring the plot around the theme, and condensing them to the right size; but I'm still inspired to tell stories much larger than my target lengths. And beyond that, I need to practice drawing: practice faces, practice bodies, practice hands, practice animals, practice everything. I was constantly looking online and in my extensive library for reference models to help me draw things that I should have learned and internalized by now. Admittedly, for the past two years I've been focused on writing, not drawing, but art is made by those who make it, not those who make excuses.

Since we're not done, we've agreed to finish the comics over the next 24 days and then have a party to share the finished comics with our friends. Technically these won't then be 24 hour comics; they're more "Comics inspired by the 24 hour comic day experience." But they will be OUR comics, they'll be finished, and we'll all have one more creative work under our belts.

Ad tractus!
-the Centaur



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