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Journal Entry: Wed Jan 4, 2012, 9:26 AM
BW Chapter One Cover by Dualmask I'm currently working on my latest and final attempt at making a graphic novel based on my prose novel, Beloved Weapon (the story of Nia Black, which you can buy for Kindle here if you want to read it). Like the image I linked here, I'm doing it in a high-contrast black and white style. I guess noir is the proper term for it, though I don't know if it qualifies as such yet. It's far from perfect, but I'm finally beginning to accept that the correct course of action when your work is flawed is not to start over. It's not to post every step of the way and beg for critiques either. The correct course of action is to just keep going. You can't learn from your mistakes if you don't allow yourself to make them. The path to growth is not to do what's comfortable but to do what's scary until it becomes comfortable, and then do something else that scares you.

My long-time watchers no doubt remember the many times in the past I have attempted to make a comic book out of the story, and how many times I gave up on it. It's a desire that, despite my best efforts, refuses to fade away. I can't even say I did anything differently this time except try a little harder, but I have already gotten further than previous attempts ever have before. I created five high-quality pages in a little over two weeks and I'm currently drawing the sixth. I've set a personal deadline for myself to have the first chapter done by no later than the end of this month. I'm drawing a little every day--it's harder now that my little winter break from work is over and I'm back on the clock, but that won't stop me, merely slow me down.

My plan is to build a website to host the comics from, a real website, not some free host like Blogspot or Tumblr, because I'd like to publish my story and hopefully make a little money from the site in the process by making a site that attracts traffic. Of course, that takes money and marketing skill, and I know nothing about building websites, but I'm researching. People who follow the Black Artists' Network page on Facebook (or who might have seen my Tumblr page) probably saw the first three pages already, but I have no intention of uploading any more until I have a significant buffer of pages built up and a distribution method that works for me.

As for game development, I jump to that when I need a breather from drawing comics so I don't get burned out. I still enjoy making and animating sprites and I'm working on a number of projects for myself and others too. The key is to always be doing something.

I'm not going to bother doing one of those Year of Art 2011 memes because 2011 wasn't my best year art-wise. I have three months where I didn't really do anything worthwhile, including September when I took a hiatus and didn't upload anything at all. Nor am I all that concerned about worrying about when my first upload of 2012 will be done. I'll get to it when I get to it. It might even be an RPB I draw just as a warm-up sketch.

...So, does anyone else have any grand plans for 2012 and beyond?

  • Reading: Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud
  • Watching: Tears to Tiara
  • Playing: Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection
  • Eating: Brownies
  • Drinking: Coffee
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:iconjericawinters:
JericaWinters Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good luck on the comic book and video game sprites.
Have you read the how-to books by eisner? I had a chance to borrow them and it get easier to write a script.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
The hardest part about working on my comic is resisting the urge for the instant gratification that comes from posting every page online as I do them. I believe that's what has compelled me to quit in the past, that and not doing it daily. I've hit a 180 on both issues.

I actually have two Eisner books in my possession, Comics and Sequential Art (which I started re-reading the other day) and another one whose name escapes me because I can't remember precisely where I left it...Graphic Storytelling or something to that effect. Eisner's books really are great reading, not just for scripting (which is the easy part for me) but also for consideration of panel layout and flow. I'm reminded of how the panel designs themselves--or lack thereof--can be used to aid in creating the atmosphere of the comic you're drawing. I especially like one section where it shows a doorway being used as an actual panel border rather than just a square, and a part where a character is walking around a white void that clearly feels like a snowfield just because there's no panel border at all.
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:iconjericawinters:
JericaWinters Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think people are more likely to read them if each page is posted as it is done. I was told to do it like that because people can only handle small amounts of text when they're surfing. I know how you feel about the instant gratification...it's reduced me to posting WIPs.

You have the books...yayz! There's one set of manga I own that have phenomenal paneling. Volumes 1-11 of Suikoden III. The action sequences are fantastic and she puts a lot of panels into 1 page.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
My plan for the comic is to post it somewhere (most likely not here) once a week, on time. This is why I want to have a buffer built up first. If I have 12 pages done, and I post one page every week, I will be months ahead of schedule so that if any unforseen issues arise, I can keep posting pages that I've done weeks in the past while fixing whatever emergency arises. That, among many other tips, is mentioned in another great book I've read called How To Make Webcomics by four successful gag-a-day webcomic artists (including one that hails from my very own hometown of Philadelphia, PA).

I've never been a big fan of manga but I admit I haven't given it enough of a chance either. It's the whole reading from right-to-left thing; I can't get into that. I do love anime though.
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:iconjericawinters:
JericaWinters Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Why no here? :confused:

Oh, that makes sense. Good idea. I haven't read How to Make Webcomics yet. It must be hard to make a gag a day. I'd run dry of ideas in no time.

Philadelphia...I buy their cream cheese. :D

The right to left screwed me up so much it took a while to get used to it. Then it was hard to read left to right. :D
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I only consider posting it elsewhere because I don't want it to get lost in the muck of all my other art. Even with dA's folders and groups and the like, I want to give my graphic novel the treatment and attention it deserves by allowing it its own space on the web. Even if I give up on plans of making my own website and just use Tumblr after all, I still don't want to post it to dA.

I think you could handle a gag a day, or a gag a week at least. That's pretty much how you do Age of Cocoa Isis, right? I know it's a continuous story but each page seems to be self-contained in its own way as well.

Cream cheese is nice but you haven't lived until you had a true dyed in the wool Philly cheese steak. :hungry: Of course, it's not exactly the healthiest thing in the world, but it's so tasty...
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:iconjericawinters:
JericaWinters Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Do you know HTML? Web pages are hard to make. I used to be able to code.

I'm so slow to get AoC out it's not even funny. It's taken years to make 36 pages. :)
I chip away at it. I'm better at writing longer stuff than short gags.

Cheese steak? Sounds divine. :drool: Healthy shmealthy...I want good tasting food.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I do not know a lick of HTML. :( I was getting some free lessons delivered to my email from some website, but I stopped paying attention to them. I barely want to learn programming for games, never mind websites. I was thinking of hiring someone to do it.

The only reason I have any faith in making my webcomic/graphic novel at all is because I'm basing it on a 300-page prose novel I already wrote and self-published. But if you want to talk about slow...I've been trying to make said graphic novel for the last thirteen years. Only within the last two weeks did I manage to get past page three of the comic.
:iconotlplz:
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(1 Reply)
:iconwbd:
wbd Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Best of luck- you've got the plan, you've got the material and you've got a strategy. I know how hard it can be to make a comic or graphic novel (though of course I don't entirely know your challenges), but I'm sure you can pull through.

As for me, I'll be doing some more work on my own comics. Now that I'm more comfortable with drawing comics, I can move onto more complex and action-oriented scenes. I just had to get started first.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, your comics have been getting better and better the more you do them. I think you're more than ready to go forward with deeper work. Of course, Shiori is quite a bit of fun for you I imagine--she sure is fun to read about and view during her misadventures--so there's no sense rocking the boat if you get joy out of that.
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:iconwbd:
wbd Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've had a lot of fun reading more action-oriented manga like One Piece, and I feel the need to try out some more action. Shiori is fun to draw for, but her world is somewhat limiting in terms of what I can and can't do- it's more of a "slice of life" type of story. That's not bad, of course, but if I want to do something else, I'll need to do a bit of alt-universe work. I will keep writing/drawing "normal" Shiori, of course.
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:iconechowing:
EchoWing Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Best of luck on the graphic novel.

As for me and my plans, all I want to do is get things done and, hopefully, get my own novel finished.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Are you still working on Halcyon Days or are you writing something else? I admit I haven't been doing the best job of keeping up with your stories lately. I've been trying to spend less time online and keeping up with my friends' uploads has fallen by the wayside among other things. I'm going to make a better effort to address that.

And I just plain got lazy when it came to editing your story. I have no excuse. I still have it and I fully intend to go through the rest of it. I hope that what I've done in the past was of help to you.
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:iconechowing:
EchoWing Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm still working on it. I've actually been editing it off and on since September, cleaning things up and trying to both simplify the story and give the larger cast more development. Odds are by the time I'm done, it's going to be a different and better story.

Hey, don't worry. Take whatever time you need to finish going over it; the comments you've made thus far have been a big help, and I expect future comments will help it even further.
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Would you prefer I edited a more up-to-date version of your story instead? I might end up calling attention to things that you already addressed, or chose not to address, in an later version if I keep working with the copy I have now.
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:iconechowing:
EchoWing Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hmm...yeah, that's probably a good idea. I'll shoot off a copy of the current version to you sometime tonight.
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:iconstargamerworld:
StarGamerWorld Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012
Well aside that I think I can find time to work on inks this semester (college is very busy) and that I'm trying my best at passing college... Not much atm ^^;
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well, keep your priorities straight. What are you studying in college?
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:iconstargamerworld:
StarGamerWorld Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012
Chemical Engineering Technology. Not quite what one might expect from someone on DA, but I'm willing to put the effort in to pass with top honors :D
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:icondualmask:
Dualmask Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, this site attracts all kinds of folks. That subject matter has got to lead to some interesting ideas for sci-fi storylines, among other things. ;) Art aside, it sounds like quite a challenge, but I have a feeling you can handle it.

I was never good at the sciences...
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:iconstargamerworld:
StarGamerWorld Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012
Hmm, indeed. It'll hopefully also be a way I can try and throw good justifications for the more... Unrealistic ideas in stories. (ever played Fallout? There's an immense showing of knowledge and detail on the genetics of Super Mutants) I should be able to handle the program. My first semester was... Less than appealing in terms of how much I devoted myself, so I'm gonna make as much effort as possible and see how it goes. :)
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