Update to the Update
Yes, we are still working on the graphic novel.
I wrote a draft update on 02/7/2018, but never finished and published it. Now I've added a prequel, which is an update to the original update.
We are determined to get this baby out into the world in 2018, and everyone has been pushing hard to accomplish it.
Dani Long is working on the one of the last penciled full-page illustrations, Scene 5, Fleeing the Fire. Backup measures are in place in case she can't complete it as she is now back at Mesa Verde doing archeology. All the other penciled 160 story panel pages and full-page illustrations are complete, pending final review.
Here' s a sample story page that she penciled recently. This is p. 140 of 160 pages.
No, Ratha is not just playing with sticks in the last three panels. When this page is inked and colored, Tod will add the torch flame in watercolor to each one.
Tod has inked up to p. 117 of 160 story pages. He's also been doing some experimental watercolor work on selected pages, however at present, he is concentrating on inking Dani's pencils. When that is done, he will start coloring. He also fills in backgrounds. Here's his work on p. 113.
Tod has also continued to do amazing watercolor work. Here's a page showing a journey through the burned forest.
I have continued critiquing, researching, and making sketches that have helped the artists with both panel pages and large illustrations. These drawings also serve as place-holders and backups, in case we run short on time. They can quickly be adapted, inked, and colored, if needed.
Sheila Ruth, who is now running as a Democrat for her Baltimore MD county's council (similar to a Board of County Supervisors, such as I have out here in California), is running a strong campaign and will probably win her primary in early June. Despite that challenge, she took time this week to catch up on the text placement in the story panel pages, and is up to p. 132 of 160.
Here's a sample of her innovative and effective lettering. I really like this!
Lew re-joined the project in late April and has committed to finish the digital paintings he began. He also has the option, if he wants, to do some of the full-page illustrations as paintings. Tod will be inking and coloring the rest This would be an enhancement, if Lew can do it in time, since we have our sights on electronic publication by year-end 2018.
Here is the first panel of his two-part digital panorama painting that introduces the story. Another one of these wonderful paintings will appear at the end, "book-ending" the comic.
If Lew has other obligations, Tod will step in with his wonderful and inking water-coloring.
We have our sights on electronic book publication by year-end 2018. Imaginator Press (Sheila) will be guiding that portion of the project, which will be a new experience for me. I am a writer, but I have never self-published a complete E-book. I look forward to learning more of the technical skills involved with E-book publication and distribution. We also plan on print publication, hopefully by 2019.
Both Sheila and I will continue as artist-kitty herders, den-mothers, and other functions (including helping project members, including us two, through the storms of life when needed).
We also plan on releasing an edited version of the Bascecamp2 interactive work site material, which shows how the project evolved and grew. "The Making of the Ratha's Creature Graphic Novel - 2011-2018" promises to be at least as fascinating as the comic itself, showing how he team developed concepts, strategies, new approaches, work-arounds; even new ways to describe scripted camera shots appropriate for four-legged protagonists. It will also be a personal document, following the day-to-day lives of an extraordinary group of people struggling to create this amazing graphic story.
Original Update (02/17/2018)
I posted recently on Facebook that the Ratha Graphic Novel project is still alive and kicking. This more extensive update is to give fans and supporters news of what has been happening lately. The team has re-doubled its commitment, beginning a push to finish the story content (especially the panel pages pencil art and full-page pencil illustrations) by the start of April of this year 2018. This push formally began late last year and intensified in January.
One reason that we are moving faster now is that we have gotten better at improvising ways to get past possible delays. If life events prevent someone from completing part of a page set, we can work around the difficulty, leaving space for the missing element, skipping ahead or skipping back, but making sure we track any missing bits and fill them in.
We have also tried to make this space, this project, these interactions, a place that can act as a refuge from the blows that life delivers. I think, or at least hope that it has helped heal and re-energize us when we are stricken, and given us the determination to go on. This effort has been even stronger in February, and this update is also intended to showcase the best recent work.
As of today, 02/17/2017, here is what the team has done: Those who have been following these updates know that the script, storyboards and single page layouts have been completed. We have also added two-page layout spreads to ensure that the designs of facing pages work together, and that pagination is correct. Tod Wells started this idea, and I have continued it We now have these two page layout spreads complete through all 24 of the book's story sections/scenes.
Dani Long's exquisite pencil art has now reached section 19, page 134 of an estimated 160 pages, and is moving ahead as I type this.
Sheila Ruth's painstaking care and inventive techniques with type, speech balloons, boxes and other typographic elements now includes up to scene 19 page 127 of an estimated 160 total pages. (See her lettering sample above).
Tod Will's masterful and expressive inking also includes hand-lettered non-speech sound effects and animal noises. He's now up to p. 95. He is also our color artist, and his lovely watercolor brushwork graces pages in the early section of pp. 1-16 of the sample pages we released to Kickstarter backers. He's also done amazing color work up through from Section 2 p. 17 up to the middle of Scene 6, My Creature.
Lew completed a portion of a two-page digital painting panorama for the opening section of the book. The art is breathtaking, and can be favorably compared with other professional paleoartists who have been working a lot longer.
Other sections, such as title page, preface, dedications, etc. will need to be added, and we hope we can have Lew do the front cover. Dani Long will probably be returning to her Mesa Verde archaeology position some time in April, but the rest of us will continue to work on the remainder of the book.