Its been a productive break from teaching and classes. Here’s whats been happening, in a nutshell.
After taking over the reins of Ashcan Comics from Zac Cameron-Smith in September I’ve been working away on organising the tenth issue. With the roman numeral for number ten being X, I thought it would be fitting to give this issue a theme of ‘Taboo True Stories.’ X rated and all that. Since some of the contributors are not keen to share taboo true stories, I’ve since loosened the theme to ‘True Stories’. But I’ll be putting at least one of my own taboo stories in there, The First time. Initially written and laid out for one of the contributing artists as a five pager, I’ll be expanding this story to eight pages and handling all art and lettering duties myself. The five-page layout can be found here. Ashcan X should be seeing the light of day sometime in April, with confirmed creators taking part including Jase Harper, Dean Bhishma Rankine, Emmanuel Hernaez, Giles Kilham, Hendrix Travis, Carlo Angelo and Sam Daley.
24 Hour Comic Challenge
I’ve started making preparations for this year’s 24 hour comic challenge including contacting last year’s sponsors and doing what I can to migrate the 395 likers of last year’s event over. Thankfully I have a few advantages this year, firstly being a longer run-up to prepare. Last year I only realised a couple of weeks out that no one was running the event anymore, and had to pull a rabbit out of my proverbial pretty quickly. Now that I’ve run it once (to a fair degree of success) I’m confident this year can be even bigger and better (and less stressful).
In putting together a script for my upcoming graphic novel I have been through a number of false solutions before coming across, quite by coincidence, my current working strategy, a life saving writing tool called Scrivener. This tool has saved me from being a quivering, quibbling wreck and given me confidence that not only can I bring this story together, but I can do it with a degree of panache. I won’t rave on about it here, but if you are currently working on anything requiring the structuring of disparate masses of text, I suggest you download the trial version right now. As an organisational tool I can’t recommend it enough.
John Truby- The Anatomy of Story
Similarly to Scrivener, this book has been a godsend. I’ve written a little about it here. I’m about halfway through and it keeps getting better, and more relevant. Brilliant stuff for writers.
Diary Comics Compendium 2014
For the last few months I’ve been plugging away on compiling all of my diary comics so far into a document for print. Getting to grips with Adobe InDesign took a while, and playing around with different layouts added to the time. Then I had to rescan a whole bunch of the comics that were scanned overseas on an inferior scanner, and do all the clean up that goes along with that. I’ve since put them all together, only to find that for each time I’ve hit auto-levels in Photoshop on a comic it has output the yellow colour of the moleskin pages differently. So, some entries are a bright saturated yellow, others are closer to white. It looks a mess, and so I’m currently going through them all (again) to get a consistent colour palette. Issues such as leaving enough white space around the pages, giving definite chapter/month breaks, adding text/titles and cover, inner cover etc are being addressed as I go. Hopefully by the time the year is over I’ll be finished with the 2014 edition. And then it will be time to compile the diary comics of 2015.
I’ve been chipping away on some cartooning exercises and I feel they are helping me loosen up in the daily diary comics. I still haven’t made a decision as to the visual style of the final graphic novel. It could end up being, in the words of John Romita Jnr, a “deadline style.” Lets see if this cartooning practice helps me make the most of that.