This week was spent sketching more specific subject as well as doing more detailed planning for the comic. My major question for this project is how does the comic production process work, and admittedly, since I make comics in my free time as well I already had an idea. However, I soon found that I couldn’t follow my usual production flow for several reasons.
My usual process is a very rough and messy one, because when I make comics for fun I release one or two pages a week, rather than posting the whole story at once. I start with Because of this, I’m able to edit my script and story as I write. This wouldn’t be a good plan for this project, though, as I’ll be drawings and releasing these comics all at once. I have to make my scripts as perfect as they can be before I start drawing, and this has proven to be very difficult. I thought the writing/editing process would pass by rather quickly, but I still find myself stuck on some pages and have difficulties in pacing and wording. This is probably because I am a writer, not an artist, and most of my experience in writing for comics is just writing dialogue. I’m writing narration for these educational comics, and so far it has been very different. Making expository text entertaining, informative, and kid-friendly all at the same time has been frustrating, but I feel I’m getting somewhere.
A second issue came in the form of plans for the artwork. Usually when I do comics, my medium of choice is digital. I prefer it over traditional for several reasons, one of which is efficiency. Coloring, lettering, and paneling are all much faster in digital media than traditional. While it may take me 10 minutes to just paint a basic watercolor wash and let it dry, in the same time I could color and shade a digital sketch. Additionally, in digital corrections are much easier, there’s no ink to smudge, no paper to tear, no water to spill, just pure, unadulterated, pixels. Unfortunately, I don’t think working in digital would be ideal for this project.
Some of the work for this comic will be done at the Desert Museum, AKA not at my computer desk. I can’t just pack up my brick of a PC and set it up at the Desert Museum whenever I need to draw, so traditional seems to be the more efficient method. I’ll have to (re)familiarize myself with many traditional methods and make several decisions on supplies soon.
Additionally, during this week I spent some time doing studies of taxidermized bird feet and wings. the museum keeps several specimens of preserved bird skeletons and body parts. They’re often used during educational demonstrations, and just a few weeks ago I helped talk about them during a class on birds for elementary school kids. I have always struggled drawings accurate wings and feet, so this was great practice.
The wings were kept in a dingy crinkled Ziplock bag, and were frayed from years of handled and fondled by children. I mainly studied the kestrel wing, as it was the most intact one on hand, as well as a great horned owl foot.