Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 pages left

No posts for a while as I've been knee deep in trying to finish issue #3. I've got 3 pages left to go now and am in the final throes of creation. Once that's done I'll have 2 weeks to review and make polishes, get some early reviews, and then its off to the New York Comic Con to see if any publishers take a liking to it.

So for now, here's another brief panel from issue #3:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What a full page looks like

The habit I've gotten into for producing my comic usually involves fully finishing each page as I go along. I'll pencil the page, then ink it, then scan it, then touch it up, then letter it. It usually takes me about 1.5-2 days per page for all of this. This allows me to break up my day into different tasks, move around, and not get too bored with any one thing. 

Below is an example of a finished inked page before it's been lettered. I figured It didn't give much away storywise but people may get a kick out of seeing more than a single panel at a time! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The countdown is on!

The plan for Farlaine the Goblin was always to complete 3 full issues and then submit it to publishers. The thought process was that:
 A) It shows the publisher that I can keep providing the same level of work and quality and deliver consistently - not just produce 1 book and quit
 B) it gives me time to get my feet into the world and the art and work out the kinks
 C) it gives me a buffer for in case they say yes
 D)  it lets the story develop and get going a little bit

So at least that was the idea. I've completed 2 issues now and just finished page 17 of the 3rd issue, which will total about 35 pages when complete - so about half way.

The goal is now the New York Comic Con on October 11th, at which time I'm planning to approach the publishers/editors at the top handful of comic companies that may have an interest in the work. So I've got about 50 days to complete 18 pages of work, which doesn't seem too bad a schedule, but there are some serious time hurdles in the way which will make this far closer to the wire than I'd prefer, especially since a lot of what's left will involve character designs, new sets, and lots of large and complicated panels. At my fastest I can produce a page in a day, but at my slowest it can take 3 days to finish a page.

So the countdown is on...we'll see...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A rock goblin

One of the comments I heard from people who read the first two issues of Farlaine was "Are there other goblins?". Yes, of course there are, and in issue #3 he runs into his first one - a rock goblin.

This character was a direct ode to Obelix, Asterix's good friend in the French comic. He always walked around carrying a huge rock and to me that fit nicely with Farlaine carrying his tree. So the rock goblin makes a brief appearance in issue #3.

At first I considered making him quite different looking from Farlaine, but then decided that they should be similar enough to notice they're both goblins. So the main difference was a slightly different haircut, a different necklace, a straighter grass skirt, and a lot more muscle. After all, a rock is a lot heavier to carry than a tree, right?

Here's a panel of the two of them chatting so you can see some of the differences. Very similar, but slightly different. Oh yeah, and his rock gives off square bubbles:) I'm still toying with the idea of giving him a mustache...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Intimidating Panels and Character Designs

I completed page 9 yesterday and it took me WAY longer to finish than i would have expected. It includes a large half page panel to begin with, crammed with little details - many of which were characters that didn't exist yet. To me this exemplifies the fun and frustrating part of creating a comic.

When I'm drawing characters I've gotten the hang of I can fly through panels. Layout, pencil, ink, no problem. But when you suddenly have to introduce a dozen new characters, species, architecture, etc, it slows you down dramatically. In this case it was also mostly that I DIDN'T KNOW what needed to be in there. I'm still 7 pages away from having to draw some of these characters so I have time to flesh them out and practice drawing them.

So I'd end up drawing a piece of the panel, ink it, erase the pencil, and then try to figure out how to use the rest of the space. It probably took me 3 days of stop and go effort to just get it finished! For perspective, pages 7-8 took me a day each to do completely, pencil, ink, scanned, and lettered. Ouch!

In my defense I did spend a few hours coloring the first page of Issue #1 to see how it looked, and I'm fairly certain that a color version of the book would look a lot better than a B&W one, at least for most audiences. So we'll see. Maybe if a publisher hops on board with the book I'll have to spend time coloring all of it...

For now, here's a sneak panel from page 9

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Issue #3, page 5 sneak

Just wanted to post something fun to show a glimpse of issue 3 coming along:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Plodding along on issue #3

So I spent some time writing issue 3, probably about 2 weeks total, and I started drawing a little bit before it was done. I'm now 4 pages into drawing issue 3 and still have some later parts to rewrite. I need to keep in the groove of drawing or else my habits get messed up and are slow to resync. But so far so good. The goal is to have maybe 15-20 pages complete before I head off to vacation at the end of the month, but we'll see. This is going to be a lot of slow drawing and new characters to design...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Issue #3 Mostly Written...

The last week I've spent writing. A bunch. I do many, many iterations and drafts. It's a strange process. Lots of brainstorming first to put down the ideas...some scenes and dialogue written out. Parts roughly put into place. But then I try to challenge myself a lot. It seems very easy to be formulaic. To instantly put the most obvious thing you thought of onto the page. Oh, there are 2 characters having a conversation? Put them in a diner. Nobody's ever done THAT before.

So I try to think differently and give the reader something they haven't seen before. They may not like it though...they may be wanting something they're not getting. It's a tricky dance.

The first issue of Farlaine I felt had a lot of stuff crammed in. Plot points, introductions, character, and feeling my way around. I wasn't perfectly happy with it, but I felt it did it's job well setting the stage. Hopefully when the whole story is complete it will make more sense to people. I'm already thinking of rewrites and redrawn panels I may want to do when the whole things is done to try to tighten up the loose ends.

The second issue I was much happier with, although even that I'm sure I'll look down upon in a few months when the dust has settled.

But they're very different stories so far, the first being mostly a long chase scene, whereas the second one was more of a meandering walk through a land. A very modest damsel in distress type tale.

Only two people have read the story yet, and the first one thought it was funny and the second one thought it was boring; not enough of a page turner, although its possible the first person found it boring as well, but just funny boring. So I'm somewhat disappointed in that, but at the same time I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a page turner? It was more of a very different twist on a plot point. An introduction that needed to happen and happened in a neat way.(at least I hope).

Back to the point of this post though, is that the third issue is mostly written, with a few pages to plug in and a final polish or two to do, but on the whole, I'm quite happy with it. I think the writing is decidedly better than the previous 2 stories and moving in the right direction. This one is certainly more of a page turner than the last, while still being a little weird and different and not formulaic in its plot and world. So we'll see. Maybe both readers will like it next time...

Monday, June 25, 2012

OK, issue #2 of "Farlaine in the Saltlands" is complete!

I spent the last 2 days going over all the endless polishes and tweaks and changes to my second issue, Farlaine in the Saltlands, and have now sent it off to people to read. We'll see, hopefully they like it. It already seems a huge step forward from the first issue, so hopefully I can keep heading in the right direction!

I'm also knee deep in writing issue #3, which is going well so far but is a long process. Writing seems one of those tasks that can go in entirely different directions depending on what your content is; what your story is. If you write something random, just from your creative mind with no concerns about plot points or fitting in certain details, it's a very enjoyable freeform activity. But if on the flip side, you're restricted to an existing world, certain things that have to happen at certain times, a set length, pace, characters, etc., it is far more challenging to do it in such a way as to fit in all the necessary parts, and still end up with a tasty souffle.

So onwards I go to continue crafting interesting scenes, dialogue, and characters for the next book, which will hopefully be completed soon enough to allow me to get back to drawing. It's a strange animal to be drawing every day for months on end, and then have to pause for a week while you write and polish. Rush back too fast and you're drawing a weak story. Too slowly and you've lost all momentum. Maybe life just needs a pause button or something...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Editing/Revising Issue #2

I'm not sure how others work, but for me the process of writing and drawing a comic is very long and repetitive, with endless iterations of things as you inch along towards the finish line.

Last night I finally finished drawing page 33 of the second issue, thereby completing it...and then today I printed off my very first copy of the finished product to begin rereading and editing it in it's finished form. I had intentionally avoided going back and reading it as I went, trying to give myself a fresh perspective for when I was done.

It worked pretty well, and I felt like a lot of what I read today was not how I remembered it, which is probably exactly as it should be. I then spent a couple of hours going through marking up endless updates and modifications...text change here, background needs to be added there, this word balloon is too wide, this one too tight, break this dialogue into 3 balloons instead of one, and so on.

I figure I've given myself a good day or two of changes to make across all the pages, at which time I'll then need to go through it again fresh and see if it reads and flows better. I really have no clue how this reads and if its fun and enjoyable or horrific and sad.

At the same time I'm also working on writing issue #3, which means my brain is going back and forth with the past and the future simultaneously, which probably only helps confuse things.

At times like these I greatly wish I had a professional editor working alongside me to help me sidestep and polish this stuff earlier. I really half expect that when I am finally finished with this entire series someone who knows what they're doing will read over it all and suggest 50 pages of new content, rewrites, and polishes that will greatly improve it and take me 4 months to complete...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Drawing issue #2, writing issue #3...

Continuing to plod away on both the comic and this new website and figured I'd post another blog entry to make me feel productive while I take a drawing break...

I've updated the header image, added an About page, and uploaded the original 6 page story of Farlaine in the Tinderlands. Now there's at least some content here. I hope to add more as I can, but I'm still unsure what content to add...probably going to add some prelims, sketches, and character designs next.

I'm doing dual work right now, simultaneously brainstorming and writing issue #3, Farlaine in the Racelands, while also finishing the artwork of the final page of issue #2, Farlaine in the Saltlands. I've found that I can get into a nice groove of doing somewhere between a half and full page of finished ink art every day IF I have a complete script at the ready...but when I am solely working on writing I am often jumping around, taking breaks, brainstorming, or getting frustrated at being stuck. But seeing as the writing is so important, I need to make sure it's the best I can make it before I start drawing, or else I end up wasting time on throwaway work or a bad story.

So I'm trying to write issue #3 while I'm finishing drawing issue #2...the hope being that if I get better at the timing, I might be able to move right into drawing the next issue as soon as I finish the previous one. Currently there's a window of a week or two when I'm writing where no artwork is done, which is not good for the schedule...

Welcome to Farlaine the Goblin's web presence

OK, so today I'm finally starting a website and blog for Farlaine the Goblin. I'm doing this more or less to get the ball rolling on myself so I can hopefully get in the habit of adding content and slowly building up a website for when it actually has some meaning and value, instead of simply waiting until the project is entirely completed and then realizing I need a website, have no content, and now need to create it entirely from scratch.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

For anyone but me and my circle of friends and acquaintances I'm sure you, the newfound reader, have no idea what "Farlaine the Goblin" is, or why you should even care about this waste of digital space.

So allow me to give a brief rundown of the scenario...

"Farlaine the Goblin" is a comic book character of my own creation. He's a tree goblin with a pot belly and a magical tree who's trying to fiind a forest to call his own.

The book is sorta a mix of Donald Duck, Bone, Asterix, and a slew of other old school comics. I am in the midst of writing and drawing a 7 issue miniseries about his adventures, which I began on January 1, 2012. I am 1 page away from finishing issue #2 as I distract myself by writing this. The first two issues are a combined 72 pages in length, so it's not quite your standard comic fare. More like a European comic than an American one. Oh, and it's sideways. And B&W. So I'm sure it'll be a huge sales draw:)

So that's about that. Blog started.

Here's a picture of the friendly fellow to get you acquainted.