Saturday, February 04, 2006

Creating A Graphic Novel

Copyrighted ©2006. An Inked Pin-Up commissioned by Loston Wallace

This is my own guide, or tutorial, on getting a comic book made. It will also serve as a journal so that people may view a work in progress to its completed and published stage. All characters, stories, and art are Copyrighted and have paid copyrights owned by me.

Once you have have your brilliant idea, then things can get rolling. I came up with character ideas one day while sitting in Washington Square park sketching doodles in my sketchbook. I was finishing my sophomore year of college and had to make a tough descision. Do I quit drawing to focus on writing, or quit writing to focus on drawing? Knowing I couldn't do both, I did the only sensible thing a person could do: I moved to Japan.

Okay, maybe that was a bit drastic, but trucking back from the Big Apple to my home in Montana, I went back to the grind of University life. My background is in writing, and between school, writing for various newspapers, writing for fun, and reading every book I could get my hands on about freelance writing and writing for comics, I decided to get my stuff out there. After writing constnat pitches and sample stories to show of my writing skills to editors and publishers, I researched guidelines like a fiend and made sure everything was to par. You don't want to look like a slob when pitching to the big wigs.

Once I finalized my propasals and scripts so they were professional on every level, I sent them to Editors, friends, and anybody who'd read them. I was told the same thing... don't let everyone know what you're working on or they'll steal your idea and nobody will sponsor or publish you. Submissions editors kept telling me they couldn't look at my stuff without art attached (they obviously have no imaginations and know no artists what so ever), and artists wouldn't look at my stuff without money or the gaurantee of being published. My dreams of being a comic book writer were crushed. My greatest ideas, potentially worthless, out there to be stolen, and no matter how much genius I may have nobody cared because nobody would read anything I wrote. Even as a published magazine and newspapre journalist, there were those who doubted my worth.

Thumb 2 Copyrighted ©2006

Step one: To safe guard myself, my work, and my ideas, I quickly snatched up paid copyrights on my characters, stories, and frantically started networking online to find an artist right for the job. Conventions work best for networking, but I was broke, a full time student, barely able to make rent. Internet was my only option.

Step two: Create the art. Nothing ever created will ever be seen by anyone. Get it made, and get it out there!

Step three: Network like crazy. 20 years ago this wasn't necessary, but as the comic book industry is today, you have to know somebody who knows somebody. Breaking in isn't just about being nice, being tallented, and making the deadlines.

Step four: Mind your manners, be polite, always be excited about your art and ideas, and sell yourself like crazy! Because if you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. Your enthusiasm will spread, and eventually people will take the time to listen to your ideas, or look at your art. If they say no thanks, don't get discouraged, just learn from the experiance and move forward.

Step five: Find the right guy for the job. Knowing that I was too busy with school, moving to Japan, and learning a foriegn language, meeting the girl of my dreams, etc., I barely had time to keep writing. But I made it a habbit, and at the same time I was surfing the forumns looking for the man pefect for the job. I knew he was out there, and I wouldn't stop until I found him. I did. There was just one catch, he lived in Germany, and I was an American living in Japan. No problem! That's why God said: Let there be Internet!

Thumb 4 Copyrighted ©2006

Step six: Never give up! The moment you quit is the moment you've let yourself down. Even though it took me two years of networking, talking, and making aquaintances, I finally found the artist right for the job. I couldn't pay him, so it came down to two things. 1) Have an excellent product and pitch which will convince the person to take that leap of faith and become your artistic partner. 2) Focus all your energy on that person and let them know they're appreciated. It's an artistic collaboration, and it's more than just an art team, it's a friendship. Let them know they're important.

Copyrighted ©2006. Pin-Up by Loston Wallace/ colored by Sean E.

After showing my writing samples, and discussing the project thoroughly with a the tallented Sedat, he liked the concept and agreed to jump on board as my artistic partner. Now we're close friends, and we dig each others work.

Step seven: Collaborating and getting in tune to each other's schedules, needs, demands, etc. is vital in a partnership. I prefer writing in full script form; page number, panel descriptions, and full dialogue and sound effects written down. Once I had finished cleaning up my scripts I sent them off to Sedat. He read them and was blown away. At this time I wasn't sure he was going to commit, but his responce was overwhelming. After a few weeks he started drawing thumbnails from my scripts. As you can see in the samples posted here, thumbnails are small rough sketches of the page layout. Since Sedat lives in Germany, we have to communicate often to make sure we're on the same page. Thumbnails also help us and act as a guideline to make sure that we understand what the other is thinking before Sedat draws the final pages.

Design sketch Copyrighted ©2006

Probably the most important thing I have learned is stay patient and never give up! Sedat is a student, I was jumping around from country to country, fell in love and met my fiance, and graduated all at the same time I was trying to woo Sedat. Now he's drawing the story I have written far better than I could have ever imagined, and I know that we'll be sucsesful. Why? Because we've worked together, worked hard, and haven't given up. As we make progress on the book, I'll keep you posted.

The title for the book is "THE SCARECROW & LADY KINGSTON" Copyrighted ©2006. It's a comedic satire that looks at life through the eyes of two L.A.P.D detectives. Julie Kingston is cynical and has a bad habbit of shooting bullets and spouting social commentary, while her partner is a care free supernatural oddity: he's a live walking talking breathing scarecrow! (Copyrighted ©2006)


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