Recent comics in June

New anthology: EXPOSURE

I think I forgot to mention this earlier, but there’s a new anthology published – with my work in it! I have a two page comic, Talkback, in the Exposure anthology published by the ACT Comic Meet. You can get your copy of the whole anthology here.

Talkback is a short story about language exposure, featuring two very pretty men.
Talkback is a short story about language exposure, featuring two very pretty men.

The 24 Hour Comic Challenge

The Recap

This weekend, I also completed the 24 Hour Comic Challenge. It’s been a few years since I last did the challenge. I hadn’t intended to break that streak, but I gave in to some peer pressure from some other excellent friends also doing the challenge. To be very honest, while I love doing comics and I love the challenge of seeing how far I can push myself within some tight limitations, I don’t particularly appreciate it when one of those limits is no sleep. With that knowledge and the benefit of experience (both from doing the challenge and comics in general over the years I’ve stopped doing the challenge), I approached this year’s challenge a little differently… These were the things and personal limits I realised before the challenge started:

  • I work much, much better when I’m planned.
  • In previous years, I’ve always worked without a script. In previous years, I’ve almost always re-written the entire story after a few hours, or otherwise gotten lost and floundered around the middle.
  • Illustration is the easy part.
  • Come hell, high water or the time limit, I was going to get some sleep and rest over the challenge period.

So this year I did something I’d never done before for a 24 Hour Challenge. I scripted the darn thing. It took me about three hours to brainstorm ideas, then script and put in the dialogue. And it was totally worth it because it freed me up for six hours of sleep and one hour of watching drama afterward. Once all the dialogue and story and layout was locked in place, illustration was very much the easier part for me. I also found out the pleasant way that going away for a break really does bring me back to the drawing board feeling refreshed and better at comic-making.

Setup - 24 Hour Challenge 2014
3 hours into the 24 Hour Comic Challenge and all I had was a sheet of brainstorming nonsense, this script and these panels.

Even so, I think I was focused too much on getting everything out of the way so I could start drawing – when I should have been working on storytelling instead. There are plenty of ways to get away with beautiful but simple or quick to draw artwork for a challenge like this but there’s no cheating (that I know of!) on a good story. If I could do it all again, I would have focused on a tighter story with a stronger point. I would have developed a concept that only came to me primitively: that not only did Poffy (somehow manage to) split her soul to suit different purposes in her daily life, but the reason that she couldn’t pass through was because all these aspects of herself hated each other, dismissed each other’s purpose, couldn’t just accept them as a part of her greater whole. I also would have taken more frequent, shorter breaks and tried to push out better art. The challenge was a huge exercise for me in writing, the same way five minute speedpaints are for my observational drawing. While I (frustratingly) realised a whole bunch of things I would have liked to change about the story approximately eight hours into the challenge, they were all things I have taken away for writing other stories in the future. This is good. For the past couple years, I’ve been pretty frustrated with writing longer stories – this feels like the start of improving my story writing again.

The Comic

After all of that commentary, here’s my entry, The Sum of One. You can also read the comic on Facebook, for those who prefer to read-and-like.

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