Happy new year, everyone! I was quite exhausted before christmas and spontaneously took the holidays off. It turned out to be a very good decision. Apparently I was in dire need of a break and some room to step away to look at the bigger picture. Whether you want it or not, from time to time you have to do that to make sure you are still working into the right direction – that is the direction your set goals are in.
I am happy with how 2020 went for me artwise, mostly, and I’m even happier that in the end one or two good ideas came along on how to do even better in the future.
While I focussed on relaxation and reading, I documented my wellness and mood journey with a couple of post-its. Enjoy and see you tomorrow, back with Street Prey!
Working on the comic is in full swing. I knew I would need more time than usual for my comic work. In fact, I will probably need a couple of hours per panel for the first days, as my digital process for the comic isn‘t settled in yet and even some design questions for the scene are still up in the air. But I will sort things out and it will get smoother again.
You might not actually see it in the final piece, but I really had to work hard for the chapter cover that I uploaded today. From here on my comic takes place in urban environments at night, with few cyberpunk elements to spice things up. Although I did my best to research this setting over the past days, the competence doesn‘t show up on the canvas yet. It has to be persuaded with more effort and studies. I‘m not really good at environments, and that is okay, as everyone has strengths and weaknesses. But I still have to do the best I can, as a comic has to clearly tell you what is happening where in order to work. I need to get at least passable with environments. Ignoring them entirely out of disinterest was a big mistake. They can add so much to a piece, even if the focus is not the environment itself, but a character.
Other than that I‘m slightly worried about my perspective and lighting game. Those are not strong and that is a big problem. They‘re fundamentals after all. Bad perspective = confusion what is where and not being able to draw what you would want to draw at all. Bad lighting = you have no control over the mood of what you are seeing. A BIG problem for a comic! Oh yeah, and objects seem flat, shapes destroyed or misleading or the light just looks wrong when you expect realism, but the mood! Mood! Mood is everything! You do not entertain or win hearts when you cannot tap into the readers‘ emotions at all. I will try to come up with an emergency training program for the next weeks. I want the best comic experience for my readers and I want to present my story the best way I can, so I‘m better getting active and working on fixing that.
After picking apart what happened (and did not happen) yesterday with passion I was so eager to do better that I started the same evening. I did my best to resolve my „style confusion“ and I‘m happy to declare that a winner quickly was found. The piece on the bottom left encompasses the best that I can give in the shortest amount of time…and while looking like line graphics was constructed from blobs and shapes rather than minding lines.
I guess I should try doing some art before going to bed on a regular basis, as I dreamt of art afterwards. I then woke up doing things a little bit differently.
Today I did some more sketches, just to make sure, and found that suddenly rendering wasn‘t such a riddle anymore. Not saying I‘m good at it, but my mindset shift away from lines towards showing light made all the difference. I have no clue whether I could hold up a style like this for a whole comic, but whatever this is, it is a step ahead.
To Do List
I then took a closer look at my ever growing to do list. It‘s good that I started writing it down in the blog as a first step. I don‘t know about you, but in the next step my to do lists tend to be forgotten or lost if I can‘t finish all the tasks immediately. I also cannot rely on myself tracking times for activities by myself. This doesn‘t come naturally, such as a trellis to a plant, yet the trellis is a good thing!
The solution? I set up a private git. I did my best to turn my to do list into tasks, assigned deadlines and tracking time costs two clicks now, one to start and one to finish. If you wonder what a git is – it is a piece of magic used by software developers to keep track of what they are doing, but you can misuse it as a planner, too. I will now have to teach myself to religiously open my git in the morning and keep using it throughout the day.
Speaking about it – instead of trying to become a new human and throwing everything over, forgetting most new resolutions after 2 days, I decided to stick with my habits. I saw potential and my dream tonight inspired me. I dreamt I was doing almost the same I was doing now, not really using new knowledge, but still doing so so much better. So I‘m going into the right direction already. But how can I do better and close that gap?
I just flipped my day. I am really not a morning person, but unfortunately that is the time where I have most energy, just like everyone else. I am teaching myself to start my day with a workout and then working on the comic immediately. This isn‘t revolutionary as a concept, but actually hard to do. I am really a nightowl and have living like that a substantial amount of my life. Change is hard. And it‘s also about keeping sources of procrastination such as household chores (I love those. Seriously.) and falling into a crochet frenzy away from me as long as I can. Can‘t destroy so much with them, when a good piece of comic work has been done for the day already.
Now I‘m curious whether I‘ll have a second wind in the evening sometimes for my creative work. We‘ll see!
While setting up my planner I took a closer look at act I of my comic again. I was surprised – again – that it wasn‘t as good as I remembered. But that is absolutely normal and exactly the reason why you write a first draft and then let it rest. Your memory will undergo some change and entrophy, in best case you will even learn something new for your storytelling in the meantime, and then you are confronted with your piece again as if you were just reading it as a stranger.
I promptly padded my storyboard overview out with 2-3 scenes to show the reader what is happening instead of having the characters talk to each other about it. Removing some exposition dumpm awkwardness if you will (what was I thinking?). I have 8 scenes to play with now and I‘m actually looking forward to every single one.
See you tomorrow!
About the artist
Styxcolor creates freelance concept art and illustrations. She started the Street Prey Webcomic in 2020 to further explore her love for storytelling.