SPREY goes into Repair Clinic!

(SPREY Log #08)

Dear readers!

I might have mentioned it already, I had to divert much of last week to my health and other art unrelated things. Now that I’m easing in into my work again I come back with fresh eyes, like after a long needed break. And I see things that seem obvious now but absolutely haven’t been before, because I was too close to them!

SPREY needs an emergency reconstruction hiatus starting immediately. It is so ironic! Making this comic has taught me so much about comicmaking that it’s impossible to continue working on it like I was working on it so far. SPREY 1st draft offed itself because it was actually successful. It was successful in teaching me the basics. And I first had to understand that I need to take this hard step and that I must change and keep changing.

This does not mean SPREY is over though. SPREY does not go to the backburner, not for a single minute. I am working on it like before, you will just not see new pages for a while, which might look like inactivity from the outside.

Here’s what’s happening in that time:

Today(16.August 2021) – 16. December 2021

  • Writing a new, proper and complete script for SPREY
  • The set and definitive format is a printed comic
  • I cannot tell whether everything fits neatly into one volume yet, but I don’t want to go beyond a maximum of two to three.
  • I will still later upload the finished pages on my website and possibly other webcomic sharing pages
  • The lore DOES NOT CHANGE. What you read in the webcomic so far stays in and is canon, it will just receive a visual upgrade and might just have some more context added or have it’s place in the narration changed depending on what the new script says.

1. January 2022 – 1. August 2022

  • Making a dummy. I will draw the whole comic in thumbnail form, all the pages from start to finish, doctoring on visual storytelling and pacing, color keys unless I decide to leave the comic black and white (I prefer finishing it during my lifetime) and whatever else comes up.

2. August 2022 – 16. December 2022

  • making the final designs for all characters, environments, props etc. in the comic,
  • if necessary figuring out a style bible

And then?

The next phase is drawing the final pages and I honestly can’t make any prediction at all how long that will take, as I haven’t drawn like this before. But my guess is you will read all and any edits to this plan in this blog as soon as they fall.

Why are the announced times so ridiculously long?

I read if you are inexperienced with something, it will take you four times longer than you think it will take. Now look at my numbers again and see what I hoped it would take. For some things I do have actual evidence from my own experience working on SPREY so far. For example, I wasn’t able to just draw my way into a consistent visual style or actually finish designing any character looks or environment on the fly between drawing pages, that doesn’t seem to work (at least right now).

Of course I do not intend to work as inefficiently as possible, but I will probably only know what is efficient and what isn’t afterwards. Also, there is more stuff than SPREY going on in my life, I have accounted for that in the numbers, too.

If there are changes to the schedule(and there will always be changes) for example if I finish a thing a month faster or need an additional month, I will update you about it on my blog.

Last words

Finally, this blog will not shut up. Far from it. I might provide you with regular reports on how things are going, possibly also tossing in some sketches from time to time. I stopped being scared, now my projects should be scared of me.

See you next blog post!

Art report 18

I dared to reverse-engineer more scenes today, I’ve done about 20 minutes of Carnosaur 2 now and it’s surprisingly hard work really diving into the scenes, percepting and thinking about the directorial choices made, the acting, the room for the acting, reconstructing the script underneath. For now I’m placing a focus on the camera positions and their names as well as the movements.

By extraordinary chance I stumbled across Don Bluth’s and Gary Goldman’s “Don Bluth’s Art of Story” today and immediately started absorbing it. The book really speaks to me and my plights of turning my own scripts into visuals or finding a way out of the agony that can be finding a good pictoral composition. Analyzing Carnosaur 2 I have already seen that there actually aren’t that many camera positions that have to be learned to “get the job done”. With Don Bluth’s book I’m learning to unlearn a lot of constraints more than filling up with new rules. The biggest takeaway from today is that even the great animator Don Bluth himself does not even attempt to storyboard everything in one run and hopes to nail it from perfect camera position to most expressive staging of the acting and best lighting. Even Don Bluth allows himself several runs at a sequence, first thinking about the camera positions, then about the lights, then about the intricacies of timing and so on… that’s incredibly liberating. And probably not only a way to do it in storyboards! I will try to apply that on the composition of illustrations the next days. Chipping away one problem at a time.

Exploration of pacing with an ornament.
Conan the Barbarian (and Valeria) fanart that snuck in because I listened to the movie soundtrack while drawing.
Trying to unleash my inner Don Bluth by quickly sketching my own character Corvus to further explore his personality.
Another first, the Tyler Edlin exercises pay off again, these are my first vignettes from imagination. Not much here, but literally not possible even a couple of days ago.
Corvus being betrayed by his master. A storyboard moment.