After an extended weekend full of learning I’m back and gaining momentum again. I also did some design work for the comic yesterday, but it was deeply in spoiler territory, so I will not share this for now. I was very productive today, too, finished 1 1/2 illustrations but am not sure whether I’m free to share right now, so I’ll better wait. Have deliberations about TIME, one of LC’s antagonists. I’m happy I took the time to make some first concept artwork last year already. This is where we are heading from start to finish right now. TIME is a husk, a nearly starving thing crawling to you from the shadows, always hungry, always bored, snarky, and it can expand its jaw and body endlessly as there is nothing that it cannot eat.
Now design that, and give it a simple design that fits LC and the other characters. That’s where I’m heading to get that done. And yes, that might take longer than one day, but it’s so worth it.
Some focussed exploration work for my comic. I had a great session doing this yesterday, but hit a limit with how fast I can give basic renders to line drawings. Yes, my new feelgood process hit a limit and suddenly did not fit for rapid exploration sketches. This is a fascinating experience, as shifting my mind towards process is more important than the result seemed to be quite hard already. To also find out that the process also is changing during a lifelong art journey and to understand and feel what that means, that is a little but uncomfortable, too. But given that I will probably be surprised by many things on the road ahead, that’s just another decision to make, another adaptation. How can I work to become faster with exploring? Leave the lines and start with the form already? Or is that what everyone is doing already and I didn’t notice because my understanding of tonal values isn’t that good yet? How can a line indicate form rather than itself? Is the whole secret thinking in light and shadow?
Yesterday’s drawings taught me another thing, that might be useful for other comic beginners too. Your existence is frustration already. Everything does not fit. Every decision is too big and could be the absolutely wrong one. And it will probably never get done, at least not how you imagine it to be without having a clear picture in your head. I mentally prepared to having to draw out a whole world before I can even storytell scene 1 of my story, because that would probably the right thing to do. But then, as I was drawing, I was wondering…would it be really the best choice to make? Imagine building a world for 2 years, always teasing your potential audience until they are numb and move on. And then you draw scene 1 and realize everything was a bad idea and your thing is a bit boring. Good looking, but boring. You could not have known this because you aren’t an experienced storyteller and your friends and beta-readers weren’t either. And then you are sitting there. Overprepared by maybe 22 months. There will always be ways to turn a failure into victories, but you depraved yourself of half an eternity in which you could have actually told your story and learned to storytell in general by telling your story. In my opinion storytelling outweighs the visuals in the end, so go to that stage as quick as possible and gain experience. And this is really hard coming from someone who is such a visual creature like me. But I have made this mistake of focussing on developing my visuals overall for years. I dread all the inevitable beginner storyteller mistakes I will make, but this is a path I’ll have to walk to arrive where I want to be.
So for The Fearful Creator, oh this ironic title, this means I will prioritize getting episode 1 drawable and drawn as quick as possible. Quick is relatively of course, as I cannot draw what I have not designed and have no picture in my mind for yet. Yes, it would absolutely be preferrable if I wrote a clean script, from start to finish, built my world, from start to finish, to have it 100% consistent and developed, and then drew the perfect run of finished pages. But it would be madness to let me do this as a beginner. I would possibly procrastinate for years because I have no idea what “good” is, when something is finished vs overprepared and general, an insecurity that is probably harshest before you have the first comic out.
Today was another good day for art. I’m definitely over the honeymoon phase of starting the Rapid Viz book, but continuing to make the practises. The book sneakily teaches me how to shade better now. Surprise over surprise, but what pleasant surprises. Again – a lot of things come down to geometry and being friends with geometry on a 2D canvas.
I did some more than what you see in the following, but mostly prep work and that ungrateful work in the middle of things where you don’t really have something to present yet, but spent your energy.
I took a long weekend off. I did not plan this, but enjoyed it and apparently I needed the extra- relaxation to really kick off a great new week.
Today I officially announce that I will be focussing most of my attention (aside from commissions and other already pending little tasks) on making LC’s comic “The Fearful Creator” happen. I have done quite some preparation work already, but I kind of never went the last step as with many of my past endeavours. Not anymore, I told myself. This time I’ll push through, I just have to, otherwise my whole universe will never get rolling. More on this topic the next days.
The Bluth/Goldman book really helped me. I then peeked into Betsy Luntao’s “How to Draw Backgrounds with Characters” and ofc “Framed Ink” as possible next steps in my learning journey towards sequential art. But then all of the sudden “Rapid Viz” by Hanks & Belliston. I did not really decide to work through this one first, I was just drawing since an hour until I realized what was happening. There is no magic bullet in art, but if there was one for me personally, it is Rapid Viz. The exercises ‘fixed’ basic visualization problems that I carried with me since years and that really weren’t tangible but still very uncomfortable in my mind within one session. I should not question my luck too much. It’s hard but healthy to admit that I must have been drawing ten years with severe deficiencies on a base geometry level of fundies … but I needed the time to figure out what was happening. And yeah, a lot of life took place, too.
And how can I measure my progress? My confidence and output on thumbnails literally went through the roof. Most of the theory was there already, I just had no way to visualize it quickly and reliably.
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.