Sunday, October 2, 2011

24HCD 2011


Another year, another 24-Hour Comics Day. A shout out to our sponsors firstly Sweet Clover Market for the BIG box of assorted snacks; Phoenix Books for the two urns of coffee and a dozen cookies; Rocky's Pizza in Williston for, what else? Pizza. And of course Artists' Mediums for the venue and hard work.

This one was harder than normal because I was not only participating in the 24HCD, not only helping organize it, but also participating in the Open Studio Weekend on Saturday from 6m - 8pm; right during 24HCD. So, I spent the week before getting stuff from sponsors for 24HCD and getting some artwork ready to hang at Phoenix Books.

The setup of both events went smoothly, the Open Studio the night before. I arrived at the event, set up the coffee and I fell into my normal 24HCD routine: I started writing the story first. I love coming in cold, it's part of the fun. All I had in my head since the drive in were the words "bi-plane" and "sphinx". So, with those words I carved out a rough story. Then, I started thumbnailing and writing at the same time. This is sort of a scaled down version of how some folks do 24HCD; they start at the beginning and just write until all pages are filled. It's the same way except there is some revising and I try to have at least an idea of the ending before I get too deep.

Writing and thumbnailing took two hours. It would have taken less except that I mis-numbered my thumbnails early on (I had two #3s) and had to add some pages.

Then, I started drawing. I used a Pentel brush pen (hacked with Higgins Black Magic replacing the awful stock ink) because I didn't want to get bogged down in the details as I would with a Pigma Micron. I did use Microns for the panel lines, lettering and for the eyes .

There were more interruptions this year with friends coming in to talk, great artist banter and heated discussions, so I didn't even get to page five before I had to go to the Open Studio bit. I wasn't sure what to do there as I'm usually on the other side of the art scene. However, two friends were there and they bought me some good beer and we had an impromptu tasting. What was nice is a local middle school librarian asked for my help in an upcoming project where kids will be either writing a play or a graphic novel.

Then back to Artists' Mediums to try to finish my comic. The beer-bringing friends showed up at 24HCD (sans beer) and chatted for a long time. I kept working until 5am then took a nap for an hour. I got to finishing the pencils and then inking the panel lines and letters of page 17 when I just had to stop. I helped clean up and we were out the door by 9am. I was good to go, tired-wise, until I was within a few hundred meters from our house, when I nodded off for an instant and drifted into the oncoming lane. I snapped awake before I went off the other side and, since it was a 30mph zone on a backroad in Vermont on a Sunday morning, there was nobody coming.

Sweet Enemy and I crashed for a bit; she on the couch with Fat Grey Cat and me on our bed. We didn't plan to sleep more than an hour but while I set the alarm I forgot to turn it on. I drifted awake three hours later and felt good to go.

Here's this year's story. There are some issues I have with it. Some are story elements I would have done differently if I'd had the time to revise the script; stupid ideas I'd purge; some are words I put in by mistake ("ridden" for "riddled"); and POVs that I wish I'd done differently.

It's got a lot of aviation in it but it's "television" aviation. That means there are some really stupid things involving planes and history here. I'm a former aviator, scale modeler, war history buff and usually a stickler, but I'm asking you as all of these things to please forgive the tv-style silliness...

But, here it is with all its flaws and incomplete-ness.

I'll probably finish it in the next week. I'll refrain from editing m thumbnails and try do each page as quickly as if it were at the event to try to maintain a continuity of style.

So, what did you think? Should I continue? Should I refine it into a tighter story with tighter art or let it lie?

Listening to while posting: "24" by Jem. I bought Jem's "Finally Woken" for Sweet Enemy for her birthday and I like it more than she does now.