So this project, The Suicide Queen, that I have been working on for about a year now has gone at a slower pace than I had anticipated when I first started. I was extremely full of enthusiasm as I talked to my teacher/mentor about character names, backstories, bios, and the potential plot. But after we got off of the phone, it was time to start the physical labor of creating. I have gone through sketchbooks and scraps of paper and countless drafts of ideas. I wish I had kept the sketchbook that I filled after the initial call just so people could get a glimpse at where I really started from once the story became more focused. But we move on. I think I will show the very first sketches that we were able to peel this story from. They aren't the greatest drawings/paintings you will ever see. Not even close. But even in their lack of fidelity, it still trips me out how these pages jump started me down this road for this project.
All of this being said, I have put in a lot of time it seems in trying to figure out how to put this together. One thing that has sort of been a hang up of mine is that I really like the animation production of Robert Valley, and I also like a variety of comic book artists such as my teacher Brian Stelfreeze. So, it feels like I'm always fluctuating between wanting to do an animation and/or a comic book. The reason this is sort of a problem is that I know a considerable amount about each production pipeline, and it seems as if one should be predominant over the other. But, what I have done over the last few months is to try to blend what I know about the two to create a different kind of pipeline.
With comic books, one of the issues as a beginner is that there are endless combinations of panels and content that could end up on the page, which makes telling a story a really daunting task when there are that many variables on the table. With animation, there is only one panel size that you have to be concerned with which makes it easier to iron out a lot of storytelling decisions before going into comic page paneling. So, what I decided to do was start with doing some storyboard panels first to get an idea of the story I'm telling. Although, it is nowhere finished in terms of the plot, you can see below that I have a few pages that show a lot of mid to close-up shots of the characters. The program that I'm using called Storyboarder allows me to take the thumbnails that I made and put them in a sequence to get a clear view of the actions and timing of scenes. You'll also notice that there are some panels that are still rough, and there are some that I took a lot further down the pipeline. I did this for design purposes and to get an idea of what it would take to bring a rough to a final image. This approach I think allows some flexibility between deciding to go the animation route or going the comic/graphic novel route.
I wish I had more to show you, but I think I have to move on from thinking that everything has to be perfect before I can share it. The ultimate goal here is to keep some habit of being a storyteller and to tell the story. That may mean that I show some unfinished work here and there. If anyone knows the animator Robert Valley, tell him I wanted to give him a thanks and shout out on my blog here because he really got me into a space where I wanted to figure out how to share my updates. So Robert Valley, much appreciated. There will be more updates as I progress, but this was just about getting started to give everyone an idea of where I'm at with.