Three More Sleeps…

Three more sleeps and then I launch the Droblar web comic. (-_-;)

    That’s me sweating bullets, by the way. ^

Thanks Google for the emoticon.

I have to admit that I’m nervous. I’m not sure how to pace the script. I’m not sure how to pace the artwork. I don’t want to draw every movement – functionally animating the darn thing. I don’t want to be too sparing with the artwork and run the risk of leaning too heavily on narration.

… but wait, there is yet more rending and gnashing.

I’m still learning how to draw. I’m still learning how to illustrate on my Surface Pro 2. I know how I want all the characters to look but there are still several that I’ve yet to draw. Like… even once. I also most certainly do NOT have anything close to 360° references for, well… any of them. Nor do I have a handle on conveying emotional states in the artwork.

Let’s face it. I’m completely winging this.

You know what, though? I’m launching on Tuesday regardless.

I like the story. I want to share it.

I had a chance to talk to Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary and Writing Excuses fame at WorldCon this past September. I attended a small group meet ‘n’ greet called a coffeeklatch. In fact, it was the morning after the Writing Excuses cast won their Hugo. The coffee was attended almost exclusively by fans. That’s cool and all, but I was hoping to talk nuts ‘n’ bolts about graphic novels and web comics.

My disappointment was short lived, however. Howard took an extra 15-20 minutes after the scheduled meeting to talk one-on-one with me. Thank you Howard for being cool like that. Anyway, I think the conversation was instrumental in pushing me from sketching scenes from the story to actually telling the story.

Much of the conversation can be summed up as, “Get over yourself, Andy. Stop inventing artificial hurdles and excuses to not share the story.”

So… I’m not.

I’m diving in with plans for success. If things go pear-shaped, I’ll regroup and adjust accordingly. But for now I am going to give it my best and be content (if not happy) with the results.

Another thing that Howard mentioned really stuck with me. Interestingly, it was nothing more than a passing aside during an unrelated conversation with a fan during the coffee. The comment was that you’re never going to be happy with the artwork. I think that’s true. I’ve spent enough of my life engaged in various artistic endeavors to know that the more you know, the more you realize there is to know – and to learn.

Artwork is like that. I’m absolutely certain that when I post the 200th panel for the Droblar story, I’ll look back and wish like hell that I could take a mulligan on panels 1-199. But I won’t. I’m going to do my best and I’m going to tell this story. I need to get it out of my head and onto the page. By the time I finish it, there’ll be a dozen more clamoring to get out. I’ll take what the Droblar teach me and those future stories will be the beneficiaries of the lumps, bruises, and learning experiences that I’m sure to encounter over the next several years.

This is a big commitment, but I’m excited to see where it goes. My goal is still to publish only once a week. We’ll see how things go. As I get better with the characters and with my tools, perhaps I’ll be able to up that to twice per week. If I do, fans of the Droblar and regular visitors to the site will be the first to know.

Dani Miller and the Droblar are coming. Drop by droblar.com on Tuesday to say hi, and please accept my thanks for all the support!

Sunday Sketch: Danica

I haven’t done a Sunday Sketch in a while. Sorry about that and please accept my apologies if you enjoy them. Illustrating is definitely a sideline to my writing and it’s suffered due to my travel schedule this past month.

Speaking of travel…

One of the things that happened at Worldcon was that I was able to talk one-on-one with Howard Tayler from the Writing Excus… wait, excuse me. Howard Tayler from the Hugo award-winning Writing Excuses podcast.

I was hoping to track down some nuts ‘n bolts-type info on illustrating graphic novels. Specifically, I was having trouble finding online, educational resources and mentorship for authoring and illustrating them.

It’s tough enough to sift through novel-writing resources. For novels, there’s a lot out there and finding the stuff that works for you can take some time. When you get to graphic novels, things simply get weird. Everything focuses on superhero fan art and doe-eyed anime preteens. Plus half the stuff out there is in Japanese. I took one semester of Japanese in college and holy-hard languages, Batman.

ANYWAY…

I was talking to Howard about that stuff, but the most valuable take-aways I left with were:

  1. Something that I should have admitted to myself all along, and
  2. Something that was very good for me to hear.

Something I should have known all along:

START THE DARNED PROJECT!

I mean, it’s not going to draw itself and the more you learn, the more you know you have left to learn. If you wait until you are absolutely perfect at a particular thing (doesn’t really happen, btw), then you’re pretty much guaranteed to never actually DO anything with the thing. If you think that you get better, and then get better, and then suddenly you barf complete projects and sneeze finished manuscripts, you’re wrong.

And I was, too.

Again.

Just like writing a book… start.

… and then keep at it.

Something that was very good for me to hear:

“You’re never happy with the artwork.”

Now why is it a good thing to hear that the project you’re committing hundreds of hours of investment into will never make you happy?

Easy.

It lets you move on. You’re never going to be happy with the art. Deal with it. Or… don’t do it. Don’t start. Quit. Go do something else. Something that you find rewarding.

But if you can’t quit? If there’s simply no way you can’t not do this project? Start. Do the thing. If you can’t be happy with the art, be content with it. Keep moving.

Hearing a pro like Howard make that statement was just the push I needed to get over myself. To appreciate what I could do. And to accept that I’ll be able to do more – and do it better – later.

Even if that means I will never be happy with the artwork.

Droblar: Dani Miller