I am working on wrapping up the Photoshop work on “A Long Forgotten Fairytale” and writing and drawing a new story, to be included in the NEXT book. I am not very far on the new story but I am really liking the writing so far. It’s pretty funny, I think. I was excited to start something new since the fairytale book was restarted twice as I was working on it.
Redoing pages and panels…or whole stories is a humbling experience. Nothing makes you second guess your talents than having to redo something. I mean, I’ve been drawing all my life, and have been doing Uptown Girl stories for over ten years. Redoing something really annoys me. I’ll redo something for various reasons. If I redraw something because the first time I drew I was in a bit of a rush, well that’s one thing. But when I look at something I did and I redo because IT SUCKS, well, that’s another thing.
Something that I pay attention to when I draw is if I am bored while I draw it. The best stuff comes when I am excited. But the story I’ve been working on now is making me bored, and it shows. I might not even know I’m bored or it sucks for a couple days.
For example, look at page 1 from the current story. Mind you, I haven’t cleaned it up in Photoshop yet or bordered off the panels, but you get the idea:
Nothing too terrible about it. Typical Uptown Girl story….simple drawing, minimum background, some crosshatching…but as I did more pages, I realized that I was bored drawing it. I was bored of the layout. I was bored drawing panel after panel after panel. Which kind of scared me. I mean, that’s what comics are, drawing panel after panel after panel. My technique was also off. I am not the best crosshatcher in the world, but it seemed that I was getting worse. I noticed I was using crosshatching as a bit of a cheat to make the panel more interesting than it really was.
So I moped around for a day, and I decided I had better figure something out. I am not done with doing Uptown Girl comics, or comics at all. So I sat in my studio and looked at comics. Some of the inspiration for the “new” Uptown Girl stories that started with 2011’s “Big City Secrets” was drawn from Kevin Cannon…
and, to an extent, R. Crumb.
I loved the texture, I love the crosshatching. And it worked well for a while. So I went the opposite way this time. I looked at artwork that was deceptively simple, no texture, just solid back and white work, James Kochalka, for example:
…and Joost Swarte.
I thought I’d give it a shot with Uptown Girl, at least for this story. So I am…sigh…redrawing the whole thing. This time I am only 8 pages in, as opposed to 70 when I restarted ‘A Long Forgotten Fairytale’ the second time.
So here’s the NEW page one. I am also playing around with the panel format a bit. I think I am heading down the right path, I am excited to draw each night…and that hasn’t happened for a while.
And to the 6 people who read this blog, let me know what you think!