If Not For You

Yeah.  It’s been a while, sorry about that.

Earlier this year I pledged to do a non-comic piece of artwork every day.  And it was going fine for a while.  Uptown Girl was wrapping up and I knew this year would be about trying new things, thinking of new art projects and getting out of my comfort zone.  In doing this, I had hoped I would stumble upon my next project.   Of course, I’d still be doing The Retros, but I need to something in addition to that.

I was keeping up just fine on this goal until Inktober rolled around this year.  Up until October, I had been doing little paintings and I was beginning to burn out.  Inktober gave me an excuse to take a break from painting and focus on just drawing each day for a month.  Stepping away from the paint was a nice change of pace and it recharged my painting batteries again.

Once Inktober wrapped up, I pretty much stopped, or at least posting, the daily non-comic artwork.  Normally when I fall short of a goal I get a little discouraged, but I felt I had accomplished what I wanted to…meaning I had stumbled on my next non-Uptown Girl project.

While doing one of the daily paintings this summer, I drew a bear with a rabbit on its head.  I liked the drawing and wondered what their story was.  Writers talk about how some stories just…open up to them and that is exactly what happened here.  I wrote down a very loose story about these two characters and really felt I had something.  Over the next few months I did a of drawings of these two as I tried to get a feel for their personalities, their world and what this story would look like.

It was a lot of fun and they went through a lot of revisions as I tried to get them right.  Eventually I settled on the last bear here.  I liked the shape and the little fur flourishes.  I also liked it looked different than my normal style.

Over the last few months, the story stayed with me as I worked on simplifying it and stripping the story down to its essentials.  Some of the art here shows the bear at a meeting and wearing clothes.  At one point the story was going to take place in a sort of animal city, similar to a Richard Scarry story.    But the more I thought about it, the smaller the world became and focusing on the bear and rabbit as much as possible, at least art-wise, felt right.

I had planned on starting the book in earnest in January.  Starting a new project in the new year felt like a good idea, but as Inktober wrapped up and my painting energy returned, I decided to take advantage of that momentum and jump right into the book.  I wrote a second draft of the book and got to work.

As of this writing, I am about two dozen pages in, and a third draft of the prose is being created as the “voice” is reacting to the artwork, adding a little more life and humor to the story.  I am happy to say that I am four pages away from wrapping up the artwork and I should have it done by the end of the month.  Once the artwork is done, I’ll touch it up and add the text through Photoshop and ta-da, my first version will be done. The hard part is next as I try to find an agent or a publisher.  If I a lucky enough to make it to the next step of getting it published, I am sure I’ll need to do further revisions and likely redo the whole book.  And that’s fine.  Knowing I may need to redo the whole book is actually helpful here as I am not agonizing over every word or brushstroke.  Instead what I’ve done will easily present what I am going for here.

That’s not to say that it’s been all lollipops and rainbows.  Once I started the book for real I started to feel discouraged and intimidated.  I considered giving up and walking away, but the truth is that Sophie has been very excited about the book since I showed her the first drawing and she helped with a lot of ideas.  Her enthusiasm pushed me to completing this project.

IMG_0548

So, this book is for her.  It would have been anyway, but I likely would have abandoned this project if not for her.

I am excited to have this completed and I am looking forward to submitting it to agents and publishers.  There are more options than comic publishers, but it’s also a more competitive, tougher market to get into, but that’s okay.  I have to try.

Today is Sophie’s tenth birthday, and I couldn’t be prouder to call her my daughter.  We draw together, we explore the woods by our house together, we watch cartoons and go to bookstores and ride bikes.  I love being a dad, I love being her dad.  She has shaped my life in uncountable ways.

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “If Not For You

  1. Pingback: Square One | Tiny Boxes - comics by Bob Lipski

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