I am excited to be a guest at this year’s Fallcon in Saint Paul, MN. The show is scheduled for Saturday, October 5th from 10am until 6pm. This will be my first convention in almost two years. I’ll have copies of Uptown Girl graphic novels and copies of the second volume of The Retros as well. If you want a commissioned piece to pick up at the show, please let me know!
Other than that, I am plugging away at Norah Locke. For a while I kept going back and forth about whether it was going to be three 200ish page books or one big book. Ultimately I decided to go with one big book. I thought it would be a lot of fun (and insane) to do a giant 500-600 page novel. This is a massive undertaking but I am around… 75 pages into it. I hope to be at 100 pages before the end of the year. Traveling for work does allow plenty of dedicated time to work on it as I draw on the plane, at airports, at the hotel, restaurants…
Sometimes I think this book is too ambitions, not only in page count but also in terms of research. I am doing a lot of field research, in a way. Since the book takes place in White Bear Lake, where I live, I am using my town for reference. Norah walks down the same streets I do, she gets ice cream where I take my kids, and lives in the woods by my home. Although no one will probably notice (or care), I am taking photos to use as inspiration for the book. For example, here’s a picture of a neat little bridge in the woods:
And here’s a scene from the book:
Forgive the sloppy word balloons, I haven’t gotten around to properly lettering it yet. The drawing isn’t as detailed as the photo and I’ve taken some liberties, but the art is a lot more detailed than I originally set out it to be. When I started to redraw this book on my iPad, I thought I would simplify the art a lot more. I am a fan of James Kochalka and I really like his book ‘Elf Cat in Love’, which takes place in a forest. I like his simple black and white line work, without much embellishment.
But I couldn’t nail it, so I stuck with the original style and look.
It did get a little boring drawing trees, but using photos as a reference helped inspire different things to add, such as the log and different types of trees. Thankfully the part of the book I am drawing now has moved out of the woods and into a labyrinth of sorts. I’m sure it will get boring drawing stone walls and hidden passageways soon enough, but for now it’s refreshing to draw something new.