Project Diary 1/8/12.
The January edition of my ongoing status report on Issue Four of shitty webcomics: I have 45-ish pages “flatted” for color— most, either the bare, bare minimum flatting (single color over a shape) or just Bpelt filter flats, which are just junk. I have about 7-12-ish pages drawn or nearly-finalized but not flatted. And I have about… I would like another 5-10 pages of art before I feel like the drawing is completed, maybe 3 of which are loosely thumbnailed. All designed around a 16 panel grid— though my plan is to have intentional dead space within the grid to accommodate large chunks of dialogue, with the grid just as an invisible skeleton rather than an overt presence, you know? (The grid will be meaningless online anyways— it’ll just be this unreadable scroll of repetitive talking heads.)
My original plan was to just have 10 pages of clip art, 10 pages of illustrations and to knock this out in 2011, as fast as possible; that plan kind of fell apart though when I did some test pages to see how it felt. It didn’t feel good, so.
Thoughts now turning to color theory and my incompetence there. Looking a lot at Matt Wilson’s “Thought Process” entry on some Wonder Woman pages— not the finished colors but the process-y “test pages.” (c/o) That’s where I’ve been heading after seeing Appollo & Oiry’s Une vie sans Barjot— big flat monochromatic beats. Wilson’s process flats have even less detail than Appollo-Oiry; more extreme— he’s just doing the minimum to separate out areas, moods for himself and not as a finished product. I like that more than the finished colors though— my eyes can focus more on the Cliff Chiang art, some essential comic-ness is more immediate with the process. (That’s always the case though— dude’s thumbnails > dude’s comics…)
I also really dug these color versions of Scott Pilgrim pages that the Cosmic Heart tumblr put together, how there’s these great flat colors but then that texture on top— I think that’s just a color halftone on top with a low-opacity, but I’m not sure.
So those are the two things I’m thinking about. I just know I don’t want to do single-color— that bullshit signifier of “classiness” that single color’s become. ”This comic about a family crisis at a turn of the century wood factory is black, white and a single muted-urine color.” I get that need to steer away from the shit skid of bad “I own photoshop!” mainstream comics— and most people aren’t going to steer into the skid like Lynn Varley did (gloriously)(I mean it!) in Dark Knight 2. But anything that reeks of good taste like that, I’m probably not the right guy for that. If I aim for bold, I miss and hit garish I won’t mind so much while if I aim for classy, I miss and hit boring. I mind garish less than boring…
In a low-opinion place where the writing’s concerned, this month. I’m back to thinking it’s not funny enough— the story’s just all shitty. I fixed the parts that were gushing blood but rewriting feels like surgery on a corpse. It’s a longer piece, set in the “real world,” with no narration so it feels too much like a bullshit movie, and totally fails by those standards. It’s just endless bullshit dialogue. The characters, world, feel— they aren’t comic-y enough. The internet’s great for shorter pieces, so going long just keeps feeling like this mistake I keep making. Or reading that new Tales Designed to Thrizzle the same night as watching that new Portlandia— it’s like… “just try to be funny and then cut the bullshit and stop wasting people’s time” seems like such a better life-strategy. I don’t know.
I’ve done this before so I’m used to going through these stretches, at least— all in the game. At the end of the day, it’s only, like, 5 people going to read any of this, anyways, and 3 of them are just looking for a way to kill some refractory time, you know? So. So yeah: a comic filled with tiny panels of talking heads, reciting nonsense, next to a lot of empty space, colored in primary colors with shitty textures on top. What’s not to love?!