There’s more to life than books, you know, but not much more

Hello and stuff.

This week I have decided to spare mankind from having to view my ‘artwork’ and instead show you a couple of the rough page layouts from the comic. Now I don’t want to alarm you, but you’re about to see actual illustrations, by an actual illustrator. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the pictures that normally accompany this blog, which could accurately be described as the kind of thing your mum might produce if she’d suddenly been handed a tablet…and was concussed…and drunk.

The two examples below were drawn during a recent meeting between myself and Matt, the comic’s artist, in a cafe in Winchester. For the benefit of any non-UK readers Winchester is a lot like gangland LA, only with cathedrals…and slightly more tweed. Given that these pictures were sketched on the fly, they are, as you might expect, a little rough around the edges. None the less they give you a fairly clear indication of the visual style we’re going for and how the finished product will likely look.

The two pages detail the history of (protagonist) Nick and (love interest) Maggie’s relationship, which is relayed via a monologue from Nick. In the comic Nick is a struggling video game designer, which gave me the idea of having this section resemble retro, 1980s  games. That’s essentially all the direction I put in the script, the rest was left to Matt. Thankfully he’s imaginative enough to be able to take a vague, ambiguous suggestion like that and run with it.

As their origins are told through an internal monologue like this it allows us to be relatively abstract with the imagery being used, unlike with the conventional dialogue scenes which are, visually speaking, a little more grounded in reality.

Next to each picture I’ve added the text, as it appeared in the script, for anyone that wants to read along.

Relationship Backstory 1

“PAGE 10

The fact that we even made it to a first date says more about her than it does me – frankly anyone that’s willing to give a second chance to someone that literally covers them in vomit during their first meeting (long story) must be blessed with a pretty forgiving spirit. How I managed to convince her to go on a date with me after that I’m not sure.

 The second date was a lot easier to secure though, mainly because I embarked on a campaign of cyber stalking. It’s that slightly shocking, thoroughly 21st century pursuit, that’s strangely acceptable nowadays. With only a few clicks of the mouse I quickly learned her personality and adapted mine accordingly. Then, thanks to some thorough Googling, I could soon pass myself off as an expert on Bob Dylan, Picasso and the films of Fellini. All of which I unashamedly claimed to have loved for many years.”

Relationship backstory 2

“PAGE 11

 Within a year we’d moved in together, Maggie’s career continued its ascent, whilst mine continued its descent, but it’s amazing what a glorious distraction being in love is. For the first time since moving to London I was happy, regardless of my career being in the toilet.

 On our third anniversary I proposed to Maggie. I wracked my brain trying to work out how I should do it. I wanted it to be unique and different, which turned out to be a lot harder than I’d expected. Being unique is difficult this far into human existence. In the end I decided to make her a video game, just what all girls want right? It was pretty basic and kind of dorky, in a charmingly romantic sort of a way. It consisted of a single level set to the music of Bob Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate (Maggie’s favourite song). To progress through the level she navigated past key moments from our life together and then it ended with a pixilated version of myself asking her to marry me. Thankfully she said yes.”

So, there you have it – an immensely exciting (I say that objectively, not subjectively) look behind the scenes at the making of our comic. A project which will either result in some kind of Nobel prize for being immeasurably awesome or will prove to be the key which unlocks my inevitable breakdown.

Next week expect a return to rubbish pictures and non-insightful ramblings. But, before you go, you should check out Matt’s facebook page, Tea and Pencils, for further examples of his artistic wizardry.

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