Can’t believe we’re trucking along with Issue 3 at this clip! We’re only a few weeks away from the halfway mark!
So this’ll be a fairly shortish writeup– It’s been a pretty slammed week, and I’m still playing catchup from the weekend at Comic-Con. In fact, I’ve already started my writeup for Thursday– so, in lieu of a long process writeup this week, we’ll have a pretty good sized blog entry on Thursday– please swing by for it!
Because I’m going short with PROCESS, I thought I’d take up a suggestion made by Drezz (from the awesome Noir OGN, “El Cuervo“) to break down to a “Bullet Point” format. Funny that the guy who does a noir comic suggests bullets, right?
Due to time (and recouping from Con), I’m going to give that a shot this week. Don’t worry, we’ll return to our “Full writeup” format next week!
* If you flip back and forth between last week’s page and this one, you can really see how DJ was careful to “block” his scene– “Blocking” is basically a fancy word that explains where you’re putting your actors and “Camera”–
What you’ll notice is that for Page 8 primary kept the camera focus TOWARDS the Stage. Whereas this week’s page: We’re looking OUT to the Audience.
That’s a really great way of keeping the scene visually interesting. It’s one location, but between the two pages, we feel like we’ve “moved” a bit.
* The other neat part about flipping the scene is that DJ can now showcase even more character on the reverse angle. For example, on page 8, we didn’t see how Don and Sears had TP’ed the balcony. Sure, it’s a little thing– but it’s also a great little character-bit. Something that visually shows their utter disregard for the theater, to be sure!
* I’m also a big fan of the “Backstage background” in Panel 2. Not something that anyone would call a ton of attention to, but to me, it really “buys” the location. Little details really help bring the reader into the story.
* Speaking of little details: I’m forever amazed at those little things I never notice until Lisa’s colors come in. Take for example, the Electric Socket in Panel 4. You probably didn’t even notice it. I know I didn’t in the line art– but it popped out when the colors came in!
It’s always great seeing those tiny little things that colors bring to the forefront!
* Brant’s cool moment of the page is quite obviously Panel 2– I gave him a ton of chewy dialogue there, and while I knew he was going to break up the balloon– I didn’t expect that great “Behind the arm” gem!
I love it because, obviously: it isn’t covering up the art (always a cardinal letterer’s rule) and it actually adds a cool 3rd dimensional look to the panel!
Wow. Bullet Points: All killer, no filler!
Sorry for the super late update today, and the fact that this was a pretty short write up– like I said, it’s just been a swamped (and sleep deprived) couple of days. I’ve still got some more Con-wrapup writing for the Thursday blog to do, and (if the coffee kicks in) some scripting for Issue 4 to do tonight!
Next week we get back to our main story beat– and man, it’s a doozy of a beat! Honestly, it’s a long one and it’s going to drop a pretty massive bombshell on the Spy6teen universe. I told you before that Issue 3 is the one where things are unveiled…Trust me, I wasn’t kidding.
We’ll see ya next week for:
“There are some things you should know…”
Back to the Present!!
And some gray skies are looming!!
This scene was kind of fun to write, given the extreme emotional roller-coaster drop Cally is about to experience. Starting Cally in panel 1 (where she’s basically on Cloud 9) and then delivering devastating news just 3 panels later…yeah, writers can be kind of sadistic.
(Then again, I almost equally beat up on Blake, don’t I? Geez, guy isn’t even ON this page and I still beat him up!)
At the same time, who hasn’t experienced that day of feeling great, only to have bad news knock you in the teeth? That said, I did want to slightly soften the blow by having our resident drama/musician/all around cheerful guy, Miles, deliver the news.
I don’t think anyone out there is a Miles fan yet, but I think he’s going to be a fun character– it’s funny, through the course DJ popping him into the story, I’ve really kinda grown to like him…anyhow, next week he gets his big scene with Cally, so everyone will finally get a chance to actually meet the guy!
The centerpiece of the page is certainly DJ’s glamour shot of Montauk High. I’m a big fan of how he’s designed the school to be a character unto itself– if you have any doubts to that, just check out this initial sketch/layout of the school grounds– and this is before we even got started on the book!
As you can see, the entire grounds have been laid out– we might not SEE all of it, but it’s good to know it’s there!
Character-wise, he populated the scene with a bunch of background players all beinging the greiving processes– I do like the one girl starting the candlelight vigil, who I popped into the script:
Students mill about, a few are hugging each other, one student holds a candle— a few groups huddle together, talking quietly.
Of course, now that I see her, I’m not sure where she got this candle from– I’m almost thinking she’s been carrying it around for the last year, waiting for something tragic to happen…hmmm, perhaps a future character!
The more subtle DJ moment of the page is Cally’s expression through Panels 1 to 3– DJ’s acting once again comes into play, as you really get a feel for Cally’s internal dialogue through her facial expressions.
The slow change of someone walking and smiling to the look of concern perfectly aligns with the Cap boxes…again, it’s subtle– but great!
It’s our first “grey day” in Montauk!
I’m a big fan of changing weather in fiction– Thus far Spy6teen has mostly been a “Blue Skies” story, but as we’re moving into Cally’s emotional downturn, it makes sense to start to change the overall climate to reflect it.
I was actually really curious to see how Lisa was going to handle the gloomy skies– and in fact, when DJ mentioned that he was headed in this direction, Lisa got really excited at the prospect.
If you look closely at the panels, you’ll see some really fantastic cloud effects hanging over the scene– Although I couldn’t live under those clouds 7-days a week (heck, I live in Southern California– we barely ever see that weather!) I do love a gloomy Sunday from time to time!
It’s cool to see the justipoxion of Cally’s clothes against the day as well– since she woke up in a great mood, she dressed in brighter colors– despite the weather. It’s a small little character touch, but really effective at letting us know where she is.
I gave Brant a lot of big blocky passages for this page– so he ended up breaking them up into smaller sections– which really serves the readiblity of the page.
In Panel 1, you can see the shift in CAP 2 where Brant made a “Lettering edit”– I like the fact that he offset in the middle, creating a “fake box”.
At this point, I trust Brant to know what’s best for a Spy6teen page– Even breaking up the dialouge, he’s maintained a conversational flow, which is obviously very important for a voice-over section.
Still slowly chipping away at Issue 2’s release– We’re hoping to have some stuff done just in time to get eaten alive by San Diego Comic Con!
Speaking of which, is anyone planning on going? I’ll be there doing some light Spy6teen promoting (and by light, I mostly mean meeting people and talking about it)– so, let me know if you’ll be there and we’ll try to schedule a hangout!
On the Top Web Comics side, I’ve FINALLY updated the incentive image!
I’m actually taking AniMatsuri’s advice and stop trying to update the incentive weekly. Frankly, I’m not sure how effective showing layouts were– I’m sure some of you guys were into it– but most of you would probably rather see finished work. So we’re going to be moving the incentive images into more of a monthly format…Hopefully you’ll still be enthused enough to vote for us a few times a week though!
So, to that: We’ve got a cool piece of art that was developed awhile back– but kept nice and hidden– So, it’s sort of a Spy6teen exclusive which I think is really appropriate for this week’s page!
Just click the link below!
Ok, that’s it for this week! Seeya back at Blog@16 this Thursday!!
NEXT WEEK: MILES BREAKS THE NEWS…
Welcome to a new Blog@16 series, “Make Comics”– There’s a few reasons I’m moving into the “series” format, the biggest of which is that I think it’ll make the information I’ve posted a little easier to find and presented in a clearer format.
The goal of the series is to get you guys who are waffling on making a comic to go out and MAKE a comic. Everything that you need to know about creating one will be covered in this series. I’m also hoping that a few of the other creators who frequent us will weigh in with their thoughts on the nuts and bolts of the process.
A friend of mine recently asked me for a tutorial on building a webcomic site, and I’ve also had more than a few screenwriter friends asking how you go about making a comic. In the interest of laziness, I can now point them to this series of articles. We’ll be covering everything here– from writing your story to finding collaborators, all the way to pitching to publishers.
Should be fun!
Now, the disclaimer: I’m not Alan Moore. I’m not Scott McCloud. And I’m not Warren Ellis (my liver couldn’t handle being Warren Ellis!)– I’m just a guy who is 3 issues into a comic. But I’ve kicked around the business enough to have gained a halfway decent perspective– so, I figure I’m in an ok place to pass that along.
So with that, let’s get started, shall we?
MAKE COMICS #1: Quit.
Level of Commitment: High.
Seriously. If you’re thinking about making a comic, quit while you’re ahead. It’ll save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.
I get it. You’ve always wanted to make your own comic, put it out there for the world to see– maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get to make a living at it. Quit the horrible cubical job you have. Live the life of an awesome creator. Make billions off of the cartoon rights.
Except that’s not going to happen. If you want to be a Todd McFarlane-esque Comic Book/Video Game/Toy mogul– you’d really be better served buying 8 lottery tickets a day. Trust me, your odds are better there.
Maybe you aren’t in it for the money.
You should still quit.
You might not realize the amount of time it’s going to take you to really do this thing. If you’re working a day job, it means that you’ll come home after a tough day and have to face a blank page. Why? Because your second shift just started. Would you really work an extra job for no money? Wouldn’t it be better for your bank account in the long run if you just picked up a night time job? I mean, they’ll pay you!
There’s also that video game coming out next week. You won’t have time to play that, despite the fact that everyone on Twitter is talking about how awesome it is.
You won’t have time to hang out with your friends and family. I mean, you’ll be able to squeeze in time here and there– but your mind is going to be elsewhere. That phrase, “Quality Time”? Yeah, that’s gone.
Maybe you don’t have a family– maybe you’re single: Well, you’ll probably stay that way. Because you don’t get to meet people while you’re sitting at home alone and working all night long.
So trust me. Quit while you’re ahead. The road of NOT making stuff is infinitely easier. I haven’t even gotten into the part where you slave for months on a project and everyone you show it to hates it.
…oh, they won’t tell you they hate it. They’ll just whisper behind your back. But you’ll know when they politely smile and say “oh, that’s nice…”
It’ll be easier. Your life will be more fulfilling. Don’t even start…you’ll have more time to take care of yourself. You’ll be in better shape, you’ll have a more active social life, and if you want to pursue this as a full-time thing, you’ll make more money doing something else.
Ok. You can stop reading now. You quit, right?
Or maybe you never left. But I kinda hope you did. Because if you did leave…if you DID go off and quit, you might have learned something about yourself:
You can’t quit.
It sucks. Some people are just wired with a inherent need to create. You tried to leave, but it sucked you back in.
Quitting, and I mean REALLY quitting teaches you something: You can’t do it. Your brain won’t let you.
Like an alcoholic, it’s good to identify. That’s why the first step I recommend is quitting. Because once you come to the realization you can’t– you’ve backed yourself into a corner. You might as well get on with creating, because… you’ve got no other choice.
A man once told me, “Get busy livin’, or get busy dying.” That man’s name was Tim Robbins. He didn’t actually say it to me, he said it to Morgan Freeman, and I am not Morgan Freeman…although I wouldn’t mind if you read my writing in his voice.
Point being, it’s time to get started.
Now, if you’re like me, you aren’t independently wealthy. You’ve got a job because you have bills. You want to quit your job to pursue your comic, but your landlord doesn’t take original art as payment.
Well, you’re actually in luck due to Parkinson’s Law— which states:
Work expands to fill the time needed for it’s completion.
I know how it goes: Wake up, go to work, commute home sucks, you’ve got “house stuff” to do as soon as you walk in the door. Suddenly it’s 11pm and you just want to zone out on some TV.
Weekends are no better– You’ve got errands to run, maybe a birthday party to hit. Plus, you’re exhausted from the week– you don’t have time to create.
But you do…You’ve just got to find it.
And the thing is: You’ll accomplish more in that time than someone who has a totally free day. Why? Because you HAVE to.
I’ve been on a lot of film/TV productions and sets, and there’s a saying there (I think it’s true of a lot of offices as well): You want something done? Ask someone who’s busy.
You’re busy. I know. But the time is there. Just an hour or two a day– scheduled. That’s the important part.
Ever wanted to write a novel, but were daunted by the thought of the massive size an undertaking like that would take? You don’t have the time to write a novel!
But you probably have the time to write one page a day. If you did that, just one page a day, for a year: You’d have a 365 page novel.
You’ve already quit and come back, so there’s no point in denying you have to create. And there’s no reason you’ll be as miserable as I outlined at the start of this piece (you know that was just to weed the weak ones out, right?)– You just have to play it smart.
I’m a tad wary of Productivity Tools– I like to muss with them from time to time, but generally I end up wasting a ton of time futzing around with them and NOT working– thus defeating the entire premise.
That said, here’s your most important productivity tool:
That’s it. Just a desk. A workspace that says: “I’m working here, please don’t bother me.” If you live with family members, you’ll be surprised how effective it is at dissuading them from interrupting you.
It’ll also slowly put you in the mindset of getting things done. This is your space. This is where you get things done.
Speaking of productivity and getting things done, have you heard of the GTD system?
That’d be Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders – Which is a great system of organization and getting things done. Give it a read over– I’m not saying it’s going to be a complete solution for you, it wasn’t for me, but I did pilfer a thing or two out of it that I was able to integrate into my own work habits.
A calendar is really important. Particularly if you’re like me and you’re juggling multiple projects. And honestly, Google’s Calendar is fantastic for scheduling tons of stuff– I actually stole a bit from Wastelands writer Antony Johnson in terms of my calendar setup– check it out:
If you don’t think you have time, start with a log of a week– don’t focus on creating, just figure out what it is you do with the hours in the day. THEN find holes.
If you can, try to schedule your projects to the hours that you work best. For me, I’m a night owl. My strongest creative impulses come to me between the hours of 10pm to 4am– so I schedule my writing session for those times. I’m not always up until 4am…but I know I can be.
(I’ll also suffer for it the next day…but hey: That’s the price of art!)
No matter how hectic your life is, you can figure out an hour or two for yourself a few times a week. Find those times and book yourself. Don’t allow interruptions. Turn off the internet if you can. Don’t check up on Facebook/Twitter– this is not the time.
Now’s the time to create. Like Tim Robbins said: Get busy living, or get busy dying.
Next week: It starts with the Story, stupid!
If this article was helpful to you, please drop us a vote at Top Web Comics!
Back in a bit with a supplimentary blog/contest!!
And next week: