Saturday, April 24, 2004

24 Hour Comic Day: Hours 1 - 8. 

Let's start this with how my day was going right up until I began the comic writing festival:

Got about 4 hours of sleep last night. Couldn't sleep, too anxious about miscellany, HUGE lightning storm outside with pounding thunder, and had to get up at like 7am so I could go off and do a charity thing. Help restock, reshelve, and organize a public library. Did that till about 12:30, got some lunch (no caffiene, none was available), came home. Already yawning. Not a good sign.

Sat down and started brainstorming at 1:30 CST today. I admit I already had a germ of an idea I'd been discussing with Xe (at great length) awhile ago. I find that, given those discussions, and some handy books I have on related topics, I hack out a (very rough) outline in like 10 minutes.

So far, so good.

I head downstairs, away from the infernal computing machine, to sit in relative silence (iPod, game soundtrack remixes, and Faith No More to drown out ambient noise) and start hacking it out, page by page. The basic idea is that I'm going to storyboard the comic and then actually go back and try to do GOOD drawings, which is a laff and a half, since I can't draw a convincing straight line. After I draw the "good" stuff (on boards, the kind you use to bag comics, thought it'd make a nice touch), I'd type up and print out all the dialogue and caption narration because my handwriting blows goats for quarters. Good plan.

Still yawning. Bad news: I'm low on Coca Cola. Shitty Planning 1, Ken Lowery 0.

The rest goes fairly smoothly. First page comes out in about 15 minutes. Second page has a good general idea, and 3 of 5 panels drawn. All panels with the narration. Going pretty fast; I start to think I'll actually pull this off.

Then I get to a major dialogue scene. In toto, this dialogue scene, between two characters at a diner, takes 3 pages of comic book. I suddenly gain immense respect for artists like Steve Dillon and Pia Guerra, who flawlessly and unnoticably add dynamic flow to stuff like two dudes sitting in a diner fucking talking. How do you keep that shit fresh and visually interesting for three pages?

I'm no artist, so I can't do neato three-quarters elevated angles on the conversers, so I'm stuck with profile pictures of one or both people, dead-on shots, and one panel I'm rather proud of: A fork hovers over a bite of food, as one guy asks the other, "Gonna eat that?" ...before the real meat of the conversation carries on. A nice pause.

Five hours in, I need a fucking break. I'm chewing on my pencil like crazy, sharpening it when it doesn't need sharpening, forced to a standstill at the end of this GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING DINER TALKING SCENE.

I'm yawning like crazy.

So me and the roomie head to Zeus to buy some shit. They're reducing the store size, so they're liquidating a bunch of stock, and I needed the time off to let my brain relax. We go to Zeus, we grab some Wendy's, we come back, we watch some Chapelle's Show, and I get back into it.

Except I can't. I'm stuck again. And The L Word is on Showtime, and these chicks are fucking each other about every 5 minutes. Naked. Heaving. Tongues everywhere. I could change the channel, but... sweaty naked lesbian love, man. This isn't the fake-tits-fake-tan-fake-blonde lesbian porn they make for guys. This is lesbian sex filmed for lesbians, which is so much better. Not even Mike Patton can stop me from watching that stuff.

So here I am. Updating you. And I'm about to head back into the trenches.

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