So, I decided to revisit "Warrior's Lament", an adaptation of a screenplay by the same name by Brian Howell. He gave me permission to make the adaptation, I've recorded the emails as proof, but I've not been able to contact him about it for a while to show him the previous versions. I hope to be able to show him the end result one day. And I hope he'll like the end result, and that I was able to do the story justice this time...
The story is about a young woman who fights with a beast, and ultimately she loses. Then it is revealed to be a metaphor for a young woman fighting cancer.
I've drawn this comic twice before: once as a silent color comic, the second as a black and white summary of the story. Both didn't work because his pacing is so impeccable and it chokes me up when I read it.
Also, I think I draw better now. So I figure I'd give it another shot, this story deserves my best effort.
The story will be drawn in 3:2 wide panels, a nod to the screenplay origin, and to give me room to get two characters in there facing each other.
For photo reference, I'd already licensed lots of images from the utterly amazing website posespace.com.
I draw each panel independently, on a fresh piece of paper, so I can change, add or remove panels later on. Below is the process of drawing the first panel. I don't know if I can show the original photo here, but it is based off the photo reference anaiv208_09 from posespace.com.
You can see three steps in drawing this panel: 1) pencils of the nude model pose, 2) pencils of her posed clothed, 3) the inked version.
As an aside 1, I learned the trick of tracing over sketches to improve them by looking at Youtube films of Glen Keane drawing. Just amazing to see how he hones a drawing by flopping a new leaf of paper over a drawing and then improving on it.
As an aside 2, you see the blue lines on the line art. I am experimenting with that a bit, I have a program that can separate these out and set up initial "flatting", areas of the same color. I'm not sure about this one yet, maybe coloring with a Wacom or actual water colors is better.
Coloring I'm not good at yet, but for this comic I want to try hues 30 (orange) and 210 (blue), complementary colors, one warm, the other cold, and in combination with tuning the value and saturation, I can get skin colors, the orange color for her kimono, the blue sky, and (in combination with black/gray) I can get rock colors, and hopefully nice dark cool colors for the monster guy. Also, I can use the "warm" orange color to represent the earthy part: the rocks, the protagonist and her kimono, and the cool "blue" color to represent "the heavenly" part: the sky, the monster she's fighting. The antagonist is a metaphor for death.
For this panel, and this entire story, I decided to have the protagonist at the right and antagonist at the left, so it feels like the protagonist is struggling to go to the left, against the reading direction. I also tried to suggest depth through foreground (the protagonist), middle (the ridge of the mountain) and background (the clouds). She's left of center, at one-third of the right, making the image more interesting (golden ratio), and unbalanced, suggesting the imbalance of the situation.
The script part that this image was based on:
"Katsuko draws her sword. In a hunter's stance, she creeps towards the Dark Angel."
This is the first sketch, the nude model posed. I hadn't drawn for a few days, so I struggled with it. The drawing isn't very good, but it did serve as the basis for the next drawing and as a warm-up sketch.
Here's the sketch, based off the previous one, where she wears a kimono.
This is the so-called inked version. Note the blue lines, they will help with the initial flatting later on.
Here the image is flatted (colored with initial tentative colors) with a computer program.
And the final one with colors plunked down by me, before being lettered (the final lettered result is at the head of this work log entry). An initial stab at coloring at least.
That's it for now.
The goal is to have something to send to publishers, to see if they'd be intested in publishing something like this in its finished form.
I finished the thumbnails for "Warrior's Lament". It wasn't easy puzzling together the photo reference for it, but I think I like how the pacing came out. At any length, I'm putting it away for a while so I can return to it with a fresh pair of eyes. And an editor indicated he may have time to give me feedback on it also, so I'll wait for that.
So on I go, working on the theater play comics.
So why do a work log? I got this idea from the Comics Experience forums where comics writers keep a work log. It is very interesting, to me at least, to read someone else's process, and there's a lot going on in the process that forget about eventually.
But, as my 3-year-old daughter would ask, "why?" Several reasons. It is a place for me to document the decisions I made, to explain to my future self why I made a dumb decision. It is for those few people out there (hi mom, dad!) who may be interested in the process, and it feels nice to finish something once in a while. It keeps you going. The project I am now working on is the biggest one so far, so a regular schedule where I release a journal entry in which I write down how things are going will, hopefully, help me keep momentum.
So, for the first installment: what am I working on?
I'm finally ... going to be pitching a book to publishers!