Now that Mark is in my life, and comic books have been a big part of his for decades, I have a different appreciation for comic books than I have before.
(Actually, that isn't completely true. I fell in love with the Elfquest series in high school. What drew me was the fantasy aspect - big surprise - and the gorgeous art.)
Anyway, during a visit to our local comic store, when I saw that The Game of Thrones had been made into a graphic novel, I bypassed titles that I'd never heard of and opened it up.
What drew me, again not surprisingly, was the breathtaking art and color, along with the story I already loved. I bought it, and just recently picked it up and read it in two days. And, like the geek I am, I read it cover to cover, including the making of the graphic novel.
What struck me, and what I wanted to share with you, was what the artist, Tommy Patterson, said about his process:
"Laying out the pages takes the most brain power of anything I do. I do twenty-nine layouts over two days, and I am zapped the next day. As an artist who likes to draw because it's fun, this is true labor. I'm in the process of convincing my whiny butt that it's good for me and the story to do them all up front. The work flow is way easier, so Anne, Tricia, and Daniel can find errors BEFORE they get drawn on the actual page. So much of being a pro is working through bad days or working on corrections. I'm still in the process of developing productive habits. I'll figure out an easy way one day."
"I like blue for the underdrawing because when I come in with graphite, it's like correcting someone else's drawing. I find errors are easier to see that way. After the page is done, I scan it in and print it out at reduced size. Again, it's like seeing someone else's drawing. Artists are blind to their own work, so you have to trick yourself to see what is really there and not what you think is there."
As writers (artists using a different medium), we can take the following from Tommy:
- He has a process (like using a different color to draw with and then scan and reduce). He knows what works for him. He is also looking at the ENTIRE process, not just the creating. He knows he'll have to edit later, so he has a process that works.
- Creating can be hard. We have to convince ourselves that we want to create, especially when it's for a deadline or a project, not just whimsical, "Oh, I'll just play around a bit..."
- "Artists are blind to their own work." PLEASE HEAR THIS! We are not objective judges of our own work. That's why, if we self-edit, we must step away from it for a period of time so that we can come back to it as if we weren't the ones who created it.
- Along that line, what is there and what is what we THINK is there are not always the same.
How does this apply to you and your writing?