Saturday, 12 March 2016

Aardvark Comment: Creating Comics

Cerebus Guide To Self-Publishing
by Dave Sim
(from a comment posted on AMOC, 11 March 2016)
...The "finished a page" was what mattered to me. I will never be a great comic book creator, but I have done a lot of comics pages, and to me, it always came down to finishing a page. I mostly wrote it in advance, and laid the page out in loose pencils (because my art sucks, so why waste time penciling) but on my last big graphic novel, I realized finishing a page per day was what mattered. I laid out most of the book in pencils, word balloons included, and started finishing it, hoping that my planned ending would work by the time I got there.

Early on, I did a page a day. Ink the letters, then the panel borders, then the page itself. And then, particularly after an easy page, I noticed I had 'gas left in the engine,' so why not get a bit ahead as long as I'm working? Do the lettering for the next couple of pages. And the panel borders, once I start getting ahead. Next page has seven panels, and two of them are easy? Knock them out right now and tomorrow I only have to draw five panels, Or maybe six panels are easy, but one is hard, so if I do the hard one now, tomorrow will be an easy day.

Get far enough ahead, and it really helps. Some days, I didn't feel like doing any drawing, but I did lettering and panel borders for the next 12/15/20 pages. Other days, I didn't finish a page, but I drew eight or ten panels on random pages, so it kind of qualified as a win. Some days, I literally only drew one panel, but it finished a page, so it was more of a win than those 'eight or ten' panel days.

And some days I simply couldn't get anything done. Too busy, too burnt out, couldn't find the interest, whatever, but I drew a 200-page graphic novel in just over five months. Maybe eight months if you count having the initial idea and working out the plot and writing/laying out most of it. I'm quite proud of it, and to this day I still aspire to have enough money to find an artist/letterer that will make it readable.

Dave isn't the only example of a work ethic that I take inspiration from, but his example alone is amazing. [So are the others I take inspiration from.] And I have to admit, he's the guy I take literal inspiration from, like finishing a page a day. Some days you just can't do it. So you have to work extra hard on the other days to make up for your failures.

To prove my point, I've had this 'finishing a page a day' example in my head for over a decade now, and I've always aspired to the day where I could tell Dave Sim just what I thought of his 'do a page a day' example from the "Guide to Self-Publishing." And knowing that he's not going to read these comments, I'd rather write this long post here and now, hopefully getting it out of my system (the post, not the work ethic) just to say I did it. 

Submit your Aardvark Comments to: momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com


Travis Pelkie said...

Disagree with anything else from Dave, but if you want to be a creator of regularly published comics, I doubt you could find a better book about comics creating than the Guide. I need to dig that out and get re-inspired.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

By coincidence, I followed a link to this speech by Dave that I think still holds up:

-- Damian

CerebusTV said...

The episode with Dave narrating portions of the Guide, while creating the art for that latest edition, is currently leading the lineup of past episodes at the site.