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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Phase Two Countdown: Day 25!

I wrote exactly 2,400 words on my novel today. That brings me up to 34,233 words. I'm taking a brief break right now and may write more later. As far as story goes, I actually got somewhere, finally segueing into the last section of Part II. It's mostly action at this point, so the story is moving along. I'm just hoping I don't hit a brick wall after I conclude Part II. Here's to doing what I love! *lifts Sprite Zero to toast*

Friday, February 25, 2011

Phase Two Countdown: Day 26!

Nothing to report, except I've spent the last few days procuring a substitute teaching position in art. Given that statement, and the fact that there's a lot of work to get me underway at the new temp job, I'm just now to the point of making time for the other things that are important to me. So here I am, entering the last weekend before I'm officially working again (even though it's just for a while), with every intention of not just catching up, but getting very much ahead in the game.

I'll probably log 8 hours or more a day on both the book and the comic on Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps I'll focus on just the novel. We shall see. If I wake up at a decent hour, hide my phone, and jump into the work before I have too long to think about it, then I'll work all day and evening.

All right... Tamara Henson Sucker-Me-Into-Working-On-My-Book-When-I-Should-Be-Prepping-For-A-Job Tactic underway! And good night!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Phase Two Countdown: 29!

ON THE NOVEL: I managed a little over 1,000 words today.
Previous Word Count: 30,728.
Current Word Count: 31,833

ON THE COMIC: I didn't meet my 3 page quota for the day. I'll try again tomorrow.

CONCLUSIONS: I forced time for the book and quality may have suffered, as I write better earlier in the day. I did not force time for the comics, with company at the house tonight, and I think I'm brain-dead for the evening anyway! Busy day tomorrow!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Phase Two Countdown: 30!

NOVEL: I had written 28,598 words on my novel as of my last post. Now, I've got 30,728 words. That's 2,130 words just today. Took me a while, but I'm finally at a stopping point for the day.

COMICS: Two pages completely penciled, minus lettering, which will be digital. Two more pages that are in the 6X9 detailed "thumbnail" stage, ready to be scanned, blown up, and transferred to industry standard 10X15 paper for full penciling and inking.

PROGRESS: Very therapeutic to just sit and draw, letting that right brain function to link pieces together. It's been so long since I've had the chance. And I'm doing a relatively new art style! I still have the swimmy art-head from focusing on it so long. It's hard to believe it's almost 1am!

MEMORIES: I wish I could find the little comic strips and full-pagers I made in grade school. I had some comic about a mermaid and her pet Lock Ness monster. Very cartoony and stylized. I drew it on notebook paper and quit because I couldn't draw them both accurately over and over.

And on all the subject separators in my notebooks, I used to draw little worlds with cutaway ceilings and walls, like a mermaid world with mazes of grottos that served as beauty parlors, jobs, stores, restaurants and homes. Then I'd draw the mini mermaids going about their daily business. Or I'd draw fairies living in a tree community, with flowers and leaves and holes in the wood as homes. They were more like maps than art, crossections of worlds. I coulda lived in those places.

That is how imagination works. It's transportative. And what's weird is that I haven't really changed a bit in that respect. I still create worlds in which I would want to live. Sometimes they're maps. Sometimes they're words. Sometimes they're drawings or notes scribbled on scraps of paper. It's wonderful and dynamic. When I was little, I just assumed that everyone created worlds. Am I right?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Phase Two Countdown Reset: 31!

Yeah... I got none of my art/writing goals by today. Tomorrow is more promising, as apparently all things that "need to be done" crop up when I've started a new plan with a deadline.

Things I Did Instead, in no particular order:

1. Cleaned my bedroom.
2. Cut and filed both dogs toenails.
3. Gave Scotty a trim...
4. Gapped Scotty's forehead hair.
5. Apologized to Scotty by cuddling him.
6. Felt suspicious over someone else "breaking down" in front of Ryan's.
7. Cleaned the litter box.
8. Turned off my Rise and Shine alarm.
9. Finished an anime series' last two episodes with Brandon.
10. "Garbaged" the house.
11. Gathered art supplies, intending to draw comics pages. Didn't.
12. Spent 15 minutes figuring out what had happened in my novel and where I was going with it.
13. Answered the phone, effectively crushing that line of creative thought.
14. Resisted the urge to piece a quilt instead.
15. And... Resisted the urge to target practice with a shotgun.

That about sums it up, and this list is just from today. Other than replacing the drainage plumbing in the house yesterday, what did I do? :) No worries. I'll work some tonight and more tomorrow. I just want to be honest with my few readers... This kind of endeavor is mostly disappointment and frustration until publication! It's also a flexible, yet hectic process. A lot gets done on one day, and nothing the next. Something about life, something about time, something about loving good company.

So, tomorrow will now be day 30. Why? Because my sanity demands it.

REVIEW: The Last Unicorn, Graphic Novel

Stumbled across "The Last Unicorn" GRAPHIC NOVEL today! Bought it, of course, but I think they saw me coming... I can hear them now as they twirl their multicolored hair and fiddle with their various piercings: "Quick! Cram this white book with purple writing amid black books of dissimilar storylines. Don't worry! It won't be there long! You know that one big tall girl with the long hair? She'll, like, snap it up for sure, you know!"

I can spot the words "Unicorn" and "Mermaid" from a mile away, after all. It's the fanciful side o' me, I suppose. And I did see it. And my little-girl heart leapt into my throat and I giggled and snatched the book from the shelf, studying it to make sure it was the thing I hoped. And I looked, only briefly, in the pages; the book had never been opened! :-D My OCD is exclusive to purchasing books, just so you know. I had to make sure that the character designs were acceptable and that the pages and cover were pristine, and that the entire story was told. My mouth was probably hanging open in that stupid sort of giddiness bereft of reason, even in public places. I struggled between putting it back on the shelf (not happenin') and just bein' broke. Lean dinners 'til payday! :)


The hardcover graphic novel's art style is heavily influenced by the anime (which is heavily influenced by the novel's rich description), especially the Unicorn, but the other characters have more realistic proportions and designs. At times, it looks like they had to deliberately depart from being too similar to the anime. At other times, some of the "camera angles" look a tad too similar to the anime to be mere coincidence. Or the artist thought "only someone who's seen the movie a million times will notice." Case in point-- me!

The story has a lot of elements pulled from the novel, at least. I don't dislike the style, given the subject matter. It's very much tailored to the "pretty" side, with an abundance of Photoshopped color, glow effects and girly hair highlights in obviously roughened woodsmen.

The art has appropriate "mood lighting" toward the end-- darker with some foreboding-- and some dramatic action. All colored and effected-to-death in a computer. As such, it loses much of the human element that makes sequential art "feel" like something more than just a story vehicle. That transcendant quality is in David Mack's watercolor work as much as Frank Miller's pencils and inks. But this is just the type of story to get the pristine-is-perfect treatment. And, as we all know, the story determines the art style.

RESEARCH: Unfortunately, I haven't gleaned much of use from the coloring methods, since I'm doing a (probably) black and white book all with traditional media (except for lettering). If I decide to do color after all, then I'll review the color schemes, which use traditional color & design principles. I also didn't learn much from the style. The computer-heavy handling of every page-- which seems to be the norm these days-- distracted me and detracted from the pretty decent linework. I try to pay close attention to character design in stories; it's like people watching, only you're not being rude! My story is grittier than this one from the beginning onward, so I don't see nearly enough gore and violence to give me much to emulate.

ROOM FOR GROWTH: I tend to stylize the human face and figure more than fully distort it. I'm not that into drawing a lot of cityscapes or interior scenes, so I'm constantly looking for a way to simplify this process without building 3-D computer models. I have a tendency to minimize the need for background elements, like placing my characters in a natural setting. I like a really neat and clean product. I'm honestly not yet good enough at creating comics to produce anything in black and white that is as tightly constructed as most manga I've seen-- even though I know most of that is done in Manga Studio. (Also, it's just me here! No team!)

Now I'll fawn over my new book and bemoan my lack of accomplishment, all in an attempt to motivate myself tomorrow. (Replumbing the drainage in my apartment drained my productivity today!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Phase Two Countdown: 30!

DAILY OBSERVATION: I work best with a deadline that has consequences. I'm starting a 30-day countdown today. By the end of that time, I want to have finished at least one comic chapter and the rest of my novel's rough draft. Afterwards, I'll set new goals for edits and submissions.

ON THE COMIC: I still only have two full pages penciled due to the real-world distractions I dislike. To get a chapter finished in a month, assuming I aim for a long chapter of 34 pages, I'd have to get 3 pages penciled per day. That's 11 days for penciling, leaving 18 days for inking and corrections, and 2 days for cut-n-paste lettering. There! A schedule!

ON THE BOOK: Assuming I've got about 30,000 words left, I would need to write 1,000+ words per day. Scheduling is easy. Doin' it is not. But 1,000 words per day isn't much at all...

CONCLUSION: Now to decide a consequence, other than delayed gratification of publication. Daily, I will not permit myself to get on the Internet until I finish my writing, and then, only to have videos or music playing while drawing. Daily, I will not permit myself to read or visit family/friends until I have met my comics quota or exceeded it. That should be enough incentive. Oh... and NO BLOGGING until I have something to blog about, namely, accomplished quotas.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Phase Two: Penciling, Inking, and the Written Word

ON THE COMIC: I have two penciled pages, no progress today, and plenty of thumbnails to flesh out the rest of my penciled pages. I bought some high-quality sable brushes (poor baby sables!) for line work because most of the other small brushes I own are cheap. I also stocked up on some more pre-lined, non-repro comic pages from Strathmore. I'm liking the plate finish, but I'm concerned about inking. I will finish some pencil-work and practice inking tomorrow, if real-world duty doesn't require a paper-work related road trip.

ON THE BOOK: I'm content to announce zero progress on the novel since I last posted a "report card." I'm trying to work on both the comic and the novel. The result is that a few events have torn me away from both projects these past couple of weeks. I want to work frantically on the novel. It is frustrating and curious that untimely attention-seeking, unavoidable distractions occur during my times of substantial inspiration and potential.

CONCLUSION: I have a tendency to work more efficiently when I'm juggling my time between some type of "real-world" employment and my more important work. I do tend to get more done when more is on my plate. I'm practically masochistic this way. And the temporary employment I'm seeking will be a financial blessing in the long run. Back to the balancing act again! Only this time, I'll make time for everything else that matters to me, too!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Phase Two: Comics-A-Lot

I'm working on my script for the graphic novel right now. I spent the morning in some more concept development and writing, and now I'm ready for a few good penciled pages to materialize. My major concern is lettering. I think I'll be able to generate all the lettering in the computer and just print-and-paste. But I do have the AMES lettering tool and a T-Square. It seems an awful waste if I don't use both in this very experimental stage. But if the lettering is horrid, the whole project will suffer. Maybe I'll just play later. I'm drawn more to the impermanent nature of the cutouts, after all.

I have a habit of forgetting about all the tools in my arsenal. It won't work in the comics format! Waste happens, but it leads to growth. Now if my Achilles' Heel of inexperience doesn't hinder me further, I should be all right! I may even post my first completed page. :) Just maybe...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Phase Two: Death and Taxes

Yesterday was wasted due to crappy weather, bad drivers and a two hour trip turning into a five hour trip during my most productive part of the day. But I made it out to my tax lady, had lunch with my parents before the big snow hit. And when my taxes were done, and Brandon's were done, we both drove home on roads that were dangerous enough without all the panickers, hoarders, inexperienced inclement weather drivers, and pickup trucks without any extra weight over their wheels.

We all know that the old saying is true about death and taxes. I'm just glad I didn't have to prove the statement all in one day!

While I'm not among the aforementioned groups, I am among the "I just wanna get home and I apparently can drive better than you on the snow" sect of the local populace. Longstanding patience and self-control aside, I didn't start fidgeting at the tax preparer's until 1.5 hours into my wait. But it was funny, because my mom and dad beat me there and monopolized her first!

Similarly, I was 2 hours into the half-hour trip home before I started singing Christmas songs and did some car dancing to maintain my sanity. Or to exhibit the first signs of insanity. Whichever. At any rate, when I rummaged and found it, the Labyrinth soundtrack saved them all!

So, as a reward for my tolerance, I'm spending as much time as I can working on art and writing today.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Phase Two: Loose Screws and Dangling Threads

Moe Conn Technical Theatre Adage Number One: Done is good. I'm not yet, but I'm over the traipsing through the tulips mentality of vast and cuddly enjoyment regarding each minuscule event that happens in this world. I guess I know the world and society too well. I need to force my story to display a glimpse of the world now, and then build the plot from that. Just because the main character is seeing this world for the first time doesn't mean he's a complete drooling idiot over the little things!

I'll save living in my world for Phase Three. Then, I'll focus on World Immersion and the what-if scenarios debated by my beloved internal and external nerd society. I can't recall one series book in which I learned every tiny detail about a world and didn't get nauseated by the unnecessary-detail-overload complex.

My last word count was 25,339. Novel's up to 28,598 words and climbing. That's 3,259 words since 1/31/11. Not good, but not horrible. And if I actually write every day, I'll manage this amount every day or every other day. Well, there... I said it. If I sit down every morning and just write, the book gets written! Novel idea, isn't it? Ha!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Phase Two: Floundering, and the Influence of Reality

Reality brings bills, worries, stress and the occasional stray cat that I can't turn away. Collecting books is like hoarding food in a bomb shelter. When I want to lock out the world for a while, stories save me, metaphysically speaking. Or literally, if I decide to make a bullet-and-zombie-bite-proof vest and gauntlet set out of the Twilight Saga. Those books and the controller cords from the original X-Box controllers are all I need...

Just kidding. I'd never destroy my "vintage" X-Box accessories. I'll have to use shoestring instead.

Oh, about that dang reality... The few days since my breakthrough have been spent in trying to find part-time employment as a substitute teacher. Doctors, drug screenings, fingerprinting, paperwork and the like have sucked the creative life out of me for this week.

I can't be floundering around if I haven't put pen to paper (or fingers on the home keys), right? Floundering around involves action, which I haven't taken. I have two or three weeks of waiting until the background check comes through. I'll consider that free time in which to crank out as much work as possible.

So I can't guarantee the quality of any gibberish I post between now and the time my novel and comic are finished. If real words strung together as real sentences happen on here, they're not happening in my books. Which brings me to my next point...

Happy creating to me! Buh-bye for now!