Here I go again. I was working on a comic this week. Well, maybe it was more like I was working on working on a comic because I still have no idea what I’m doing with it. As an artist I like to do a lot of things. I like to paint, draw, make prints, take photos, make comics, and even do a little bit of writing. The problem with making comics, especially comic books, is that they take too much time. I’ve said it before, if you’re getting paid to make comics then the time it takes is okay because it’s your job. Jobs take up most of our time. But making a comic book without it being my job takes too much time away from other artistic endeavors I want to pursue. It’s a conundrum because I do want to make some comics. I’ve get ‘em in my blood.

It took me two years before I got my “Four Talking Boxes” web comic up and running. It was not for lack of ideas but for lack of ideas that I could actually execute in the time I had to work on it. A daily comic strip takes a long time to draw. Even the most basic and badly drawn comic strips will take a couple of hours. I didn’t have three or four hours a day to devote to a comic strip. But over a period of a couple of years and many false starts I found a way to make a strip I could be happy with and be able to complete. It was an uphill battle.

So here I am in sort of the same position trying to figure out how I can make a comic book that I not only have the time to do but will actually be able to do. It’s not a downhill battle. The first thing I did was spend some time doing a bit of character design. I drew lots of little faces. I’m not a huge fan of character design but I am a fan of drawing faces so I kept it to that. I eventually settled on a couple of faces that I like but I really don’t like drawing the same thing over and over again so I’m not sure how I’m going to work this whole character design thing out.

I even found a fashion app for my iPad that I was using. My characters are not super heroes and therefor wear regular clothing. One of the problems with drawing people in regular clothing is that artists often don’t research such clothes. They end up drawing generic clothing that doesn’t ring true. I find that I do this too unless I look up what current clothes actually look like.

Like others I have a default generic type of t-shirt and jeans that I draw if I’m not thinking about it. And don’t even ask me about women’s clothes. No woman would ever wear the generic ones that I unthinkingly come up with. They’re boring. So I found an app that’s trying to be a fashion social networking app. It basically means that people can upload photos of clothes they like. It’s mostly women who are on it but I mostly need help with women’s clothes so it works out for me. My idea of what a pair of women’s jeans looks like didn’t hold up to what the wide variety of women’s jeans actually look like. And accessories. I never even thought about bracelets and bags as I was doing my initial character design. That app came in handy. It’s name is “Style Tag” by the way.

Another thing I’ve been trying to do with this attempt at making some sort of comic is to integrate my other art with it. I’m taking some of my other images and using them as panels. This makes for a less than literal story at times but I don’t seem to be too interested in a literal story anyway. I’ve grown completely bored with just illustrating a story. I want to draw things that I find interesting not things that will just show something. I have no interest in drawing people sitting around a diner, coffee shop, park, apartment, or whatever. But these are where my stories take place. At least if I’m making my usual, or used to be usual, literal story. I can only make a dull perfunctory drawing when I’m not interested in what I’m drawing. That’s no way to get a comic done.

I think I did a nice job with the first page. It was when I was thinking about interactivity within the comic, before iBook Author failed me, and I used images from that first page to make a couple of prints. It was an introductory page though so flights of fancy were called for. But now I’ve got to start the meat of the story and figure out not only what the story is but figure out how to execute it. I have to decide how to write it too. That’s where all the conceptual work is.

Even though I have five pages in an almost done state none of them have any words on them yet. I have an idea of what I want to write but that is a long way from actually having any of the writing done. In this division of labor world of making comics that would be a strange idea to some but as I’m the writer and artist of this comic no one has to be able to see what I have in mind for it but me. I can even move forward without knowing totally what I have in mind for it. To a point at least. I think I’m getting to that point.

I may be a long way from nailing this thing down but the process has given me some other ideas for prints and paintings. I’m not sure if those ideas are going to work their way back into the comic though. Things might be fracturing a bit. The whole character design and drawing faces thing has made me want to draw more faces. Weird strange faces from the edges of my mind. I like that so much more than drawing the same face over and over again. And that’s one of the parts of comics I’m not too fond of. Drawing the same thing over and over again. I’ll just have to find a way.