After John Reppion and I did a fun little one pager using a tweet from John as my script for a one page comic we rattled around thinking what we could do next, and we’ve glommed on to #FolkloreThursday on twitter, folklore Thursday is every Thursday people talk about folklore. It’s pretty simple. So we decided to see if we could do this again, and John sent me a ‘script’
It looked like this:
Many old stories tell of sailors landing on mysterious islands, out in the open sea. There they make their camp, and light their fires. Then the island sinks down fast. The drowned become its food. The island is not an island at all. It is the Zaratan – a monstrous sea turtle.
My basic work flow on this is to separate the paragraph into chunks (usually sentences, but sometimes I’ll break them up for the flow of the art and how I picture it in my head)
So this got broken up as follows (along with my thoughts)
” Many old stories tell of sailors landing on mysterious islands” – initially I thought I’d have to make this two bits, but couldn’t figure out a good way to break the sentence up.
“Out in the open sea” this felt like a panel on its own.
“There they make their camp, and light their fires” – single panel, can easily have a lit fire and make it look like a camp is being setup.
“Then the island sinks down fast” that was gonna be hard, showing a sinking island with speed, I ended up making it two panels. You want to show scale, but also speed. Hard to do.
“The drowned become its food.” “the island is not an island at all” “it is Zaratan – a monstrous sea turtle”
One of the rules I’ve sort of set for myself (and may well abandon) is I try and do minimal amount of damage to the words – keep them as they are as best as possible. But, and this may be the sholocky sensibilities in me, I don’t half want to change that last line to “the island is not an island at all. It is a monstrous sea Turtle” “THE ZARATAN!” (and maybe that will happen further down the line)
Here’s scribbled layout.
The final panel was going to be hard, because I wanted the monster and the eating and the way the words happen and the order they happen to reflected in the drawing. In the end the fix was simply to flip the turtle horizontally.
One thing that surprised me was just how cartoony this one was. I can’t deny I was influenced by Johnny Dubble’s amazing pirate art and the book How To Think When you Draw 2 (which has a great page or two on drawing pirate ships) so it could be they leaked out of me, but also, having just finished a fairly serious war story it felt good to let loose a little.
I chopped the sinking into two panels in the pencils, and drew the pirate ship in front of it, but when I inked it the ship was just in the way and it was never clear we were looking at the island sinking, so off it went to the big pirate bay in the sky.
Inking was done by hand, on a blue line print. Drawn at digest size. This is partly for speed – I want to do these quick (how quick? pencilled and inked yesterday, coloured last night and finished this morning, about four hours total?)
With the captions all added there was still something missing – that pirate ship on its own never made sense, it needed something to lead you in to it, and then I hit on the fun idea of having a single line of dialogue here “LAND HO!” to bring you in, and join panel one with panel two.
Strip all pencilled and inked traditionally, then touched up and letter in clip studio on my desktop, I then transferred it to my ipad to colour it in bed (best advantage of csp on the ipad, working while in bed in awesome – while others read, I’m colouring…)
And voila the finished beast!
I’ve been asked a few times “will there be more” and I think “yes” but we’ll have to see. And, weirdly, by a few people “will these be collected” and the answer to that depends on how the answer to the first one goes.
I know this though, we’re not being paid to do this, so our only barometer of success is whether people like it or RT it on twitter, so if you’re keen to see more, that’s the way to do it! (and RT is worth about 100 likes, so keep that in mind!)
(Oh, and thanks to John, who rose to the occasion magnificently!)