Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

24 Hour Comics Day Noble Failure

Photo credit: Troy Little (c) 2011, Summerside PEI.

October 20th was this year's 24 Hour Comics Day. Usually I like to host the event at my place in Kanata (DragonHead Studio), but unfortunately due to renovations, I wasn't able to!

That didn't stop me from jumping into the challenge and tackling it with the ridiculous bravado for which I've become famous. It's been a long while since I've tried a 24 Hour Comic challenge solo, in fact, it's been 11 years. My first one... which has yet to be completed and scanned, was done solo. It was a brutal experience, even 11 years younger. And this October's event was no exception.

I kicked off around 10:30 am. I highly recommend starting in the morning. The one time I gave 'er a go in the evening (2008 I think), was an exhausting and abysmal failure. I only managed to get to 19 pgs that time 'round (yet another comic clamouring to be completed and shared!)

This time I also was missing critical supplies I usually have on hand for such things: jellybeans, icy squares and the horrifying 'drink' known as Rev. Apparently no one in Stittsville drinks Rev (which is the location of the LCBO I tried first).

This time 'round I also decided I would do things differently. Instead of doing a complete page/ hour as Scott McCloud suggests, I was going to tackle the problem by penciling my pages first. That meant I had to crank pages out in 1/2 hr increments. Crazy!

But, my thought went something like this: if I don't finish my inking entirely, at least I'll have all the pencils done. I'll have a complete story told (instead of the several 24 hr comics languishing around that all seem to peter out around pg 19 or so!)

Things trucked on well. I was using the 110 lbs. white card stock that I prefer (the same stuff we use at the Ottawa Comic Jams), penciling with Bic #2 mechanical pencils, ruling out panels (I hate rulers and panels in general, but this time they seemed appropriate). The story rolled out and I hit the 12 hr mark with the entire comic penciled and fairly lucid. I was a bit disappointed that the pacing of the story goes crazy in the last 3-4 pgs ('Oh my God, I'm out of pages!?') Oopsie. Anyway, they do wrap up somehow. And no splash pages!


Splash pages are a cheat when you get behind, doing it the old-fashioned way (case in point, pg 7 from 'The Magic Cauldron', my 24 Hr comic from 2007!). This time I found I needed every single page at my disposal for the story I was telling. It felt satisfying to be able to move through the pages and panels and honestly use every bit of them to the best of my ability (and not feel like I was 'behind' all night!)

Around 4:00 am or so, I was flagging. I had coffee, horrible candies I'd found somewhere (augh!) and my eyes were getting blurry. My inking was going to hell and I was ruining my comic. I was also utterly exhausted and realized that although I firmly believe anyone regardless of age or ability can tackle these things, that I was feeling every one of my sleepy 43 yr-old-bones  yelling at me to GO TO BED.

So I did.

And didn't feel guilty for one minute.

I got up the next day after about 5 hrs of sleep and kept inking for a bit, til the time ran out. I was pleased that I had a comic, pretty much finished, where before there had been absolutely nothing.

I'm a procrastinator, big time. The beauty of the 24 Hr Comic is that;  if you do it, once a year, you will have in your hands, at the end of that period of time: a comic. This means, no matter what happens during the rest of the year, you will have produced at least one physical comic with no delays, procrastination, what-ifs, over-thinking, guilt or apathy. Hurray!

I've been inking the beast on and off all week and I'm happy as a peach. The panels are pretty clean, the lettering isn't wobbly and I'm using templates for my word balloons(!) I hauled my folder to the Ottawa Comic Jam last night to share and had some really supportive and sweet comments on it (thanks Emily!)

Sure, it's a "Noble Failure", since it does not adhere strictly to the Dare's rules. But that's ok. I'm in good company (what with the likes of Neil Gaiman and Kevin Eastman setting the bar!) And I'm proud that I created this thing.

When it's finished, I'll post it over on my Deviantart gallery, which you can get to by clicking here.

Cheers, and thanks for reading my ramblings (as always).
And.
If you haven't tried the 24 Hr Comic challenge yet-- do it! You have nothing to lose (except a bit of sleep). It's worth it and it is an experience unlike any other.

Next year, I WILL be hosting the 24 Hour Comics Day Event at DragonHead Studio. Get your pencils ready!

All the best,
Suzanne.

1 comment:

Westin said...

Way to go for doing the 24 hour comic solo! And no splash pages - that's an effort in and of itself. I didn't realize you hadn't done any when I was reading said comic, as the story kept moving along nicely with lots of action.
I will join you next year for all the madness!!
I was excited (as always) to see a new post on your blog - got me all excited about drawing comics!