Working Together!

Woah. Over the past two months William and I have been learning a lot from each other, which of course means we have been constantly frustrated and exhausted and annoyed with each other.

We’re redefining our roles. I haven’t done any real writing; I’ve edited word bubbles to fit better with a page, but I’m not keeping the whole story in my head at all times the way I used to when it was a novel. I’m taking the story one page at a time, and going by the scripts that Will gives me. Within that scripts I’ve been making improvements to make better comic pages, but in a real way I have given over the role of controlling the direction of the plot. The art demands all my attention.

The third page is going very slowly. I’ve had a cold for the past week, and the page is made up of big panels full of objects and other elements with a lot of detail. I cannot spend enough time explaining to William the difference between putting detail into a panel and putting objects into a panel. I want to encourage him to use detail, to describe the objects he puts into a panel, but when he says he is putting detail into a panel that’s not what he is thinking.

Describing an object in a panel makes drawing easier. Putting lots of objects into a panel makes it so much harder. The effort involved in communicating this idea in a useful way is making both of us kind of crazy. The elements of our brains that we use to visualize things work so differently it’s like we’re speaking different languages.

Doesn’t that sound like the kind of partnership someone can learn a lot from? Yeah.

This is all made more time-consuming by the fact that I don’t so much visualize as just draw. I often can’t see the problems with a script until it’s a finished page without any unifying sense. That’s what happened with page two, but it’s been fixed and it’s up now.

The third page is well-scripted, but it has problems as a webcomic update, mostly springing from its overabundance of detail. For one thing, it is taking me forever to draw. That isn’t conducive to a schedule as regular as one page a week. For another thing, all the detail fits into my working size, which is for eventual printing at 300 dpi. But at 1/3 that size, scaled down to fit on the website, a lot of that detail is lost.

I thought of a solution today, and I was very happy. The page will be split into two updates, and scaled to a wider size. I hope it won’t cause too many people to have to side scroll; I think the art is worth it. I wouldn’t have spent so much time on it unless I thought it was going to be really cool, and it is.

So if I finish the third page this week, I will still have a one-update buffer. I enjoy having buffer. I don’t have one right now, because I finished the first panel first, but then moved on to the third panel, which is in the second half. This week I’ll focus on the second panel first. Eek, too many numbers!

In other news, I was asked today to be in charge of set decoration for the community theater’s next play. They got my name from a list of people who have helped paint sets in the past. I must have done that once when I was in college; they run together with the college plays in my head since they all use the same facility.

I’ve never been in charge of decorating a set, but I think I can handle it. I’ve got a better sense of aesthetics than I used to, and I think I can get back into working with people in a theater project. I know the building from various other jobs like lighting and acting. I haven’t done makeup since elementary school, but all that stuff I have known and could relearn makes me more comfortable in the setting.

I’m looking forward to having a project that gets me out of the house and moving around. It’s been my experience that it will make me more productive in my other projects.

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