Recently, I had an idea for a comic/graphic story kind of thing when I remembered this odd piece I did over a year ago. I submitted it to a few places, but it’s hard to find a publication that will take a super detailed, multi-page comic. Or maybe I was just too lazy to find one. Well, after a rejection or two, I figured the thing was too much trouble to deal with, so I filed it away and forgot about it.
I’m basically a newbie with comics, though I enjoy the medium a lot. However, in terms of making them, they wreck havoc on my obsessive-compulsive/perfectionist tendencies. I find myself endlessly reorganizing the composition, agonizing over fonts, and reworking the story itself—which then requires more drawing and re-drawing. At the end of all that work, I’m stuck with this thing I don’t even know what to do with.
Still, it’s kind of fun. I’ve created one other comic before this, but if I do ever complete a third, I’ll probably use a less labor-intensive visual style.
Anyway, rather than let this thing continue collecting dust, I figured why not self-publish? So here it is.
Click each image to expand to a larger size for reading.
For years, I had this obsession with a short story called “Becoming” that I was trying to write but couldn’t. Despite drafting it about 1,000 times, the right ending eluded me, so I thought it might work better as a graphic narrative/comic. I’d had success doing that with another piece I couldn’t end until I drew it and really enjoyed the process, so I thought it might help this time.
I sketched out 24 storyboards and was at the point of making some character portraits when I realized the thing might take years. The panels in my head were such beautifully rendered things—each one in full-color, with ridiculous amounts of detail—that the thought of starting the first one terrified me. Worse yet, this novel clotted up my brain, demanding to be written, so I had to make a choice: spend a few years on one comic that I might or might not finish, or dive into a book that might or might not suck.
I’d never written a novel before but since comics tend to bring out the worst in me (my obsessive perfectionism doubles, given that I’m both writing and drawing), I went with the book. Three years later, I’ve got a solid draft I’m about to revise (since it does kind of suck) when “Becoming,” now renamed “Shark Skin,” has returned to haunt me. So I figured I’d try exorcising it by drawing the first panel. Someday when I’m able to hire a sweatshop of elves who can magically tap into my creative consciousness, I might finish it. For now, I feel better mainly because I simply wanted to design a shark tattoo.
In other news: congrats to trixiepants, who wins a free Facebook portrait! Trixie offered the only comment on my last post, but it was a good one that kicked my brain in the right direction. I’ve now solved my famous faces dilemma and know who I want to draw. Yay! I won’t spill the beans yet, but the results of my scheme will be coming soon.