Monday, 4 October 2010

Why so #fail?

Well, 24 hour comic day is over, and I failed. I got to page seven in reasonably good spirits, then by ten I realised that I'd lost the plot and had to discard a page. By the time I got to page sixteen I knew that the tone of the thing wasn't working - was it meant to be funny, or dark? It didn't have enough character to drive the thing either: I wasn't in the mood to attempt funny, and dark would have lead to Paul By Numbers pretty much identical to my last 24 hour comic outing.

The idea I came up with might have worked if i'd considered a few things more before starting.

The premise was as follows:

A chap who lives in a caravan on the edge of a village (he's working on doing up an old church in a 'grand designs' kind of way), on a rainy day, while trying to get his TV to work, he decides that he's bored with his lot and will set up a cult in order to get the women and the money in a manner which he sees on the telly.

He encounters a man who looks suspiciously like a famous comic book writer / magician, who runs a mail order cult business from the basement of the local post office. In theory hilarity and/or darkness ensues as they attempt to find costumes, venue, followers, a belief system and come into contact with pre-existing cults in the village.

Possibly they encounter a real deity hiding out in a pub somewhere and are either allied with or in conflict with that too. There was also an idea in there for an occult Mr Ben style thing going on, but maybe Mr Ben is already that.

So what went wrong?

I've thought of a few things, but I think the main thing would be story basics for driving the character...

Boredom is not an interesting motivating force.

I should have done something like shown the character in his grand design situation splitting up with his wife in order to inspire his lack of interest in the building project.

This opening would have given me an engine for the story:
  1. Open with action and allow me to show not tell.
  2. Established his character, his flaws, and his goal (which is no longer boredom, but relationship and personal improvement issues that he's using the cult idea to mask in some way).
  3. Given me another character who could interact with him (and with his mostly female followers...) at later points when the story needed a kick. 
I should point out that I was happy with the art style, and wish that I could have figured out a way to make the pages work... Maybe I still can. The magazine rack was fun, contained a good CLiNT joke or two.

Here are the first nine pages:

First 9 Pages

24 Hour Comics Survival.

Here are some things I think I would like to have next time before starting any drawing. By my reckoning two or three hours could easily be put into this at the start that you would easily make up by being able to draw faster. I'm paraphrasing, but at around four in the morning Ingi said: "Once you have a story, the images will come easily". This is very true.
  1. Open with action and conflict.
  2. Have at least two characters who can talk to each other and provide exposition.
  3. Understand the characters driving force, and therefor understand that the story will end with this being resolved either for good or bad. 
  4. Have a list of the obstacles, and place them in order of difficulty.
  5. Have a single sheet, numbered from one to twenty four outlining in rough the beats of the story.
  6. A lot fourish page long chunks of act two (pages eight to eighteenish) can probably be left fairly open to imrpovisation and inspiration as it happens, and done as stand alone sketches (finding costumes, conflict with the locals), so long as you have a structure for the whole.
  7. ...but the opening and finale need to be planned well.
I'll definitely do all of this next time. Because, despite failing, I'm happy with my faster drawing black marker and sharpie style, I did enjoy myself, had a good time with friends, and did some other very worthwhile drawing and stuffs that i'll post about later.


    1. Those pages look FANTASTIC - haven't read the words, mind, but you could always tippex out whatever plot you're unhappy with and insert instead a short story by Guy de Maupassant.