Friday 19 October 2012

Preparation for 24 Hour Comic Day

So, preparing for 24 Hour Comic Day once more. It is happening tomorrow at the Globe Gallery. Stop by and say hi!

This will be my fourth, and my third in company. I've learned a few things, and I'm going to write them down now so I don't forget them. Here are Twenty Four top tips.

Things to do with the survival:

  1. Start as early in the day as possible. No point in wasting waking hours.
  2. Prepare Supplies: Fruit. Juice. Fizzy Water, Crackers, Salsa. Olives. Minimal meat, cheese, bread crisps. But some of those or I will get sad.
  3. Clothing, in layers. Bring all the layers. Good socks.
  4. Walk around and go outside, while it is still daylight, get Sushi if available rather than, for example, a massive curry. The downsides of a massive curry are quite obvious in retrospect.
  5. Mints, deodorant, hand cream, face wash.
  6. As Matt points out: Douglas Adams reminds us that: "A towel ... is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have."

Things to take that will help with the comic:

  1. All of your usual drawing kit, naturally. Plus spares.
  2. Music and Headphones will both build morale and help the story along. Bring some Small Press Big Mouth to listen to while drawing.
  3. Chargers for any electrical devices you take.
  4. Something to throw ideas your way: the latest copy of The New Scientist, Britt's box of random cut out words, Tarot cards, etc.
  5. Tipex, scissors and double sided tape so you can patch artwork quick sharp if you need to.
  6. A folder with 12 plastic sleeves in, so you can get a feel for the whole comic.

Things to do with the story:

  1. Spend the first hour or two planning, figuring out the characters and story.
  2. Cheat: Make that 20 pages not 24, using four pages for covers and introduction/contents pages.
  3. Have a complete page by page beat sheet for those 20 pages before beginning to draw.
  4. Know the story before figuring out the plot: The story is what your character wants, the plot is what stops him/her getting it. If the plot drives the character, he/she is probably merely reacting to it and you'll end up with a shaggy dog tale that (since you aren't The Coen Brothers) leads nowhere.
  5. Utilise the Cuttlefish Method: The beginning and end are the important bits. You can leave pages blank for a B Story or where the purpose of a page is to get a character from A to B and 'something happens along the way'. The nature of these pages will probably turn up later, and allow you to foreshadow retrospectively, which is better than foreshadowing something you don't get time to figure on a good payoff for.
  6. Talk, share ideas and problems. Offer solutions.

Drawing the damn thing:

  1. Pencil all of the pages first (except for those covered by The Cuttlefish Method, above) but only to the degree of blocking in panel, character and speech balloon placement. You don't have time to do detailed pencils.
  2. Do not waste time colouring in large areas of black, cross hatching, or drawing anything that isn't telling the story. That mahoosive fantasy landscape can be done once the story is finished.
  3. If things are going well, you'll be well into the drawing by 4am.  Hysteria will probably be kicking in around this time. Things will happen, people will have wandered off to watch daft youtube video's. People will say stupid things. Incorporate these in your drawing and story.
  4. In fact, don't draw your panel borders, speech bubbles or lettering in ink or bother being tidy with them. These are the things in a comic most likely to need moving, and the quickest job to do if done at the end.


  1. You will presumably be returning home at some point: the meat, cheese and bread you haven't had should be there for you. Going shopping after a 24 hour comics won't be great fun.
  2. Hmmm, that's only 23 Top Tips. What is the 24th top tip for surviving 24 hour comic day? Any ideas?

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