Sweet Holy Mother of Crap on a Freaking Crutch! Scuse me while I get that off my chest but I was not expecting it to take me as long as it did just to finish a single page. I mean I know that a lot of work goes into making a comic, but only now that I stand on the threshold of making it a reality has the full weight and gravity of the task at hand decided to smack me upside the head with the sheer ludicrousness of what I’ve taken upon myself. First, there’s the level of organization and development that’s required in order to even coordinate one’s efforts effectively. When I was writing novels, it was easy to just let the characters and scenarios evolve organically. If I needed to do additional research, it was mostly a matter of finding the right book on philosophy or historical treatise. But when drawing a comic, you need a reference, for everything! Character model sheets, clothing and design templates, color guides, texture maps, holy crap the list goes on and on. And I . . . I didn’t know any of that when I started. Now I have books on my desk, books on drawing comics, books on figure drawing, books on perspective, design, fashion, architecture you name it, and do any of them talk about how many god damned layers of paint you need to put down to make a tree look like a tree? Probably the ones by James Gurney, but I’m too lazy to check. Anyway, without going into the whole tacit, implicit, and explicit levels of awareness debate and why people can’t see the forest for the trees, or the frog in the well knows nothing of the ocean, to borrow a japanese proverb, as a self-taught artist much of everything that I do is completely new to me so gauging the complexity of the task is sometimes hit or miss. And on this one, boy did I miss the mark. But that’s okay, because the knowledge and experience that I’ve gained leaves me better prepared for the next attempt. Now I know what kind of a script I need to work from. Now I know that I need all the settings, locations, characters and designs worked out in advance so that whatever changes need to be made can be made without throwing the whole process completely out of whack. Seriously, having to stop every few minutes just to try and work out a solution for things like, where do the sound effects go? What do they look like? Why don’t I have a master file with dozens of the things already laid out in advance so I can just copy and paste and not have to wonder what kind of font works best for things like wham, pow and zing! I swear, trying to run an art studio single handedly is like herding cats. Halfway through laying out the flats, part of me wanted to hand off the comic to the guy who I hired to paint trees, and then I remembered, oh wait, that’s me! Then there’s the whole isssue with ‘Sekaikan’ that threw me for a loop once I started getting to the point where the illustration started to come together. Now I will be the first to admit that I love scenery porn, don’t know what that is? Tv Tropes. Enough said. But actually drawing it in every single panel? Strangely enjoyable if you like painting backgrounds. Explains why so many of Makoto Shinkai’s works are filled with clouds. However, as a fan of the rich and lushly detailed work of Kazuo Oga, I can honestly say that the sheer number of aesthetic design decisions that need to be balanced against the realities of each artists specializations in order to bring the initial vision to life truly highlights the differences between the Japanese approach to art and animation and what is seen in the west. Not to go too far off topic but the more I begin to understand what it is about the aesthetic ideas I was exposed to growing up that are now serving as my primary influences, and the actual limits of the medium that is art, its a wonder I managed to make it this far at all. I mean its one thing to learn through exposure and osmosis, its another thing entirely to sit down and do something thinking that now of all times you’re finally prepared enough to be able to just sit down and make it happen, only to find that once again, there’s yet another layer of technical issues to be resolved before the system that you’ve built will really truly work.
And on that happy note, this project is going to be fairly sporadic until I can get all of those issues resolved, because this ‘sekaikan’ thing, its pretty much the key to the door I’ve been trying to open for the last ten years.
If you feel like if you feel like supporting Lustre Zeal or any of the future projects I have in store then check out my Patreon page, the link can be found here: http://patreon.com/user?u=3705901