Over the past year, besides going back to reading the classics of comic art or discovering new ones, I’ve been doing research on all aspects of how comic art is actually made. I’ve been exploring what it might take to parlay my fictional writing (and true life experiences) into a socially aware graphic novel “Extreme Dreams”. For those of you who haven’t read comic books since childhood, comic art is a serious art form. Graphic novels have won the Pulitzer prize. Doctoral theses have been presented using the graphic novel medium.
Extreme Dreams is about a socially un-aware man with unreliable psychic abilities (which we all have, more or less). He’s introverted, surly and harbors many of typically male sexist and homophobic attitudes, if not overtly. Tragic events force him to seek out unlikely allies and re-examine his life in order to unravel their source.
(This is my first attempt at a three-sentence elevator pitch. How am I doing?)
At a comic con workshop last year, one piece of advice I received from comic artists Ryan Sook and Alex Sheikman was that even if I primarily wanted to write comic scripts, publishers ultimately want to see visual examples of my concepts, i.e., even if I had to rope other artists into doing that part of the work, we’d still have to be able to present hard copy visual comic art.
Problem, though. I’ve never actually drawn comic art; and as of October 2017, except for a few timid and tepid doodles done on the sly during my day job conference calls, I hadn’t done any real ink drawing in seventeen years. Long story behind that one — involved a woman, as so many stories do. Tell you another time; or maybe not.
So, I decided to perform an experiment: during the month of October (roughly), I participated in “Inktober”. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Inktober is an artistic challenge originated by Jake Parker eight years ago in which thousands of creatives around the world now participate. Thirty-one days in October, in which to make thirty-one pieces of art using only ink. There are “official” prompts one can use; or one can just wing it. Hey, we’re artists — we don’t follow no stinkin’ rules.
I began to post drawings on my Instagram, with the intention of completing thirty-one ink drawings – with the added commitment to make them in a comic art “style”.
Now into the second week of November, I’ve just completed “Day 31”. Life — which “happens when you’re busy making other plans” — intervened many times, plus realizing that not all of these drawings could be done as quick-and-dirty as I thought they could be. Once I actually began to post drawings, it just didn’t feel like part of my commitment to simply submit a five-minute doodle; so, I lost a lot of sleep around this, and dishes piled up unwashed in the sink for days at a time. (Well, OK, some truth-telling here: I’m living a bachelor’s existence. The dishes pile up, inktober or no.)
Thirty drawings constitute a kind of storyboard for what may eventually evolve into a graphic novel. I say “might”, because as any of you who actually have more experience in doing comic art know, it’s a hellofalot of work to research, write, compose, pencil draw line art, ink, color and letter comic art — not to even mention publishing and maybe, just maybe, make money off them.
Maybe when I retire from my day job in two year? Six years? Maybe I can’t/don’t want to do it all by myself, and instead find collaborators? Maybe crowd fund a graphic novel? Who the hell knows what may come of it, if anything. If you get a winning lottery ticket, keep me in mind, please.
For me the point of Inktober was to finally get started doing something — anything — with ink and with comic art.
Though I want all of my artwork generally to express social awareness — and I believe my new comic art falls within that criteria — not all of it necessarily fit in the context of this website. I’ll post it here whenever it does. (One of these — #20 in the Instagram posts, but which I’ve since titled Time Traveler) is actually hanging in the Walter Lee Avery Gallery now through December 13, 2017 as part of the Fall Adult Competitive exhibition.) For the moment you’ll need to go to my Instagram.com/emcorpus to see the entire series. They’re in the order of most recent to older posts; so you’ll have to work your way back to #1 and go forward.
Remember, I’m totally new to this; so please be kind (if you can manage being kind — but if not, I can take it, being a Boomer and now having entered the ranks of the old guys. Old guys rule.)
I’ll have more to say about these subjects; but I also invite your comments and discussion.