Adamsville Book 2 Timelapse Video

Hi Everyone.  Just a quick video of me inking a panel from the upcoming sequel of Adamsville book 2.  I dropped some of my favorite music in there with Journey’s “Separate Ways.”  Hopefully it doesn’t get taken down, lol.

Production is really starting to crank up on the second book.  Hopefully by the end of the summer we will be really moving getting this book inked and set up.

 

Don’t forget you can pick up book 1 through the online store if you haven’t read it all yet!

Book 2 Production Blog – Honing An Old Process

Production on book 2 has been slowly building up to full steam.  Admittedly I am very behind on schedule.  This is mostly due to the fact that the script was difficult to get to a place where I felt I had done enough honing and it was workable.  I think I have taken this book and thrown it out maybe four times now…  I’m on my fifth iteration of it.

But now that I at least have a solid first act it felt like it was time to get to work on inking and penciling pages.  So I’ve found myself stolen away in the nooks and crannies of the office look for places I can work in quiet.

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In this book I am dealing with one big concern in particular and that’s that this book is scaling to be somewhere around 190-220 pages, compared to the first book which clocked in at 155.  Production wise, I have no idea how I will hit the kinds of goals I tend to set for myself.  So I have been rethinking this whole process of penciling and inking the book and how I track them all.  I mostly want to force myself to push through my penciling and writing phase so that within the next six months or so I have a finished rough draft of the comic I can share with my critique circle and get their feedback on.  Hopefully this will really reduce the amount of changing that takes place to the story after it’s all said and done.  But what it also does is let’s me have all the heavy brain work out of the way.  It’s all, butt in chair, hands on stylus from there on.

I have also been looking to eliminate this stage almost altogether:

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Thumbnailing pages.  Now thumbnails are super important to this process, but I think I can just distill them down and get rid of a step.  I tend to do like four passes on a page before I start inking it.  The first is the page break down, where I go through my script and break it all down into pages and panels, then I do a small thumbnail on the page, then I pencil it and then I tighten the pencil….  THEN ink.  That’s too many.  I think I can basically skip the small thumbnail phase and do my thumbnails as rough pencils, then tighten those up before I ink digitally.  This could be a disaster, but I think it’s worth a shot even if it gives me back just 10-30 minutes per page.

I am inking pages finally, and that has been going more slowly that I expected.  Just kicking the dust off of these old tires.  Case in point, I had inked this panel before realizing I messed her design up quite a bit.  Went back in a fixed it:

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I had started using Manga Studio 5 for this book to begin with, but I have really been having an issue with it lagging down and generally making the process harder for in the inking stage.  So I couldn’t have non of that.  I switched back to Manga Studio EX 4.  The inking engine in EX 4 is just, in my humble opinion, much better.  I feel like the current inking engine in EX 5 presents too many issues and lagging problems.  Going back to old faithful has let me focus on the work and not the software.

I hope I will have more news to share as the book continues.  Stay tuned for more!

Adamsville Book 2 Production Blog Begins

Well we’ve finally arrived at today.  This is the first official production diary entry for Adamsville book 2.  It’ll mostly be an overview of sorts on what I expect the coming months will entail and all, but first off:

A WORD ON THE SCRIPT

The reality of all of this is I hoped I would be making this book, as in drawing pages, almost 6 months ago.  I ran into a number of issues with my script though and that really prevented me from moving forward.  The book wasn’t bad, but it was huge and a bit slow moving.  In that draft we were something like 50 pages into the written script before the main thrust of the action in the story actually took place. And that just wasn’t acceptable.  In this draft the junk hits the fan much sooner which is awesome.  It’s also about 13 pages shorter which is also better.

When I began working on this script about a year ago I knew I was in for a struggle.  It was a big book and a lot of concepts were being thrown together.  I didn’t know just how difficult it  was going to be.  In the end the story is almost identical to the one in my early treatments, but the characters and their motivations are substantially different.

CURRENTLY HAPPENING

I feel really good about this draft though and I can’t wait to get started.  I won’t be in full force just yet as I am working quite a bit on the final reward tiers for the Adamsville Kickstarter.  I really want to get that out of the way before I spend any time working on the actual art for this book.  That said there’s a lot to start work on.

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Sketches for Chloe in book 2

This coming weekend, after going through any notes I get from friends doing their read throughs of the script, I plan to print the script out.  That will start a process of going through the whole book and beating out every page and panel.  This is an important step for me because it will tell me just how long the book is so I can start scheduling my production, and any assistance I hope to employ, and get a good idea on when I think it will be complete.  This book is look pretty large which does concern me quite a bit, but making the book great is my main goal.  Even if it takes longer than I would like.

So in the coming weeks look for lots more behind the scenes info and picture.  Make sure you fine me on Twitter, and Facebook using the links to the side there and you’ll never miss anything.

REMEMBER TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF BOOK 1 TODAY

Update On Book 2’s Progress

I hadn’t done a post on this in a few months, so I thought I would give you all a look into what’s going on with the sequel and what’s going on with the release of book 1.

Book 2 – The Writing Goes Ever On

I won’t lie, I am grossly behind my self- imposed schedule for starting this book.  I had hoped I would be drawing book 2 months ago, but it just hasn’t happened.  The script has been very hard to wrestle to the ground and get right.  Either it’s too long, not interesting enough or just seems conflicted with the characters…  It’s just not gotten there yet.  And it hasn’t been from lack of trying.

In many ways I look back on 2013 and see what feels like an unproductive year.  I know that is not the case.  I’ve had two successful Kickstarter campaigns, launched my webcomic for Adamsville and had my busiest commissions year ever.  But when I look at the comics works I’ve made all I can see is one script for a book I won’t produce and a number of drafts for Adamsville book 2.  The sad thing about writing, when you make comics, is it feels like you’re not doing much in the end.

It’s really a false statement though.  That’s a lot of work!  lol.  And hopefully that work will make the production end of book 2 much smoother and exciting. I have to keep reminding myself that I have been making a comic all year.  Writing is the foundation of it all.  I think it’s going to be worth the effort, if the current draft is any indication.

I’ve learned a ton through this process and realize just how much I didn’t know before.  I wrote most of my stories by the seat of my pants, just letting intuition guide me.  Which is great, but sometimes intuition misses things that matter and they come back to rear their heads much later on.  The struggle this year has presented in writing I think will pay dividends for the rest of my life when it comes to writing and doing it more effectively.

Book 1 – The Road To Print

I approved the proof for book 1 just about a week ago.  I’m still terrified I messed something up, though I have no rational reason to believe that after having reviewed the documents over and over and over again.   But I can’t wait to see it.  I’m hopeful to get a physical proof in the next few weeks.  Once that happens I will set up preorders and all so we can start getting this thing out there to everyone!

Writing Is A Grueling, Grueling Process – Some Tips

I’ve been writing book 2 of this series in some form or fashion, with intensity and purpose for… about 9 months.  I began it right after I finished work on book 1 and it became a huge struggle because I decided ultimately that I wanted to trim what could have been an ongoing series into 3 books.  3 books felt like all of the time I needed to wrap this all up and do it well.  But there was a lot of ground to cover and making it all work and not be rushed or convoluted has been a real challenge.  Especially with book 2.

This book has been a hard hard lesson in rewrites.  It gets better with every adaptation but the struggle of it is just grueling.  It’s hard to look at a body of work, be ready to step into production and then reset your brain because the story isn’t there yet.

It’s sort of interesting working on comics, because the writing process with them often seems like it’s a pretty loose thing with most of my peers.  We tend to throw together a workable draft and then move forward without much refinement.  Which I understand because the process of making the comic is so time consuming you can begin to feel like you’re not getting anywhere if you stay in the writing phase.  But I think it’s worth it to really have your script as solid as it can be before you start drawing pages.

I really don’t want to just make another book, and also don’t want to spend years of my life and money making something I know could be better with a bit more effort.  So when I get feedback, and it’s earnest helpful feedback, I take it to heart.  It’s important to remember that the people reading your script, if you write that way, are a taste of your audience.  And you want to rock that audience and have them be with you the whole way.  So be open and attentive to what their thoughts are.

One of my favorite thoughts on writing for graphic novels comes again from Kazu Kibuishi.  He and Jason Caffoe talk a lot about how brief the reading experience is with a graphic novel.  The amount of time someone spends reading your book may only be thirty minutes.  So in the end you want to give them something that sits with them a long time and you don’t need it to be long to do that.   So as I am working through this book I am always working back through if this experience will be something people will really enjoy and cherish.  It’s anyone’s guess and that’s what makes the whole experience difficult.  All you can do is work your hardest and then get some feedback and then press forward.

But I have a few quick tips I’ve picked up and work through every time I write a script and rewrite it.  I hope they’re helpful.

It’s hard, just accept it and keep going.  Writing is in the rewriting, they say, so just understand that this process is at times very long and frustrating.  You can do it though!

Try and keep the ideas expressed in the book simple and clear. I have very little interest in creating an ambiguous piece of literature.  In the end I want everyone to understand the story and hopefully the themes I am presenting.  An audience will process it all their own way, but I can do some work to control that.  If it’s unclear what a character’s motivation is, then you probably need to re-address it.  Often people say they do these things to show the complexity of a character.  More often than not though it’s just bad writing.

Trust your instincts more. In a recent feedback session with my friend Stephen McCranie he was getting really excited about certain ideas and directions I could have or should have taken my story.  The funny thing is, almost everyone of them was in my idea book already.  I just discarded them in favor of other paths.  Those other paths though often muddied the waters on clarity in the story.  So try going with your gut more.  We’re all consumers of media and stories and we know a good story when we see it.  Use that experience to guide you.  I know I should more.

Never stop rewriting. One thing I am not saying is that once the script is locked, you  never touch or change the story again.  I see the script as being the worst version the book could be.  I’m always looking for ways to build on it and expand the story.  At every part of the process there should be moments of discovery.  But getting the structure and feel of the book as solid as possible is essential.

Happy writing!

This is a great podcast on rewriting: http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/03/20/writing-excuses-5-29-rewriting/

 

Almost There On Book 2’s Script

I wrapped up the first complete and readable draft of Adamsville book 2 last week.  It’s working title right now is Foundations.  Which will hopefully make a lot more sense when you all get to that point in the story… Like a year and a half from now, lol.

But I had a handful of friends read through the draft and was really pleased with everyone’s reaction.  It seems like I made a book that for the most part is really working.  Now the edits need to start.  The cliche of writing is rewriting is an ever present reality at the moment.

The biggest hurdle with the script is the ending.  I had written an ending that is visually arresting, but lacking in emotional impact.  So I’ve been working and reworking the ending in outline form.  I keep this composition book I bought earlier this year for the Adamsville series and it is filling up with notes and ideas.

Book 2 is where I actually feel pressure to deliver on, even more than book 1.  Sequels always seems like where a story can just fall apart completely.  I want so much to give my readers a bigger and broader experience than book 1.  Seems like the best way to do that is to raise all of the stakes.  It it’s definitely a bigger story than before and I’m really happy that the emphasis still stays on characters and relationships.

I am working hard to have the final draft done by the end of July which puts me starting the thumbnailing and penciling process in August.  I don’t see that getting derailed at all, as the feedback I got let me know it was very much on the right track.

When I get this thing right, I’ll post a nice picture of the printed script sitting in the binder that will rule my life for the next year and a half, lol.  I feel like a film maker getting ready to step into preproduction.   It’s going to be a fun time!  In the mean time, thank you all for reading the book as I am posting it and please continue to share it with others!

Adamsville Book 2 First Draft Is Complete

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Woof!  After something like 6 months of treatments and revisions and throwing out everything to restart over again, I finally penned down the first draft of Adamsville book 2.  This thing… Is going to be huge.  Quite honestly I am really intimidated by its scope, its characters and its action.  I really need to be on my A-game with this book or it will just not work.

I’m hoping I will be able to have my final draft complete within the next month so that I can begin work on the thumbnails and pencils for the book.  There are a number of issues in the script that I am already aware of and have jotted down, but it seemed silly to even bother fixing them until the next draft.

It’s odd looking at this file of text and knowing that the work on that computer will most likely be the thing that consumes my creative life for the next one and half, to two years.  It’s also really gratifying to see this story continue.  These ideas were in my head since I first conceived of the series around 6 years ago, to finally see these characters alive and living these moments out is super cool.

I suspect I will be blogging a lot more about the process and production on the second book for you all.  If you haven’t yet and might enjoy it, you can get a pretty in depth review of everything I did in making book 1, in the book 1 production diaries.

Thank you all for visiting the comic now and reading along with me.  Please help spread the word about the book and the series.

Things Are Getting Close – Update On Book 2

It is coming together finally, after nearly 8 months of writing treatments and notes and revising. ADAMSVILLE Book 2 (still untitled) is really cooking with gas now. The script is coming together in a hot hurry. I felt like it finally had it’s breakthrough about a month ago and the book finally felt like a narrative that worked and hit on everything I was after.

I am about 1/3 through writing the first draft and so far it’s a big book. Which has me a bit terrified. I am over 20 pages of written text so far and that’s roughly 60 pages of comics story. The issue is I am still a good clip away from the middle. I won’t be surprised if I end up with a 250 page book this next go around. I don’t know. Some serious trimming is in order. Not so much because it’s getting big, but it is because an economy in your storytelling is important. I feel there’s a lot of extra stuff in here that can be reworked.

The key with all first drafts though is to just get the thing out of your system. So I’m throwing the kitchen sink at it and more. Anything that tickles my fancy or seems like it works, I am just putting it in there. The biggest things that will shape up out of this will be theme, I believe. Just understanding what is going on and what they all want. That often, for me at least, feels like the most elusive thing in a script. But it becomes clearer the more I live in the story.

Another thing I am doing is sketching the characters. A lot. I really want to get a handle on them through repetition so that hopefully by the time I get to drawing the book, they are all looking pretty on model. It’s fun filling up a sketchbook with sketches of them all and seeing the whole cast of characters coming together.

I’m really excited for what this book will bring to the story and to readers. It’s very daunting writing a script for a book I know will take up the next 1 to 2 years of my life in production. The promise of what book 3 will bring though is spurring me on fast as ever.

On pitching news with book 1 and the series. Nothing new to report at this point. I haven’t heard any negative news, so for now that’s a positive.

Update On the Pitching Process and The Graphic Novel I Am Working On

Hey everyone!  First off thanks for all of the great discussion about my last article about giving up webcomics.  I hope everyone knows that what I was not saying is that webcomics are not something people should do, but the heart of it is to stay focused on making a great product and story. Let the way you share your story with the world be something you do later, when you are either done or quite far along in creating your book.  For me it was finishing all of volume 1 of this series and now I will begin the process of sharing it.  If a publisher does not pick it up, I will move to self publishing and hope the series gets picked up with book 2 and 3.

As most of you know my first goal is to find a traditional publishing home for my book.  I have been actively pursuing that now for about a month and some of the results are still coming in.  Some are disappointing, some are disappointing but really encouraging, some there’s a possibility things could happen still, the rest is just silence.  It’s such a roller coaster of emotions.  I wish I knew how to handle it better, but my emotions often get the better of me and a rejection can really sting.  I always remind myself though that that means I care and if I care then I should keep going no matter what.  No giving up!

Nonetheless I feel really confident in the book that I made.  I know I gave it my best!  Then I will have to give the next book my best as well!  And we’ll keep going, getting better at the craft along the way.

So I have been spending some time trying to determine what I would spend the next year or so on working on while all of this sorts out (trying to get a book picked up takes MONTHS! Best to have something to keep yourself busy on).  I wanted to pick up Adamsville and start up on book 2 but with so many variable out there it didn’t seem very wise yet to really throw myself into the production on it just yet.  I had one script idea that was really starting to come together, when my oldest daughter rediscovered this little guy:

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For those who don’t know, KEVIN AND THE LIGHT OF DESTINY is a webcomic I began maybe 2 or 3 years ago.  I got about 45 pages in and decided it best to set it aside while I focused on some other things going on and decided to make ADAMSVILLE first.  Well as I am waiting for direction on said book, KEVIN seemed like a great place to pick up.  The ground work is laid in pretty well for the book and I am working on getting the rest of the script ironed out.  The goal with it is to finish it by the end of the year.  Which will roughly equal 80-100 pages of work left to do.

The original script for the book was very bloated, even though I enjoyed it very much when I reread it.  I want, however to make this a more compact story and, so there is a lot of work to  try and find the important elements of the book and bring them together without it feeling contrived or rushed.  Wish me luck on this.

If you haven’t been introduced to Kevin, go check out the webcomic site and view the original webcomic pages.  They’ll pretty much stay as they are, but I plan to re-ink them to get the look consistent.

Adamsville hasn’t been forgotten.  I have a treatment for book 2 that I am very happy with, but again, just wanting some clarity on what will happen with the book before I decide to plunge my way in head first.