A 70-Page Graphic Novel in Progress
“Street Dogs in Brasil are among the only witnesses to the truth of a false-flag event on their tiny island”
The idea of this comic came to me full-blown and complete, suddenly. Usually the things I write require time and patience, puzzling and searching. But I knew this whole story in like 5 minutes, very strange. I think when things like that happen it might be worth paying attention to, and I knew right away I would have to tell it before I’m dead.
Its not too lengthy, no epic tales with sequels and backstory (like I am prone to do, lol)… just a quick little tale that hits a tone that I think I wanna try to hit.
It came to me while traveling in Brasil, on an island called ‘Ilha Bela’ (translated: beautiful island)
The island was covered in STREET DOGS. Yet it was not really a problem for anyone, they just roamed around. I became fascinated with these dogs, their personalities and lives seemed right out of a comic book. Here are some pics I took while tripping on the idea:
Look at this thing, lol:
I SWEAR these dogs were doing Jiu-Jitsu… The one on the bottom was working a nice high guard:
This dog was a Boss:
All the dogs here seemed HAPPY!
This was interesting to me because many other places I’ve seen while traveling, most of the street dogs tend to all look sad, decrepit and depressed. But on this island somehow the dogs seemed to enjoy their lives, a great place to be free.
I used the rest of my time on the island soaking up ideas for characters and locations.
NEXT… I needed to practice drawing dogs!
I tried to draw dogs as much as I could for a while, studying the skeleton and getting used to the shapes and structures. I still need loads more practice, but for now it gave me the confidence that it could be done.
For the next studies, you can see skeletons drawn in red, and the flesh/hair/exterior in blue:
I think I will make the protagonist of the story modeled somewhat off my own dog, Alaska… though any real character design has not yet begun:
Here are some samples of my crazy writing methods. It may look like a mess, but it makes sense to me, lol. Its a basic timeline broken into 3 Acts with a Midpoint, and a short breakdown of characters and subplots:
From this, I have drafted out a full page-by-page breakdown of the entire script.
Now the hard work begins 😀
I like to get my ideas out visually as fast as possible, then go back later and design them/clean them up. Right now my goal is just to make rough thumbnails of all the pages, basic compositions, etc. You may not be able to understand everything that been drawn here, but they are sufficient for me to build a framework to start developing from.
Likewise with the text, this is just a first draft just to get it all out, then I can go back and edit/re-write etc to make it more clear in later stages.
However if you CAN see what my shorthand language is describing, I hope you enjoy the story for what it is so far… In most of Act 1 it may seem like a light and happy story, but it takes a twist really quick later on (I haven’t sketched those pages yet…) and deals with some heavier issues by the end.
…that’s all I have for now, I will continue posting as it develops.
APRIL 2020 – COVID QUARANTINE
Well who would have thought?
I am now in the middle of an actual quarantine.
Of course, this brought this project flying back off the shelves (where it has been for a very long time). Now it brings more authenticity to the story, as now I have lived through a real quarantine. So strange that the concept had come to me so intensely 6-7 years earlier, when I had no previous experience with quarantine..?
So now, I have committed that I MUST finish this project, and the goal is to find a way to achieve that as efficiently and as soon as possible, amidst the many other hats I must juggle and wear 😀
MAY 2020 – COVID QUARANTINE
ALL 70 pages are roughed!!
However, rough means pretty rough. Still discovering the exact style the comic will be drawn in, so I’m not committing to too much yet. Just finding the compositions, basic gestures and storytelling.
I am beginning to feel like a model/design for the main character is starting to come into focus, as well as a few other characters.
I still have a good deal of research to do to understand better how to pose the legs. There are several different patterns for dog legs, depending on their speed. A walk is different than a trot is different from a run is different from a sprint. I am still very fuzzy drawing the hind legs, I will need some serious study before I can even rough the exact leg positions well.
Currently I am going over all the roughs again, making them a little less rough 😀 I have about 20 pages to go for this. After that the plan is to do some reference hunting for some specific details and flavors and items I’m not sure exactly what they look like. Then, hopefully, I’ll have the courage to start inking 😀 😀
This experience of being quarantined, having a large portion of my income vanish (my wife’s business had to lockdown/my industry came to a screeching temporary halt), and at the same time having a relevant personal creative project demand to be attended to has been extremely valuable in many ways. I have had much time to ponder what is life and what is worth doing with it, and have found creativity and honest personal creative expression to be a real anchor in times of uncertainty. I find many answers there as to who I am and why I’m here, and what truly wants to come out of the individual artist, and the value of that process. I would encourage anyone to not underestimate that. I am admittedly terrified of making this comic, I’ve never done anything like this before, I don’t even have a defined style yet, its an enormous amount of work, will it live up to my scrutiny as an artist, etc etc etc a million doubts and fears. But the process of stepping through those fears and moving forward seems to bring some kind of energy and magic that I think is important for us to pay attention to.
Here are some sample pages of the work so far: