mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (menace)
[personal profile] mikailborg
Once upon a time, I did a guest appearance in a panel of the Fragile Gravity webcomic. Today, the circle is complete, as I've been privileged to write and draw an episode.

Monday morning, my Twitter client lit with a notice from [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya: she and [livejournal.com profile] impink needed two guest strips due to a family emergency. Now, I can draw a little, and I have always dreamed of having the fame and respect of a webcomic artist, so I volunteered. To my great surprise, Barb accepted. Oops: looks like I had to draw something. When would it be due? More oops: Wednesday. But it got done.

Take a look, and be sure to let me know what you think, especially if you liked it. And there's quite a lot more to tell behind the scenes...

I had a full Monday evening already scheduled, so the timing wasn't stellar. But I figured I could write and layout the strip in my head, and draw it on Tuesday. (Never mind that it generally takes me a whole evening to draw one or two characters.) Of course, writer's block hit immediately, and I didn't think of the gag until I lay in my bed Monday night having practically given up.

Okay, Tuesday afternoon. Home from work. Draw strip. Well, no matter how I spun the gag, the rhythm in my head required six panels. The first version of the script required ten character drawings, which would have stifled the space, and been done sometime Thursday. I started drawing panels anyway.

I used a large sketch pad, a #2 pencil, and a plastic eraser. I had the layouts in my head, so I went straight into my standard practice of building rod-and-shape skeletons and clothing them in flesh and fabric. It works okay, my figures usually aren't too stiff, especially if I remember to draw something besides the head first. My figures tend to base themselves off the first joint I draw - pelvis is good for standing or sitting people, but head-first characters tend to look like they've been hung.

I made good time on the pencils, and took a break to run to Best Buy for a scanner - my old SCSI scanner finally gave up the ghost two moves ago. You can't get a scanner without a printer any more, so I have two printers now, but at least the new one connects via WiFi which is kinda cool. Means I can keep it near the laptops for printing.

Came home, and settled in to inking, with an illustration pen I'd picked up Monday. Pretty smooth, except for panel three, which looked a lot better before I inked it. I forgot to erase my pencil lines before scanning, too, because of being so focused and hyper. Oh, well, fix it in post.

Photoshop did remove the majority of the pencil lines, and I settled in to do final clean-up. Fixed a couple of bad lines, re-ordered two panels I wasn't happy with, and added flat shading (which really improved the look of the art, I think). Made print and web versions, typed up a script for Barb since she had the lettering style and I didn't, and mailed it all off. Done. Six panels, seven characters, five hours. Pretty good for someone who hadn't picked up drawing materials since MarsCon 2008. (Oh, yeah, forgot to tell Barb that...)

And now I can add "webcomic artist" to my resume!


Things I would fix on my guest strip if I had another day or two, in panel order:

Give the comic shop a name (maybe "Glidepath Comix").
Use a new drawing for Tanya in panel one instead of a cut-and-paste. Just ran out of time.
Give Vince some hair around his left temple in panel two. (But I like his gun.)
Do panel three over from scratch. That is the worst drawing of Nebula I have ever produced. And I really don't want to talk about that hand.
Cut-and-paste the "VINCE!" comic logo in panel 5 for consistency.
Add a teeny bit of hair behind the mystery store owner's left shoulder.
Sign the darn thing. I'm still proud of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-29 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittykatya.livejournal.com
And Barb and Chris are unspeakably grateful. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-29 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenchan.livejournal.com
Wow, awesome Michael! I loved it :)


mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)

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