One thing or another led to another hiatus on this project — 3 months, this time. MICE 2016, plus a big teaching job I had to prepare for in December, and travels. Gingerly feeling my way back into the process here: going over old thumbnails and trying to remember which version I liked best. It’s nerve-wracking to try and re-orient oneself in a project after this much time, so I am wrestling with a bit of anxiety. A few loose character sketches, and then a couple of pencil version of page 4, which I had decided needed re-doing. Happily, I now feel ready to proceed:
A 1950s shojo manga I bought online from a Japanese auction site, a relic of the era of kashihon, inexpensive rental libraries through which many manga books were distributed in impoverished, post-war Japan.. “Hoshizora ni uta e ba (If You Sing to the Starry Sky”) by Masai Akiyosha. Here are select pages, and my non-Japanese-reading commentary/ guesses at what’s going on. First, the cover and page one of the story.
The cover appears to be by a different artist than the interior. Perhaps 勝山ひろし – KATSUYAMA Hiroshi?
My first pass at page 4 was acceptable as a drawing, but I felt it lacked the drama I want for the sequence. So I’m planning to force the perspective more, to feel the baby’ point-of-view, looking up… and enlarge the moon. Tried some little thumbnails:
But I really get a better idea by messing around with the actual image in photoshop, skewing the buildings and enlarging the moon. Here;s a comparison of the two versions:
The chimneys are kind of messed up now, and the perspective isn’t exactly what it should be, and I think I won’t have the cloud overlapping the chimney like that… but compared side-by-side, I think the new way is better, much more dramatic. So I will re-draw it with that composition!
“Inking” with black, white and gray acrylic. Plus a little charcoal pencil.
A little white goache for the smoke… and done!
Well, I worry that I may have overworked the bricks and roof… so much patterning it looks like it has some kind of pox. Not sure about that. But I do start to feel like it, while the picture is fine on its own, it doesn’t have the impact I want. I want to try it with a more forced angle and make the moon bigger, so you really feel it LOOMING over you (from the baby’s POV).
So… final version? I don’t think so!!
It’s going to take me a while to make any progress though… other deadlines are really starting to get gnarly.
Still stealing little bits of time when I can. I’m still fiddling with the page layouts. I feel like I want an additional baby reaction image in there, to break up the 3 moon pages in a row in the latest thumbnail. To keep the page count the same I’m pondering doing a panel page: 2 moon images on one page, with the clouds moving away from in front of it:
But that’s jumping ahead. I did a rough version of the fourth page:
Or is it better this way (digitally altered for now):
I think that composition gives a better feeling of the moon “looking down” at us.
(work interrupted for a few days by going to Small Press Expo in Bethesda. When I come back and asses….)
Now I begin to question my composition of this spread. Thinking in terms of the sort of “eye flow” that I usually take into account when laying out a panel page, I’ve been pretty convinced that the complementary angles between the 2 facing pages was crucial :
But looking at it, I feel like this composition doesn’t actually work as well, in terms of feeling the 2nd page as the point-of-view of the baby on the first page. Going back to an earlier sketch (but using the moon/clouds from this one), I think this works better:
I definitely think that in the bottom spread you feel much more that you are the baby looking up at that moon in the second page. The angle of the rooftops is how the baby would see it (unless she’s looking across the street).
As for me, the big deal is the world premiere of The Shirley Jackson Project!
And if that’s not enough, you will also find on the Dan Mazur/Ninth Art Press table, my two most recent comics: The Jernegan Solution and Hooves of Death!
MICE stuff, SPX preparations and other things I had to do pretty much completely ate up all my work time this week. Somewhere in there I managed to sit down and do a couple of sketches of clouds and moon, which will be useful when I get back to work, hopefully, after SPX. These were drawn with charcoal pencil and black, white and gray acrylics. Not much of a week’s work, but I like the way these turned out so that makes me feel optimistic.
I’m entering a time of the year where I usually find it hard to get much work done. There’s MICE, plus a variety of other personal and professional distractions.
This past Friday, having been on a pretty good run with posting process/progress reports about “Lunatic,” I came to the end of the day without having done a single bit of work on the project. With a process post in mind, I made myself sit down and do this little gem of a two-minute sketch for the next page:
If I hadn’t felt guilty about not posting, I might have done nothing that day! So that’s something.
The next two days, I did nothing.
Got back on the horse the next day after three unsatisfactory attempts at page 3. Took a deep breath and tried to stay in control.
I’m okay with the expression. Trying to make it a little more neutral, less scared or worried. In fact, what was wrong with this version? There was something I didn’t like about it, because I did it again, this time switching from the woven-textured charcoal paper back to regular drawing paper.
I finished this and I wasn’t satisfied… overdoing the textures? Getting fussy with the details? Muddy? Airless? Without even time to scan it, I brought it with me to the BCR meeting and put it up on the board. By the end of the meeting I was feeling actually pretty okay with it. Time to move on. When the time comes, I’m not even sure which version of this page I will like best. But this last one seems the most polished.