The original concept was not this at all; I suppose that’s evolution. The story began on a street corner with a twenty-dollar bill blowing to the feet of the lead character, a character who, by the way, was designed purely as a means to learn to render with a set gray-scale of prisma-color markers I was given as a gift. I began using the character as a means to teach myself visual-storytelling. It had no words, was not big on jokes and was less a story than a chain of events I felt obligated to get through for the character. I grew pretty fond of that character.
The character did just what the situation dictated based on what it knew and what it learned as it went along.
What did I know about the story when I started it? I knew one gag I wanted to do on the moon when the lead character would run into an astronaut and I knew I wanted to get this character there. But, as life sometimes happens, I knew no more about how the story would get there than the character itself. I drew and situations presented themselves.
Doing this without a story or even a real concept in mind, it might be obvious that I didn’t plan on doing much with the strip (these, by the way, were drawn in 2007); the plan was just to learn and have some fun. I was going to get to the point I wanted and stop. It took a while to get there. The strips had to make some sort of sense without words.
That’s not something I’m too used to in comics. Seriously, grab a comic book or a strip and shield the words as you read it; is it the same story? Without words, the story had to follow a definite flow that would carry the reader a little slower than, perhaps they were accustomed. The pictures were more important, looking at one frame and moving on to the next didn’t work as well as reading each image.
The complexity of the panel would dictate the amount of time spent looking at that image before moving to the next.
If there was less to look at in the image, less focus–less importance–is placed on that frame; the reader would move more quickly to the next. More to look at, more detail, more space, gives the image a sense of importance and helps the reader to pause a moment and consider the details, whether they realize it or not.
Examples in these images should help to illustrate the point: close ups, images meant to represent an awkward curiosity, a series with a single frame to express frustration, movement, foreshadowing, etc. This became an exercise sequence very quickly that I came to thoroughly enjoy.
As time went on, I began to get a sense of story, but it wasn’t the story I’d been telling…
To be continued…