Last week's Curve was all about trying to keep the same look throughout a comic. This week I want to talk about how I can diversify from project to project. I've begun work on a few two page stories for a new anthology, and my big goal for this project is to stretch my legs and show a little range.
The first idea is the safest bet for me, a two page autobio piece. I stretch things sometimes in Public Education and pace things for humors sake. Even though I use real quotes I don't quite feel like P.E. is my story, or at least not wholly. This piece will be more akin to sharing a story, or recalling memories of my time growing up on the Currituck Sound. It will be very conversational in tone and I hope it comes across in a manner where I'm speaking to the reader, more than talking at them. Visually I think I'm going to use ball points and have a very open line aesthetic. My hope is that everything feels like a airy, breathing memory.
The second story will be a sci fi throwback story involving spaceships and giant monsters. On the writing side I want to pack a lot of story in. My approach here will be similar to the old Conan comics or Terry and the Pirates strips. Everything will lean more toward illustrations than pure sequential art. Visually I want to make sure none of my characters are stubby. Everything should look lean, and tall, and futuristic. I'm rereading everything I have of Pelle and Runberg's Orbital comics to hope that some of their European space age brilliance can sink into me stylisitically.
The last project may be the hardest, and I personally feel it is the most ambitious. It's mostly a proof of concept for a project I'd like to embark on when I'm really established and feel good about my comic output. Maybe a project to start at 50 or so. These two pages will be devoted to adapting a passage from the Tao Te Ching. I have several translations of the book lying around and I think it would be a noble effort to retranslate and illustrate a passage from the book. I may break out the sumi brushes for this one, at the very least I want to do washes and grayscales. I have high hopes for this one, but it certainly has the biggest chance of making me fall flat on my face.
I'm excited about the challenges ahead and my hope is that people that check out the next anthology see me as a better rounded artist and writer than they had previously thought. Or if I hadn't entered their mindspace before, that I at least leave an impression.
- Jon O