Graphic Novel Project Attempt (revived)

Arts, Multimedia, & Creative Manifestations
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Masato
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Graphic Novel Project Attempt (revived)

Postby Masato » Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:49 pm

OK last post before I split (family is packed waiting downstairs, lol)

This is my next project, and I'm making a blog to share the experience, to learn from others, to inspire others, and to kick my own ass into not giving up or slacking (too hard)

Wish me luck folks!


http://blog.masatotoys.com/

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Luigi
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Postby Luigi » Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:28 pm

Good luck my friend.
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Postby Masato » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:51 pm

Blog #1: Gonna Create a Graphic Novel (I betcha)


Hey all

First post here! (well 2nd technically) - SUPER stoked.

Since finishing Sonnen's War just a few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty pumped. That was the first project I really challenged myself on since Animation school almost 14 years ago, and now that I know its possible, I'm excited to start the next project, and hopefully step it up a bit in terms of quality.

Sonnen's War was mostly just an experiment, something to test myself as an artist but also something I wouldn't need to take too seriously... it was the perfect project to get my feet wet and test the boundaries of what I could do realistically in what timelines.

Years of illustrating for advertising agencies has brought a lot of good things, but I am realizing it is slowly killing me as an artist, lol. Most of it is hacked together to meet the insane deadlines, and I was building a lot of bad habits. I haven't really drawn properly for a long time, and the rust is caked on pretty thick.

I recently found these SYCRA videos, and they really pumped me up to get back to the basics and try to dig up whatever skills I really have under my cracker-jack arsenal.

The point of this blog is a) to share the process with others, to listen to feedback and critique, and try to inspire/encourage others to stretch their creative arms and refine their art, whatever it is. There is always so much to learn, but if we choose, we CAN learn! Let's learn! Let's do this

Wish me luck!

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Postby Masato » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:51 pm

Blog #2: 'The Dogs of Ilha Bela'


Unlike some stories that require tricky explorations of structure and plot turns etc, the idea of this comic came to me full-blown and complete. 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)... but a quick little tale that hits a tone that I think I wanna try to hit.

It came to me during the last time I was in Brasil, on an island called 'Ilha Bela' (translated: beautiful island)

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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:

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This dog was a fuckin BOSS:

http://i.cubeupload.com/qPSaHY.jpg

Look at this thing, lol:

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I SWEAR these dogs were doing Jiu-Jitsu... One on the bottom was working a nice high guard:
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The story is filling itself in with ease, and I used the rest of my time on the island soaking up ideas for characters and locations. (I'll get into the story in further blogs)

There was only 1 problem:

I can't draw dogs worth a FUCK, lol

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Postby Masato » Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:57 pm

Blog #3: 20 Dogs a Day (+no weed)


So coincidentally, just as I'm finally ready and willing to start this gargantuan task, I'm off for 2 weeks vacation (everyone is actually waiting downstairs for me right now to finish this blog, lol - gotta hurry :) )

Gonna be renting a trailer and a cottage in some sweet spots in Ontario with the kids, and slow down. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do my homework and really make a proper artist's study of dogs to get in shape before starting the comic. The SYCRA videos took me back to animation school and reminded my the proper ways to learn to draw things, the kind of mindset I need.

Also, for the first week we are at a 'Family Camp' kind of place where the focus is on making a great place for kids to play free and for the moms and dads to chill the fuck out. The kids love it, but its kinda straight-edge, lotsa religious folk, big focus on family, no cigarettes no booze etc.

Regardless, for the past 2 years I had been smokin the herbs up there every time lol. I'd go down to the lake, or go for a bike ride, or hide behind woodpiles etc, wherever I could find. But I had a few close calls last time, and I think I'd feel like a total schmuck if I got busted and asked to leave, lol.

Plus its a good opportunity for me to take a break. I need that sometimes :)

SO - I bought 6 dog-magazines littered with photos of all kinds of dogs (there are no real dogs at the camp to draw - week 2 is at the cottage, I will have my own dog with us and can smoke all the herb I want :) ) - and printed off these pages to use for study:

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My goal is to draw '20 dogs a day'... but I am notoriously lazy, so we will see how this goes, lol

Wish me luck!! Will post maybe in a week.

Peace, Love, Be Creative, and Enjoy the fights.

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Postby Masato » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:56 pm

Blog 4: One Week Down


Hey all, So not a bad icebreaker. Didn’t do 20 a day, but almost, and it was good to learn that maybe 10 is more realistic/enjoyable for me. Learned a lot, mostly learned what I didn’t know… and still don’t know. Copying pictures of dogs from magazine pictures is one thing, but to be able to draw these naturally from scratch and draw them well is another. Today I saw my dog wrestling with another dog in a field, and saw what complex and amazing creatures they are! (my dog got its ass kicked btw) I still don’t know exactly what causes the bulge in the upper rear legs or how it folds, or quite how the shoulder blades work/move, and haven’t even begun to learn about the walk cycle pattern… I animated a tiger walk cycle in animation school, but forgot it all now.

Day 1:

I started with the skeleton. for me this helps understand everything. How can one make sense of all the odd bumps and curves of a dog without knowing WHY they are there?

These are made from photos of living dogs from the magazines, but instead of copying the outside, I was trying to find where the bones would be for each image:

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Day 2:

Had a rough idea now how the skeleton fits. Had trouble remembering which bones protrude at the ankle, and which protrude at the knee (front or back), but good enough to move on. Now I experimented how the flesh/skin/ears are attached to the frame. Again, I am using dog magazine photos for all of these, its not really drawing yet. Put the magazine away and I guarantee you they will look way more wonky, lol

All of these drawings were done first in red (skeletons), then fleshed out with blue.

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Day 3:

Day 3 I fucked off. No work



Day 4:

More skeleton under-drawings in red, and fleshed out on top with blue:

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Day 5:

Day 5 I decided to cut it down to 10. I still don’t really enjoy drawing much, this is more self-discipline than any natural compulsion to draw. 20 was cramping my vacation style

Having a hard time finding a simple way to define the nose in ‘front-view’ shots. For the comic, the drawing style will have to be way more simplified than what I’m doing here… I don’t want to sketch every dog like this (or do I?) - I saw the Polar-Bear dog in ‘The Legend of Korra’ somewhere this week and it looked good, I will take another look at how they do it. (if you don’t know about The Legend of Korra, you are missing out, man.)

11 dogs, just to make up for the 9 I skipped out on, lol:
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Day 6:


Last day, am getting pretty comfortable, these were fast (lazy :) ).

Next week my own dog will be with us, so I'll put the magazines aside and draw from life (much harder but so much better)


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...now the question becomes one of style. I need a style that is efficient. How can I simplify, and be able to draw visually correct and appealing dogs with as few brush strokes as possible? SPEED, man...! That's what I'm after, or this thing will take me 10 years.

I hope to do it in less than 2.

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Postby Masato » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:57 pm

Blog #5: Clarifying the STORY

This week I plan to draw less, write more.

So far, all I concretely have in terms of the story structure/character arcs etc are these mad scribbles below that I made the night I had the idea (plus a bunch of scenes/images/themes in my mind). It looks like a mess, but I’ve developed my own kind of shorthand and I am pretty happy with it, but it still definitely needs to be cleaned up.

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The goal is by the end of this week to turn this basic skeleton into a clear blueprint of the story; a basic script/scene-by-scene breakdown to follow.

I have considered just winging it page by page and trusting the nature of it to open up (I have heard this is how Stephen King writes once he has a basic idea) – but in my limited writing experience I have found that when the time/work is invested properly in the planning, it is nearly always for the better. Also, I like this part of the project the best – the puzzle of making a single coherent tale that works, and most efficiently captures the heart of the idea.

I am really looking forward to this week, now I can fill in the details, the little connections and under-stories I’ve been mulling around in my mind.

Yet often just when I think I have a story planned… I realize after looking deeper at it how many holes there are, lol

I have been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell lately, who is legendary for explaining the structure and function of human mythology from all over the world, and it has inspired me to take some of this approach in the telling. This will not be silly like Sonnen’s War, it is my first real attempt at discovering the kind of work that I really want to finally make after all these years of cooking.

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Joe Mama
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Postby Joe Mama » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:08 pm

Holy damn this is quite an undertaking bud! Your sketches of those dogs was fascinating (seeing how they came together and all)

I cant WAIT to see the storyline that accompanies it! This outta be good :D

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Postby Masato » Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:05 pm

Blog #6: Story Green Lit - On to Character Design

Mission accomplished!

Despite the cottage environment making me unfathomably lazy and slow, I managed 3 good sessions of writing, and mapped out the whole comic, and have a plan to do it in 67 PAGES.

That is not so insane, and was exactly the kind of mark I was hoping for. I didn't want this to be some dragged-out epic novel, I wanted it to be short and swift... something POSSIBLE to do.

I also having an imposed timeline; for story reasons yet to be blogged about, I want this comic published BEFORE the 2016 Olympics in Rio Brasil. That gives me just under 2 years.

I'm giving myself 1.5 years to complete the artwork, so I have time to try to get it printed. - That's 78 weeks. Basically a page a week.

FUCK. lol

Next step is to start sketching the compositions of each page, and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. I have about 15 characters that need to be defined, both dog and human. The style is really growing clear in my mind's eye, but it will be a different task to actually attempt to re-create it.

One big realization I've had is how much different street dogs in Brasil are than North American dogs. In NA, we see lots of obviously specific breeds. Many long-hair dogs, and distinct features. In Brasil however, they are mostly all short-hair, and 'mutts' for lack of a better term. No clear breeds, just dogs as dogs should be imo. This actually works to my favour, as I find the long-hair breeds much harder to draw. Now I can draw them all skinny/muscular and it will actually be more authentic.

I have decided to use my own dog as the model for the main character. Here are some photos I took while up at the cottage on the Bruce Penninsula, Lake Huron, near Tobermory:

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Postby Winnson » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:48 am

Looks like a huge project! Can't wait to see it!


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