A 24-Hour Comics Day 2011 Recap
This year (like last year), I celebrated 24-Hour Comics Day at the Toonseum in Pittsburgh. Joe Wos hooked us up with a brand new extension of the museum’s space, and it was an awesome place to get work done.
How awesome??? So awesome that I finished my 24-page story in less than 12 hours! Granted, I drew Stick Cats Act III in a loose line with minimal detail, so it’s not like I pulled a Jack Kirby routine. But I’m extremely pleased with the way things turned out. (Check back this Wednesday to read page 1!)
What did I do differently from 2010? I learned from my mistakes by setting different goals, sticking to stuff that I enjoy drawing, and focusing on speed. My goal for this year was to finish in a half-day, and I’m glad that I accomplished that mission (I went to sleep at a normal time in my own bed! SWEET!).
It was a great environment at this year’s 24HCD, with lots of space and a good vibe. People were there to work, and their passion for drawing comics was apparent. A few of my close friends were there, as well as a few peeps I haven’t met before.
Everybody had a different way of working and it was a lot fun to see the different styles in motion. For example, Chris Maverick was wired up real nice with his laptop and tricked-out tablet. He demonstrated Manga Studio a bit, and I was totally floored by some of the program’s features.
On the flip, Juan Jose Fernandez was working on special yellow paper stock in a much more old school method. His traditional style involved pencils and India ink, and he kept his pages in a stack on the top left of his table.
Now imagine if you will Chris and Juan standing on opposite sides of a room, with a full spectrum of working methods filling in the gap between them. That’s how it was at 24HCD. A few of us had laptops to use for finding reference or keeping tabs on social media while we worked. Others kicked it straight analog — it was just them, a pencil, a pen, and the paper.
I worked in my sketchbook. That’s the method I’ve used for Stick Cats thus far and I’ve come to enjoy the feel of drawing the comic page-by-page in a coil-bound tome. The only drawback to working in my sketchbook was that it was hard for other artists to come around and peak at my progress.
I skipped pencils (as usual) and worked in black ink, using my beloved Paper Mate Flair pens to get the job done (with a little Sharpie here and there). As I’ve been working like this for going on 20 years now, it was easy and comfortable — a technique I was able to leverage for speed.
So what did I learn this year that I can apply in 2012?
1. Focusing on speed is a great way to work, but I’d like to slow down a bit and do a more detailed story next year.
2. Working in my sketchbook greatly decreased my ability to share, so I’ll definitely make sure to use loose sheets next time.
3. And, finally, I’m gonna focus on big action and minimal dialogue in 2012. My characters talked too much this year, and I got tired of drawing the same settings over and over.
BUT WAIT! There’s more! I referenced 24HCD in today’s Super Haters webcomic. Based on Grant Morrison’s philosophy of transference from the comics page to the creator’s real life, I figured that if Destruct-O-Tron could complete a brilliant complete 24-hour comic in the Super Haters reality, then maybe it’d transfer over to me. Though I’d be hard pressed to call Stick Cats Act III brilliant, the other part of the transference worked!