In December 2020 I registered for a spring 2021 online continuing education course called “Comics Projects” at the School of Visual Arts. Taught by former DC and Marvel Editor Carl Potts, the course is structured as a workshop where participants submit a 10-page script with thumbnails and spend the rest of the semester critiquing a page of pencils and a subsequent page or inks each week. By the end of the course, participants will have finished the 10-page story.
To prepare for the course, I took a few other online courses over winter break: two human anatomy courses and an inking course. I’ll describe my experiences in those courses in “Making Comics, Part 2: Learning from Others.” I also began doing preliminary work on my script and story planning and created some 1-2 panel daily diary comics. I knew I wanted to make an autobio comic, but I didn’t know what I would focus on or how I would structure potential future issues. I also wanted to develop my own style.
Up until now, my drawing over the years has been fan art: drawings of other people’s characters; often times, I’d mimic their creators’ styles. In this post I share some of those diary comics that I made in early to mid January 2021. They helped me start to develop a style especially because I worked from photographs rather than other people’s art or my “imagination.” All too often my imagination defaults to imitating other artists because they’re so damned good. I found that when I worked from photographs and focused on telling a story or recounting an anecdote, then I wouldn’t think about other artists’ work. I wasn’t trying to capture something from my so-called imagination so much as considering how to convey an image and a memory in a visually pleasing or compelling way.