Friday, August 3, 2012

Graphic Novel Creation

 This spring I took my first 3-week May term course, which was a class in graphic novel/comic-making that was taught by the two talented and awesome Pope Brothers, Rowan and Bly. It was set to start just after I wrapped up finals and set up my art gallery, and even though I knew it would be very intense and would mean I'd have to wait to begin unwinding from the many stresses of my spring semester, I just had to take it. The University of Minnesota doesn't offer any comic-making courses normally and therefore this was a rare opportunity, and also it would be taught by the two fabulous Pope bros and one of my fellow classmates would be my good friend Brooke.

The class was exactly what I expected in that it was both very fun and very difficult. Coming into the class as a comic-making newbie and having to come up with an idea for a comic, and write, draw, scan and color even a few pages of it within 3 weeks is incredibly challenging. However, it was a really good experience to not only rise to the occasion and try to make the best comic I could in that time frame, but also to work alongside other students as they made their own comics and see how differently everyone worked and how their comics turned out. Overall, I'm glad I did it because I was able to learn, have fun and prove to myself that I am capable of making a half-decent comic.

I'll be sharing the comic I created below, but if you'd like to check it out on the class website or see some of the work that the other students made (like Brooke's awesome mini story about a shape-changing lawyer), go check out the class website!

Okay, so because I'm a big fan of the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I didn't really have an idea for a comic otherwise, I decided to make mine about it. Because there are no adaptations that I've seen that focus purely on the story of Edward Hyde and his perspective on the events that occur, I chose to do that. My comic covers the backstory of Hyde and his creation, initial birth and the events that shortly follow. It pretty much follows the original story exactly. It gets a bit--okay, a LOT--wordy, because I got into the spirit of the writing style of the original novella, but the whole point of this was to give Hyde's account of things and I thought the narration would be fitting. I apologize if the writing isn't fantastic, as I wrote everything all in one night, and I didn't have a lot of time or energy to put into editing it.

Although most of my classmates were drawing their comics on paper and the scanning them later to color them and touch them up, I felt like trying to set my comic apart by making it entirely on the computer. It was easier in some ways and much harder in others, but it was a very good challenge and forced me to learn how to use masks very well, which I hadn't had experience with before.

Everything was done using vector masks, because I'm insane that way. My colored pages especially involved so many layers of masks it wasn't even funny. Page one definitely had over 150 layers. I used photographic reference as much as possible, and a couple panels were actually modeled for by my brother, since I needed to capture certain poses at odd angles that couldn't be found in reference images online.

Okay, done with my prattling now. On to the comic itself! I hope you enjoy it.

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