Jan 28 2013

Writer’s Blotch

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For all my skill at prose, I always have a problem with plot. I want something that’s a bit more sophisticated than “Triangle Man hates Particle Man, they have a fight, Triangle wins!” … but when it comes to actually think up what happens, I tend to just stare at the screen (or paper) and go “Uuuuuhh… I like pie.”

This is why I like to come up with an “elevator pitch” for my stories, especially episodic things like comics– so that if I get stuck, I have a roadmap of what’s important to the story and what I should be talking about. Unfortunately, it’s very often not until you’ve got a significant amount of stuff already written on an item that the themes really start to become visible. Alas, that’s not much help when you get stuck near the beginning!

So at the beginning, or at least in the rough draft stage, it’s often handy to lean on an already-established plot, or even just lift some other story whole cloth. “Um… so we’ve got these lions, and… uh… what do they do? We know we want to have some kind of thing with the hero and his father– I’ve got it! Let’s riff off Hamlet!” But I always have trouble letting go and doing that, I think at least partially because my studies in English lit have enabled me to spot it being done so often everywhere else! And my ego resists.

But y’know, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to use an existing idea as a framework. I know my new comic has a kind of “Mad Max meets Alice In Wonderland” vibe going on, so why not use that to my advantage? Could my comic benefit from a Cheshire Cat analog? How about a Red Queen or a Mad Hatter? (And have you ever noticed the parallels between Alice In Wonderland and Wizard of Oz?)

These are things I think about when I’m noodling around, fishing for plot ideas. Sometimes it helps! Sometimes it just makes my ideas even murkier. But if nothing else, at least it keeps my thoughts moving and prevents my brain from going into the vapor-lock it always leans towards at this stage.

-The Gneech

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Jan 25 2013

16 Tons (of Stuff In My Nose)

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(To the tune of “16 Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford…)

You blow 16 tons of junk out your nose
try to do it discreetly where it doesn’t show
You blow 16 tons, and what happens then?
You get out another tissue and do it again

Sinusitis is a crap malady
you have it every day but get no sympathy
You blow 16 tons out your nose every day
but it ain’t good for nothing, so you throw it away

You blow 16 tons of junk out your nose
try to do it discreetly where it doesn’t show
You blow 16 tons, and what happens then?
You get out another tissue and do it again

If boogers were gold I’d be a rich man
instead crusty dragons fill my garbage can
If I had stock in Kleenex I could pay my own way
‘cos I use at least twelve boxes every day

You blow 16 tons of junk out your nose
try to do it discreetly where it doesn’t show
You blow 16 tons, and what happens then?
You get out another tissue and do it again

Blowing out 16 tons, you’d think I’d lose weight
The Sinusitis Diet man, sure would be great!
When doomsday arrives, I’ll know how it goes:
I’m going to blow the whole world right out through my nose

You blow 16 tons of junk out your nose
try to do it discreetly where it doesn’t show
You blow 16 tons, and what happens then?
You get out another tissue…
…and you do it again!

-The Gneech

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Jan 15 2013

25 Essential Expressions– Verity

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25 Essential Expressions– Verity by ~the-gneech on deviantART

One of the things I always regretted about my previous comics was that I never really put a lot of the professional-level homework into them, not the least of which is an expressions sheet. So for my current one, I decided to remedy this. I grabbed this template for the task: http://napalmnacey.deviantart.com/art/25-Essential-Expressions-55523083

Holy cats, this is a lot more work than it looks like. But on the upside, I now have a proper expressions reference for Verity. The hardest one to settle on was actually “flirty,” as Verity is not exactly a seething cauldron of self-assurance and social adeptitude. (Is that a word?) So I went with “giggly and embarrassed” instead, which is pretty much how she’d react to anybody she really found attractive. “Fierce” and “rage” were tough choices as well, considering how neither of those things Verity tends to be.

I’ll need to do one of these for Tanya too, but I have some time before that since she doesn’t actually appear until about 5 pages into the comic.

-The Gneech

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Jan 10 2013

I Declare! There’s Something In My Chair!

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I declare!
There’s something in my chair!
It’s giving me a scare
and I wish it wasn’t there.
Usually it’s rare
to see anything but air
in my seat below the stair
and its cushion with a tear.
I don’t suspect that it will share
and perhaps I should beware;
I could touch it if I dare
and its soul would be laid bare
but it’s giving me a glare
which I just don’t think is fair.
I should really grow a pair
and remove it from my lair.
Or to extract it from my hair
maybe I should ask the mayor?
But I think she just won’t care
about the something in my chair.

-The Gneech

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Jan 08 2013

Manga Studio Study — New Comic Panel

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Manga Studio Study — New Comic Panel by ~the-gneech on deviantART

My first ever completely-digital-from-start-to-finish comic panel, done in Manga Studio. On top, all the working layers I used, including perspective lines, blueline roughs, sketch, and ink; underneath, just the inks. I haven’t decided if I want to try adding tones for shadows in Manga Studio, or just leave that to the coloring process.

This single panel took me several hours, but a lot of that time was spent learning the tools, in particular the focus line ruler and parallel line rulers.

There’s a lot to like about Manga Studio– being able to ink while zoomed way the heck in is huge– but there’s no denying that it has a steep, steep learning curve. Intuitive, it is not.

But powerful? Oh yes. It is powerful. This may just be one small 10″x3″ (ish) panel, but what it represents is huge, to me!

-The Gneech

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Jan 07 2013

Diary of An Alien, Day Seven

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Had a peculiar thing happen last night– all up and down the east coast, people were shouting “You should have gone with Cousins at the half!” I assume it’s some sort of code. Or possibly a cult ritual, the nature of which escapes me at the moment.

Also had a little snag this morning– the person I’ve been telling everyone at the workplace hired me, came back from vacation. Fortunately, I diffused the situation by telling her that the guy down the hall (that she hates and won’t talk to willingly) hired me. I’m pretty confident she won’t go to him and ask if it’s true. The only downside is that she keeps giving me sidelong looks, now.

I plan to be irresistibly charming, later. Hopefully that will fix it.

Reporting From Earth,
Coosh Mezardwark

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