The Graphic Novel – the term that is casually misused on a regular basis among those who collect, read and create comics. Some view it as a method of collecting a series of comics, removing the cover and by-lines and sandwiching them all together as one big long story. Others see it as a way of breaking beyond the traditional 22+ page issue format into a lengthier story form, allowing the artists/writer to develop their characters and settings with greater depth.
I don’t care to argue – I love graphic novels whether they are series of sandwiched trades, or magnum opus full length tree killing volumes. But how does one go about starting to put their graphic novel together? Well, you could go the pro route and hash out the entire story as a writer and artist team, or take a great (or freakin’ terrible) literary work and develop that into a graphic novel, or even go the easier route and find ideas and scenes from films you enjoy and re-imagine the cinematic storytelling into a print/web format.
Or you could do something similar to the folks I’m going to talk about in this post. These two guys decided to jump right in and make their own graphic novels without any knowledge of how to create one. These two blogs are basic production blogs, with commentary on the process. I find both projects extremely intriguing, as I have been following the same trials and tribulations they have during my time working on my own webcomic feature. If you want to stumble along with them, and give them your support (a helpful comment, or a pat on the back for encouragement) check out both blogs after the descriptions. You won’t be disappointed – just think of how cool it would be to see their work in print, and to have been there watching alongside as they fought their way to their goal.
The first blog I’ll recommend is called: Project Waldo.
This D-I-Y graphic novel process blog is the brainchild of Nate Simpson, who took a year off from working as an artist for video game production to fulfill a dream to bring one of his fantasy stories to life in the form of a storyboard. The storyboard grew into a larger project, which later evolved into the form of a graphic novel. Putting his artistic talents to the test, Nate has been studying the methods employed by various artists in North America and abroad to get his work published.
Here’s a small sample of his work.
His influences include Geof Darrow and Moebius, in case you hadn’t noticed by the level of detail in his work. Go to his blog, check out his portfolio and join his Facebook group. With your help, you can motivate him enough to continue on with Project Waldo until it becomes a printed piece.
The second blog I recommend is called: reMIND
reMIND is the creation of Jason Brubaker, a visual development artist for DreamWorks Animation. For over 12 years, Jason has been working in the film and television field, but also has time to create comics like Phobos. His latest endeavour is entitled reMIND, and the idea is to evolve a short animation he concocted years ago into a print based Graphic Novel. Hampered by the lack of speed in creating his story through animation, Brubaker made the jump to print/web upon the recommendation of a friend. The results so far have been fantastic.
Here’s a sample of Jason’s work:
Much like Nate, Jason has just been winging it – going off the suggestions of fellow bloggers and artist/writers who have gone the self-pub route. Check out Jason’s progress on his blog, join his Facebook group, and get your hands on his other comics – Phobos.
So if you’re planning on creating your own comics but have a story that is of a grander scale than what the traditional issue format allows, you can try your hand at a Graphic Novel. I’d suggest doing some research first, then hitting up the expertise of some others who have gone through the process – or if you feel confident enough to forge ahead into uncharted territory, make like Nate and Jason and dive in head first.
It’s quite the learning experience!