I’ve just realized that I can work on my Graphic Novel project as a labor of love, even if it never gets published. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for several decades (and a few different stories), though I got cold feet when I really started to get into it, and realized that it would take my drawing a lot of things I wasn’t confident about drawing — at least, should I write and illustrate the thing, myself. I realize that’s the harder path.

However, in Art, at least — there’s no real way to learn how to do it, without doing it. I’m writing in right now to set up a few hints so I can refer back to them, later.

Right now I am set up to work on A4 paper. This is the largest my scanner can handle. What I’ve realized is that I can scan something in at A4, then reduce it to fit onto 8.5″x11″, and if I need to, I can change the hue of the scan so that I can eliminate those colors if I draw over a color printout itself. That’s a big, “if.” I wouldn’t expect cartridge paper to perform like the best of my art papers.

A lot of my work is done on special paper: I’m particularly thinking about the final artwork, not all the drafts that come before it. Given that I have translucent marker paper, and Deleter Comic paper…plus a lightbox, it may be easier just to work on this by hand. A lightbox will backlight my original artwork, though it’s best if that artwork is…linework, I guess you could call it. I’m not certain how anything shaded, will look through another piece of paper — this is a reason to preserve it by scanning before adding value renditions. Any preliminary boundaries of different value areas can be added in, in colored mechanical pencil…then digitally erased.

That may be easier said than done, given optical mixing.

It should be much easier to work on this in grayscale, rather than in color; and I already have the materials for grayscale. If I’m using Marker Paper or the Deleter Comic Paper, I can use alcohol markers (I’m not sure of my palette yet, if I work in colored marker); if I’m using Mixed Media paper, I can use Black Cat ink and Ecoline colors (given that the Ecoline doesn’t dissolve the Black Cat — I have a couple of other options, if that is the case). If I use the Mixed Media paper, as well…I will need to use the lightbox to transfer my drawings, or else re-sketch everything without a precise guide.

It’s that, or work with carbon paper — as may be a necessity if I do, as I mention below, start working with watercolors, which may need a watercolor paper to perform at their best (and not Mixed Media paper).

The major thing I wanted to note was the fact that I should be able to digitally adjust the Hue of my original sketches (if grey can be adjusted), in order to eliminate them later. Or, I could put them in a background layer and work on a tablet, then hide the background…though for multiple reasons, that’s not quite how I want to do things (particularly since I don’t want to buy an iPad or Cintiq).

There’s also the fact that I have read — in the past — about the Ecoline colors causing a drop in O2 levels if used without ventilation, though that was probably before the Pandemic. Recently, I haven’t seen that warning, but my Ecolines are also old. It’s something I’m going to have to watch for (I have an O2 monitor, so I should be able to tell): or, I could just try working with watercolors (though I’ve heard that it’s not an optimal path for scanned artwork).

I mean, seriously: I have the stuff. I’ve wanted to do this for years. This is why I went and got that Art AA, and considered the Comics MFA — before I realized how much it would cost.

The first steps, though, would seem to be writing and concept art.

I should add that I’m thinking about doing this because of M’s encouragement to do what I love to do, regardless of whether it pays or not. While the strictest habit of mine which applies to this is flat-out writing, making comics has been a dream for a while. I’ve had this most recent project in mind since the end of my Art Program…and it has already been somewhat developed. I don’t know where it will end, but I’ve read that I don’t need to know, to begin…

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