The Short Story Wot I Wrote!
11 May 2019
WOW! The Kickstarter for Slang Pictorial #4 smashed thru it's target and ended up reaching a grand total of 461% FUNDED!! I'm going to write a bit of a longer piece for my next newsletter reflecting on how the campaign went and what I've learnt from it, so for now I just want to say thank you to everyone who backed the campaign and as soon as the Kickstarter rewards have gone out to backers everyone else will be able to grab a copy of issue 4 right here at nickprolix.com
I've also published my first prose short story set in the world of The Sheep And The Wolves which you can get simply by signing up to my newsletter, see the link in the sidebar. The Accumulator, is a short story about long odds, set in a smoke-filled betting shop, filled with equal lashings of hope and disappointment for the comic punters within.
Download your free copy and let me know what you thought!
SLANG PICTORIAL #4 LAUNCHING ON KICKSTARTER THIS WEEK
18 March 2019
I am going to be offering a couple of Early Bird rewards that will be available only for the first day of the campaign, so make sure you get your pledges in nice and early!
The first Early Bird Reward is going to be an exclusive Slang Pictorial Françoise Hardy print. These individually numbered full-colour double sided prints are an homage to Hardy’s 1962 album Tous les garçons et les filles and will also feature some Prolix hand-lettered typography on the reverse. These are going to go out only to everyone who backs the campaign - at one of the physical reward tiers - within the first twenty four hours from when the campaign goes live. This print won't be added to any of the other tiers during the campaign and so the only way to snag yourself one is to jump on board on day one!
The exclusive print is going to be great but THIS is the Early Bird Reward I'm most excited about and have been eagerly waiting to announce! If you've ever stopped by table at a comic convention you no doubt have thumbed thru my folder of original comic artwork. Since issue #3 I've been drawing the comic on A3 Bristol Board but back in 2015 when The Sheep And The Wolves began life as a web-comic, I actually used to draw the strip at a smaller size, inking straight over my pencils in order to keep up with the pace of posting new pages weekly.
So for this Kickstarter only, I will be giving the FIRST 20 BACKERS who pledge at any physical reward tier ONE of those ORIGINAL A4 pages each! These are the ONLY Prolix pages you're ever going to see at this size and these really are a unique snapshot of Slang Pictorial history. You can literally see me working out character designs, world building and developing an art style right there on the page, complete with whiteout and even panels cut and pasted in place. Make sure you get your pledge in quick!
The best way to ensure you are in with a chance to grab one of these Early Bird Rewards is to follow me on Kickstarter and subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter using the form in the sidebar.
I'll be back in the next few days to announce Kickstarter going live!
Keep 'em peeled!
07 March 2019
Take the next issue of Slang Pictorial. Saying I have a comic book to make doesn't actually get me any closer to producing the thing. If anything, it actually sounds quite daunting. A whole comic book, you say!? What exactly is that going to take to complete? How long do I need to spend working on it?
However, if you think not in terms of the book but of the comics page as being a more manageable unit, well then I do know that to be able to make this next issue I have to actually produce nineteen pages of comics. More than that, I know that there is a process that I need to work thru to get these pages made. First I have to print the pencils, letter then ink the page, scan and then clean-up the files in Photoshop. Rinse and repeat.
To help me keep on target and stay motivated and energised I always print out an overview/checklist that I tape near my drawing table so that I can tick off tasks as they are completed and which visualises all the actions I know I'm going to have to complete to make the issue.
There seems to me to be two distinct approaches you could take to getting these pages done. The first is to approach each page as a distinct unit to be tackled in a linear, chronological manner. So you'd start with page one and print out the pencils, then letter and ink, scan and clean-up before printing out the pencils for page two and beginning again. The benefit of working this way is that it keeps you very focussed on the page as a unit, however it's not particularly efficient and when time is of the essence it's not the most productive method for creating comics.
Instead, when I'm fully on my #makingcomics grind I tend to use a different approach. Just like it's more manageable to think of a comic as being made of smaller "chunks" or pages, and pages are themselves just made up of smaller chunks called panels, I like to think of my checklist as being just a way to track my progress thru the various "process chunks" that need to get completed. These tasks can be completed most efficiently I find, when tackled together in batches.
For example, it's obviously a more efficient use of time to print all the pencils out on to Bristol board in one go rather than as and when they are needed. I put on some music and mindlessly feed card thru the printer until the job's all done, and then I get the satisfaction of being able to tick off the first box on all my separate page columns!
Once that job is out of the way I then draw out the panel borders and hand letter a batch of three or four pages. This is less mindless a task than printing but doesn't require as much focus or energy as full inking and so I'll often do this in the morning before work or when I'm feeling too knackered from work/kids to face tackling inking proper.
I then do two separate inking passes on each page, the first to outline characters and foreground elements, the second pass to fill in backgrounds and render figures more fully. The way I do this tho, is to stagger the pages so for example, I'll letter a batch and then do a first pass on a couple of pages. The next day I'll warm up by going back to ink backgrounds on a page and then do a first pass on lettered pages from the previous day. The next day I'll go back for a second pass on those pages before needing to panel and letter a whole new batch of pages.
Using this "chunking" method I'll usually have three or four pages on the go at any one time, each at a different stage of the process. This means while I'm literally waiting for the ink to dry on one page I can be progressing on another, which again helps with maximising my work rate most efficiently. The other thing that tackling pages out of order lets me do is to attack the more demanding scenes only when both my hand and pen are sufficiently warmed up.
There's a great moment when, at some indeterminate point during the inking process, you start to hit your stride and your wrist, the nib, the ink and the paper all begin to do just exactly what it is that you want them to. The trick then, is to get as much drawn from within that state of flow as you can, before tiredness creeps in, bringing with it mistakes, accidental ink splatters and the dreaded hand cramps!
Right, enough chatting, it's back to the drawing for me!