Sunday, 28 September 2014

New Comic : 'Bottled Up'

A new blog post is very overdue!

Apologies to those who follow my blog who haven't seen any new work appear lately.
I moved to a new flat last month and didn't get the old Mac out again until recently as things were a bit chaotic. I somehow managed to finish my Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize entry in time though and here is the result!

The story follows a lonely mermaid who is initially terrified of the sea, but a mysterious map inside a washed up bottle encourages her to 'bottle up' her fear, release her inner adventurer and explore the vast unknown...with a little help from a friendly Narwhal and dashing young fisherman along the way of course.

Despite being only four pages, it took so long to complete! Aside from being quite a slow worker this was primarily because I had decided on trying a slightly different style for this comic.
My previous comic (see here) was created using scanned in bits and bobs but was mostly digital, and my purely digital work tends to be very static and '2D'.

For this story however, I knew for the subject matter it needed to have more movement, so I took to my sketching pencils and drew out all the frames first. Using a sketchy style made tackling the sea and the mermaid character easier and look a lot more dynamic and it also gives the comic the organic feel I was hoping for.

Initial Roughs, planning frame layouts:

Final Sketched page:

Page 2 of my comic before colourising in Photoshop

I scanned in a lot of painted and mono-printed textures of waves, clouds and fish scales and all sorts to layer up behind the sketched pages and create the final artwork, along with digital colouring. The hardest part was trying to vary the wave textures and blue tones enough to add areas of contrast, so the sea wouldn't look to boring and samey, as there is an awful lot of it!

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. It still looks very much my style, but a little different with so much drawing involved. I'm definitely going to develop this technique for future projects, as a few more folk-taley stories I have in mind would also suit this sketchier style. I think Page Four is slightly lacking, maybe because there are less frames and it's a quieter moment in the comic, when perhaps it should have ended with a bit more of a bang... but for now, yay! Another comic to add to my portfolio!
More are in the making, I'm just quite slow! But I'm going to try and get into blogging more frequently again, even if it's just to share sketchbook work / projects in progress.

Thanks for viewing!
See more of my narrative / comic work HERE

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