24 Hour Comic Day

24 Hour Comic Day 15

I have never tried doing a comic – or graphic novel – though I have considered it at times. Today, though, I have decided to participate in 24 Hour Comic Day, using a story I started LONG ago (~20 years ago) and that I only wrote the first couple of pages on. So it’s an old, very rusty idea, but one I thought would translate well into a graphic novel.

I’ll be updating this posting throughout the day with comments, images, and general progress.


I have my overall plan, laid out in Scrivener (spoiler alert – don’t click the image unless you want to know how it ends):

The Plan


I have spent an hour getting set up downstairs – I’m at my drawing computer, with my laptop off to one side for Google+ Hangouts and other miscellaneous stuff, screen sharing into my main computer for the master layout work ahead (organizing it all in InDesign), and now I’m thinking it’s food time already. Yes, procrastination is an important step – this goes hand-in-hand with being anal (I’ve already planned out my panels in InDesign, without having drawn a single stroke).

Planning (too much?)

And here’s the work space setup:


More soon… hopefully next time with drawings!


Ok, I’ll be lucky to get several pages done – certainly not the 24 pages I’ll need. Oh well. 1st spread in a very sketchy style (good enough for this):

1st Spread-Revised


Almost 4 hours for 1 spread…? Gulp!

2nd Spread-Rough


More to show, but not as much as I’d like and it’s not currently prepped. I’ve moved from the computer to the drawing pad, though, which means I won’t be showing anything more until tomorrow. I’ll probably poop out in a couple of hours – if so, that’ll make a 13 hour effort. Technically, as I didn’t start until 11am, I COULD still work a few hours tomorrow morning, but I’m not sure that’ll be happening, either. :)

Monday, 10:20am

Here’s the final panels from Saturday the 1st – I had hoped to at least finish these up, but I did not:

3rd Spread-Rough


4th Spread-Rough

My Takeaway

Saturday night and Sunday I felt a bit demoralized about it all. Not heavily, but enough. I think early on I felt good because the story itself came together quickly—I could see it in my mind, I knew what needed to happen, and I even felt good about the panel layout and how many panels I would need for each scene or step. But along the day with the drawing, I became more—embarrassed? at least disappointed—in my drawings. I couldn’t capture any kind of style, or dynamic quality, or anything else but a very quick sketch look, but even those sketches seemed lackluster.

I really felt as if much of the day was a waste for me, and that I would have been better off spending 3-5 of those 11 hours (only 11 hours put in after all) into writing on my novel.

Now on Monday, I see things a little better. My view of the drawing is the same, but I do think it was a good exercise. I’m still intrigued by graphic novels, and I think I could create both the writing and visuals. But, as with my writing efforts the past year or so, I can’t expect myself to draw right out of the gate. It has been YEARS since I drew regularly, and I’ve never really tried this kind of drawing/painting. I should remind those that don’t know that I AM an illustrator (and animator, designer, etc.) by trade, but that’s all 3D work and the Photoshop work is a lot of design, compositing, retouching, but almost never drawing. But if I want to be good at something else, I need to both LOOK at those other things on a regular basis and PRACTICE.

So, my takeaway, at least as of this posting, is that I will complete this graphic novel, but start over on all of the drawings. Perhaps it will take a week per drawing, perhaps more, but in the end what I put out will be something I’m proud of, or at least not embarrassed by, and there will be a quantity of real effort, not a poor effort to produce quantity.

15 comments click to show
  • Joan Vibert says:

    OK – its after 4 pm and I don’t see any drawings yet!

  • Loving it. Taking on form. Stay sketchy, fill in the story, go back if time permits…

  • galen dara says:

    ah man… my first comment was eaten up. hold on. trying again.

  • galen dara says:

    okay, second try:

    This: “I felt a bit demoralized about it all.”. Yah. me too. You are not alone. This is a pretty brutal challenge, I’ve tried it twice now and both times come out exhausted and a bit beaten up at the other end.

    <i."I would have been better off spending.. those …hours…writing on my novel." Yes, that is similar to what I have felt as well, wondering if my time and energy wasn’t better spent somewhere else.

    Disclaimer: I do not have a good answer for that. I do wonder. Mostly, tho. I agree with what you say you say in your conclusion, it *is* a good exercise. It blows comfort zones wide open. It asks the impossible. And in those kinds of extremities, you learn stuff.

    Personally, I am highly intrigued by your story, your visual rendering of it, and where it will go from here.

    Thank you, so much, for participating :)

    • Jacob Ruby says:

      I’ll probably do it again next year, or at least seriously consider it, but with a different outlook (and with more prep time).

      I think I also shortchanged myself in a couple of ways:

      One, I was coming off of a high with having a story acceptance (Fish!) and getting another story written, edited, and submitted in less than a week – and a longer one, too (AND one I feel really good about).

      Two, because I was working on the other short story, I did NO prep work this week – no sketches to loosen up, to think about style and form and action. Considering how little I draw normally, this was a mistake – though I wouldn’t have sacrificed writing that story for this.

      Next year, though, I would hope to have spent more time drawing and being in a better position artistically to take on a challenge like this.

      Finally, I think what you produced is “portfolio quality” – at least it looks like it to me. My stuff, well…as I said, I think I’ll start over from scratch and really work on a graphic style, something that pushes me and draws on my artistic background. I know I CAN do it, it’s just a matter of practice. :)

      • John Remy says:

        Bear, I’m very very impressed. You deserve lots of big pats on the back, and some ice cream or something. :)

        In response to the demoralization, I’m with you and Galen. But I think I mentioned something to Galen–given the time frame, we’re producing material that really should be initial sketch or draft, even exploratory in nature; but given the public nature, we’re releasing material for others to see at a much lower quality than we normally would. Think of how much time we would spend polishing our work before publishing/posting it.

        So, when we take that all into consideration, I think we all deserve a pat on the back! And some drinks! :D

        • Jacob Ruby says:

          You raise good points, and of course I appreciate the positive feedback and support (commiseration?).

          I also think that it’s good to fail, and fail hard sometimes (fail is probably the wrong word here, but works for the bigger picture) – it teaches you humility for one, and it also gives you the choice to either work harder (or smarter) next time or give up. Giving up is the easy choice. With some things perhaps giving up IS the right choice (I would fail as a caver, or miner) but in this regard I think I’ll take the other path.

  • Jaym Gates says:

    That demoralization bit is precisely why I didn’t DRAW all that much for this, and why I haven’t pushed harder at breaking into a field I love. I have all these lovely ideas in my head, and then the paper stuff is just disappointing.

    I do have to say that pantsing it was a huge part of how I actually finished the thing. I had some idea of what I was doing, but no layouts or even a cohesive story in my head. It was when I started thinking too much that I bogged down.

    Looking forward to the final result!! (And I am jealous as hell of that screen array. Lovely!

    • Jacob Ruby says:

      Yeah, getting stuff out of your head and having it like you imagined it is tough – tough with writing (though I’m getting a bit better with practice) and tough with drawing.

      I also agree that I rolled pretty well at first, then I got sucked into thinking about it, being dissatisfied, and thinking (or dwelling) even more. Never a good thing.

  • I am decided – next year I want in and dive into this great insanity of 24 hours and see where I will emerge from that.

  • [...] here),  Jaym Gates dreamy mixed media assemblage comic here, here and here, Jacob Ruby’s live-blogging of his own venture, and my own creation based on Jaym Gates story “Song in my Bones” [...]

  • Wendy says:

    I loved seeing what you did, Bear! I thought the work you did was a wonderful “first draft”–a delving into the story, the first hammerings of structure. As someone who *just* started reading comic books/graphic novels (seriously–I read The Five Fists of Science in like August), my mind is absolutely blown. I’m sorry you feel so gloomy about so much hard work!

    • Jacob Ruby says:

      I definitely appreciate the comments – I think I feel better after having more distance. And it was a good experience to learn from (and why I thought it good to blog about the whole experience, not just the fun or excitement).

      I’ll make sure I’m prepared next year. :)

  • [...] it for finished artwork, but I’m fortunate to have good tools around for those needs (see my post on 24 Hour Comic day, or the setup picture with the Wacom Cintiq tablet). It should be a great option for doing a lot of [...]

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