Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Bee-man Book, Latest Update.

This is purely technical and it will only interest the most anal amongst you - which is just about every arty-type; although we all like to dress it up as 'perfectionism'. Actually, it's handy reminder that it isn't over, until it's over.

The 'finished' book, had to be looked over for spelling mistakes, bad grammar (I've adapted the story in parts and edited it to suit a comic book format) and squashed lettering.

I then added white borders around 1/4" to all the white background pages, which was challenging when the pages were 'off-centre' and then reduced the page sizes back down to size.

Following that exercise, I had to go over all the pages where any faint ruling lines appeared after the formatting.

Then, once everything seemed to be done, I printed out my mini-book, a tiny copy of the book itself, so I could be sure the thing worked - which lead me to add more end papers and a new page of drawings.

The result is that the opening page is now correctly facing the reader, and the page count balances. And, you won't believe this, but I just noticed a real problem, that I didn't notice until the thing was in my hands. I've made a screen shot to let you see what it is:

I've got a rogue page, and a double-page at that, this could be hours of work because the double- pages have to be placed properly or they'll be on two sides of the same page. Still, it has to be done. As I said, it isn't over until it's over.

Anyway, although the book is in black and white, and half-tone (shades of gray), I do have a few pages that I coloured - just so I'd know what a colour version would look like.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Graphic Novel, The Bee-Man of Orn, Preview pages

I'm quite happy with my overall design here. I think I'm done editing, but something always pops up - we'll see. Anyway, here is a sample from the beginning of the story. Eagle-eyed cartoonist, Alex Mathews spotted an error, which is now fixed. I am obliged to him, and no mistake. Check out the link to his website (above) for some real funny cartoons. Well, at least I was prepared! The same eyes Royston Robertson uses to execute the fine lines of those uber-funny cartoons of his spotted my trick-word 'Kangeroo', that I had cunningly placed in the story to make sure everyone was, er, on their toes.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Get that Manga blog in order!

Okay, it has been a slow start to the year due to bugs and sneezes and stuff. And besides, I have worked 'manfully' (we all know that Man-flu is worse than any other kind) on the Bee-Man (now only 8 pages to fix and then I'm adding bees and lettering and it's done) despite being at Death's Door.

So my Imanga blog is a little behind, but I did say it would be self-indulgent. Anyway, I'm going to stick to the theme of my favourite Manga, and like the MPD Psycho post, I'll tie in the links with any other incarnations in other media. Death Note is a case in point, and it'll be the subject of my next Manga post, this weekend. Death Note began as a one-shot with Light as a very young boy. In the Death Note Manga series, and the anime, Light is a High-school pupil, and in the movies, Death Note I and Death Note II (The Last Name), Light is even older. In every case the stories achieves a new level of sophistication and it all seems to work as a sort of Death Note universe. It is a joy to be part of that universe.

Comparing the Death Note pilot (scans below) with the highly detailed moral exercise the story later became, and the highly lucrative Death Note merchandising industry it gave birth to (my daughters Kim and Dom are currently walking around with their new matching L bags - courtesy of Forbidden Planet ) will, I think, reveal a little of the way in which Japanese publishers encourage the growth of a Manga brand; although we do have to bear in mind that Death Note is a superior product, you can't fake that.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the first incarnation of Death Note, the pilot for the manga series, here's a little taster of what will be on the blog. The work was translated by AK and Mike, scanned by Mike, and edited by Darci-San and Draygon Zero:

I've been watching the Honey and Clover live-action TV show and I think I'll follow the Death Note post with that because whilst I'm a fan of the Honey and Clover movie, and the manga, I'm less enamoured with the anime or the TV show; so I think it makes for an interesting contrast, and discussion.

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee, And revery.

The revery alone will do, If bees are few.

(Emily Dickinson, 1755)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Let's Hope it's a Good One...

Of course the chances of 2008 being 'without any fear' are pretty slim, so let's just hope we all live in, less than 'interesting times;, shall we say?

The Saga of The Bee-Man

I'm at that stage where I can just about see the finishing line with The Bee -Man. I hope some of the people who emailed me 'their novels' to illustrate last year are paying attention here. The last time I wrote about this I had finished drawing the pages, all 88 of them - from one little short story (hint, look at how long it takes to turn around 4 pages and then look at your 200 page manuscript, and think hard on it).

I have set out the cover and the flyleafs and at the moment I am cleaning the artwork and laying down tones - so far I'm, on page 60. I should finish in a week or two and then I'll edit the story down and letter the pages and that will be the entire project finished. I'll put about 25 pages or so online when it's complete - meanwhile, here are a few pages that are almost finished.

After this is finished I want to make some headway on my large graphic novel, Sunshine on Leith, but I have my cartoons to finish, to say nothing of card designs and my spot on our version of Narrative Corpse coming up (see below) and I may have enough cartoonists and writers to put The Garden of Forking Paths anthology together, that's providing I can successfully bash heads with Brenda Romans and knock out some kind of skeleton-structure to work with - something Lee Nordling (who is really a bit of a god to we cartoonists who have read and reread his Your Career in the Comics) has also challenged me, rightly I feel, to sort out.

Thank Goodness for Christopher Butcher

If I die before I actually make it to Japan, I will at least have managed a vicarious visit, thanks to Christopher Butcher, manager of the world-famous comic book store The Beguiling, freelance writer and comics production artist, and the co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and the fantastic photos he posts on his blog. I'm not joking, his pics really do mean that much to me because I am pretty much trapped at the drawing table for the next 12 months. The sainted-Christopher has even been good enough to group all his comics-related Japanese photos together under the heading Japan on his Comics212 blog, I can't recommend it highly enough.

Thank Goodness too, for Mike Lynch

This is a sad note with which to begin the year, as Randy Glasbergen pointed out to us, cartoonist Bob Zahn passed away early this month. Mike has posted a really nice tribute to Bob. a marvelous and very distinctive and funny cartoonist, on his excellent blog.