Friday, 6 November 2009

Decompression

I'm no comic book fool. Before I began this Not-Particularly-Great Endeavour of mine I sketched my li'l story out in thumbnails, checking the flow of things, seeing what worked. But you know, in my head, I'm always editing. How can I streamline this? How can I take my adventure from Point A to B in the most efficient way? I'm all-too aware of that dreaded comics term "decompression" and it's burning bright, at the back of my mind, with every page I create.

For the uninitiated, "decompression" is a term applied to modern comics storytelling. Google it and you'll find lots of folks talking about it. It's all to do with the way today's comic artists tell their stories, st-r-e-t-ching out action via single panel pages and telling their tales via repeat panels with sparse dialogue, so that a 24-page modern comic can be read in a heartbeat, and all that it entails for publishers, blah-blah-blah.

Um. Kind of like I'm doing here.

Look, I'm so aware of what I'm doing it's almost painful. But in my case, this is my own comic experiment to create as I please. And if I want to stretch a wafer-thin encounter out over 48 pages, then I'll do just that, and you can't stop me. So there.

But, but, but the point of this blog post is that, even here, in this laid-back, self-created comic environment, I'm always thinking about the pacing of my tale, and how best to present it. And although those initial thumbnail sketches I made are essential, I'm still editing, even as I finish each page, so to help me I've taken to creating rather jolly finished thumbnail pages. I reduce 24 of my completed pages on to a single A4 page, so's I can look at them in sequence, checking the flow of the story and just as importantly, the mix of the colour scheme, all on one sheet. And it's been darned handy this week, because I've now looked at the finished article(s) and I've been able to edit out two whole pages of action and tone down a big shouty example of colour overload. I was on page 34. Now I'm on page 32. But my spacey tale flows a whole lot better, now I've condensed the action, and it looks better too, now that I've recoloured a panel. So there you go. It begins with thumbnails, and it ends with them too!...

2 comments:

  1. The thing I love about all this weirdness is that apart from the intrinsic beauty of the whole enterprise it invites the reader/ viewer to share in the storytelling process.

    Really fascinating and intriguing work.

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  2. Well, the story makes complete sense to me, it goes from A to B, and there's a proper resolution. Honest. I've only dished out a few snapshots on the blog, but I'm pretty certain when folks get to see the whole thing, in one sitting, everything will fall into place...

    But even it I fall flat on my face, it's been fun thinking this one through. BLIP has been an experiment, allowing me to learn some of the basics of Photoshop, etc. and to see how far I can take things away from familiar comic book ground - no dialogue, no effects (we're in deep dead space, after all), etc.

    I'm chuffed to bits that you seem to like what I'm doing, so far, and your support is very much appreciated. As I said before, your own blog is a "must-view" for me. Cloud 109 is looking fab, and your additional comics info and histories are incredibly informative...

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