Hey guys and gals... well I thought I'd give y'all just a glimpse and I mean a GLIMPSE of my work environment while working on my original graphic novel: RECKLESS. I don't usually do this, however that may change more in the future. Just a quick note on my process: STORY IS KING! So my first big step after coming up with an idea worth pursuing passionately is to write down the whole story start to finish, beat by beat. I'll usually work in a 3 act structure, although I don't limit myself to that if the story calls for more acts; 4, 5, 6, or 9, or whatever floats your boat people. There really aren't any rules to this stuff (principles yes, but no rules) and don't listen to anyone trying to force rules onto your process... its anything goes! Moving on, even if I don't have an end in mind or if any part of the story is missing, I still continue writing the story outline from wherever it makes the most sense to me. I trust that the rest will come to me as I continue to develop the story, and it usually does. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying its easy and that I don't have to work at it... it always takes LOTS of hard work throughout MOST of the process, but that's how it "comes to me" - its different for everybody... you just need to pay attention and figure out what works best for you. Keep an open mind. Anyway, after writing the outline and I have my beginning, middle, and end; I'll put the story outline up on a cork board on little post-its. One major story beat to each post-it. Next, I'll organize them in chronological order and go through it from start to finish... From there on I'll critique it, revise it, add to it, subtract from it, etc... until I feel that the entire story is strong as a whole and that each act propels the audience into the next (moving things forward - bringing about meaningful change). The finished story does not have to be told in chronological order and often I don't tell it that way, however its best to start from that point of view so that you don't miss anything or confuse yourself trying to spin a tangled web of a story. Next, I'll make sure the story is CLEARLY COMMUNICATED by sharing it with those who's opinions I respect (this list should NOT include your mom); my peers, or other professionals... and it doesn't hurt to get the opinion of the average audience your aiming for. Ask them if the story was clear, and have them explain it back to you (don't help them or try to make excuses/defend your story) just take it like a professional and really listen to what they tell you... if they have a truly valid point, then you may wanna consider making changes so that your story is more clearly communicated. Another, important thing is to have an overall theme to your story... what is the overall message? And does your story have any emotional grounding (how are people gonna relate?) These last 2 are probably the most important part of your story, so you should figure that out in the beginning of the process. You won't regret figuring those out first because later down the line when you have to make a tough story decision, those 2 things will keep you consistent and clear to make the best decision for your story. Well, I think I've bored you guys enough with all that.
As you can see in the next picture those same post-its like to crawl over to my drawing board and hang out and stare me in the face until I complete them! AAAAAAAGH! Too many post-its, it can quickly get out of control! Luckily, I've got my own system to keep them at bay. The character designs hanging from the shelf and taped to my board are just a taste of what's to come... I only have so much space on there... if I had more it would probably be covered with the rest of the character designs/model sheets for RECKLESS. Well, I hope the story process was informative and helpful... I've gotta head back to the drawing board! Have fun creating and remember: Long Live Pencil & Paper!!!