Let's keep the ball rolling
Hello from Castrum Lusitania, my fortress in northern Portugal. Welcome to another edition of our weekly newsletter.
In the first edition of 2023, I cannot go any further without wishing everyone a fantastic year. I know, I know, we need a cut off date for wishing Happy New Year, but I’m writing this on the 7th, still the first week of the year - which is my acceptable time frame for throwing “Happy New Year” around. So, may your wildest dreams come true in 2023. The happier everyone around us is, the happier we can be.
A recap of 2022 is in the plans, but this week was all about hitting the ground running, as the work flowed indifferent to the passage of one year to another.
New Phenomena Cycle
On my last newsletter you saw me putting the finishing touches on a batch of pages. I always keep Brian Bendis (or whoever is I’m working with) in the loop of where I am in each cycle of layouts-pencils-inking-tones to make sure he has enough time to write and have a new batch ready for me the moment I finish one.
Being the pro he is, he never misses and the next day I had the script. Due to the nature of this book being heavily visual in its storytelling, there’s a lot of rope for me to play with, so I can follow the script closely or move things around if I feel it works better. Brian is great at accommodating that and we trust each other blindly so when we pass stuff to the other, we trust the changes.
So, as a first pass, I create very quick schemes of each page, taking notes about what goes where.
In this section, I did change somethings, but all minor stuff. Brian is a great character writer and I want to make sure I keep all of his bits while creating room for the visuals to expand and flow as well as possible.
As Brian writes in the beginning of all of his scripts, this is all about him telling me a story so that I can tell you a story. So I reinterpret some stuff, while keeping the tone. Break some panels into two, merging others, moving some bits from one page to the other, etc. Basically, editing, cutting and pasting.
Once this is done (we go from page 55 to 78 on this batch), all of it is in my head. I know what the story looks like and I note some things down to make sure I don’t forget. This stuff is followed by some proper layouts, where I carefully plan composition, lighting, character posing, balloon placement, grey tones, the whole deal, translating what I see in my head to something I can show Brian and explain what I changed and why.
In reality, this stuff could be lettered and you’d get the same basic story (minus the millions of details). Here’s too non-spoilers examples:
If the giant eye looks familiar, it’s because you saw it here. All in all, this was most of this week’s work load, with some time dedicated to secret things I will speak of in the future. For now, time to begin pencilling, which should occupy me for the next couple of weeks.
This week I begun reading a book gifted by uncle a few months ago: Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. I already burned through the first third of it and I can safely recommend it. It’s a fantastic overview of our species, putting things into perspective in very creative and clear ways. Most of it is information we already know of, but the way it’s compiled and organized is where the value of this book is. It’s filled with great stories and a narrative touch to it, reading more like a sci-fi novel describing a brand new species than a traditional scientific or historical non-fiction book.
I was already interested in the it but my uncle thought it would be very useful given my interests and stories I work on (he told me the sequel is even better for me). He’s a scientist (and a nerd) so we talk all the time about interesting theories, news, all things sci-fi, etc and I run my stories through him often to hear his opinion. He always has great feedback and even new ideas, sending me articles or books like this one.
So get Sapiens if you haven’t yet. It’s one of those that everyone should get around to at some point.
Again, have a great start for this new year. We’ll talk again soon!
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