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Graphic Novel project

It is with just a hint of trepidation that I can now reveal my plan to (eventually) produce a graphic novel based on "Echoes Through Distant Glass"!  I am excited to explore this story through a different medium, and to finally put my fine art degree to work! As much as possible, I will be doing each step on my own, and will be using a wide variety of different tools and techniques. The timeline is open-ended on this endeavor, and much of this will be new to me, so I hope you will patient as you join me for some glimpses behind the scenes of my creative process!

Converting a book like  "Echoes Through Distant Glass" into a graphic novel is a challenge, but it's also fun! The 485-page novel includes many factors that make for an exciting story with strong visual elements, but relies on the prose aspect of storytelling to create an immersive experience for the reader.

 

Adapting all of this for a graphic novel is similar to writing a screenplay, so when I began the project, I used a program called "Highland 2: Basic" to write the script. The program has options for both graphic novels and film scripts, but honestly, there isn't that much difference between the two formats. The great thing about Highland 2 is that it's really easy to use, and even the free version has pretty much all the features I need for this project! 

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With the first draft of the script finished, I can now do rough thumbnails of the scenes. Here is an example of how the scene in the script page above is story-boarded. Since I now have to think like a director/cinematographer, instead of a novelist at this point, I can already see there will be many changes going forward. Changes such as: rearranging/cutting scenes, how and where to direct the reader's eye, etc., from this point on.

When the entire novel is roughly story-boarded, I am then ready to keep refining the script and the images, in a back-and-forth rhythm. At this point, I played around a lot with Midjourney AI to help generate elements that could be easily moved around on the pages of the full mock-up. This second draft is a life-size draft of the finished version (8.5" x 11"). To these images, I added speech boxes screen-shotted from the script. This approach was probably more labor-intensive than it needed to be, but I'm still figuring things out!

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Character/Art Design

So clearly, the Midjourney prompts are all over the place when it comes to consistent character design, and I wasn't depending on it for that anyway.  I am using extensive Pinterest reference materials as well as on-line artist model resources. My area of expertise is the human form, so I don't think I'll have much trouble with that. Lighting, buildings, cars and environments in general are more of a challenge, and I was impressed with how MJ gave me examples that I can then work from on my own.

 

Here, I'm sharing some basic character design sketches. I'll add more over time. I fully expect my style to loosen up and improve as I focus on this project!

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Gesture sketches inspired by images on the  Line of Action drawing site.

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Quick poses based on my own references. As you can see, I am attempting to retain accuracy while speeding up the sketching and not over-working anything at this point.

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Cover mock-up. I like the layers of color generated by AI, but will re-do all the figures in my own style later.

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