Ain’t no clouds getting in my way I must be running on sunshine

Aaaand here’s draft one of the Over the Surface cover:

Forever is a long long time when you lost your way

I am really happy with the art of Over the Surface (my thesis comic) so far. Each page starts out with a panic and ends with me proud of how it turned out. However, I’m concerned that I scripted the whole thing completely wrong for the time/content parameters given by the thesis.

I wanted something that could be a stand-alone short story and also set up elements for a much longer one, but I made the classic mistake of going too epic and needing chapters and chapters just to establish things. I just feel like, at this point, I should have written a good 40-page story instead. I have other long projects I want to work on next year, so why did I feel the need to write 3 graphic novels’ worth…? Just in case? It came at the cost of what might have been a good short story.

Maybe this isn’t the sort of thing I should put on display, but I prefer being open with you guys, and writing it out helps me to learn.


I’m almost there

One down, fifteen to go! I think I can! >__

Guess who saw The Princess and the Frog again today xD;

I’d like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly

Begun, the thesis final art has. I penciled the first page today, tackling two establishing shots of Ava’s village. I’m happy with the pencils but nervous for the inks.

Have some sketcheray:

How hard must I try for you?

It’s the first Wednesday of the term, and I am going to try to fulfill one of my goals: to leave Wednesdays as completely sacred, free days for working on my thesis. I did all of my homework for Thursday last night before bed, so today is wide open for the thesis (with breaks throughout the day for a work-out and meals). As a reward, I’m going to have a second cup of coffee at Starbucks and work there until I need to come home. Let’s see how it goes!

Here are some things I did this morning:

Urban landscapes kill me, but this comic is a challenge on purpose! I can’t draw planes well yet, either, but this script will force me to learn.

Here’s a set of thumbnails. I stay very loose at this stage, just trying to figure out the page layout, the size and shape of the panels, and basic blocking of characters and setting. I usually write notes in the margins instead of correcting things at this size (2.5″x3.5″ makes for tedious drawing).

Dreams do come true in New Orleans!

Here’s a test page for my thesis comic. It’s that time! I plan to finish thumbnails for the first 2 chapters by Wednesday, and it’ll be a pretty busy schedule to get the final art done by May. The first chapter will be done and printed in minis by ECCC, so if you’re going, you can read it there!

I think it’s time to ink with a brush, even if it’s still messy. I plan to work at bigger dimensions to minimize problems with things like the face in panel 2. Flat grayscale because I’ve grown to like that this year, and it prints oh so much more nicely than dithered dots. P.S., I have no idea what’s going on in this page. I just wanted to draw a variety of character placements and backgrounds!

Why do they congregate in groups of four?

I give my thesis prospectus presentation today in class, so last night was a scanning frenzy as I tried to get all of my sketches and thumbnails into my PowerPoint file. I thought I would share what I have so far for my thesis comic here as well:

The early stuff:

The male lead, Victor, went through SO MANY CHANGES. I tried looking for inspiration in actors from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, but I can’t draw those slicked back hairstyles!! Now he looks like pop star Shaggy, but at least I can draw him consistently.

A side character. He’s quite fun to draw.

And more…

This is random, but I like it.

Hana ya ki ya kotori no kotoba o anata ni mo oshiete agetai

Sketch duuuuuuuump.

Watercolors from the thesis comic:

Aaaaaand we have achieved male lead!!!!

He has an egg head.

Other sketches from the past couple of months:

I won’t deny it, I’m not trying to hide it

I stayed in again to read and write for my thesis. It’s still vague, but taking shape every day. I have this sinking feeling that the only way I will be able to free my mind and make some new images for the story, though, is by finishing my other art projects first.

Tonight, I read The Art of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind: Watercolor Impressions, which is deceptively named, as it contains ink work, preliminary sketches, quick art given as gifts, and a lot of valuable interview material from Miyazaki in addition to a host of watercolors. It would be really nice to own this book.
I felt a great sense of relief reading about Miyazaki’s 3 year incubation period, where he read the work of others and created a library of motifs and sketches that would later become 4 of his films. He had so many changes of direction with Nausicaa, and times when it looked like it wouldn’t turn out well, it was actually inspirational to see that he had doubts, too, and yet it turned out so well for him.

Though Miyazaki was humble throughout the book, he seemed genuinely upset by some of the covers he produced on Nausicaa. He particularly hated images of Nausicaa looking at the camera and smiling, since he thought those were so contrary to her character, that is, disconnected and hard to approach.

He also hated anything that screamed ‘I AM A COVER!’ :P

These were two of his favorite cover images:

Just for me, the church bells rang

Here’s a preview of the cover for my senior thesis comic, tentatively titled The Second Witch of Wilheim. If all goes according to plan, this will be a self-contained 100-150 comic to accompany a research paper on comics’ societal influence, and cover my thesis requirement to graduate from the UO honors college (due this coming May). I am very excited about the story and some of the things I’ll get to draw. Action, magic, animals, old houses, and environments, ganbarimasu!
I’ve been using brushes more and more to ink this year, and think I’m finally ready to try a serious, full-length story like SWW with them. It’ll be challenging for sure, but I really like the feel of brush lineart opposed to nibs or pens.
A nice alternative to using a brush is the brush pen, which Emi swears by and encouraged me to try. I finally bought a Pentel brush pen and tested it out by branding a new sketchbook:
I really like it! I want to try drawing more with it. :)

Copyright © Natalie Nourigat