Comics has a common point with golf, Thai cooking, and probably most human endeavors.
If you keep practicing it for years, eight to twelve hours per day, you end up acquiring a kind of expertise.
But this expertise does not prepare you for when, once your script is finished, the question comes: “how to draw this story?”
No, not ‘a story’ in a general sense, this particular story, the one you just wrote.
Does it require a very controlled style, or conversely, a more spontaneous one? What degree of realism is necessary for it? Will color pencils give a better rendering than ink or brush of the characters’ emotions?
For a few years now, I’ve become convinced (and it may be one of my few theories I’m certain of on the matter) that the style of drawing, the choice of graphic form has a profound influence on the narration.
The consequence of this conviction has been to forget about having one ‘style’, a regular way of drawing, but find the right form for each new book.
I reach that goal too scarcely to my taste, constrained by my technical limits, but I push myself nevertheless.
Some books even require changing styles while in the story. In the case of Equinoxes, it seemed necessary to differentiate each season.
The characters go in the direction of their summer, from shadow to light, and the drawing needed to participate in this progression.
Drawing the first page of this book was drawing the first step in this progression.
To achieve this, I used a secret method used by many authors.
This consists in going around your drawing table, look at the white sheet, drink some coffee, smoke some cigarettes, get up to read your e-mails, return to the drawing table, get up[ again to go do some shopping, come back to the drawing table, get back up to see if any new emails came in, etc, etc…
All this for a number of days without managing to draw one single line.
You have no idea whatsoever how to draw this story and it’d be best to change careers. You sleep little, have a stomach ache, you’re utterly ridiculous.
But, after a while, the anxiety is so strong you draw anything, whatever, as it comes to you, instinctively.
And this ‘whatever’ bizarrely becomes the first page of the book.
This first version of the first page of the prologue to Fall enabled me to draw the second, then another, etc… in their first version, these first pages looked like this:
A few months later, having gotten to the Winter prologue, I finally found a style which seemed more appropriate for these parts of the narration.
It was essential all the prologues have the same style, so I had to redraw these first 15 pages.
Accepting that you will make mistakes to find something seems an implacable rule.
Come meet me on my North American Tour