So You’re Starting Your First Graphic Novel

I wanted to talk a bit about advice for new cartoonists and I thought I’d be fun to present it as a totally real and in all ways completely genuine interview that definitely happened! Exactly like my now year-old first post here on this blog. Enjoy!

Did you have your book completely written before you started drawing?
Not even close! I had the big bullet points, I knew every major plot hook, location, and character, but I did not have a full script. I’d finalize the scripts for each page as I was drawing them. Dialogue changed right up until it was put in a word balloon. And sometimes after.

I’m worried I’ll burn out halfway through and never finish my book. How do you deal with that?
I spent the last two years doing short stories just to avoid that exact problem! 15 pages is a whole lot more manageable than 150. I totally and completely recommend starting small. Start small, build your confidence and your skills, and slowly work your way up to bigger projects.

What did you do when you were lazy or had art block? What pushed you to get up and draw regardless of your motivation levels?
I think my motivation and work ethic came from updating a webcomic three times a week for nine years. Just funny gag stuff, low pressure, but it forced me to draw at least three times a week. I didn’t want to be that webcomic that missed updates. It held me accountable. And then all of a sudden one day you’re like “woah, I’ve written and drawn over a thousand comics.” As for those nights where I’m Just Not Feeling It, I try to set my expectations a little lower and accomplish something smaller. Maybe I was planning on getting a whole page done, but if all I get tonight is the sketches, that’s all right.

Do you recommend putting your pages online as you finish them?
That’s how I did it but I don’t know if it’s for everyone. I’d do one or two pages a week in order to keep the site updated and I don’t know if the book would have ever gotten done without that self-imposed schedule.

You’ve said before that LOOK took you three years to finish. Was that on and off or full time working on it?
Three years, yes. Drawing one or two pages a week. I did have to put it on hold for a few months somewhere in the middle because I was having a hard time juggling it, the day job, and my gag comic all at the same time. But there was a time where I was putting out five comics a week.

What advice do you have for someone starting their first graphic novel?
Don’t agonize over it being perfect and just start it. Your first comic isn’t going to be as great as it is in your head and that’s okay. It’s all practice and experience for the next thing which will automatically be better.

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.

Advertisements

‘Portugal’: Final Prep

Enjoy some behind the scenes process development of Portugal.
For previous posts, click HERE.

These are the last batch of sketches from the preparation of Portugal.

image008(1)image007(1)image006(2)

Portugal is available in stores and digital now.

 

 

Watch The Making of Pedrosa’s ‘Portugal’

This video made during an exhibition organized by the Alliance Française of Washington around the book Three Shadows (published in the US by First Second). It was especially intended to be viewed by students at the Baltimore MICA Art School. That’s why the captions and commentaries are written in English (an approximate English, corrected in part by the friendly participation of Thomas Delooze).

The book mentioned in this document, Portugal, will be published by NBM this December.

The upcoming series of posts will show some behind-the-scenes images created during the making of Portugal.

#inktober2017

Not too far back I wrote about my first experience with Inktober. To sum up: it was a big deal for me! Drawing and posting one picture a day completely changed the way I work and, by extension, my life.

So when Inktober 2017 came around, I was totally and completely ready for it. For the theme, I thought it’d be cool to do what I did last year and draw every character from the video game Overwatch. So I did!

Collage

Compared to last year’s drawings, I think I improved quite a bit!

OverwatchCollage

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.

A Visit to The Land of Eternal Clouds

This excerpt shares behind the scenes material from NBM’s The Mercenary remastered editions, available now.  To see all posts, click HERE.

merc3

Here you can see two unpublished panoramas of the Land of Eternal Clouds. They are taken from an illustrated story version of this volume, published in France.

Look closely at the one above because it says many things. To start, it summarizes the first part of the volume that you have just read, but it also reveals, in some way, the size and way of life of this strange country. You can see that it is large and mountainous but has wide plateaus that allow for food to be grown. There are large cities and there is the lighthouse, necessary for nocturnal navigation in a valley full of cliffs and jagged outcroppings. Or the dragon bones that the Mercenary used to construct his glider: strong but hollow to lighten the load of the flying animals.

mer1

Regarding the women of the Cult of the Sacred Fire, we will go a long time without knowing more about them.

mer2

Only in the twelfth volume of the series will we discover that they ran out of gas and fell into a frozen land outside of the Land of Eternal Clouds. They will be near death, but will be able to save themselves at the last minute thanks to the monks from a mysterious underground monastery.

mer3

THE MERCENARY The Definitive Editions Vol.1: The Cult of the Sacred Fire is available now.