Gettin’ real sick of your shit, Eieron.
Because I’m big on letting readers learn from my dumb mistakes, here’s a list of things that I didn’t think through whatsoever and that created a domino effect of fail which necessitates the page redos.
Without further ado:
- Continuity. Book 1 of Aquapunk was a series of shots in the dark, essentially. I had very little idea of what the rest of the story was going to be, who the characters were, and how the ending would come about. This meant that I would throw in little things that I thought could be built on later, but never ended up panning out, and just creating a series of ugly loose ends and inconsistencies.
- Lettering. I had originally lettered the entire book with a typeface that I thought looked cool and matched the art style. I didn’t bother to really see if I could use it commercially (which I couldn’t), if it would look good in print (which it didn’t), or if I knew the first thing about keeping the size of the type consistent from page to page (you can guess how that turned out as well). Some of my dialogue wound up so wordy that I had to make the lettering fit my pre-drawn balloons by doing the worst possible thing: making it smaller. The result? Some of the pages are near-illegible in their current form and are more than maxed-out in terms of dialogue. I made the jump to hand-drawn letters in the next book, which made for an all-around superior experience. But, it also created another problem…
- Economy of dialogue. With trying to fit bigger (and far more readable) lettering in the old balloons, the old dialogue just wouldn’t physically fit on the page anymore. This meant I had to rewrite half the script, cutting out half the words while not just maintaining the same level of information as before, but actually including more as I had a much clearer and more concrete understanding of the plot as per the first bullet point.
- Realistic coloring. A lot of the colors on the darker pages, I realized too little too late, just would look like a dim, soupy mess when printed. Blues and purples are very difficult to reproduce, and some pages are so full of oversaturated midnight blues that I had to go back and change those at least for the sake of whatever unlucky machine had to fulfill my print job.
- Clearer linework. For the first 130-some-odd pages, I was inking with a Japanese nib that gave a fine, stiff line. This worked well enough back when I was inking on 11×14″ board, but nearly doubling the size of my live area when I made the switch to 14×17″ made the lines frustratingly thin, and when paired with bad coloring, sometimes difficult to even see. What with a whole slew of details done with the same level of delicacy, I couldn’t just bulk up the linework in photoshop. It would have made a huge splotchy mess where all the detail work and texture would have run together and would have just wind up looking like over-inflated balloon animals.
- And other miscellany. A page or two had their hires versions saved over with a 72dpi jpg. My attempts at making the nosdai look like they’re covered in sea crud all the time had the effect of not being able to tell what was going on with their designs and “Real Is Brown“. Nuos wasn’t mean enough. My early attempts at alien euhemisms and integrating bits of their language sucked. Esan characters were often too upright and not floaty enough. The SFX needed to be translated into Sennan which meant actually redrawing them. And so on.
So if you’re reading this and in the early stages of your comic, or thinking about starting one, take an hour here and there to think a few important things through. “Will this print?” is a good basic question to ask yourself if a book even has the possibility of becoming a twinkle in your eye someday. The 2 minutes it’ll take for you to do a test print on your crappy printer and adjust your process accordingly at home has the potential to save you hours of headache later down the road.
Don’t be like me :V