Having finished all our special seasonal art for the year, (I can't WAIT to show this year's Halloween Prelude!) can you guess what specifically I've been working on lately? If you can, good for you, no need to read further. Congratulations for being on top of things.
If you're still reading this, then you don't know. Excellent - I LOVE delivering a good surprise! Sit down avid reader, quell your anticipation - and prepare for the veil of mystery to be torn asunder!
While Chapter 7 color blocking continues thanks to the ever-brilliant Liz, I've been doing thumbnail layouts for the Chapter 8 pages. That way we can keep our production groove continuous - no hurdles will be in the way of gliding right into Ch. 8 page pencils.
Thumbnailing is one of those tasks which always takes longer than I expect... There's just so much that hinges on them. The script is one thing, but the layout determines how the scene is expressed, where the characters are in relation to everything, the narrative pacing, the camera angles - in short, most of the actual directing (to shamelessly plunder terminology from film) happens during the thumbnail stage. Every subsequent drawing relies on the thumbnail for it's foundation. There’s always the temptation to simplify things and draw the thumbs from an orbital view, thus nixing a lot of drawing work - but Google Earth probably won’t let us user their images in our books.
I'm about halfway through the thumbnails for Chapter 8 right now - which is shaping up to be a 40 page chapter. Yikes. Volume 3 is going to be a book-and-a-half.
An odd production quirk for V3 - these are actually the last thumbnails I'll be doing for the entire book. The Chapter 9 thumbnails are already done, finished back in January. During the winter, while getting Volume 1 and 2 revised for download sales, we were also writing the final scripts for Volume 3. Chapter 8 needed another draft though, and actually wound up being revised until February. So when I jumped into thumbnails that winter, I went for Chapter 9 first - and now here we are!
You may notice the labeling system on these thumbnails - by Chapter, page, and panel. This helps us keep organized when we’re revising the scenes and sketching out alternatives and improvements - if we didn’t improve our rough drafts (which these are), our work would be on the fast-track to mediocrity.
I know it has to be frustrating waiting on this behemoth of a book, but take heart. The script is written in stone, the thumbnails are 84% done, and that should really help us keep the art in production at a nice steady pace until the end. Even so, thank you again to everyone for being so patient.
Actually, as a show of gratitude (And to demonstrate that, yes, we're getting this book done) we have a surprise coming around December. Will it be Santa, gift wrapped and delivered to your door? Nope. Because I don't mess around with Santa. Never. Santa is NOT welcome in my abode. I'll explain why, in detail, closer to the "Yule-tide," whatever that is. In the meanwhile, don't trust Santa.
And let's end things on that note.