Minus the graphic novel I’ve had in the works for some time now, The Pet was the first comic I ever made where I wrote out the pages before I put pen to paper. Initially these pages were written one at a time but towards the end I found that I was writing two or three pages in a day and having to play catch up with art.
With Orcs Vs Feminism my writing is similar to how I wrote towards the end of The Pet. The major difference is the scope of the pages. With The Pet I went into the art consciously attempting to make each page different from the next. In the past, my layouts had suffered from falling into comfortable patterns, to the point where two entirely different comics looked the same.
I’m happy with how The Pet turned out, but looking at the pages all at once it becomes very clear that they were planned with no consideration to the other pages. That is to say, when printed in a book format the left and right pages might be in disharmony because of the fact that I only worked on them one page at a time. Orcs vs Feminism solves that problem because I started doing two pages at a time (I might have to redo those first two pages!), and as such the layouts, I hope, have more of a flow to them.
Writing just two pages at a time has its ups and downs. One con is not knowing how long this comic will be. Seriously, I have no idea, which is surprisingly embarrassing to admit when questioned. However a definite pro is the surprises. Once I’ve written a page I start thinking about the art needed to see it through, and there have been a number of times when I was shocked upon realizing what was needed.
The most notable thus far was pages 9 & 10 when I realized I couldn’t have the sentence “they were an army of monsters,” without having to pencil, ink, and color an army of monsters! Once the dread subsided I resigned to the challenge. I found myself having to push more than with most pages, and as a result it was one of the most memorable pages thus far.
With these pages, the week’s challenge was realizing that I could say I’d been drawing orcs for 16 years, or show it. I immediately ruled out trying to replicate my various drawing styles over the years, and instead thought to go through the numerous boxes of old drawings I have stored. This task proved more melodramatic than I had anticipated:
Rifling through the boxes and binders in my living room I was dismayed to find that orcs were few and far between among the hundreds of loose leaf papers. In fact if I had to put a word to it, I’d say “dragons.” Turns out I drew a crap ton of dragons, which for whatever reason I completely forgot. Nevertheless I knew my memory wasn’t failing me.
The next day I went over to my parents place to check my sketchbooks, and there they were! In beautiful chronological order! The rest was child’s play, as I could have easily provided several drawings of orcs from each year since my introduction. The sketchbooks now reside in my apartment. Well, most of them anyway.
But all was not in vain though, I found a couple gems in those old binders: