Sunday, March 14, 2021

Newton’s first law of graphic novel production

Chapter 3 of my first graphic novel
InDesign document
©2010 Charlene Brown

Newton’s first law of motion states that every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.  This is why it’s easier to keep going than to get going, and it applies to almost every complex project.

So, the short form of Newton’s First Law of Graphic Novel Production is:  Start!

More specifically — Start by getting something down on paper.  Arrange the components of the first scene: story text and dialogue, background picture, figures, maybe a little collage.  My plan was to write and draw the graphic novel I’ve just started one scene at a time, with conversation balloons on segments of the background illustration interspersed with text, as I did for spreads such as the one shown above from the first graphic novel I wrote.

I soon discovered that technique isn't going to work this time, at least not for the first scene.  There’s far too much dialogue, and most of the action takes place in the same two small segments of the background picture I'm using for the first scene.

I solved the problem by adopting the style of an allegory and putting all the action in one picture. I also dispensed with the conversation balloons, leaving all of the dialogue in its original screenplay formatting — for now anyway.  Some dialogue may find its way back into the frame if I include it in the collage layering. 

Scene 1, Take 2 - The Allegory, is a work in progress.


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