Sunday, April 1, 2018

My Process, Designing stuff - From Scribble to a Thing

A visual representation of something is more useful to me than a slab of text.  Others are the opposite, and I would think for others again, nothing helps ☺

So when I'm working on something I usually scribble notes and symbols on paper. This isn't something that means anything to anybody else, even if they can read it.  I have just naturally done this as a way of building up the design of something in my own mind and the 2D representation helps my own understanding.

Done it this way for electronics, illustrations and most things. My Process also involves roughly sketching out things, then coming back multiple times to flesh out and refine the details.

The above is a sketch out of the notebook I used designing the 16bit Digital and Analog back end electronics of the Fairlight CMI III .

When I make my music, I don't write anything down, but do make sketches, "my riffs and melodies" into my DAW then rearrange things, then come back when something takes shape and add details, or redo bits that would be more appropriate. In Reaper, my units of music are blocks that can be moved around in 2D space and rearranged.  My Process doesn't change.

And this track here is Dream ... something with actual words in it... which isn't what I usually do.

So far, working on my manga, my process has been the same too. The term mangaka can describe some one single handidly making a manga, and that is what I'm learning by doing. As this is the project I am currently working on, I will flesh out some more examples of My Process I've seen so far.

The above shows my note book full of scribble, and how a finished page ended up made in Clip Studio Paint. There were a few more steps in it though.

Like I had to come up with what the characters were to look like in this story, such as this guy

And I do that with Copic markers and pen.

The first Terraform 16 page story was all put together in CorelDraw. I had scribbled panel ideas, but when it came to the actual text, I was using CorelDraw for Visual Scripting

The above shows early planning of the last 3 pages of Terraform . I needed to do this to get the flow of text, and how much space it took up on a Panel, before I could draw the final panels. I can move things around in 2D, and it fits My Process.

I just made up this approach as I went along, as it seemed natural to do, as the comic fonts take up variable amounts of space, and you can trade off text for what is actually in the image. As much as possible you want to show and not tell, in a comic. And you can not just move text around in a notebook the way I can change a scribble.

The books of Scott McCloud, particularly "Making Comics" have been very useful, but he doesn't mention this Visual Scripting approach I started using some 5 months or so ago.  I discovered the,  Jessica Abel  blog a couple of days ago talking about it.

This  re-enforces my belief that most inventions, "ideas", really are "a dime a dozen" and someone somewhere will come up with the same thing when the need arises. It is just far more difficult than Sales Guys think..... but that is for a different blog..

What I haven't had great amounts of experience with as a process has been writing and finishing fiction. And just like most other new things I do, I've had to go off and do research and study the field.  I have had Syd Fields "The Screen Writer's Workbook" since the early 1990s.  But I want to write/draw a series of short stories that join together to form a larger whole.

For this longer serialized story, specifically how you do a long running manga series, I've recently read  "Write! Shonen Manga: Your Complete Guide to the Secrets of Japanese Comic Book Storytelling"  and "Manga in Theory and Practice: The Craft of Creating Manga"

The reason I've read those last two is my last manga,  Terraform - The Sales Call  has a few issues I want to address. And the serial story aspects were not covered in "Making Comics".   

I found both of the writing manga books useful for what I am trying to achieve and now have a strategy and a format, a variation of the Battle Manga, and the areas of character motivation and story structure to move forward with.  Still have to work out the actual story points though.

"Write! Shonen Manga" also introduced me to an inexpensive Writers tool, called Scrivener, that  works the way with stories that fits My Process.

The above shows the script for Terraform - The Sales Call as it stands now.  I've entered it into Scrivener to learn the way it works.
The Green and Pink cards on the corkboard are bits of the story, and Scrivener allows you to move these around, and work with scribbled ideas. Colors can be assigned to metrics.  It actually allows you to bring in a scan of a scribbled idea as part of your research. Even audio and tools to transcribe it. It gives you a view into a longer work you don't get with just a word processor like Word.   It is here I will focus on correcting our Protagonist, Antagonist and Ally's interactions and story structure.
It will not replace the Visual Scripting or the note book in producing the manga though.

Interestingly, Scrivener is structured just like a software developers IDE. You even Compile you text fragments into a finished document.  That isn't the way the developers present it, but what makes it very familiar to me.

Though Terraform is Sci-Fi, a longer term goal is multi page Car-toon Magazine stuff.

As the last example of My Process, here is a recent early stage of an illustration:

The first quick sketch, and a later vector wire frame with some of the rendering for a simple (as in not highly detailed, time consuming and so not expensive to the customer)  car caricature.

Not that I'm saying that any of this is original.  Just that starting with something very rough is the first step in the journey to a finished thing.  Probably like this Blog Post.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology

No comments: