Saturday, November 28, 2015

Act 3 Thumbnail Layouts for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

23 layout pages in about 2 weeks
I went through lead and built up piles of eraser bits like a mad man for the third act of Badin and the Secret of the Saami. I have neglected household chores, slacked off on seeking new work for my "day" job, regular sleep hours—again—and have gotten poorer for it.

However, I do not believe in being poor forever! So that is why I really want to finish this stage of the graphic novel's production. Moreover, I feel the world needs to know this story and its main character, Badin.

Act 3 is a major shift of events in the story: The antagonist is fully revealed and the conflict between good and evil becomes clear. It is also the act where the action ramps up substantially.

One thing I like about Act 3 is all the attention I give to Swedish folklore and the connections between Saami shamanism, humanity and nature. Artistically, this one is also full of challenges: Nature scenes, animals and some strange lighting effects will push my abilities beyond the limits of my experience. This proves the importance of creating "loose gestures" with pencil. To agonize over details at such an early stage can be quite frustrating.

For obvious reasons, you can barely see anything of detail in the picture above. However, I just wanted to share with the world that I am moving along at a decent pace.

Act 2 Thumbnail Layouts for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Act 2 all laid out
This is proof I am still working hard. At left is an grainy photo of Act 2 layout thumbnails for Badin and the Secret of the Saami that someone made while in my secret hideout the other week.

I am really having fun experimenting with composition and making the story flow. As of this writing, I'm almost finished with Act 3. After that, it will be Act 4 and then I can finally start inking the graphic novel.

As I make more progress, expect to see more. I am also collaborating with another writer to create some more vignettes. I completely finished the first vignette this week and shared it with a handful of advisers. With the exception of including it in the Special Edition, I do not have any plans to release it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stumbling Block Removed for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

After almost a month of agonizing and nail-biting when I first shared the stumbling block, I am happy to declare that the problems with Act 2 of Badin and the Secret of the Saami have been resolved! This part of the story is critical to making Badin's motivations real. You'll see it when it's published next year.

This is an exciting moment because I can return to creating thumbnail layouts for the rest of Act 2 and move more swiftly with Acts 3 and 4.

While doing this, I also created 3 more posters to promote the graphic novel. You will see them in coming months. I really would appreciate your help in using them on your websites and send to friends. I have a great story to tell and you will be inspired from it.

The bad part is that the time is 12:15 in the morning and I'm supposed to be in bed. I also cancelled the automatic shutdown of my computer. The good thing is, if I had not written this blog entry, I would have been in bed. So I did stop working before it started to shut-down.

The picture at left is an abstract from the first vignette (not yet released). I hope you find it interesting and inspiring.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Secret is Out: Poster #1 Badin and the Secret of the Saami

A brave child.
A people on the brink of extinction.
A dangerous discovery.

You are about to partake in a fascinating historical fiction adventure located in one of 18th century Europe's mightiest kingdoms. I guarantee a thrilling and enlightening ride! Release date is Fall 2016.

Today I am officially releasing the first promotional item for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. After many hours of research, I have selected a typeface for the titles. I would like all my friends, co-workers and family to use these posters in your digital avatars, wallpaper and anywhere else you want to promote it.

Download a low-resolution poster (for your website, Facebook page, avatar, wallpaper).

Download a Facebook Cover Page (sized perfectly for your page cover photo slot)

Download a high-resolution poster (for printing and displaying on a real wall).

Download an avatar (for your website, favicon other other small symbol that represents your persona online).

Download another avatar (for your website, favicon other other small symbol that represents your persona online).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Posters for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Last night I was checking my promotion schedule notes and as of 30 days ago I was supposed to have completed the first of five posters promoting Badin and the Secret of the Saami. Unfortunately, I had not completed a single one!

With ongoing family and financial problems, the Act 2 script adjustments and this, I was feeling overwhelmed. However, I woke up with the attitude that I am not going to allow anything or anyone to get in the way of my happiness and peace of mind.

So I broke my rule of getting to bed by 10 pm and began sketching ALL five posters. After getting about seven hours of sleep, I got up and finished all five drafts this morning. I plan to release a finished poster every two months. Each one leads into the next and contain insight to the story. After the fifth one is released, the graphic novel should be finished and available for purchase.

At left is an abstract of one of the poster sketches I plan to use.

Also, yesterday, I received my copy of Drottningholm, the Palace by the Lakeside by Jan MÃ¥rtenson. I was quite disappointed in that there were very few illustrations of the palace. I ordered this, along with 2 other books about the National Palace to use for references because many of the story's scenes take place with the Royal Family. 

Finding references with pictures of the interior of these palaces in Swedish and English has been very, very difficult for me. However, the book is full of great historical information and will be useful for tweaking the graphic novel in general.

And now, back to the script.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stumbling Blocks - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

One or more characters from Badin and the Secret of the Saami
I am trying to untangle some knots in the script
I am about 75% finished with the thumbnail layouts for Act 2 of Badin and the Secret of the Saami. However, I began to truly understand that there are some serious problems in the story at this point. Everything weighs on the comprehension of the story at the end of Act 2. I cannot take this lightly. So all artwork has ceased while I attend to the emergency.

I am pulling out the threads and trying to re-sew a more proper garment for the end of Act 2. One of my editors pointed out various annoyances about this section awhile ago. I just didn't know how bad it was until I had to compose the rough artwork and layouts. This is a frustrating stumbling block indeed. I hope to have it ironed out within the next few days. 

The picture above is an abstract of a finished panel for one of the vignettes. The vignettes are more of a show-and-tell for me. However, they are appropriate for use in the story—or at least the Special Edition.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Testing Manga Studio and Act 2 for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Snapshot of digitally produced penciled and lettered panels
Progress was a bit frustrated this week. I only have 3 pages sketched for Act 2. It required a few layout changes and two additional pages. Also, I needed to do various page size tests with Manga Studio 5EX just in case my layouts became impossible to work with in print. In order to maximize time, I decided to work on a vignette page. By vignette, I mean a very short story related to a character in Badin and the Secret of the Saami. This page may be used in the graphic novel or for promotional purposes.

The vignette and page testing helped me work out many problems and doubts regarding how the graphic novel will appear in print. This test was all digital: Composition, thumbnail sketches, penciling, lettering and inking were all done within Manga Studio. So far, it appears that I will continue composition work on 11x17 inch pages reduced proportionally to 8.5 x 11 inch pages. I'll scan those drawings and import to Manga Studio. From there, I'll finish the book and probably export the pages as JPGs to layout in Adobe InDesign. I find Adobe InDesign's capabilities for book layout to be more robust. For example, if I want an index or table of contents, it's much harder to do in Manga Studio.

I found that building the basic 11x17 page template was much easier when I started with's specifications for comic books. It's not a profound discovery. However, after wasting time reading all kinds of websites on what others were doing, I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

I purchased Elizabeth Staley's Manga Studio books and am finding them very useful. They are very expensive, however. Yet, between her books and the videos and course by Doug Hills, I have more than enough to help me work with the program to achieve my goals.

The picture at left is a low resolution snapshot of the first vignette. I cannot reveal any details yet. But if you stick around, you will see and learn more! Please comment and share this with all of your friends and family.