Friday, August 28, 2015

Model Sheets Concept for 2015-08-29 Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Many hours of research have gone into the story and script of Badin and the Secret of the Saami (well over 200 hours as of this writing). Swedish history, folklore, language and—most importantly—the history of Badin and the Saami people of the 18th century have given the script a rich back-story. This story is historical fiction. For me—and hopefully the readers—it is the best of both worlds.

Finger pointing character
Read that again, he says
Although the script is done, my research continues: I must illustrate a world and a people from long ago. I need to know how things looked. I look forward to the challenge. Getting through the model sheets phase is so hard because I just want to start drawing the graphic novel!

I have deliberately avoided making mockery of folklore in the story. As I have been learning, the forest is a holy place to all with roots in Sweden—that includes magical creatures. It is a place of sanctuary for the Saami as well as the Swedes. Keeping this link between humans and nature is important. I felt this connection while I was in Sweden for Allt För Sverige. Dousing fields and lawns with weed killers just was not something I saw done over there (Swedes did not seem to suffer from fear of dandelions like we do in the United States). Foraging for mushrooms, berries and herbs is done without fear of ingesting noxious pesticides.

This abstract illustration above is from another model sheet of a minor—but very important—character. This was created using Manga Studio 5EX.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Model Sheets Concept for 2015-08-26 Badin and the Secret of the Saami

This carriage fetched a high cab fare in 18th century Stockholm
In 18th century Europe, the best way to get around was by horse and carriage. Walking was common. Travel by horse was easier. Using a carriage was considered luxurious.

Badin and the Secret of the Saami takes place when the steam engine was in its infancy and everything was dark—literally. There was no electricity and no natural gas. Oil—whale oil—was a pricey commodity reserved the big cities where street lamps required nightly check-ups.

At left is a concept drawing I made for a carriage with off-road suspension, glass windows and curtains (no GPS or 8-track tape player, however). This lovely contraption belongs to a minor character and will be prominent in the story for Act 2. I created this drawing with Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio 5EX.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Model Sheets Concept for 2015-08-25 - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Character found in Scandanvian folklore
Hard edges define this important character
The mechanical pencil I have been using has been going through lead quickly. I've also been treating it more like a traditional pencil, wearing down the leads quickly by using at various angles. Call it laziness—or a burning desire to finish about model sheets for 30 characters before the next ice age.

Badin and the Secret of the Saami has three main characters. They are found in all four acts of the story. Then I have supporting characters that are found in 2 or 3 acts. Finally, the minor characters are only found in 1 act. I know that the progress of the pencil stage for the graphic novel will slow tremendously without the model sheets. I'm sure I will change or develop them more. However, I do not feel I have unlimited time to create this graphic novel. Model sheets provide an important guide for completing the pencil stage.

After the pencil stage, I will need to do the lettering roughs. After that I will need to do the inking stage. That part is so much easier when it comes to stress. Next, will be color. That part should really be fun. I have many ideas.

Badin and the Secret of the Saami is full of Swedish and Saami folklore (I have been doing some intense research). At left is an abstract from one of the model sheets that might seem familiar to those aware of such folklore.

Some of you may wonder: Where is Badin? His model sheets are done, but I'm saving the best for last.

I also wanted you to know that I have plans to publish Swedish and French translations. Keep reading and spread the word about this humble project with big ambitions.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Model Sheets Concept for 2015-08-21 - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Model sheet concept sketch for Badin and the Secret of the Saami
I have been training with Manga Studio 5EX, along with improving my composition skills as I create various concept pieces related to the model sheets.

What you see is a very rough sketch using Manga Studio 5EX and may or may not be a part of the story artwork for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. Obviously, I cannot yet disclose who or what this image is all about. From the abstractness of it, one could come up with anything.

I can tell you, however, that the dominant figure on the left side is a female character. Badin and the Secret of the Saami is unapologetic about portraying strong female characters. Modern Sweden is a very progressive country when it comes to equality among men and women.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More Model Sheets - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

What is going on here?
Part of a recent model sheet
As I continue to unshackle myself from the concepts of drawing lines on paper and embrace the power of light and composition, am beginning to feel the weight of illustrating Badin and the Secret of the Saami slowly being lifted from my shoulders. The worst thing an illustrator can do is try to be like someone else.

Yet the biggest burden was the full script revision. Since its completion, I have launched full speed into studying composition in everything: Movies, paintings and comics. Sketching exercises and am plowing through model sheets are a big part of the my daily work schedule.

I feel so much more comfortable drawing than writing. I can understand a little more about the stress involved for comic book artists that also write.

Character holding something
I am very excited about this project because I believe in the characters and their struggles. So much of what modern Sweden—and the United States—is going through today is reflected in the story's 18th century Sweden. Yet, that serious stuff never eclipses the adventure and action that makes up Badin and the Secret of the Saami.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Act 4 Script Redone - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Saami character for Badin and the Secret of the Saami
Sketch of a Saami character from the model sheets
1:30 in the morning is an awful time to finish writing this script. Without a doubt, I can say with confidence that Badin and the Secret of the Saami will have a solid story. If the artwork does not move you, then the at least the story should.

Act 4 is the most difficult act. Emotionally difficult, that is. Regardless, it is done and I feel relieved. Some volunteer editors will soon go over the four acts and get back to me with their suggestions.

Now it is time to get back to the model sheets and finish drawing all of the characters. I am very tempted to start thumbnail sketches of the 80+ page graphic novel. However, if I am going to be successful, I must stick with the process.

This graphic novel means so much to me and to those who do not even know it yet. I cannot put it into words. You will just need to see it when it is done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Act 3 Script Redone - Badin and the Secret of the Saami

What is this?
Concept sketch of a "character"
Badin and the Secret of the Saami is huge. I cannot promise you will like it. But you will be turning pages. While re-writing, I have been studying comics from the 1940s through modern years. I have been looking at how scenes are set up, what they do to my eye and my heart.

Since the main characters are children, there are some limitations to the scale of action. However, I think I have worked in a good way of using minor characters and the antagonists to crank up the excitement.

I can see how writers can become attached to their characters—especially when they represent real figures in history.

Act 4—the final act—is also being revised. The action in this one is intense. Drawing it—well, I cannot even imagine how I will do it. But it not be without great difficulty. I have been practicing by stepping up the quality of my digital inking for my full-time stock illustration business. This graphic novel is indeed the most difficult—and greatest—journey I have ever embarked upon.