A year after our Kickstarter campaign, I think Justin and I agree that using the site to raise the money to self publish was the best decision we've made for our book so far. Accepting small scale patronage from 65 or so of our friends made The Wonder City a reality in our minds. We now have a relationship with a group of people who actually care about the book and are invested in seeing it completed. What a great feeling! By March, I'd finished penciling and now, in October I'm 75% finished with the inking--so much further along than if we'd been left to our own devices, saving money here and there and me working only when the mood strikes.
Of course the further I go, the more I realize I have to do, or re-do, or tinker with, or LEARN to make The Wonder City look as good as it does in my head. Most of the time I am a exposed nerve of self doubt, but then I remember that you don't take a project you believe in so far just to leave it unfinished, even if all your artistic non-knowledge is brought into the light of day. I don't know if I can make it look as good as it deserves to look, but I'll try.
Before starting the book 4 years ago, I'd never had any experience with comics. The scope of the book was overwhelming and I had no clue to start and only a Comics for Dummies book to feverishly grip. When I asked my therapist 'where do I even start', the elusive answer is always the most obvious: 'what's the first panel?...ok draw that.'
Not being from an art school background, or anywhere near seasoned professional status (hopefully, yet), I still feel like a bit of a fraud. But each year that passed with regular sketching and tons of mistakes, re-dos, hours of trying new things, and I can say:
Attention, world, I'm a little bit better.
At least it looks like a comic. I look forward to another four years from now and I'm even a little bit MORE better [said the English major]. I was bothered earlier this summer by a comment about some pages from the book I'd posted on a comics forum about how childish my drawings were and they'd never be published. 'Bothered', actually, is not the right word; I am currently a little bothered when I think about it, but at the time I was pissed. But then again, you get used to that stuff, right? Because there are going to be a lot of people who don't like what you make. And that's ok. I'm learning to take what's useful, which is: don't forget to keep practicing. It's a logical conclusion that if you don't give up, you'll keep getting better, just by virtue of doing it.
But anyway, I've grown to really love the medium--it's the logical combination of the two things I love and would love to be able to make well: stories and graphic art. I've fooled around with so many media, but I hadn't hit my stride. Who knew it would take a friend I work well with, who's a great writer with an insane imagination, to suggest a comic book collaboration one night in a Park Slope wine bar. I think it was even raining out: cue extreme close up of raindrops trickling down a steamy window--a messy haired blond visible inside watching the bartender pour her a glass of red, and nodding, though not quite comprehending, as a bespeckled gentleman talks to her rather excitedly and flails his hands. Add soaring musical score and the tinkling of glass over muffled conversation. Mmm I'm thirsty now.
So here I am, several years later, acting like I know what I'm talking about. Fake it til you make it I suppose. And since we're talking about it: here is a page in progress: