The thing about graphic novels is that atleast half of the story is visual, the other half text, and each tells it’s own details. So the reader needs to take a little time looking over the details of the artwork and not fall to the temptation to rush ahead to see what happens next. There is a very important detail on this page which won’t come into play until the end of the book.
The watch in the lower right corner is keeping track time (of course! Don’t all watches?) This is the same watch that is in the background of page 4 and it will be present on random pages throughout the story, which will encompass only 24 hours total.
This is the page you’ve been waiting for… now you find out a little of why he is stuck on this ice floe, and something about who he is. I haven’t drawn the outlines of the speech and thought bubbles at this stage. I do that in a different program, and the shape of the bubble will add to the expression of what is being said.
I thought I’d start this focus group out with a full page. I toyed around with several methods of drawing and coloring and adding textures to the image. I ended up going back to Corel Painter 11 to establish the pastel-looking textures, the ink outlines and the gray undertones. I then opened the image in Photoshop to add the coffee-stained background behind the frames, and colorized over the gray with transparent layers, sort of like the way they colorize old movies. Keeps the feel vintage. Tell me what you think of the “look” of the page. Anything unlikable jump out and scream at you? Does the text make enough sense to you for a first page, and do you want to read more? I’m seriously considering writing a forward about the Niagara Falls Ice Bridges, what it is and how it forms, and how people of that time regarded the bridge. All comments welcome!
So glad you are joining me in the writing and illustrating of Hecock, the historical fiction steampunk graphic novel. For the next several months, I’ll be posting bits and pieces of the novel, looking for a little feedback. Then on that much awaited 100th anniversary of the real life event of Burrell Hecock and the ice bridge over the Niagara River, I will begin to release the finished pages, one by one. The plan is to have the print version of the book published by 2013. In the mean time, enjoy the webcomic version and feel free to make comments!