If you are curious about life in the Niagara Falls area back in the early 1900’s, I highly recommend “The Day the Falls Stood Still”, an historical fiction novel. I loved it! The interesting thing was that a hefty section of the book was devoted to the very incident at Niagara that “Hecock” is about! So you will read about it from a totally different perspective… that of the man who rescues someone other than Burrell… can’t say who… top secret and all that. Atleast not until we get much deeper into my story. The book is by Cathy Marie Buchanan. Check it out!
I’ve rewritten, tweaked and finalized those first two pages (actually, they will be page 4 and 5 in the book.) I’m not posting the entire pages, but cropped versions of areas I changed and text I’ve added. The line art of the next page is underway, so watch for it. In many of the pages ahead, there will be much more dialog and less narrative as more people are introduced.
A mighty “Hullo!” to St. Patrick and Winchester Thurston students. If you find the first two pages interesting, please subscribe to email notification so that you won’t miss any new posts. I look forward to your comments, so don’t be shy. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the appearance of Burrell, the look of the location, and for those of you with sharp eyes tell me of any inconsistencies from one page to another… for example, if Hecock’s shoes have 6 buttons in one frame, but have none in the next. With the hundreds of frames that I will be drawing, it is most likely that I’m going to miss a few details! Thanks for helping with my project and I hope you enjoy the story.
What I’d like to hear are your immediate reactions to the look/feel of this page. I didn’t finish adding the color on the upper left frame, and I left out Hecock’s thought bubble in the lower left frame, but the rest is done. Looks like I’m going to go with a gray tone underpainting… that’s where you do all the shading and most of the details in black, white and grays. Then I apply layers of color over that and beef up the ink lines.
How do you like the coffee stained background behind the frames? Is the color too intense and distracting or is it exciting to look at and keeps your interest?
Is the text telling you enough that you understand what is going on, (as much as I intend for you to understand! There is always a little left out for the sake of mystery.)
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!