I have to admit – the learning curve on Book 1 is astounding. I can say I’ve been a practicing comic artist for some time but its not until you know that something is going to see the light of day that your decision making, experience and certainly your weak points become exposed in the light.
The trick I think is to recognise these and apply the new things you’ve learned to the next page and the next and the next. Certain things I will already be looking into for Issue 2 of both Moon and Fallen Heroes.
1. Clarity is often more important than testing until you get that perfect panel. Ambiguity creates confusion and more work which just exhausts the project you’re working on.
2. The story is all. Panel by panel, it doesn’t matter if you’ve used a technique you’ve never used before if you can’t make out what’s going on panel by panel. The primary reason for each panel is simply to push the story on. Thereafter comes style and technique. Tell the story – then tell the story in the coolest way possible.
3. Trust the skills. There’s a reason each person was picked for each role. Wherever possible let them do it. Each page a playground for creatives.
4. Be clear. Although there has to be trust do not shy away from a clear adjustment that is needed. Direction at times only enhances a talented persons work.
5. Referencing. Reference anything you are not completely familiar with. Change it and format it after you are familiar with it. Never guess.
6. Referencing part 2. A visual reference is preferable to a colourist or artist than 300 words.
7. Be prepared to inspire swearing to get the work done. If it needs to be done a particular way, stand by it. Its natural that someone who has worked hard will be frustrated by more work but if the end result is better it is worthwhile.
8. Focus and prioitise. Focus on one thing at a time and get it done. Do not obsess as it will bog you down. Do your best, correct obvious mistakes and move on. Each page will be better than the last inevitably, to reedit indefinitely will only undermine the entire project.
9. Don’t shrug. While moving on from something that is consuming time and effort with no obvious results is sensible – never allow ‘ that’ll do’ to become part of your vocabulary. Half measures at the time undermines the entire project.
10. Address issues directly. If there is a problem – personal or professional – tackle it early, clearly and concisely. Do not allow your concerns to be dismissed unecessarily and see that the concerns are resolved to both parties liking before moving on. Do not allow petty issues to overshadow other things as they invariably will if left.
11. Use a ruler.
There are more. Tonnes more.