Finishing The Golden Apple
I need to confide in y'all: I really do not like this new book. The story, characters, and concept are great, but the work sucks. It's not my best.
I want to go through with publishing it for three main reasons:
1. Sunk cost. This thing is late and I've already put so much work into it for it to come out late, it just needs to go off into the world.
2. It's an important document of my process. Not publishing it would be the equivalent of writing a post on someone's thread, being told you're wrong, and then going back to delete it.
3. Learning. I'm a positivity junkie sometimes, and I want to believe in the goodness of everything, even things I don't like. I want to believe that the value of this book was to teach me about my production process and scheduling. But it's not a good book at all, because I really learned a lot about color, light, shadow, line quality, layout, drawing, environments, costuming, details, and shapes.
But really, it's crap. Sometimes you can pour so much of your heart and effort into a project you believe in and love, and it still come out looking like crap. This is my reality this month, even though I was expecting so much more from myself, coming out of another project. The way I'm afraid of trying to finish the cover!
The big lesson I learned from this book was in my light, shadows, and colors. I know where I didn't do enough to set up my values for shadows, and I know where my colors got lost. Every single page looks like brown and grey because I used a lot of brown and grey of different shades. There were some mixed colors thrown in, and very few pure, from-the-tube colors and it's all swirled into a brown-grey mass.
My blue tones look about how I wanted them to, and are having the effect I want, but I think how my colors were laid on, there is no place where colors are vibrant, where they pop and grab attention. There is no spot on any page where a pure color is just present by itself.
I think another thing that happened is I didn't trust my process. The whole point of what I was doing was to establish values of blue on every page, then layer on my other colors, with the blue ink doing the work of establishing tone and shape. Not trusting my process meant I tried to force my pure colors to also try and be as "true to life" as possible and it just was not meant to work with the blue doing the logistical work.
Tonight, to test my theories, I did a color and shape study. Aside from getting the object shape and shadows technically incorrect, I saw where I went wrong with The Golden Apple. In the study, the three shapes of a sphere, cylinder, and cone are each a different color: red, blue, and yellow. But they are glazed over a blue-tone that establishes their shape and value. Done correctly, you can tell what each color is on each shape. What I missed was reflected light, and a pure light spot for the unmingled color to exist on its own, but you can still see what each color is.
That's how I do all my work, and The Golden Apple was no different. Except, it was. The execution just did not work as well as it should have. At some point in this project, I kinda gave up on it, realizing it just was not coming together at all. I feel bad about it because I really wanted this story. I wanted to show off a really complex thing, and I wanted to to happen in June, just in time for Pride month. I was late, and I dropped the ball with it, and I'm pretty upset with myself about it as a result.
I'm going to take a break from comics making until I can get my confidence back up, and maybe focus on some smaller, less time-sensitive projects. At least for the month of June. I need a real recharge before I think about One Act #3.