So let's talk about starting a new comic project. There are a lot of parts to it, especially for me as an indie creator, and it's more than simply having the right process down for productivity. The first step, for me, is knowing the story I want to tell.
This upcoming week, I'm spending my vacation at my desk to answer the question, "Can I make a comic in seven days?" That is, can I drive a comic from concept (the idea in my head) to print (I just sent this book off to the printer!) in seven days. I've only done this once, and that was back in 2013 for the first version of The Night Is Our Victory. This time, I want to push myself a little further with a better process and more pages. There's a bit that's going to go into getting this project done in a week, and it all starts with the proper planning. And that's what I'm doing now!
In my planning, I'm examining the project in its totality. In no order, my planning considers:
How many pages is this book in total?
Is this the first book of a series, or a one-shot?
What's the title?
Will this be in full color?
If this is part of a series, how many issues?
Will each book have its own specific title, or just be called "Part X of Y?"
What materials do I have on hand and what do I need to buy?
Am I still in my normal lane, or do I want to experiment with a different genre?
Who's the main character and what's their deal?
How much will this cost me to print?
What's the cover price?
Will the cover be in color?
Panels or splash pages?
Should I write a script or just wing it?
What other characters are in this story?
How long will this actually take me to finish?
What does an initial order look like?
So this seven-day comic will see me create a whole book, start to finish, in seven days. A few of the pieces are already factored in, I just need to set up my schedule for the week. It'll look a little like this:
Day 1: Scripting and storyboard. Character sketches, location sketches, cover sketches. Set up production pages. Gather and prep materials.
Day 2: Pencils, first pass
Day 3: Pencils, second pass
Day 4: Inks.
Day 5: Tone-painting
Day 6: Scans and balancing. Clean-up. Cover copy, dialogue, captions, sound effects
Day 7: Final editing pass, and off to the printer
If I am off or running late on any given day, this whole thing could fall apart, especially for the story I have in mind. But that's what's so great about this challenge: it actually can help me shore up my routine and keep me moving forward. It'll also show me what I'm capable of doing with dedicated time and focus for the project. However, the biggest challenge of all will be steadily working on this project for at least eight hours every day. They don't have to be in one sitting, but I have to put in the time to get it done if I want it done on time. Having dedicated time to work will help me benchmark my whole process when I'm not in seven-day mode.
So what's the story that I'm doing for this seven-day comic? It's called Oracle something-or-other and it'll be quite a few pages long. And how great is it that this is my birthday week and I'll get to spend it making a new comic? This is going to be fun!