Six Legs, No Heart Progress Report

Six Legs, No Heart Preview

Hey, folks! You’ve probably noticed the blogs have dried up. I have good reason! I’ve been working really hard to get my new comic book, Six Legs, No Heart, finished in time to be ready for Cape Comic Con 2017. Pretty much all of my free time and creative outlet are being funneled into the completion of this book. The only reason I’m not working on it right now, during my lunch break, is because I forgot to bring any materials with me to work on! So, I’m doing the next best thing: trying to find a way to promote it. In this case, I thought it might be fun to give you a rundown of where the project stands right now, and how I’ve gotten to this point.

Concept

Six Legs, No Heart is about out-of-control cockroaches that spawned in a filthy house next door to a home recently purchased by a newlywed couple. It is loosely based on actual events—Amanda and I used to have some not-particularly great neighbors that kept a filthy house. When the neighbors were evicted for not paying their rent and gross negligence of the property, a huge nest of cockroaches was discovered in their house, and they were just living with the roaches all that time. Witnesses estimate hundreds of thousands of roaches in the house, and we dealt in part with the aftermath. As soon as the neighbors were gone and the food supplies ran out, the roaches turned elsewhere, and Amanda and I (mostly Amanda) put up a huge fight to keep them out of our house. Major fumigation next door took care of the majority of them, but there were still plenty leftover that tried to get in. Much like Amanda and me, the couple in the book also has to deal with the roaches, but the situation escalates into a battle of life and death!

Writing

Writing Six Legs, No Heart began in the fall of 2015, and it, along with panel layouts, were completed by winter of 2016. The comic is almost exclusively narration, which I first wrote, and then numbered either by phrase or sentence, depending on the situation. Using those numbers, I was able to determine how many panels I would need, and how to lay them out on the page.

Conceptual Art

I had to figure out what the bugs were going to look like, and the couple, and the neighbors, as well as a couple of key locations. I had most of that determined by spring of 2016. I’m not a good conceptual artist and usually only do a page or two of sketches before actual drawing begins. I’m not fast enough of an artist to churn out pages upon pages of concept art. Maybe I do a lot of figuring stuff out in my head; I don’t know. Maybe I’m not indecisive when it comes to art, so I only need a few sketches before getting started. Or maybe my characters just aren’t very distinctive.

Drawing

Drawing didn’t actually start until June of 2016. I committed myself to too many other things at the same time: a new design for the Mike and the Ninja website, writing new commentaries for every page of Mike and the Ninja, Cape Comic Con booth preparation, fulfilling some marketing tasks for Cape Comic Con itself, and other art commissions. By the time I got around to drawing, it was three or four months later. Ouch. This really hurt, considering that I wanted to have the book done in time for Christmas 2016.

Even when I started drawing, I was moving too slow. I drew 15 pages from June until October, barely drew anything in November and December on account of all the end-of-year and holiday commitments that pile up, and had to power through the last 11 pages in the month of January alone. I did it, but it took so much discipline and willpower. As I stated earlier, I am not a fast artist, and it is actually the part of the process I have the least confidence in, so I have really been feeling the crunch since January.

Inking

Inking is my favorite part of any drawing project, and is so much less stressful and time-consuming than drawing. It does bring about the possibility of irreparably screwing up a piece of art, but I’m somehow able to deal with that. I like inking because the guidelines are already there, so I no longer have to figure out how to convey a scene to the readers (which is half the stress of drawing a comic). Instead, I get to bring a half-finished piece to life and to a permanent state, which is comforting to me, if that makes sense. It’s a much more cathartic, meditative process.

I was able to finish the inking of Six Legs, No Heart in less than a month, versus the six-and-a-half months it took me to draw it.

Post-Production

I’m now hip-deep in the post-production stage. Pages need to be scanned, corrected, and colored. Shadows and highlights and other artistic effects need to be added, along with text and sound effects, of course. This is a lot of work, but it’s stuff that Amanda can help me with, which is a major relief. I still need to make a cover, as well, and then we’ll send it off for a proof and to be printed. I’m trying to keep my social media channels active, as well, which is a challenge all on its own. We’re hopeful we can wrap the rest of this stuff up in the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to sound like we’re rushing things (we’re not), but not only does this thing need to be in people’s hands at Cape Comic Con, it also just needs to be done!

If you want to keep up on the project, follow the Big Skink Tales Facebook page or Instagram.

Thanks for your support!