Thursday, November 16, 2017

My graphic novel process 2

This is a picture of the stack of thumbnails I did the first time around. I almost used a whole ream of paper. I don't remember the exact number, but I think it was around 180 pages.

I didn't write a manuscript before I started. I just drew out my ideas for scenes and revised as I went along. I went through it again and added and deleted drawings. I tried to cut the story down as much as I could. I asked myself whether or not each scene needed to be there to move the story along. If not, it was deleted.

A lot of people write a manuscript before they do the drawings, but its easier for me to draw it out so I can easily move scenes around. I've written a novel before and it's hard to have to sift through pages of text to find a scene you want to alter. With thumbnails it's much quicker. If I want to add drawings, I just write "* insert" and add a letter after the page number. For example, "* insert page 32A" then I would add it after page 32.

For pages or drawings I want to delete, I don't throw them out. I just write an "X" in the corner of the page and put it in another folder. Sometimes I'll look at those pages again and decide that I need them after all.

I've looked at how other people go about creating their graphic novel. I've looked at how Raina Telgemeier, Colleen Coover, Faith Erin Hicks, Sarah Glidden, Kazu Kibuishi, and other artists go about creating their books. It's best to look at how other people do their graphic novels and use what works for you. I've modified an idea from Fran Meneses of "Frannerd" to organize my thumbnails. I would post the link here, but I can't find it. She has too many videos to count on YouTube, but I'm sure there are many helpful things you can find on her vlogs.

Since I have so many pages, I needed a system that would be more manageable. I thumbnailed out the whole book again, but this time thinking about the design of the pages. I cut a sheet of 8.5"x11" paper into 4 sections. I laid out my pages on these small sheets of paper and used a glue stick to paste them lightly onto a sheet of 8.5"x11" paper. Glue sticks don't adhere very well, so by using them lightly allowed me to remove and add pages easily if I wanted to make changes along the way.

I learned that you should have a sort of cliffhanger at the end of the pages where the reader will be turning the page so they will be compelled to keep reading. Laying the pages out this way helps you to see how your pages flow.

That's it for now. More next time. Ciao.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

My graphic novel process 1

I decided to document my progress while working on my first graphic novel so that other people can learn from my trial and error. It might also help me to refer back to what I did right and what I did wrong.

I have Clip Studio Paint version 1.6.2 for Mac which I bought during a sale. I'm pretty sure it was less than $100. I've had it for a couple of years, so I don't remember how much I paid for it. I'm guessing it was around $80, but I think you might be able to find it cheaper if there is a sale. Don't quote me on that, though.

I am working on a middle grade graphic novel based on my funny experiences as a kid visiting relatives in Hawaii. My rough sketches of laid out panels come to be 211 pages. I was shooting for 170-180 pages originally when I was doing my thumbnails, but when I designed my panels I had to add more drawings to fill up empty spaces in the page.

Starting from the beginning of the process, I wrote an outline from the idea I had. I listed all the events I wanted to hit. It wasn't very long or too detailed. I think it was three pages.

Using the outline as a guide, I started thumbnailing to get the drawings and dialogue down. I just used crappy throwaway paper because I knew I was going to redraw it nicer later. I didn't do any model sheets for the characters since I just wanted to get the story down, but I had real people in mind who I wanted the characters modeled after. Modeling characters after real people makes drawing them much easier than trying to create a character from nothing.

What I did not know when I started my graphic novel was the difference between a graphic novel and a comicbook. By the way, when I saw Stan Lee at the L.A. Comic Con a couple of weeks ago he said "comicbook" should be one word, not two. "Comic book" implies that the book will be funny or "comical" which is not the case for all comicbooks. So, that's why I'm writing it as one word.

Comics are a series of short strips. A graphic novel is one story with a beginning, middle, and end. Basically, a novel with its story told in graphic images.

What I initially was doing was a comic with a bunch of funny strips tied together. I wanted to do a "graphic novel" not a comic, so I had to create a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Instead of a memoir which it was supposed to be originally, it became fiction. I had to add characters and events that didn't happen to tie the story together as a whole.

Here is an example of page 2 of my thumbnails:

I was trying to get the snotty personalities of the three characters on the right, but it was too dialogue heavy. I learned later that text should be condensed with as little words as possible while still getting your point across.

Mistake number two was drawing too much detail. It was taking me too long drawing the characters. I was trying to make them look different with different personalities. Stick figures would've been better in the thumbnail stage. That way I could get the story out quicker. I figured this out sometime during the thumbnail process, so I drew stick figures later on.

I did not lay the pages out either. I didn't lay them out during the whole thumbnail process although about halfway through I started thinking more about composition as I went along. My focus was more on the story in the thumbnail page.

My thumbnails were all done with traditional pencil and paper. I tried using Clip Studio Paint, but found it difficult to use the digital pen on the Cintiq. It took me longer to try to figure the program out and get used to the digital pen than it was drawing on regular paper.

I don't know if other people lay their pages out in the thumbnail stage, but this is how I did it. Maybe next time I'll try laying the panels out as I go along. I would imagine it would take longer, but I won't know until I try it.

Once the thumbnails were done, I went through the whole thing laying the panels and pages out, getting rid of scenes, adding new scenes, condensing and changing dialogue, combining two similar characters into one, and adding clearer detail. More about this later.

Since this post is getting too long, I'll continue in a later post. I hope this helps!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Vintage Circus

When I was living in a smallish town in France, south of Paris, a traveling circus came to town. I didn't attend, but I saw them camped out in a field close to where I lived. I tried to draw a llama that was in the field that was part of the circus, but I don't know if I got any good drawings that day. It was probably very cold and I most likely left because of that. I would've had to draw standing up with a small sketchbook which is not easy to do, especially with gloves on.

I drew something standing next to that field before. You would think that artists drawing would not be an unusual sight in France, but a man and his young son almost crashed into each other on their bikes because they were staring at me instead of watching where they were going. It was quite funny.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Young Madame Leota

I did this for Inktober last week. I used liquid inks (Dr. Ph Marten, I think) for the background and a Micron ink pen for the drawing. Since it was toward the end of the month, I was running out of ideas for Inktober. I wanted to do something related to a vintage circus. After I did this, it reminded me of Madame Leota from the Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride.

It was around midnight when I was working on it and I was tired. If I had more time, I would've drawn the ball better and maybe given her a sexier outfit. But I like the way the background came out.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stranger Things

Stranger Things 2 is on Netflix today. I can't wait to watch it. I'm being good and waiting for my family to be available so we can all sit down to watch it together. It's the only TV show that all of us like to watch together.

I did this drawing of Eleven from the show. What I like best about it are the socks. Those are my high school colors, too! Haha. I wonder if I had a pair of those socks in high school... Yikes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Discovering 100 Somethings

I recently heard about Jake Parker's Draw 100 Somethings challenge. That sounds like a fun one! What you do is pick a subject that is hard for you to draw and then draw it 100 times. It's a good way to improve on a skill you're lacking in. For instance, if you're bad at drawing hands, you would draw hands and post them online until you reach drawing 100.

I believe Jake Parker started off with Design 100 Somethings. I'm not a designer, but I would be interested in designing 100 costumes or characters. Maybe when Inktober is over I'll start drawing 100 somethings.

You can find Jake Parker's videos on YouTube where he shows his 100 drawings and explains the challenge.

My cousin opened a pet store in Arkansas called Woof and Wander. She wanted me to draw some dogs for her, but I'm really bad at drawing dogs. If I do the 100 challenge, I should definitely draw 100 dogs. Maybe I'll come up with something she can use for her shop.

Some other ideas I have for the 100 Somethings are:
  • Turning real people into a comic drawing
  • Interesting/dynamic poses for comic characters
  • Monsters
  • Character designs for comics
By the way, the drawing I did above was done in ink and watercolor on very old Strathmore watercolor paper. That's why the paper is a bit yellow. lol I think I was saving the paper until I got "better" at watercolor. It's a waste not to use it. I should've used it a long time ago like my other art supplies gathering dust.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New artwork

Wow, I can't believe I have neglected this blog for a year! I'm so sorry!

I've been working on a middle grade graphic novel and also decided to do web comics. After writing a YA novel, drafted a picture book, wrote a middle grade book, I've found that graphic novels and comics are the best thing I can do for my skill set.

I have a BFA in Illustration and have been writing all my life, so GN/comics are the most logical way to go since it marries art and writing.

I started a Tumblr account this week to post my web comics, so you will be able to read them on

The graphic novel I'm working on is a fictionalized version of my funny childhood experiences visiting relatives in Hawaii. It's not a travel guide, but more of a glimpse into Japanese-Americans-from-Hawaii culture.

I've laid out all the pages in thumbnail form. All 211 pages. Egads! Now for the arduous process of drawing clean roughs and inking them. This is a new experience for me so it's kinda scary. (bites nails)

In the meantime, I'm participating in Inktober and World Watercolor Group as well as drawing random pictures here and there.

I posted some one-off gag comics online for the first time this month. The ideas I have written down are for longer comics which don't work for posting on Facebook or Instagram, so I had to come up with one image at a time to post. That's so hard to do! I have a lot of respect for people who can come up with something funny every day and draw it quickly enough to post. Hats of to you if you can do it! (bowing)

For now, I'm not going to post my comics on this blog because you can see them on my Tumblr account.

Here is something I did recently:

Have a good day!

I will try to post more often. Maybe I'll be really techy and post from my phone! Oooh!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Older Woman in Bathing Suit

I was shown how to simplify my drawings, so here is one of my practice ones. It's not second nature for me to draw like this. I have to make a point to do it. I like it, though. I need to do about a hundred more drawings like this.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Portrait of Kaleo in Gi (red col-erase)

He modeled for 2 different classes, so I got several drawings of him. It kind of looks like him and kind of doesn't. Some people liked it, though. What I like about col-erase is that you can draw lightly, then layer it to get darker, and of course it erases.

I watched the tutorials for Clip Studio Paint Pro and it's awesome! It can do so much! Now I'm wondering if I should do a more elaborate comic than the simple, quick drawings I was planning on doing. My goals were set to doing comics like Lincoln Peirce, Lynda Barry, and Kek Zanorg. Now I'm thinking they need to look slightly more involved like Nana, Death Note, or Naruto. I don't want it to look too real because that takes too much time and, frankly for me, it's boring. Now, Tony Sandoval's graphic novels are what I like! Yeah, I could strive for that. I'll have to see what Clip Studio Paint Ex can do with that type of drawing.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Haylie in blue pencil

As I was saying yesterday, it's hard for me to get a likeness of someone. This is a second drawing of Haylie. She looks like a different person. I like the drawing, but it doesn't look like her.

I'm working on sketches for a Peanuts Halloween art show. I might as well since I cut the bottom of my foot and can't drive anywhere. My dog wanted me to throw the ball for her to fetch this morning, but I didn't want to get my hands dirty, so I kicked it. It was right next to my heavy duty metal art easel. I kicked the ball, but also kicked the base of the easel and sliced my foot. Plans of going to the gym and the dojo are out the window now. It's probably meant to be because now I have more time to work.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Portrait of Bodhi in his gi

I draw pretty good faces, but nine times out of ten, they don't look like the person I'm drawing. When drawing in a classroom setting, I noticed that people don't care much if you get the likeness right. If it is a pretty drawing, they will rave about it. Some people draw beautiful faces, but they don't look anything like the model. Everyone oohs and aahs and the model loves their portrait. To get a likeness takes a lot more time. Hours even.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Haylie - ink

We had to go to 4 funerals within the first 5 months of this year which is a record for us. Our friends also had family members passing away in their 40s and younger. Even celebrities were dying. It was such a sad, depressing first half of the year. I started to gain weight and had to lose it again so that I could fit in my funeral attire. The year continued to get bad with a series of plumbing problems that took several weeks to fix. One thing after another started leaking. My family saw a tall, slim, hairless entity in our house where most of the plumbing problems were occurring. The house had to be blessed 3 times. Then the sprinklers outside and the pipe under the lawn broke. We're still sort of dealing with that, but it should be fixed tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Now things are turning around. I sold a painting in a gallery and my sketchbook went on a U.S. tour. I started going to drawing workshops regularly and met a lot of new people who are like-minded. I made some great new friendships with some girls at the gym. One is a writer and another is an artist. My writer friend is modeling for the portrait workshop today. I've gotten several friends from the gym to model. I'm like a booking agent for models. Hahaha! It's nice to have a lot of friends at the gym.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bodhi in Gi

Inktober is coming up next month. Anybody who has a social media account can participate. All you do is draw something in ink and post it to your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media platform you prefer. There is no cost. I did it last year and was surprised at how many people enjoyed seeing my drawings posted every day. I'm not sure if I want to stick with a theme this year or just do random drawings. I'll probably try to do a theme, but with the lack of time will probably just post whatever I can draw quickly. A Halloween theme would be good since it's October, but I'm thinking of doing a Gibson girl theme.

I heard that Manga Studio 5 was a good software program for artists including comic book artists. The newer version is called Clip Studio Paint Ex and is touted to be better and cheaper than Photoshop. It's on sale at Smith Micro right now. I downloaded it last night, but haven't watched any tutorials on how to use it yet. I'm very excited to use it for my comics and emojis. I normally don't like digital art. I don't like the fuzzy edges they make. I take one look at that artwork and move on to the next image. I hate it. Maybe I'll get used to it and turn to the dark side once I learn how to use this program.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Jewel - Drawing


This is another drawing of my friend, Jewel. This was done in Col-erase pencil. It was so nice of her to model for the class. I have gotten a lot of my friends to model for these art classes. I messed up drawings of two of my friends. Kind of embarrassing. Oh, the pressure! The ones I did of Jewel came out nice, though.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Jewel - watercolor


My friend, Jewel, was the model for the drawing workshop yesterday. I got a couple of good drawings of her, so it was a pretty good session. I'm not good at getting a likeness, so it doesn't look exactly like her, but I like the way it turned out anyway. I'll post the other one tomorrow.

I made a new friend at the gym named Brittney and found out that she likes to draw, too, so I told her about this workshop. She showed up yesterday and loved it. When she was younger, she got accepted to Otis Parsons which is a reputable art school. She couldn't afford to go, so she ended up not going. It's so sad. Now she has a chance to draw again.