I’ve been hard at work on my “creative new year’s resolution” these last several months, but it seems I’m due for another resolution of sorts: I need to give you some more regular progress reports here on the website regarding how it’s going! My last mention of it here was way back in January, but I’ve sent in a couple progress reports to Studio 360 that have been featured on their blog (here and here).
My chief project right now is definitely working on the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but I’m pleased to have a few other ideas beginning to take shape, which is motivating me to get this project done (or at least sufficiently ahead of schedule) so I can start working on them too!
At present, I’m well into Part III of the poem, so I’m not halfway yet, but starting to get there. I suppose that puts me more or less on track to be done by the end of the year, but I’d like to pull ahead a bit so I’m not inking the last panel on December 31st or anything. It would be nice to spend the last months of the year focused more on coloring, marketing, and preparing the whole thing for publication!
I feel like I’m hitting a pretty good stride lately, though. I managed to have a couple “make two pages in one day” days this past weekend, and if I can get my output cranked up, I’ll have the drawings done in no time. My own working pace has definitely given me a whole new appreciation for Jack Kirby— he was a machine. I’ve read tale that he’d make eight or nine pages on some days– although I don’t know if he was inking them at that time too, or “just” doing the pencils (which are pretty thorough in Kirby’s case: a comparison here). And I don’t think he did that routinely or by preference, since that was in an era when he was basically working on six 22-page books a month, or some such. Anyway, I’m getting myself into comic-makin’ shape, and will hopefully be able to crank up my output over the summer.
I’ve found that working on the Mariner (or “Marinating”, as I’ve taken to calling it) has helped with my Tyranny of Pants production too. The weekly habit of making the comic has helped get me into shape to work on the Mariner, but at some point in the coming weeks, I’ll cross a threshold of sorts where I’ll have made more Mariner pages than Pants pages. I don’t know if that particularly means anything, other than the fact that I’ll have a larger pile of work for one project than the other, but it seems vaguely relevant.
Meanwhile, I’ve made a modest change to the art style of the weekly comic to give myself some practice for the coloring stage of Mariner. With the principle drawing for two parts finished, it would be nice to get started on the color process soon, since that aspect of the process might be something that’s a little easier to do “on the road” during the summer travels. So, I’ve been using the comic as a sort of rehearsal for that coloring process, testing out palettes, and getting used to “thinking in monochrome”– a case where all that black & white photography is coming in handy!
It’s also occurred to me that the Mariner isn’t actually very well-represented here on my own website, which seems like quite an oversight now that I’ve finished inking so many pages. Since you might be interested in just what it is I’m making, I’ve gone ahead and made a little gallery featuring some selections from the work so far. It will be a living gallery, with changes made every few weeks, so check in from time-to-time to see some work-in-progress!
Meanwhile, spring has come to Seattle, and it has been very pleasant here for the last several days. The sunny weather might be the biggest obstacle to the Mariner at the moment– I find myself eager to go out and to some sketching around the neighborhood, rather than sitting my derriere in my chair-iere and working on pages! Why, just yesterday I spotted some ducklings and goslings at the lake, and there’s still some pink blooms on the trees at the park– it just seems criminal to spend all day inside! But there’s work to be done, and these pages aren’t going to draw themselves. So, with that in mind, I had better get back to “marinating”…

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