November 1, 2009

Drawing 100 Panels a day for 30 Days… Whew!

Welcome to the first post of a new venture.  I started my fifth novel for National Novel Writing Month and seem to have had some kind of breakdown!  I thought it might be a good thing to draw 100 panels a day for the month of November.  What possessed me?

Well, one of the new aspects of this year’s novel is the presence of drawing.  I found a good bunch of old illustration in both the Project Gutenberg and Internet Archive libraries.  I’m also beginning to use Inkscape and Gimp to make fabric designs.  Both of these events are part of the world of my novels being as it is a world based on the production of cloth.

My two main characters both keep extensive visual journals.  So, I thought it would be only fair that I got my pen out of my butt and joined in!

I chose 100 panels because of the work I did using the posts.  The goal was, and still is, to post 100 words a day exactly, no more no less.  I haven’t participated in that endeavor for a while, but the idea has been good to me.  I’ve broken through a lot of my resistances to writing playing there.  It’s that breaking through that I hope to achieve with this endeavor.

I am limiting myself, for the moment at least, to the month of November.  I’ve already done my 100 panels. Partly to see what it would be like.  Partly to put my panels up front.  Now, it’s time to present the “rules”.

1) There is no panel size requirement. My first group of panels fit into one corner of the sketchbook page.  There are 20 panels in that corner.

2) There is no content requirement. I made a list of ideas for content for myself.  My very first “page” of panels was an examination of mark making in pen based on Leonardo Da Vinci.  Nothing anyone else might recognize as such.  However, it is not so much copying for recognition, but getting an understanding of the process.  As with my writing, it’s a matter of finding my own rhythm and flow.

Here is the test run: the Da Vinci panels.

Da Vinci marks

The first group of "panels" to try out the concept

It’s not a good image.  First of all it’s in the wrong orientation and second, it’s just a bad photo.  I wanted to get the post up since it’s Day 1 of my challenge.  I will re-post all the images once I’ve scanned them in.  Meanwhile, here are the rest of the “panels”

Now, I realized after starting this blog, that what I produced wasn’t properly called panels. Not in the comic book sense anyway.  There is no passage of time between one image and another.  I promise to change that. I want the final page of images, no matter what the finished size, to look more like a page from a comic book or graphic novel and not a grid of marks.


I made a long list of ideas I’d like to pursue.  I’ll publish it in groups of 5 items so we can all see what happens.  Here’s the first group:

  • Pen work
  • Brush work
  • Pencil work
  • Pattern
  • Texture

As you see, I’ve started the pen work.  As you might imagine, there is even more I can do.  For example, using different pens, different surfaces, different “masters” to identify with.

As for that, identifying with the masters.  I made a couple of notes about that, also and thought I might share. I wrote:

List favorite artists

Pick some things from the lists

Analyze a panel image (or a drawing or painting)

Make a list of elements to practice

Do 100!

This is essentially what I did with the Da Vinci and Gorey.  From the Da Vinci, I learned that the scale I was working on is too small to be effective.  I need to be able to have more control over the laying down of ink.  So, tomorrow’s endeavor might well be a revisiting of Da Vinci’s marks.  I also need to, for my own purposes, lay out a page of panels.  Proper ones.

I like having a lot of panels on a single page.  OK not the entire 100… I don’t think.   This is exactly though, the kind of questioning I expect to do.  It’s the kind of questioning I did when I began the 100Words adventure.  Meanwhile, I’m off to be to rest for tomorrows leg of both marathons.

And I promise better images next time.


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