Feb 082013
 Posted by on February 8, 2013 Visual Story

On the afternoon of January 22, I shared the following missive on The Graphic Novel’s Canvas Announcement board:

Hello fellow Jokerz,

My name is Watkins, I am a Senior Studio Art major, and I love reading Graphic Novels.  I’ve studied them for some time with the intent of eventually writing and drawing my own (which is an incredibly time-intensive endeavor).

I hope you are all mildly enthused by the idea of working creatively together.  I want to create a blog website, or other group-friendly social media meeting ground so that we can easily and convienently communicate in text form (making it convienient to look back on past discussion and idea generation, and more difficult to misconstrue participation levels).  I have some WordPress experience and could set up a blog on my domain or UMW blogs (matters if you would prefer .ampersanddragon.net or .umwblogs.org)  I imagine UMW blogs would be convienient since we all have to be members to blog on TGN site, but I didn’t want to do anything without consulting the group.  We could use twitter to start, before setting up a website.  #TheJokerZ

As soon as we agree on a place to host discussion, we can start discussing!  If you are at all intimidated or unsure about being creative, browse the categories sidebar at MakingComics.com.  It’s filled with useful tips from passionate people.


p.s.  do we all like the name “The Jokerz”?  how about TEH JOKERZ (sic, with backwards K)?  Or we could change our group name entirely:  “_____” formerly known as The Jokerz.

Having recieved no communique for over a week, I began a comic experiment in relation to another class.

Chapter 1: Encounter.

It is a fun experiment, my first comic.  I’ve learned more about the necessity of revisions in just one page than I ever imagined.

I was very glad to have in-class contact with other group members, as well as this reply on the 4th of February:

Hi, my name is Josh.  I think that the name “The Jokerz” is fine.  I was thinking about how we could make our webcomic and I have a few ideas about how I could contribute.  I’m a English Major and my concentration is in Creative Writing so obviously I could help out with writing in some way.  I also worked pretty extensively with GIMP for an internship  so I’d also be more than willing to help out with the artistic direction of the comic.  I had a idea (which we probably won’t need because you can actually draw) that we could take photos and manipulate them so that they fit a particular style.  I was thinking we could go for sort of a Sin City-esque style — high contrast, and only using red, black, and white.  This might be jumping the gun a bit, but I think that as far as the story goes a gritty noir graphic novel like Sin City would be really cool to produce.  Even if we wind up using drawings, I could still manipulate them to give them that look.  Here’s a mock-up I did in GIMP so you can see what I have in mind stylistically: 

Comic Draft 8b


I’m thrilled that this aesthetic meshes well with one of my usual drawing techniques – inkiness.  This isn’t evident in the CAPYBARA&bird drawings, which rely more on texture and color.

hair clip sketch
1-16-13 sharing coffee with you.
beloved childhood pet
Alizarin, Betta Fish extraordinare RIP.
steampunk breakfast

These stills from time-lapse drawings may serve as a better example.  They were drawn digitally.  The inky style has great potental for drama by contrasting large textured areas of darkness with lighter detailed areas, especially when combined with color like Josh’s example.

This website should serve well a a simple, easily accessible forum for sharing images and ideas in the creation of our webcomic, and later be a making-of, to share as part of our presentation.

Two major decisions need to be made soon, as we start to develop our ideas:  How will our webcomic be formatted and what kind of story will we tell?  These ideas are inextricably linked.  Many webcomics retain the quasi-page rectangular format because the creators want to eventually make print copies to sell.  I doubt this is the case with our project, consequently we can be creative and make use of a format that will support our tale.  Whalen’s intent is that over a three-week period, webcomic posts will happen twice a week, so essentially six chapters/issues/pages is the size of the story.  A format that would be incredible to experiment with would be that of the infinite canvas as in The Wormworld Saga by Daniel Lieske.  It may seem daunting and forign, but the actual formatting/layout comic syntax is simpler because it doesn’t require page transitions.  It can give a little story more space.

I have few story content ideas, expect me to be more vocal when it comes to design and layout of the drawings.  As I’m not a fiction writer, my instinct is to find  existing content and adapt it as a comic.  A short story or brief novel (such as Alice in Wonderland) that is in the public domain could be the subject of a webcomic.

Let me know if anyone has difficulty accessing or posting to this page by way of flibberflabber@ampersanddragon.net.

  3 Responses to “(re)Genesis of Jokerz”

  1. I like the Sin City idea a lot. Also, Watkins your drawings are amazing, I unfortunately have no artistic abilities so i wont even lie about contributing in that aspect haha but I am also an English major so I think with all our different strengths we will make a good team!

  2. I’m not sure what the hard due date is, but given that between the five of us we must agree on a story plan then convert that to a visual tale, we should really start now. Especially since drawings take a great deal of time. The simple, unplanned drawings shown above took almost an hour each, and the CAPYBARA&bird drawing took twice as much time because it was planned, and then even more time to color. I really want to share in the making of a FANTASTIC contribution to storytelling – something in which to take pride. It is going to be shared on the wide web, after all. I’m not sorry that this motivation makes me pushy in the planning stage.

  3. I’m glad you like the mock-up I did! I also think that type of style could work really well with your drawings. I’m not sure about having an “infinite canvas,” but it’s something we can at least mess around with. By the way, when is the web comic actually due by? I’m wondering when we should start working on it.

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