October 13, 2012

New In More Than One Way

Starting at the end of the month, Felicity becomes The New Adventures Of Felicity (with Issue 1 and 2 being uploaded, new comics starting in December.) If you want to know more about that I've previously detailed it here in an earlier blog. Part of what I'll be doing this month is breathing new life back into the website (http://99reasonstowin.com) which includes retuning it to bring it up to speed and allow it to function as you'd expect a webcomic site to. The other side of the coin is writing and creating the new content that represents the new title and when I've had the time between work, I've slowly been toying with a major style-overhaul to add extra meaning to the 'New' in New Adventures.

I say toying because I'm not completely convinced I'll pursue this for the new strips. Despite my doubts, I felt it worthwhile to at least try to realise my ideas and so far most of what I've explored is streamlining the form of each character. Part of what I found difficult with previous Felicity work(other than the fact the comic catalogues my first attempts at trying to draw cartoony)is the limitations of the 'builds' I've established. Each character follows a guideline of shapes and back when I created them, I didn't know much about how to flex and bend these shapes for optimal acting performance. Thankfully, five years on, I know alittle more than I did and the foundations I laid in place just can't cut it anymore- I need to rebuild to give me room to express and articulate the current fancies I have, art-style wise.

And recently my love for the simplistic and stylised has swerved off road into a much more cartoon-y kind of neighbourhood than I dared venture before. I've had to work on a few jobs in the last year that demanded different ranges of artstyle. From realistic, weighted work to distorted bobble-headed cartoon. My own personal work and style is most recently represented in Scoundrels where I employ what I'd consider to be my default, Point 7 style(1 being completely realistic in expression and proportion, 10 taking liberty with those proportions and expressions and exaggerating both to cartoon effect.) Sometimes, just so I can learn; I want to turn things up to 11. And with New Adventures, I could do this.

The other reason for this direction is that my original intention for Felicity was a cartoon show and it became a comic because I couldn't realise that intention on my own. I feel I stand to learn a good deal if I pushed this intention onto the comic harder than I have before, to aim to create an animated/cartoon look but tell my story one panel at a time.

Doubts about this approach also relate to the beginning. As when I began Issue 1, I had never drawn this way before, it was a frustrating challenge to cope with drawing a story when I'd barely understood the core mechanics of the method of drawing. Over the years, my studies advanced that understanding so I could at least fluke my way through a book.

This is a dangerous way to approach a book because I could have easily failed within that frustration of trying to run before I could walk. It is a risk to try to 'reboot' the comic without being as prepared as I possibility could be, yet I also feel perhaps the blind way in which I conducted the original stories was what birthed the determination and drive that saw me complete them. My thought being; Maybe I can replicate that with a new take?

Similarly, when writing the script, I feel myself becoming much more wary of the content I want the comic to explore, considering it may adopt a much more friendly art-style. Felicity will never be a story of sex, drugs and the darkest corners of life but at the same time- it IS about a sport where prisoners compete to the death. Flags are raised as to whether a cuter approach to the art-style is a good fit for what I've established so far. This is something I debate on because Felicity has been cartoon-y from the start, just not as cartoon-y as I've been exploring and the vibe I wish to hit with the stories has always been a light-hearted one I'd hope was similar to Futurama with a good chunk of the funny removed.

At any rate, I've uploaded some of the imagery I've produced aiming to settle on a new artstyle. I have yet to begin work on New Adventures(outside of scripting)so I'm still not sure what style it will adapt when it hits the website late 2012, either way I'm looking forward to getting back into the comic that birthed my evolving art-style.