Geek Mum makes Toy Storey

Hi readers

Hope that title is intriguing enough for you. In my ongoing journey into creating my first graphic novel, I came up with what I thought to be a novel way of setting up shots for my comic panels. Perspective is always the most challenging aspect so I am constantly looking for shortcuts that don’t involve me having to go too far afield.

The first tool I used is the good old iPhone which, once set up on a tripod, can be set to self time mode and take figure shots of myself acting out all the necessary gestures and poses for my story. This is a method that Alison Bechdel uses in her creative process.
The other thing I have found challenging is reproducing cars at various angles. Lightbulb! It’s so obvious… My daughter and I went to a toyshop and bought ten die cast cars for about a fiver. My lifelike models are good old toy cars. Then I googled to see if anyone else uses toys for referencing and amongst quite a few links saw a really good one from Lynn Johnston who does a Canadian newspaper strip ‘For Better or Worse‘.

Now on my tangent of ‘tools for reference’ I downloaded the Daz 3D software which is currently free and have discovered another practical way of visualising poses and lighting (that is a great plus with this particular tool). It’s like having a virtual film set. Except you have to buy add ons if you want a particular set… so… I have now got my son on board to divert his wizard Lego building skills to build me a miniature set for my graphic ‘worlds’. I did have a look at Lego Architecture which is brilliant but not really cost effective for my purposes. The whole fun of doing something creative is just that… ‘making’… not ‘buying’.

My son and I also managed to cross the generation divide with a trip to the new Marvel movie ‘The Avengers‘ which I thoroughly enjoyed. It had lots of humour which lifted it above your average ‘boys’ action film and the effects were stunning. We are so used to special effects in films nowadays it must be extremely hard for filmmakers to lift the bar. And the actors relished their roles… I especially loved Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki character, full of gleeful malice in a public schoolboy package.

I mentioned last time that my illustration course with Andy Fish was coming to an end. That was two weeks ago now and yes it was scary to feel that we were out there on our own now. But Andy’s given us great advice on getting our work out there. I am following his first strategy which is to have a regular webcomic of a panel a day. Mine is going to start going out in September which gives me time to get some advance work done. So I’ve published my declaration now and must therefore stick to it! I’m also going to be doing another of his courses which is Advanced Illustration techniques for the graphic novel which I will blog about on here.

That’s it for now. I’ll put details up of links to my new artwork from the course and my Music Hall cards which I’m working on now, as and when.

May the creative force be with you!

About Jessica

Jessica Martin is a multi-talented performer whose career has taken her from comedy impressionist to musical theatre leading lady and scriptwriter.
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