Early, frustrated notebook
For the past two months I have been laying the ground work for a new book. Getting the momentum going at the beginning was not easy: this is a larger, more involved project than anything I have attempted before, and the difference in scale and emotional commitment was enough to set my feet in proverbial concrete for the first few weeks. I diligently tried to write, and write, and sketch, and plan, and re-write some more, but distraction came easy and I went on a lot of angry, frustrated walks to try to talk through the friction. I ended up spending hours at local coffee shops staring at my notebook, pulling my hair, sipping tea, and going home in defeat.
Through the muck and grime a few ideas stuck, and as I worked to develop a promising thread the other secondary ideas fit in smoothly. I suddenly had a coherent narrative and the whole project made sense. I can't describe what a relief that was! My notebooks grew increasingly more orderly.
In the background: a proper (for me) outline format!
In the foreground: a quick sketch to work through page composition
Steps towards production are moving swiftly. I made a small signature to work through pacing in the first (most fully developed) chapter, to get a sense of how many pages the book might be; I have grant deadlines in my back pocket for this project; I have figured out press sheet and final book dimensions, and so on. Most importantly, I typed up the project plan in full yesterday and sent it to three groups of trusted & talented friends for critique and feedback.
It is going to be a hand-illustrated comic/graphic novella with no text or dialogue, just visual sequences. I don't want to give away too much about the story yet; that will come as the illustrations are completed. For now I can say that I have been thinking a lot about what it is to make work, why I am (/others are) drawn to production and creation and output, and what happens when that fails. Also, fire!