reflectedeve: Joan Watson sits in bed, studying a paper with glasses on and a furrow in her brow. (consulting detective - deduction)
[personal profile] reflectedeve
Oh hey, my first [community profile] yuletart piece, a Revolutionary Girl Utena jazz age AU, went up on Friday! I had a wonderful time revisiting one of my favorite old anime fandoms, and doing a bit of costume research is always a good time. ALSO, check out my flipping gorgeous giftart from [personal profile] ataratah! A deeply evocative moment between Teen Wolf's leading ladies (while Stiles snoozes, oblivious). <3

Here's some quick [community profile] processfest catchup!

Day Four: Challenges. Translating a shiny idea, brimming with possibility, into a set, coherent, and thus limited form on the page is always a trick, and doing it while maintaining whatever was compelling about the concept is especially hard. Before I make myself start writing in earnest, my stories generally know where they're going and what they mean, but filling in the middle ... the sequence of events and character moments that allow that journey to happen, that's the part that wants elbow grease. And I tend to find myself balking when I face that shift in process; in trying to somehow maintain the energy and excitement that I've been feeling, I often don't want to commit in the early part of a story.

This is a lot of rambling to say that, basically, I'm not very good at sticking that first plot point. I need to let something happen. No, BIGGER. Yes, RIGHT AWAY. I want to keep my cards too close to my chest, and I need to stop doing that, because it may help me hang onto that sense of excitement and suspense, but I'm not communicating that to the reader!

As far as writing goes, that is the big one right now. With art, my biggest challenges seem to boil down to over-cluttered compositions and over-considered lines. I love inking best out of the entire comic-making process, but I'm too meticulous; not just at adding detail, but at trying to tweak every line just right. It slows me down and makes things clunky, loses the vitality of the pencils (and my pencils are already pretty damn thorough). I've spent the last year and a half working on methods to get myself to loosen up a bit, but it's a work in progress.

Day Five: Collaboration. I love the expansive way the [community profile] processfest post describes collaboration; I can't imagine how I'd have gotten along without the creative communities that the internet made available to me as a teenager. All those original character exchanges and drawing challenges took what could have been a passing interest and helped transition it into a lifelong passion. (I loved comics as a kid, don't get me wrong ... I just never really expected to grow up to make them.) My first online art-buddy and I are still close friends, still mutual cheerleaders and betas and skype work partners, nearly fourteen years later.

Over the last few years, I've tried my hand at other kinds of collaborations. The enjoyment I've gotten out of illustrating fic for various bigbangs made me think seriously about working more closely with other creative types; working with someone else's story within a community, where you may even know that person, already felt very collaborative to me! Then there was that one time when [personal profile] jjtaylor wrote a story based on a piece of my fanart, and then I illustrated the story. That was fascinating; a creative exchange, with two people working independently to create related pieces, picking up where the other left off in terms of portraying the universe. It was maybe a little less stressful than straight up co-writing can be.

I've found that fitting different peoples' processes and creative styles together is tricky, but rewarding. It's still a pretty new experience, but one I'd like more of! Last year I co-wrote a short comic with a very good friend; we brainstormed the plot and characters together, I designed them, we tossed a script draft back and forth, and then I drew it. It was a lot of work; when I write comics on my own, there isn't a lot of separation between "writing" and "drawing;" the writing is a VERY visual process, and I tend to translate loose outlines into a series of images before adding things like dialogue. I also wasn't always sure how to know when to keep going and when to stop; when to wait for consensus, when to step back. It seems to me, now, that there are roles that require negotiating in this kind of partnership (as in most kinds of partnerships, I guess). That's a skill I need to build up more! (I couldn't have asked for a better partner to be learning these lessons with! <3)

On the other hand, right now I'm trying out a small project where I'm a comic artist for hire: drawing a short story based on a script that someone else has written. I'm getting paid to do it, and I have limited creative input; he's experienced enough that he knows how to lay out a comic script himself (although not how to avoid overloading it with dialogue, tch). Still, it's been really interesting, trying to design characters to his specifications and interpret his writing and directions onto the page. I told someone once that in comics, the artist is inescapably a co-writer, even if there's ostensibly that "writer"/"artist" divide; no matter how detailed the script. The images are telling the story too; not just illustrating or retelling it, not if you're using the medium well. (You hear some artists fuss about how they can't just beam what they see in their heads out onto paper ... that's frustrating sometimes, it's true! But at the same time, that divide between brain and hands is interesting, a collaboration in and of itself; the finished product is a little unexpected and often better for it! And I think the same that applies to writer/artist collaborations.)

I tend to believe that a piece of creative work isn't really done until the reader or viewer is experiencing it, and that every single one is themselves a collaborator, bringing their own interpretations; that's where fanworks come from, of course. Collaboration is vital to everything I love about doing this stuff! One day I'd like to co-write some fancomics or engage in more creative exchanges with fan-people. There are so many different approaches to take!

Okay, I feel like that's plenty for one day; I'll try and get to today's prompt tomorrow, I think. I'm ready to go write now. Is the work day over yet?
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reflectedeve: Pearl from Steven Universe, in a tux and top hat (Default)

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