Friday, August 23, 2013
Ben was working towards finishing and publishing a young adult fantasy graphic novel, a project
he had been working on for nearly a year. I was hired to help lay in colors on otherwise-finished pages. I
spent six hours three days a week digitally ‘flatting' pages, which means coloring the images with solid blocks of color that could later be selected and modified. I worked alongside him in his studio while he continued
to pencil and ink the remaining pages of the novel. While this was largely monotonous work, flatting is
an important part of the digital illustration process, and I believe I became faster and more effective at
the task. There were also a few situations in which Ben indicated he would keep my color choices, and I am very proud of that.
The experience taught me a great deal about the process of working on a long-term project, comic or otherwise. The amount of organization and thought, not to mention confidence, required to start and continue with such a project is staggering. It was enlightening to see what Ben’s process was for each part of the job—from scripting to inking, to his thoughts on character design and development. When I had taken comics classes in the past, I had come to the conclusion that longer comics might not be for me—however, watching Ben work, I think I may have been mistaken. It is not the format that
makes it difficult, but the concept! To create a novel-length work, the artist must truly believe in the idea at the core of it, or they will fail simply because it is not important enough to them that they finish it.