A Comic about Things and the Number One Reason Why I Need a Slap

Anterograde amnesia is a form of amnestic disorder.

According to the mental health professional’s handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , fourth edition, text revision (2000), also known as DSM-IV-TR, it is characterised by the sufferer’s inability to retain new memories or learn new information based on experience. This would make it very difficult to use any information gained through personal experience to alter the sufferer’s actions in their future endeavours. They are, essentially, unable to learn from their past mistakes.

I’m informing you of this, very interesting and clever sounding information (that I have, just now, stolen from the internet), because I think I must have this condition. Why else would I be so, totally one hundred percent incapable? Other than the fact I am just, literally a twat.

Unlike most people of sound minds, I seem to be completely and utterly incapable of learning from my mistakes, specifically with regards to the time management of personal projects, (illustrated best by this time, this time or, indeed, this time) and taking the necessary steps in ensuring that I DON’T DO THAT AGAIN.

Case and point: I have just this week recovered after five consecutive days of sleep deprivation and manic photoshopping induced finger strain, in an attempt to knock together the four page comic I have been thinking about making for about two months. The operative word here being thinking. I have known about a competition for a four page comic for the full length of this time and for the entirety of it, have had the well-meaning intention to enter. I started of pretty well, I wrote it. Then I did the first storyboard for the first page…about a month later. Then I put it off like an absolute champ until the week before deadline.

Oh yeah, and it was postal entry so completion time was pretty crucial in order to get it there in time. Brilliant.

And thus began the next installment in the, worryingly frequent, let’s-not-sleep-for-a-few-bajillion-hours-so-we-can-finish-this-work-that-really-should-have-been-done-at-least-three-days-ago saga.

And this is what I bring you today. The fruits of my most recent labour, made much harder by my own idiocies and disregard for my poor, suffering body’s basic need for sleep.

I don’t know if it’s a form of unassuming arrogance or simply a branch of unquestionable stupidity, but it’s getting seriously ridiculous the extent of which I will leave the things I want to do in favour of  doing, just about, anything else.

I managed it yes. I finished four pages of narrative and I submitted it, within the time restraints of the competition. And it’s not the worst comic ever made. But it could, and more to the point SHOULD have been better. Much better. I should have had the time to redo the first storyboard as a storyboard and not had to rework it on the final page. I should have had the time to find a font that suited the tale better than the, pretty sorry, collection I work from currently, downloaded it and implemented it. I should have had the time to rework the text so that the first page wasn’t so unbalanced in terms of the relationship between text and image (you know, kinda the most important aspect of a graphic novel.) Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda. Because I DID actually have that time. And I frittered it away baking cakes and complaining about my summer project.

And now it is done. And that means it cannot be undone, at least until Marty Mcfly realises that he definitely is wasting his time with Jennifer and is willing to spring forward to 2012 and marry me, whisking me away in our badass time machine (this will happen after he realises he’s fed up of being a fictional character and ready to take the steps into the realms of reality), at which point I can find past me and give me a good slap, shouting “DO SOME WORK NOW” in my own face.

Until that moment, I’m going to have to settle with LEARNING from what has gone before and NOT leaving everything that is not of immediate importance until it is, at which point it’s too late for it to reach it’s full potential.

Well I can dream. There’s a definite possibility here, that I am actually just doomed.

B

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Speed Graphics: Why the combination of Ambition and Birthdays will one day kill me.

Okay, it’s confession time. My recent disappearance from the blogosphere has not been simply down to preparation for the 1912 exhibition. You may have guessed that by the lack of work I’ve been able to produce in connection with it. That was a bit of a (rather lousy) cover up. The real reason I’ve been a bit slow with the updates, is that I was working on a super-secret mission of great importance alongside the whole 1912 thing. Seriously, secret agent for the CIA kind of deal.

Okay no, not really. I have morals.

Alright so, if you’re at all familiar with the Bagley collection of zines and books, you might have noticed that on…well, pretty much all of them there’s a recurring name that keeps popping up in the little dedications. A certain Matthew to be precise whose involvement in both my career and my life has been of the up most importance for the past 3 years now.

Basically, he’s a bit spesh and has recently evolved to his next level. His 25th level to be exact. After years of training, he’s defeated the gym trainer of…quarter…century Town and has….gained more XP…oh bugger the pokemon metaphor. It wasn’t that funny anyway and we all know that Ash would have got a lot further a lot quicker if he’d just gone “actually, screw these creatures. Their best moves are to throw leaves at their opponent and from what I know of basic combat, that’s probably not that effective. I think I’m going to use my initiative, utilise my size advantage and hit this little rat with a big stick.”

But I digress, so Matthew hit the quarter century mark, which I kind of see as a bit of a big deal. I mean that’s like, MID twenties. That’s like…grown up. Your quadranscentennial year on this planet! Your first quarter of a century!

And so I wanted to present him something special on his birthday, something that really meant something to him, both on an emotional level and would, hopefully, be a gift he could really use in some manner in his life. A gift that might inspire him to push forward and ensure he achieves all the wonderful goals and dreams that have, over the years, grown from his incomprehensible passion for learning and people and all the other things he deems so important.

So Comic Book it is then yeah?

And thus I started the planning stages for Matthew’s very own graphic novel. An amalgamation of this own thoughts and dreams, presented in my words and images in a way that would evoke pro-activity from the fires of his own passions that I see in him everyday. An inspiring piece that may help him tick off those frustrating plans that have a habit of falling into the depths of “I wanted to do that, but…”

Oh yeah, I also only had three weeks to go before the big day, and a week of that had to be set aside to getting the artwork to the printer, printing and then returning. Oh and, did I mention I had to move house in amongst all this?

Thus began my SECOND completely-over-ambitious-oh-why-the-balls-have-you-decided-to-do-this-with-so-little-time-left-until-deadline-don’t-you-remember-how-important-sleep-actually-is-project of the past few months.

Pretty much inspired by the first really, and how much I realised I could achieve in just one night. I mean two pages in one night, imaging what  you could do in 2 weeks! Well, turns out, you can write, edit, script, storyboard, draw, redraw, ink (redrawing blind A LOT of the pencil drawings), scan, photoshop and print a 22 page narrative WHILE working on a frustrating screen printing based exhibit for Uni. I mean yeah, you do have to make some compromises with your lifestyle, cut out a few things, you know, like sleep or cooking or socialising or really doing anything that isn’t any of the above, but you can definitely do it.

As it’s quite a personal kind of story, I’ll only put a few examples on here to show you how it went, but I am very pleased to say that he really did appreciate the result.

I feel like he saw the effort I put in and – not to  get soppy, but – the faith in him and love that had been responsible for the growth of it. And also just the sheer amazement at how much had been achieved.

Which was exactly the intention. I wanted him to see what people can do when they really want to, and I hope that that fact, coupled with the realisation that 25 is something of a milestone in a young persons life, is going to push him to make his mark on the world the way he’s always talked about. He has an incredible mind and phenomenal potential that far outweigh a simple graphic novel, but my belief in him is just as strong and I hope, when he reads this, as I know he will, he takes his copy of XXV, either physically or metaphorically and really makes it count.

So one last time, Happy birthday Matt.

And just so you know, I will not be able to beat this one next year, so don’t even ask.

B

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Can’t think. Can barely see. Seems like a Good time for a Blog Post!

Okay so, at time of writing it’s 12:38 on Wednesday.

I’ve now been up since 8.30am Tuesday morning and I’m starting to feel the effects.

Basically, it’s all my tutors fault. Being the good student I am, I was sifting through the pages of university related crap that tend to accumulate in my inbox, when I found something of interest hiding in between the incessant barrage of SU updates (the beauty of this being that we don’t even have an SU office at my campus.)

It was the details for this competition. The prize is a bit tasty (because who doesn’t like holidays and comics?) but that’s not really why I wanted to enter. It sounds like a cop-out, but genuinely the winning wasn’t what I wanted out of it. I just really liked the idea of being set a comic book brief to respond to, that wasn’t simply self-initiated fun times. Plus second and third prize are free tickets to the festival, and I reckon any comics festival seems like a good thing to get involved in, given the success of the last one.

So here’s the catch. The email was sent yesterday. The deadline is tomorrow. And it’s mail only entry. So, I have spent the past…well god knows how many hours scripting, illustrating, photoshopping and indesigning a two page comic that I have now, I’m delighted to say, popped in the post.

So long as it arrives by tomorrow, the website says they’ll exhibit all of the entrants (so either they have a hench exhibition space, or they’re not expecting a whole lot of entries…) so regardless of if they like it or not, it won’t have been wasted. And yeah, okay so I have now missed a lecture and a seminar as a result, and won’t be able to spend the afternoon in the print rooms as planned due to an excessive amount of sleeping that needs to be done, BUT, while it may be a thumbs down on the school front, I reckon I deserve a fricking gold star for dedication to the craft! Or one for stupidity, haven’t decided which yet.

Here’s the original artwork for it, created by my own fair hands at a horrible time in the morning.

It’s a bit of a mental one, but that is what you get from trying to script a whole project in ten hours. It’s actually not my original idea, I jumped ship halfway through so this one didn’t really get started until about 9pm.

I stuck with a standard layout: double page spread. Yeah okay, I’m sure I could have really explored the brief and done something clever with the two pages, but when time’s against you, I like to focus more on the artwork and text than faffing about with potential novelties, as nice as they can be.

And of course, it goes without saying that there’s A LOT wrong with it. For a start due to my excessive tiredness at time of conception, it’s a bit too batshit mad to really be as directly communicative as I’d usually like (and the text doesn’t actually help much with that either, funnily enough.)

It’s a shame in a way. I think had I had more time to perfect it all, it could have been quite nice. The text needs an overhaul (both the script and I’m not overly happy with the font or placing of it in the final copy) and there’s a lot of work needed on the arrangement of cells. But hey, for a 10 hour comic I guess it could be worse.

Great practice as well. I’d like to get into the habit of knocking out short work on a regular basis, and while this wasn’t really finished to a standard I’d usually expect it to be at, I think i’s acceptable given the MAJOR handicap I was working with.

NOT that I really want to turn this all nighter business into a regular occurence. But it has been quite fun.

Fingers crossed eh?

 

Perhaps I’ll turn  it into a mini zine or something. Thanks to the time, effort and cunning knowledge of a very Special person named Matt, the bagleybooks store is well underway, so all books and zines will soon be available over the magic of the web.

Needless to say, everything I am now producing, I’m seeing dollar signs all over, and this is absolutely no exception.

Keep an eye on the website for more information!

Okay, I’m pretty definite it’s bedtime now. Over and OUT.

B

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