Hello and welcome!
It's been awhile, hasn't it?
You might be wondering, what happened to that comic that was coming out last year?
Well, two things happened. Some health issues (a significant part of the delay), but also coming to terms with the fact that I needed to shelve the project.
I love a lot of things about Wrestling with Sharks, but the story had too many flaws to work with the way it was. I may revisit some of the content in the future, particularly the characters, but it needs some time on the shelf and away from the production table.
However! There is some really exciting news!
When I was debating setting the project aside, I had a series of sequential dreams that gave me the entire framework for a new comic. It's...kind of crazy how the brain works sometimes. But I'm not complaining. In fact, I'm thrilled. The new story truly is the one I need to tell right now, and with some waking-mind rationale and fine tuning, I have project I'm eager to dig into. I've held onto that feeling of exhilaration since the beginning, and I'm more excited with every step on the project.
Without further ado, I present SHIFT, a queer, dystopian webcomic.
SHIFT tells the story of two worlds parasitically tethered by technology older than understanding, a young woman stifled by the protection meant to save her, and a romance that brings a generations-long disaster to its final conclusion.
Patreon: JUNE 1 LAUNCH
In order to help fund my work, and begin putting out the comic at a reasonable time, I am launching a Patreon page. Some of you may be familiar with the crowdfunding site, for those of you who aren't, I will give you a quick rundown on how it works.
Patreon allows you to become my patron! Which is a short way of saying, you can get:
Depending on the price tier of your choice, you can get a wide variety of different rewards!
A $1.00 subscription is the most common way of becoming a patron, and very helpful to creators. It seems like a nominal amount of money, but it adds up quickly to become a nice bit of reliable income. This allows me to budget money for things like printed issues and better rewards!
Whether or not you choose to subscribe, you can still follow my Patreon page to get updates!
I hope to see you on the adventure!
Some house keeping and changes to this site:
The storyboard will remain on the site with a selection of finished pages. A copy of the complete PDF will be available for purchase as a Patreon reward.
You might be wondering: why the delay?
It's a good question.
And the answer is both simple and challenging:
I wasn't happy with the plot. The story was pulling in two different directions and I needed to pick one. Which I think I have figured out. A chat about it with a film friend really helped. Sometimes verbalizing things makes the obvious, well, obvious.
That being said, I think I can finally start working towards my first storyboards.
In the meantime, have a sneak peak at the other two main characters!
My concept work is always a mix of language/culture creation, character details, hasty notes for later (With errors. I laugh after.), and yes (if you see it) ideas for my current project's soundtrack for when I'm drawing.
Jakkun (top left, bottom right) has pretty much stayed the same, as far as visual design. I've had a clear image of them in my mind since the beginning, even if their personality has changed a bit! Farrun (top right, bottom left) is the opposite. His character has stayed consistent, but his design has changed quite a bit! We'll have to see how he ends up when I start story boarding. I'm sure his character will let me know. XD That's the way it always ends up. The story knows best!
Thanks for reading!
Here's an early version of the Mer for W.W.S. Fina may or may not have a bit part later in the comic. That's still up in the air. The details of the end haven't been ironed out yet.
The general facial designs are going to be similar, especially the ears, but the bodies will be a bit more textured and scaly. Also, I'm leaning toward colour scheme's based on real fish. As much as I enjoy this water colour rainbow.
The shark-wrestling, and adventuring Princess of the Landers.
This isn't the first concept art I have of Rose, but it is the first work I would consider official. I'm going to be using a new line style in W.S.S., with coloured line art, and this was a good way to figure out her colours as well as get a handle on her design.
Rose is strong, and not afraid to show it, but also friendly and sincere. Her hair is naturally pink! One of her eyes is clouded with magic, a remnant of a previous adventure. Magic always costs something! It's rare in her world, and that's probably a good thing! The eye is a hindrance since she can't see out of it anymore, and it frequently causes her to bump into things by accident.
The costume design needs some fine tuning yet, but I'm liking the direction so far. Her underwater gear includes a magic helmet. It doesn't look fancy, since magic does all the work. I also enjoy the fish bowl aesthetic. She's going to be wearing it a lot, so I didn't want anything that would hide her face. The alternate outfit is what she wears when she plays Shark Wrestling off the Docks. (Yes, it's a sport. And no, they don't wrestle real sharks. That would be crazy!!!) I'm looking forward to designing her formal ware for the second part of the comic. X3 (This may or may not have been the very first thing I started drawing...^3^)
I can never stay serious when I start filling in expression charts. But in all seriousness, I use very basic expressions when I start drafting anyway, so it's good practice for my character shorthand!
Jakkun, the first of the Mer, is up next! Check back soon!
Thanks for reading!
Blank Character Template by: zippora
The Saskatoon Expo is this weekend, and I hope to see you there!
I'll be handing out some Wrestling With Sharks (WWS) flyers and some free one page ICE comics!
Some Pokemon will also be invading my craft section! Come pick up your own 8-bit Eeveelutions or a framed Slowpoke for your home!
But most importantly, come say hello! Chat me up about my up coming comics, and tell me what you'd like to see on my new Patreon page (coming soon)! Or commission a drawing!
So much excitement, so many !!!!!!!!!!
As always, thanks for stopping by!
I've started to add some artist commentary to the storyboard pages. I really want this to be an educational tool when I'm done posting it. It can also be fun for any of you curious readers to see some of the thought process that went into the page layouts. Nothing was by accident!
ICE will take a week break in two weeks, meaning no updates Aug 22 & 26.
In other news, Wrestling with Sharks is taking shape! I think I'm almost ready to start doing some initial storyboarding and outlining. Going for walks has been great for story work. It gives me lots of time to think (and catch a few Pokemon). Keep checking back! I'll have some concept art complied to share with you soon!
Starting the first Monday of July, I will begin posting ICE twice a week. In the spirit of the production blog and my BFA education, each page will be posted along with it's storyboard counterpart.
July 1 (Canada Day) will be a special post of both the inner and outer title pages!
Check in for upcoming information about my new comics, including A.N.G.E.L.S., Life Cycles, and Wrestling with Sharks! (Working titles ;) )
Thanks for stopping by!
Enjoy an ICE short I created for a local Comic Jam as part of the annual Cathedral Village Arts Festival in Regina. This was inked by hand and coloured in SAI.
Poor Kana. Someday the mammoth meat will be done cooking...
The graphic novel is complete!
Next up is posting the storyboard! I had intended to do that while I was working on the book, but my schedule ended up tighter than I expected!
But never fear! I will be posting it. As well as some images from my graduating exhibition!
I've been getting some wonderful feedback on ICE so far, and I look forward to hearing more from my readers!
After this I'm going to take a breather from big projects and work on some short animations and such for school. I'm also considering doing so short 8 page comics. The type that can be printed on one page and folded. I'd really like to make some hand outs!
Thanks for following!
My storyboard is complete! Clocking in at 65 pages, give or take a page, it is significantly longer than the first version of the comic - and I believe it has a lot more depth.
I've also been talking to some printers to figure out the details of what I can print, and how much it will cost me. I'll likely be doing a small run of about 25-30 books in addition to any pre-orders. So if you would like a copy, please drop me an email so I can add you to my order list! The price per book is $20.00 CAD (excluding shipping if that is required). I'll see if I can get a pre-order option up on my (soon to exist) etsy page.
The books themselves will be 65 pages, 8.5 x 5.5 ", saddle bound, and in full colour. I'm also working on making my own fonts to use within the comics, so that will be entirely unique as well!
As far as production goes, I'm just starting on the third page. :) I'll be happy when all of my essays are done!
Here's a sneak preview of the very first page! (Keep in mind it might change a bit before everything is finalized!)
Thanks for reading! I'll have more to show you soon!
Over the summer I dedicated a lot of time to working out the problems in the story. The main issues I had with my first draft was the characterization of my archaeologist and the stereotypical plot elements. I ended up spending a lot of time figuring out what agency really is, and how to go about making a strong (read: well-written) character. Here are a few results of my research:
-She must have a unique ability that makes her special/valuable/integral to the story
-Things happen based on her choices, and don't just happen to her
-She can ask for help
-She can be weak sometimes; crying is okay
-She can be strong in ways other than physical strength
-She has meaningful relationships with other women (and men) that are not romantic
-She has, or finds, her own voice
Now my thought process:
The heart of the story and the dual story line structure have stayed the same, but there have been some significant changes. It was pointed out that the attack on the street might be cliche, especially knowing that most cases of violence are done by someone known to the victim. The more I thought about this, the more I moved away from the idea of her dealing with a past trauma and towards a story where her situation is clearly in the present. This makes her situation more an ongoing struggle, than a lingering fear.
I had thought the prehistoric story was set in stone (haha), but I was wrong. I wanted her story to represent the sort of inner strength that her contemporary is trying to find and it seems the way I had it plotted wasn't the best way to do that. Not to say there's anything wrong with a romance (I'm a sucker for them), but it really down played her own abilities and didn't leave her on an equal playing field with her partner, as much as that's what I was intending. From the feedback I was getting, it just wasn't reading that way. A female partner (romantic or not) was suggested. But I wasn't sure that would fix the problem. So I fell into a cycle of self doubt (it gets a bit convoluted, but hear me out). I thought that by pushing the boundaries in ways done so much right now (gender norms, sexuality etc.) I'd be falling into a new cliche... So I simply defaulted to a more traditional story line.
Because that clearly makes it so much better.
What this really meant is that it felt strange to stick in female characters just for the sake a having female characters. But why use male characters by default? It made my brain hurt. Why have them, but why not? There needs to be more women in stories, so I'm going to write women? Is it that simple? It doesn't seem like such an act of ingenuity, and yet when speaking with others, the feedback is positive - I'm helping break ground. So I'm thinking that my own bias is just causing me to see a female focused story as nothing out of the ordinary when that's not really the case. I just happen to read a lot of the comics that do focus on women. And so I gave myself the kick in the butt I needed.
What does this mean for my ice woman's story? She is valued by her family/clan, not just as family but because of her craft. She has relationships (non romantic) with men and women. The place in the story her male partner held is now held by not just a woman, but by a mother and the clan's best hunter. It could be a sister, a friend, a lover - to me it doesn't really matter. What does matter is their deep connection and social equality.
I can thank inspiration from the recent bone discoveries in South Africa for putting the final pieces of the plot puzzle in place. The biggest plot change involves the role of the knife, which now focuses on it's relation to the skull the archaeologist is reconstructing. It's not about the knife itself, but her discovery that it was made by a woman. In fact it is just one of many knives and artifacts found. This moves the importance from what the knife can do, to what it represents - the unexpected role/job of a woman in her society. As the plot no longer needs the knife to trigger a past trauma, it's existence becomes inspirational instead. Instead of fear to overcome, the knife represents inner strength.
I did do some rough page sketches, was inspired by Magical Girls, and had the chance to draw some scenery in Banff - a great opportunity to get a first hand view of the mountain range from the top of a mountain. The first head set is Kana, my ice woman. And the second set is my new hunter, Hana. The pencil crayon sketches are some of the drawings from my holiday ("Look at what she's drawing kids! We get to meet a real life artist!" (yes. it happened XD)), and the remaining page was when I had the story going in a more magical direction - which is funny since it's ended up less supernatural then before!
Thanks for reading! More images in the next post. :)
Christine is a non-binary, Canadian illustrator and comic artist. They graduated with a BA (English) and a BFA (Visual Arts) from the University of Regina.