Thursday, March 30, 2006

Night Time

"Night Time" is a short comic story I wrote and drew a couple of years ago for a great local literary magazine, Taddle Creek. They had let me draw a story for them once before, when they first began running a short piece of "illustrated fiction" (why, oh why can't we just call them comics?) in each issue, and I always liked how the editor just let me go ahead and do whatever I wanted, without needing to submit an outline or anything -- a kind of freedom that I've experienced very rarely.

Anyway, the editor even let me set how many pages I needed, and I stupidly told him I only needed four; even though I didn't even have any idea at that time what I was going to write. After I wrote it and laid it out, of course, I found out I needed a bit more space but by then the page count had been set. So, I actually decided to go with what I thought at the time was the strangest of all possible layouts -- a 15 panel grid. In the end though, I think that the grid was the best design decision for the story. It forced a "beat" and structure to what was, essentially, a very impressionistic story about memory.

I drew roughs on grid paper, using post-it-notes to replace/correct panels and copy. The final art was drawn with brush pens and markers, one tier at a time over 4 days. I have to thank Claudia for doing all the scanning and amazing digital cleanup.

I was happy enough with this story that I later collected it up into a mini-comic in a slightly different format. The story as it appeared in Taddle Creek was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards (finalist, not winner) and the mini-comic got a very kind review in the local Toronto weekly, the eye.

I'm currently working on another, much longer format story in a similar style which I'm hoping will find a publisher when its complete.