Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Site and Stuff

This journal has been a bit quiet lately. I haven't got very much to post as I have been busy with my brand-new website lately. The site,, will be the home of, well, the Gawain comic. Quite a few people told me that they were interested in the comic, but did not follow it because they don't find the format sufficiently reader-friendly. They are right, of course: this blog is meant for blogging and not particularly suited for posting comics, especially novel-length ones. There were only two options to remedy the problem: either the comic had to be printed, or it had to move to a comic-friendly website. I looked into printing possibilities, but if you want a decent-looking book, it will cost money, and I don't have a very wide readership, which makes a print run a little ludicrous. So I finally became convinced that the best thing to do would be to give the comic its own site, where you can easily read the story chronologically, consult the archive etcetera. Hopefully I will be able to draw a few more readers with a real webcomic, and eventually a small print run may be a possibility.

I don't know a lot about website building or coding, but I have managed to set up a WordPress-based comics site with a lot of help from my friend Rembrand, whose own webcomic you ought to check out ;-). The site needs quite a bit of work: the Inkblot theme for comics is one that you need to (well, site-savvy people would say 'can' and be happy about the fact *g*) customise by adapting the CSS stylesheet. That means I need to get into coding and that I have some massive figuring-out to do. I have a few ideas about how I would like it to look and am at the moment tinkering with design stuff. As I am not very design- or Adobe-fluent yet, that is very much a discovery and trial-and-error process. Fortunately my Illustrator classes do help a little.

Here is a first little thingy that I put together in Illustrator and Photoshop:

I am ridiculously proud of it because it combines 1) using the Pen tool in Illustrator, which I have only just learnt to do, 2) using texture in Photoshop, which I'd never done before (yes, I know), and 3) colouring in Illustrator, which I figured out all by my lonesome and consequently am likely to have done in a very inefficient way, but hey, it looks the way I wanted it to look, even if it did take me hours and hours ;P.

What I eventually want with this madonna is to make a kind of shield emblem. As per Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, there is an image of the madonna on the inside of Gawain's shield. Because I wanted an emblematic and Celtic-looking Virgin, I used my newly-acquired Illustrator Skillz to trace an image from the Book of Kells.

I am also trying to establish what the definitive shape of the comic pages should be - A3, A4, pencils + Photoshopping, pencils + ink, with or without colour patches, Photoshop or other. It's SO not easy and SO very important.


And with that, I'll disappear again.


the comics expert said...

You'll have to bite the bullet sometime, but even then, noone says you have to use the same tools all the time.
Just saying...

Cecilia said...

Wow, so many tasks at the same time. Now you probably know more Photoshop than me ^^ and I've never used Illustrator. After much asking I've been given a Wacom tablet but I still have to use it (...oops), basically because the home computer is now steadily in my father's hand and I normally work with my laptop. I fear that installing the tablet to my laptop and using it would be too much for my poor HP Pavillon's memory... :P So the tablet is still inside its box.

The Virgin looks so nice! I would be proud of it too :)