My Mistakes Doing My First Graphic Novel
It's again such a joke, since when I first wrote this text, I happily mentioned in the end, that one thing I DID do correctly was saving all my pics in several different locations. Pictures sure, but I didn't save this text yesterday, and managed to make it disappear. I could just...Anyway, this blog is about technical issues, and directed to indie creators and beginners, and pros can have a good laugh and spill their frappuccino on their Cintiqs. I've done many mistakes in my life, but here the ones while doing my first graphic novel.
SO, here we go... I had this terrible need of doing this graphic novel. I have a Master in Fine Arts, painting, so color theory and such, I knew. Of course, the learning never stops, but after four years of studies in Finland and two masters years in France, I had the basics. The digital art course was short during my studies (in the 90's), I wasn't motivated, and I thought what I need to know when working with computers was how to crop your pics, and that they need to be 300dpi. And that course was 17 years ago. Great, let's go!
1.The biggest mistakes was that I didn't choose from the beginning where to publish my digital format. It was only in halfway was flatting my pictures, that I checked out Comixology's formatting guidelines, which are understandably non negotiable, and realized, my pics were way too wide, and would look idiotic, and were also the wrong pixel size, even though they were 300dpi... If you publish on your own website, you are free to do as you please, but, otherwise check the format! It's also good to prepare early for the print size and format, because there are standard sizes, which affect the distribution possibilities. And I wanted to do a print version for my friends and family, who are mostly old farts like me, and don't have tablets.
2. Choose from the start are you going to do digital drawing, maybe using your pencil drawings as sketches, or are you going to use the originals. If you want to use the original drawings, you need to scan them big - which I didn't. Big means minimum 1200dpi. Yeah, the 300dpi wasn't accurate in this case. I ended up having pixelated lines, and I basically redrew most of my drawings with my tablet. I know.
3. You need to flat- I did learn it before I started, though I had thought that technology would have saved us all, by now. I realized this during out first book 'Kitcheneleves Revolution' that the colors weren't up to the outlines. Then, I did it by hand. So this wasn't a mistake that I did. I bought myself a tablet and got on with it. It takes time, though, I you can pay someone to do part of the job, good for you.
4. Publish well before X-mas. That was my plan, but things stalled, as you can see, and now everyone is so busy and tired and getting ready for the next year it's difficult to get the attention.
5. It's good to get reviews beforehand on Goodreads before your book is out. Again, I was so late, that when to book was ready I just went and published it. No ratings, and people think your book has the plague...Family and close friends' reviews are taken down in Amazon, remember.
6. It's smart at times to ask for help. There's a lot of great technical free advice online by other creators. Thank you all! And good courses to take. But don't go ask for strangers too much. My mistakes was I was so self sufficent, I didn't ask my man for help with German custom issues, but thought I had understood, and panicked two weeks about the whereabouts of my books.
7. I almost cramped my body for good. Take breaks, stretch. Seriously.
My gosh, that's 'only' it! Yes, save your work, keep the versions with layers, so you can work on them later, and correct the mistakes, you will always find, especially if you do everything yourself. And don't do what I did, do as I say!