About two weeks ago I wrote about a potential project based on my travels in Egypt, and promised to finish thumbnailing the pages for a full length story by February 23rd. “Did she finish?” asks one. “Is it brilliant?” asks another. “Can I read it right now Katherine? When will it be available on Amazon? Will you be doing a promotional tour across America?” That last part, I am quite certain, no one is asking.

The answers are as follows: YES! February 17th (5 days EARLY!!) I finished, printed and bound a 186-page booklet of a thumbnailed graphic novel. NO! It is not brilliant. Not even close. I’m lucky if half of it is even legible to anyone but me. BUT! I think I know where it is going, and that was really the point of the journey: to see if anything was there underneath the mental snapshots of our two week trip, and I think I’m onto some good leads. Tim Stout (my wonderful, talented husband) sat down with me on Sunday and helped me to extract the POINT (theme) of my story from a certain thumbnailed sequence I’m rather attached to, and I’ve spent the week diving into the pencils based on what I’ve learned about that same scene. I am excited about the road ahead over the next two months as graduation closes in. By May I should have a solid idea of where this project can go, and some sample finish pages to show for it. And, in the meantime, I will continue to do shorts, to try out different styles and approaches to cartooning. I will post excerpts from the process as I go.

Here is a sample thumbnailed spread from the Midpoint. This was executed by drawing with a wacom tablet and using photos from our trip to create page layouts on my computer:

And here is a sample thumbnailed spread from the latter half of Act 2:

This method of working has treated me very well. Using photos feels a little like “cheating,” but, hey, I took them, right? They are placeholders for drawings until I get a little farther along, but when trying to get through 10 pages a day, it was one of the best ways I found to keep moving. “Hey, I already composed this image– in a photo!– so I’ll borrow from myself. Thanks self!”

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