Sunday, July 13, 2008

Your Alter Ego

There's still lots of time left to get in Your Alter Ego for the contest! The rules are simple. Sit down with a blank piece of paper, a blank mind, and a pen and create a comic strip.

I'm finding that many people are a little intimidated by the idea of creating a comic strip in such a carefree way. After some thought, I think I've narrowed it down to a few reasons people might have trouble with letting their alter ego out.

1. Too much concerns for the finished product, art or story.
2. Too much concern about the next panel, or end of the story.
3. Way too much planning.

I thought it may help to give an example first panel and describe my process some. (Thank you to Kara Wall for emailing me and spurring on this idea.)

Below you will find the panel that we are going to refer to.

Now when I created this panel I began by drawing a square. I had no idea who or what would eventually be in that square. I then drew an eye, and decided that the character would have two eyes. So, I drew a second eye, deciding it would be spaced far from the other eye. This process of quick decisions continued until I had the blue bird you now see. The bird then needed a catalyst for action. As a result the fly was added.

In a usual My Alter Ego I would then draw another square and decide what happens between the two elements I introduced in the first panel. I would not be concerned what happens beyond the panel I am working on at the moment. However, what usually happens is that by the time I have completed the second panel the story has played out in my head and I am working on pacing the rest of the panels. I often do not have the story fully paced out as I begin the third panel, and all other panels after that. This is acceptable by the rules, since it is still a creative challenge to allow the story to play out in such a small space. The key is to just keep drawing, and allow little actual thought beyond your imagination playing.

I hope this helps some people. Use the beginning panel above as practice. Take the bird and fly on many adventures, but don't decide on the adventure until it's almost completed.

AND...there's no limit to how many times you can enter the contest, so let your alter egos out.

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