Random Erik

Ramblings on Cartoons, Music, Pop Culture and Whatever

Coyote Dances, Erik Stays Awake

24 Hour Comics Day was a blast. There were 26 of us gathered around a large table with different setups. Some computers with tablets, some easels, some copier paper and pens, and me with my drawing/lightboard and pencils. Good humor abounded: the room filled with jokes and pop culture references.

My idea was a story called Coyote Dances, a tale that combines the different Coyote myths of pre-Columbian America and a modern, human-shaped Coyote trickster attempting to pick up a girl in a bar.

In retrospect, my first mistake may have been a decision to do it all in pencil and shade using a paper stump (it’s shaped like a pencil, and pointy tipped, but made entirely of paper so that you can smear your pencil into shadows and such). I thought I’d save time over inking. For the record, this isn’t really an accurate assessment of artistic tools. Especially when you don’t bring the really soft-leaded pencils that are better for the technique.

My second mistake, then, was the choice of art style. I should have gone much more cartoony, a style that flows faster for me (not a lot faster, I’m a slow worker). But I felt it didn’t work with the story, and went for a something that, while cartoony, had more realistic elements.

Austin Books was a great host. They fed us, they gave us space, they gave us a 24% discount on graphic novels between Midnight and 7 a.m. Get it, 24 percent, 24 hours…? People came in, looked over our shoulders, asked questions, wondered whether we were in some sort of contest and visited with friends taking the challenge. Maggie dropped by in the early evening to give me an excuse to walk about a bit and bask in her love and support.

The first drop out came about 7 hours in, the victim of a stomach ache. About 12 hours in, a guy finished his 24 pages and packed up. I hated him briefly, but it didn’t stick. Others packed up around 4 a.m., some of them finished and some of them not. About 4 a.m. the “up all night” silliness hit me and I had a laughing fit over a guy’s comment about making his left hand do some work for a change. It sounded kind of dirty. I was bent over and shaking, but fighting not to make noise. That set others off.

But the time was going by much more quickly than I had expected. Things didn’t slow until sunrise, when the dawn light came in and reminded me that I’d been up all night and had four hours to go. I raced to the finish line, pencilling, rubbing hard with my paper stump, and inking panel borders. And trying to work out some poses, see my above note and “should have gone more cartoony.”

In the end, I finished 10 pages. But I also did the 24 hours. A success by one variation of the rules. I have a story I like and will redo properly soon (at my much slower pace). I finished 10 pages in 24 hours. That’s 9 pages more than I’ve ever finished in a single day. Usually, a page takes me two days, so that’s even better. I’m definitely doing this again next year. I’ll complete more pages next year. And I’ll probably get goofy again next year.

Here are three pages from the comic, to give a taste. I warn in advance that Page 3 has some mild, non-sexual nudity. And there is terrible hand-lettering throughout. This is why God created TrueType fonts.

Coyote Dances: Page 1
Coyote Dances: Page 3
Coyote Dances: Page 4

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