I was quite excited about creating my very own comic as it related to a lot of my interestsincluding manga as well as my overall desire to go into the illustration industry. Now as Iapproach the end of the project I faced a lot more challenges and problems than I firstanticipated and the number one enemy was time.Our first task was to research the current market in our chosen field so the logical thingfor me to do was to go to Forbidden Planet and Travellers’ Tales Books in Manchesterand ask the staff there what kind of manga sells the best and trends that are appearing themarket. I also created a survey to hand out to customers and passers-by in that area. Thiswas where I hit my first snag. I did struggle quite a lot to approach people on the street toask them for some of their time. I worried that I would become something of a nuisance.This fear was only compounded when Forbidden Planet refused my request to ask someof their customer’s questions. This in many ways restricted the outcome of my primaryresearch although I did get some useful insights into buying trends and popular genreswhich helped me decide how I would then market my own comic.My next task was to generate some ideas for my comic’s concept which I had no problemwith at all as I already had a strong idea for a story which had evolved naturally in myhead and it was just a case of fitting it to the market research. This was pretty simple asthere are so many widely accepted genres in this market that it was more a case of makingsure it was produced in the right format. Because while manga fans are open to newmanga’s they usually like to try them first before really investing money into the manyvolumes that follow. One thing I was certain of was that I wanted my comic to keep tovery manga style roots but really wanted it to appeal to a western audience. So the idea ofmy story adopting a western culture and approach seemed the most logical way to attractthat audience as it would be easier for them to relate to it. I tried my best to incorporatesome of things I had learned from the critical approaches to audiences unit, especiallywith the two-step flow model which I genuinely think applied to the general mangaaudience.To start the design process I first started looking at artists both from eastern and westerncultures as well as modern and traditional. It was important for me to look at traditionalJapanese artists like Hokusai where you can really see the roots of artistic styles andexpressions found within the manga art style. I also looked at modern illustrators where Iwas seeking interesting ways to approach line art which is something I really wanted toapply to my own work. My design pack also included some of my own designs forcharacters and concepts for the universe. However I feel that the time we had left kind offreaked me out into starting the actual production of the comic which I do regret as I feelif had given myself more to refer back to I would have found the production process a loteasier.I had initially planned to draw out my pages and then edit them as I go along and startedto do this with the front covers but then I thought for the actual comic pages it would bebest to draw them all out first as then I would keep the constant flow of the story. This iswhere I made the mistake of not dividing my time equally and I left myself very littletime to edit the actual comic pages on the computer. I underestimated greatly how longthe process of editing the pages would take. I also spent too much time seeking out moreappropriate software for the task when I eventually discovered methods that made using
Photoshop a lot easier. I was very pleased with the results of the methods I used inPhotoshop and it actually gave the comic pages a sense of authenticity, it also allowed meto explore and experiment with the software with quite a range of pleasing results.My biggest struggles definitely came when I started drawing out the comic pages and thiscould be for several reasons. The amount of different subject matter I needed to draw forthe comic I constantly had to find reference images to assist me and it was a struggle tofind appropriate help. In hindsight I should have spent more time going out and taking myown reference images and I did to an extent for anatomy posing but could have donemore for the environments. Again this was because I allowed myself to get wound up bythe constant time frame which wasn’t really necessary. I also struggled with the quality ofwhat I was drawing, I never felt really happy with it and it was only when I started to editon the computer that I realised it was coming together and wished I had persisted withsome of the pages I scrapped up to this point.At the start of this assignment I aimed to have fifty pages of a comic and a one minutethirty second animation. However this was a huge amount to put on myself and I think itwas this kind of pressure looming in my head that made drawing out the pages quitedifficult. This is because I constantly had my head what I still had left to do and thisaffected how I felt about what I was doing. What I had set myself to do in a productiontime of two months is what most manga artists do in several, and that isn’t even includingthe animation. I found it so difficult that it got to the point that all the initial enthusiasmfor the project had almost vanished and things I should have compromised on early likehow much I produced only happened later down the process. Itwas only towards the endof the process I started to realise the only one creating that intense pressure was I and theimportant thing was really the quality of the work and the process, rather than thequantity.Overall I am pleased with how the pages I finished came out and although it is by nomeans the finished product it does give a good sense of the concept. I just wished I hadrealized earlier that it would have come together in the end and hadn’t wasted a lot oftime fretting over perfecting every drawing. I do have in my head a wider scope of howmy concept will evolve and I do hope to continue developing it in the future. This projecthas really taught me the importance of utilizing the time you have and making sure youscope the whole process rather than getting stuck on just one small section.