"The two worst strategic mistakes to make are acting prematurely and letting an opportunity slip."
I've been working on the story and characters that evolved into Benthic for nearly 11 years. In early 2009 I began penciling what is now the first chapter (I originally wrote the first 16 pages of the book as a one-shot) and over 19 months completed the script, the pitch, and the 32 page first issue. Meanwhile I had also been working full time, for much of it 50-60 hours a week, as well as other various projects and freelance illustrations. Benthic was moving slowly.
Honestly? The frustration was mounting. On one hand, I had a pretty good career coming together in the custom furniture industry. I'd been a cabinetmaker on the shop floor, I'd been in administrative roles, I had sales experience. Recently I had moved into a key production role in one of the top custom furniture companies in New York. On the other hand...yelling at material vendors on the phone is, believe it or not, not why I had put myself through art school. My life was unfortunately moving in the wrong direction faster than it was moving in the right direction.
Everything changed three weeks ago.
I'll save everyone the gory details. The transition was far from smooth, but a situation emerged where I could draw full time for a finite but considerable amount of time. This is the chance I've been waiting for. I hit the ground running on Benthic, which brings us here.
About the Blog-
How do you make a graphic novel...and what happens to you when you do?
Benthic - Below the Surface is a dual purpose blog. Like the other "making of a graphic novel" blogs out there, it will document the process (and progress) of making and publishing a graphic novel, as both a writer and as an artist. I'll be reviewing all my methods, what has and hasn't worked for me in the past, and reflecting as those methods naturally evolve.
However, I will also be documenting myself as the subject of a social case study. What happens when someone who has worked full time for five years, in both a blue collar and white collar setting, suddenly and unexpectedly finds themselves drawing comics full time? What actually happens when your chance comes to make the dream come true? One month ago I was working 60 hours a week in Manhattan, had some level of disposable income, and hated my job. Today I work from home, I'm broke, and am completely self-employed. The first three weeks alone have turned my world upside down. How will I adjust to this massive lifestyle change? We'll find out.
I'll be updating twice per week!
About the Comic-
Benthic is a science fiction story about a submarine captain on a misguided revenge quest. It is 152 pages total, black and white, and the 32 page first issue is online and available to read. The project also breaks into six comic issues; the first and last issue being 32 pages, and the four issues in between being 22 pages each. I am currently looking for a publisher, but I fully intend to self publish if needed.
The projected completion date is March 1st, 2011, with a drop-dead date of March 15th, 2011.
As you can see, the first 32 pages are complete. Beyond that; as of today I am doing final touch-ups on the pencils for the 22 page second issue (pgs. 33-54), which I expect to begin inking Friday or Monday. If you're not familiar with comics or my work, "final touch-ups," translates directly into "hands and mouths I didn't finish drawing earlier cause they were a pain in the ass." Issue 3 is being thumbnailed.
I'm extremely excited about the project, and equally excited to share this journey. Stay tuned!