2 August 2016

Behind The Comics (19) - GG

In 'Behind The Comics' kuš! contributors give an insight into their work. After a longer break this blog feature finally returns! GG is telling about creating her story 'Lapse' for š! #25 'Gaijin Mangaka'.

GG // *1981, Canada. GG grew up during the 1980s in a small Canadian prairie city. In this pre-Internet era, isolated geographically and culturally, drawing and making up stories was her means to connect to something more. Her favorite manga at the moment is Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy.

Follow her also on twitter.com/ohgigue and blog.ohgigue.com and support her on Patreon, where you can get more insights behind her work!

GG: My work space is pretty minimal. I don’t really stick to one set up. Sometimes I’ll sit on the floor  to draw or sometimes I’ll work in bed or sometime I’ll stand or sometimes I’ll even sit in a chair at a desk like a regular person. But even though my set up is flexible and portable, I can only really work from home while alone. I find it extremely difficult to work in public places like cafés or new/unfamiliar places if I happen to be traveling.

Before I started focusing on making comics, I traveled a lot for a few years and that forced me to keep my physical possessions to a minimum and I just got used to living like that. It’s so much easier to keep my surroundings organized this way. This is especially good because my work process is a bit messy – not messy in the sense of paper laying around everywhere and paint splattered on the floor – but in the sense that a lot of it happens in a jumble of information stored in the weird space between my mind and my hard drives and I’m constantly adjusting my methods.  

When I’m planning a story, almost all of it happens in my head and I don’t write much down. Sometimes I’ll write little notes on my phone or collect images and store them in a desktop folder or Pinterest board, etc. Basically, I’ll think about a story for a while until I can visualize the general shape of it and then I’ll start drawing and try to trace it out from memory.

 I work mostly digital these days. Again, it goes back to keeping things minimal. My earlier comics were done with pencil and paper but I didn’t like how after I finished a story and scanned it in, I would have all this paper to store somewhere. It also seemed like an extra step to have to scan and then have to clean up the scans when I could just draw directly on the computer. One thing I’m always trying to figure out is how to make comics more efficiently because they are already so time-consuming for me. Sometimes pen and paper is unavoidable because I’ll want a certain look or effect so I haven’t totally gotten rid of all my art supplies yet.

The first thing I do when I start drawing is set the page size and rulers for the panel layout of the whole thing. I also think about colours and general details like what clothing the characters wear and what the environment is. I try to set up all the “rules” of the world I’m depicting before I start and that makes it easier to just focus on telling the story. Fleshing out the story and drawing it tend to happen at the same time for me. 

For my Kuš story, I very loosely roughed out all the pages first to try to get as much of the story out of my head as I could. It’s so loose that it’s almost another language that only I understand. As you can see, the difference between the initial scribble and the final page is sort of like those “How to Draw” diagrams that all of a sudden goes from a circle to a fully rendered cartoon animal. Lots of things change as I work through the story and I make adjustments as I go. I use the tablet like a light box and draw and redraw and redraw again on newer layers, deleting the previous ones, until I have something that I’m happy with. But I’m never happy with my own work so I keep torturing myself like this until the deadline creeps up on me and I’m forced to submit what I have!

The complete story by GG you can read in š! #25 'Gaijin Mangaka'. Next week  'Behind The Comics' will continue with Ben Marcus!

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