From art block to comic launch

Today I share some exciting news and I will talk about what is next for Pencils & Stories.com

Recollection City launch

Recollection City, my fantastical adventure comic about friendship and stepping up and taking the risk of being seen and making decisions, is finally online! You can read the first five pages here and after this week I will upload it every Monday with a new page!

Five years ago I was stuck in a huge art block. I didn’t draw, couldn’t write… I had always made stories but it seemed that ability had dried up. But the passion for story, and the dream of telling my own and starting a webcomic was not over. It was eating at me.

Slowly getting back up

Then, in 2012 I found the Oatley Academy. I gained new insights, learned about how to properly build up an image. Learned about visual storytelling. And most important, maybe: I connected to other artists and learned that my feelings were normal. And everyone struggles with this from time to time. A friend encouraged me to start blogging and I started pencilsandstories.com.

I let go of the story that was giving me so much trouble. I found a new one, a story that got me excited again and that I wanted to make without all the pressure, and in a setting that I loved. Recollection City began to form in my head, and on paper. I got new ideas. A fresh start turned out to be just what I needed.

First beginnings

When I started making the pages I was so rusty. I had a blank page on which, somehow, a comic page was supposed to form. Over the course of weeks, maybe even months, I build a list of specifics: size, fonts, gutter thickness, brushes, colouring styles, how crazy you will go with panel shapes etc. There is a lot to think about and research and you will tweak a lot as you go on. It can feel like you’re swimming but you don’t really know what you are doing. But eventually all these things are decided and ironed out and the process will go faster. As a fellow comic artist told me: “the awkwardness will go away.” And she was right.

Rinse and repeat. Step after step. The first page took weeks. The first panel took hours upon hours to make. And I have tweaked that page many times since. But the last page I have done at this moment only took a day in total. (Spread over a few days)

Launching

So step by step I continued, always focusing only on the next action and slowly but surely the pages were made. The prologue got finished, then the cover of the first chapter, then the first scene. I am almost done with scene 2 to 4. And today arrived, I was ready to launch.

A year ago I wanted to have a date to launch on to give myself some time pressure to work on a buffer of pages and to see if I could really finish one page a week.

I picked today for a special reason as well. Not only is it pretty (17-7-’17) and on a Monday even, (my preferred update day), but my father, who passed away in 2010, would have been 75 years old today. I thought it would be a nice way to honour him a little with this, as I’m sure he would have loved this undertaking.

My online comic, the dream that started years ago, has finally become a reality. It is now online for people to read on a brand new website, and I have a buffer of pages. If you want to be kept in the loop of the progress and receive free behind the scenes material, like sketches, concept art, a video about making the first five pages and a preview of chapter one, consider subscribing my email list and these free files will be send to you!

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The future of Pencils and Stories.com

I know the making of the comic meant that the blog was put on hold. But in the years of making the comic I have learned a lot about making bigger personal projects, how to stay focused, how to truly work at something. And now I am much clearer on what I want to do with this blog and what kind of message I want to spread. After the Recollection City launch and after I have settled into my new workflow of updating and promotion I will start focusing on relaunching the Pencils & Stories blog.

The idea is this: share ideas on how to take small steps to more creativity so you can overcome roadblocks, grow your confidence and productivity and finish the projects you undertake.

And how can I talk about projects if I’m not doing them myself? This is why I think the combination of comic and blog will be mutually beneficial. I can share what I have learned over the years and I can remind myself of the things I learned when I am making comic pages, haha.

I will keep my email list subscribers in the loop of what happens here as well. Here is the link to sign up for that again.

Follow the journey of the brand new Recollection City comic. But also stay tuned here, because the Pencils & Stories blog is next!

 In the comments, please share: what is your biggest struggle when working on your personal projects?

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