Thursday, 23 April 2015

What I mean by 'Steal' when I say I've 'Stolen' a page for The Intercorstal

The Intercorstal has always been a way of exploring the language of comics via non-narrative, non-figurative methods. In the early days, there were figurative elements built in, as I was also trying to create a world-on-the-edge-of-perception, and came up with an internal narrative which featured mangled faces, all sorts of eyes and teeth, as well as a main character who appeared on nearly every page. As I worked on the project, and found new ways of working the need for that became less and less important, until finally I started 'The Intercorstal 2' which did away with a lot of that and is more consistent as a result. Granted, early pages still retained some of those elements (if you get into the habit of hiding pictures of eyes and teeth in everything you draw, it becomes quite difficult to stop...) but they're nearly all gone now.

The process of creating pages for the Intercorstal 2 falls into two types of activity. The first, most common, is for me to build a set of frames for the layout and then draw into those. I'll often take inspiration from what I've been reading (Pages 27, 28 and 29 were all done immediately after reading Bill Sienkiewicz's Stray Toasters, and were very much inspired by it) but it's all my 'own work', as it were.

The second method is to find an existing comic page that I find particularly interesting, or am particularly passionate about, and copy the layout of the panels and the broad shape of objects or movement in the panels, and then use those to inform my work. The extent, following this, that the Intercorstal pages look like their 'parent' pages varies -- sometimes the relationship is very clear, and sometimes it's vastly different.

Page 34 is an interpretation of a page from Revere, by Simon Harrison and John Smith, and obviously so when you compare them side by side.

Page 12 is an interpretation of a page from The Amazing Spider-man, by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee, but other than the frame layout (which is broadly the same) you'd probably not know without me saying so.

Working like this provides a wide range of benefits. For a start, it's an easy way to break through whatever creative block I'm suffering at the time. Past that, though, it helps me to really explore how the page is constructed, whether there's a hidden narrative in the layout and movement of the page ('the page under the page'), and what it is that makes those comic pages speak to me, as well as the broader audience. It also serves to connect people to The Intercorstal in a way that the first method of producing pages doesn't. Being able to show someone a page and then let them compare it to something that already exists takes away some of the work they need to do to see what I'm trying to accomplish.

Below is a screengrab from a document I'm keeping which keeps track of where I've based an Intercorstal page on another creator's work, for reference. And I'm more than happy to respond to any questions that might arise from my work -- this blog is an attempt to answer questions already raised. Email or comments or whatever.

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