NOTE: VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ARTICLE.
This past Saturday March 24, 2013 was the 3rd annual Mini-Comic day and I celebrated by joining artist of all ages at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. The challenge is simple, to make a comic (write, draw, print, staple, etc) in a single day. At our event we had parents and kids, art students and professional artists, all making mini-comics.
What I like about challenging events like Mini-Comic Day, 24 Hour Comic Day and others of that type is that you are given chances to not only experiment and try new things, but to see what you are made of as an artist. As an artist we need to always be pushing our selfs in new directions and a challenge like Mini-Comic Day can do that.
So you might be asking how did I challenge myself durring the Mini-Comic Day challenge…to create a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story in comic form? Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories usually are formated for the reader to stop ever so often and make a choice that takes them to a different part of the book and continue the tale. Eventually the book will come to one of many endings with either a positive or negative outcome. I have been wanting to try to do a story like this for some time and I figured the event was a good time as any to experiment.
I knew going into the event that I wanted to make a book that consisted of 16 pages made from a single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper. Since the full challenge includes making copies of the book, I was trying to keep down the amount of work. But after playing around with formatting I figured that to get enough interactivity I had to add more pages, so I doubled the page count. I penciled on 2 sheets of card stock the folds and cuts that would divided into the comic’s pages and made some choices to what number of pages I knew I needed for the start and ending of the story.
Then it was a matter of drawing the branching pattern “map” in my notes as I blocked out the art in blue. I was really worried that I would not get the comic done in time, but I kept my character defined very simple with distinctive shapes and the fantasy setting meant there were few logical rules to worry about. Once I had blocked in the pages I quickly inked the drawings, trying hard to keep everything simple and to take as little time as possible.
About 5pm I was done with my artwork and I headed to the copy store to reproduced enough copies to share them with my fellow participants. A big thanks goes out to the staff at Copy Central who were very helpful. As I printed and cut my comic I had to hold my breath and hope that all the branching pages linked up correctly. I returned to the museum an stapled some copies to trade with others and discovered upon reading my book that I labeled one choice wrong and two pages were missing their page numbers. After fixing the errors on the copies I passed out, I could appreciate the final result.
The comic ‘plays’ fine, but there are changes to the formatting and planning that would have to happen on another attempt. I would call the experiment pretty successful and I am happy that it looks pretty sold for such fast drawing and inking.
The only issue is to find a way to present the comic in an interactive form here on the web, but until I do you can watch the video below featuring a run down on the creation and footage of myself ‘playing’ the comic.
Mini-Comic Day 2013: A Tiny Adventure by Brian Kolm (choose-your-own-adventure comic) from Brian Kolm on Vimeo.