Dana Mellili, Tupperware™ Consultant
So I'm getting back on the horse somewhat with my blog posting by uploading some of my character designs. Currently I'm working on my Comic for the Observer Comic Prize. My one criticism of the Prize is that it doesn't really have a name; or to be more precise, it has an insane surplus of names. It's such a mess of corporate sponsors and jargon that it ends up being called something along the lines of the Observer/Guardian/Comica/Jonathan Cape/Graphic Short Story/Short Fiction/Short Comic/Comic/Prize, 2011, or any combination thereof.
The important points are that it is a) prestigious, b) a chance to see your work printed in a national newspaper and c) pays £1,000 to the winner, and I heartily encourage anyone who hasn't thought about entering yet to do so. It's limited to 4 pages only, a limit that is actually a really interesting challenge yourself against; too long to support something silly and light-hearted, but not really long enough to describe a meaty plot. It seems to hark back to the ancestor of comics and political cartoons in the UK, the illustrated anecdote, in that there's just enough time to sketch a situation and some characters and not a lot else. In any case, it's wonderful practice, so do go for it if you haven't already.
Dana Mellilli, my protagonist, is a Mid-Western Tupperware Consultant and faded one-time beauty queen, and the narrative itself is set around the mid 1960's. The comic that I'm drawing has been a bit of a departure in how I work. I've been laying out all my reference images on a mood board, and I've found that it's a really useful way of having swift reference to any complicated structures you have to draw. It's well worth the time getting one together if you're embarking on a comic, particularly for historical fiction, where accuracy counts to some extent. I've also been greatly inspired by Emily Carroll's wonderful Draw this Dress blog, and am going to start posting some of my own character and costume designs. Have also been re-reading Emily's incredible comic, His Face All Red. It's not only a fantastic long-format comic, but also one that manages incredible pacing, not through techno jiggery-pokery, but pure talent.
That's all for now!