After some delay, Gary: Book Two is now available in these fine establishments:
Quimby’s… The first store I ever sold my comics at.
Chicago Comics… One of the best stores in the country!
Graham Cracker Comics (downtown)… Featuring a fantastic collection of back issues.
Star Clipper… Say hi to Jon for me! His store sold out of Book One, so hurry & grab your copy of Book Two!
Atomic Books… They have been wonderful to work with!
Please visit these awesome stores & show support for the guys that show support to the self-published folks (like me)! I’ll be adding more stores to the list in the coming weeks. Thanks for your support everyone!
90% of all problems can be solved by staying organized.
I really believe that. It’s worked for me in my professional (aka non-art) life for years, and slowly began seeping into my art-making process significantly when creating Gary. This post is a peak into how I stay organized in my process. Hopefully you can find something helpful within…
Gary, as many of you know, is based on real people & events. Although none of the info in Gary should be seen as facts about any specific event, but I have used the factual information as a starting point for my exploration of the subject matter. Once I started digging into the information out there, I quickly discovered that there is more to take in than I could possibly remember. Of course, some things stuck in my head, but my goal is to form a complete & cohesive piece. So, I started keeping some key areas in mind during research sessions:
People, Places, Events, Dates, Themes, Motifs, Scenes
These areas were a good start for figuring out the arch of the book & what to include. As time goes on, I can further break down these areas into individual pages/drawings. When I started researching the Green River Killer, I quickly saw that I needed to start using a tracking system. Speaking of reference material, here are some of my sources:
Defending Gary: Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer, Mark Prothero & Carlton Smith
Green River Serial Killer: Biography of an Unsuspecting Wife, Pennie Morehead
The Search for the Green River Killer, Carlton Smith & Tomas Guillen
Between Good & Evil, Roger L. Depue
Chasing the Devil: My 20 Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer, David Reichert
Gary Ridgway: The Green River Killer, Staff of County (actual court document)
Serial Killers: Issues Explored Through the Green River Murders, Tomas Guillen
River Man: Ted Bundy and I Hunt for the Green River Killer, Robert Keppel
There are about 3-4 films about the Green River Killer. Avoid them all as if your life depended on it. Unless you count Riverman (its really more about Ted Bundy), which is worth watching for Cary Elwes’ performance.
My lovely lovely Excel. Where would I be without it? Excel is the most basic, easy, and infinitely adaptable tool for organizing your research. Get it. Learn it. Use it. (And for those of us with day jobs, it makes you look like a superstar just by having it open on your computer). As I research, I put the info into an Excel workbook, giving different topics their own worksheet in the book. *
Trust me, for storing useful information/notes, Excel is 1 million times better than a notebook/sketchbook. Paper is for DRAWING folks! Once the info is in Excel, I can locate it easily & actually USE it for reference. When I put notes in a sketchbook I cannot find them when needed, essentially rendering that research useless.
My Gary workbook is broken into tons of worksheets. Each worksheet is dedicated to a different aspect of the information relevant to me. And each worksheet has it’s own column & row structure.
Some of those worksheets turned out not to be as useful as I’d hoped. ‘Pencils’ & ‘Ink’s tables are a good example. The idea with those was to check-off things as I finished them. This was a technique I brought over from the day job that didn’t really work well for my art making process. They just stressed me out. I tend to jump around in page order and go back and forth between inking & penciling. Other sections, like the list of victims and the ‘comprehensive timeline’, were vital to staying organized. These stored information to be used at a moments notice, rather than putting more pressure on the already slow process of drawing comics.
What you see in the preceeding images are just sections of the spreadsheet. The victim details one in particular is very long & in depth. Fortunately, Excel allows for a LOT of sorting & searching options. As I begin figuring out a scene, I could find the victim, the date they were murdered, details of their death, etc. very easily. Gary visited many sites on multiple occasions & so if I chose to show a location, I could get more info about it simply by sorting by ‘location’. Also, I always try to have a column for ‘random thoughts’. Often in researching books, I’m struck by an idea. It could be a scene, an image, a piece of dialogue, a layout, etc. I make sure to WRITE IT DOWN before my brain dumps the info!
Once the information was logged in the workbook, I was infinitely more productive. I don’t get ‘stuck’ as often. If I am stuck, I have all my thoughts & reference in this wonderful central location. If I can’t figure out how to design a page, I go back to my workbook. If I’m not sure what scene should follow the last, I go back to my workbook. If I’m not sure how to represent a location, I go back to my workbook. The Excel workbook also helps in my editing process, as I do not have a real ‘editor’. When proof-reading, I reference the dates & details from the workbook to make sure I haven’t screwed something up.
Staying organized will keep you more productive, force you to use all the research you’ve done, & foster better ideas.
INTERVIEW WITH PANEL BOUND
So, If you haven’t heard it yet, I had the chance to speak with the folks at Panel Bound about Gary and other stuff comic-related. Check out the audio interview here:
Thanks for the support everyone! Stay tuned for more information next time about CUBE and SIMON prints coming soon for sale!
* Some of the included workbook images were taken a couple months back (can’t show you all the new stuff yet!). Also, this post is not endorsed by Microsoft in any way (hard to believe, I know).
Wanted to point you all to a fantastic comics review and interview site called Panel Bound! They were kind enough to review Gary: Books One & Two this week
Another Alternative Press Expo has come to a close! This year’s show enjoyed perfect weather & one of the most diverse & talented collection artists assembled in one place. It was a blast & I thank all attendees who came out to show support to the exhibitors. Whether it was a kind conversation or purchasing some comics, we appreciate it!
My table transforms from this…
Pretty snazzy eh?
Not only was exhibiting a thrill, but I also had the chance to catch some new work by these talented folks…
Reid Psaltis… Reid just released a new mini comic called Hell’s Dachshunds. Brilliant & terrifying.
Michael Manomivibul… my table-mate who does amazing illustrations with sumi ink on paper.
Josh Shalek… Author of the comic strip Welcome to Falling Rock (I finally completed my collection!)
Jose Moreno… The best book binder I’ve seen in ages. AND his screen prints are phenomenal!
Jack Bracken… Author of The Matter & a darn fine writer in general.
Tony Huynh… A new acquantaince who’s line work is kinetic while still keeping shape. Very nice.
Chris Koehler… Using my two favorite colors to dramatic effect. Super clean & dramatic work!
Tony Guaraldi-Brown… Cars cars cars!!!
CHECK OUT THESE GUYS! They are all fantastic! I met many other talented artists, so please forgive me if I can’t name them all!
GARY: BOOK TWO is now for SALE online!
Yup. I’m really happy with how this, the second of three books, turned out. Please order your copy today!
Thanks again for your continued support! As promised, next week I’ll have a Gary process post, & some news about new CUBE prints available for purchase!