Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two Years of Mascara

I cannot believe that on this day two years ago, I uploaded the first pages of Mascara to Deviant Art. Where has the time gone?
Chapter One, Page 5

Okay, technically, it’s been a few months longer than two years because I had to draw the pages before I posted them, but I don’t know the exact date I started drawing sooo…yeah.

But things have come such a long way since then, and it’s nice just looking back for a moment:

Chapter 6, Page 7
Addison makes a phone call...

Chapter 12, Page 9
I like watching Ian's dad in action.

Chapter 18, Page 6
The art has changed a bit...

Chapter 20, Page 12
The latest page so far.

I still haven’t read all of Mascara straight through from the beginning to where I am with it now. That’s something I need to do.

This will be my last year of working on Mascara. This time next year I should be done with drawing it. However, I’m working in a “time warp.” So although I’ll be finished, updates will still be coming out months after I’m done.

When I first started it, in my mind, this story was only for fun. And in many ways, it still is. I can make things happen that are ridiculous and stupid, and that's great. But at the same time, it has become more than that to me.

For one thing, it has been a serious form of practice. Not only am I learning how to draw manga better, but I'm also trying to develop style as well. The difficult thing about style is figuring out how to keep the traditional manga look, while making it different. Readers should have an idea of who drew it by looking at the art. And that's why my style is constantly evolving. In the last few months though, I think it's finally starting to stabilize, and for me, that's very exciting.

Also working on Mascara has caused me to focus on optimizing the page layouts for English. Some say that they don't like manga because they have a hard time reading it, especially if it's going from right to left. That's why I decided to make Mascara read from left to right. Along with that, I wanted to keep the layouts simple so a person who has never seen a manga style comic in their life can pick it up and easily follow what's going on.

This project has really helped me with handling criticism as well. Getting criticized sucks, but sometimes there is some very good advice. So I've learned how to apply some of the criticism I get, and I'm glad I did. On the other side, I've also realized that some criticism I need to ignore, and that I shouldn't allow it to paralyze me and hold me back from finishing my work. This not only applies to outside opinion, but also to the criticism that comes from within myself.

So now I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the next 12 months, especially since I'll be going through the process of tying up loose plot lines and finishing everything off. I know years from now when I think back and say to myself, “Remember when I was working on Mascara?”, I won't be able to do anything else but smile :D