A Cold Day to… Draw?

I’m still working out which novel to write next, but in the mean time I am working on an adaptation of A Cold Day to Drown as a graphic novel, in hopes of having the first issue finished in time for Hampton Comicon in October.

The process that I am using to create the pages consists of combing through the draft of A Cold Day to Drown and pulling the most important descriptions and lines of dialogue, each to be highlighted in one or more panels of a page. My layout is heavily inspired by The Coldest City and Sin City, with most pages using strongly blocked cells of imagery and dialogue. The art style is deeply noir.

The one consistent issue is, of course, that I am a writer. My artistic skills are taxed by stick figures and diagrams.

I’m trying to work around those limitations by using a visual style influenced by photo manipulation comics like Romantically Apocalyptic, with a noir twist. Each cell is composed of multiple manipulated layers which contain several photos which have been sliced into pieces, combined, manipulated, drawn over, and generally manipulated until they are (hopefully) unrecognizable from the source. All of the sources are, of course, either public domain imagery from reputable repositories.

The novel itself will likely take the form of about 8-12 issues, which I will then combine into a trade paperback.

The process of creating the comic is both intimidating and exciting. That little voice keeps nibbling at the back of my mind, telling me that my “art” is derivative and so subpar that it’s good for nothing but winning the world limbo championships. That my story is poorly told, derivative of every cyberpunk tales since Neuromacer, and so dark that I’ll surely be reviled by anyone who reads it.

Well, oh well.

I really like the skeleton of A Cold Day to Drown, even if the flesh needs to be sculpted a bit more before the full novel is ready for release. I enjoy the process of manipulating photos until they look more like line art. And if every low-budget TV show in existence can reuse the same ten Garage Band loops that I used to use to make awful techno tracks, then there’s nothing wrong with me trying to exploit my artistic failings to create a new form of art.

I’m about 1/4 to 1/3 finished with the first issue, aiming for the (supposedly) average length of 22 pages of story. At the pace I’ve been working I ought to be able to finish issue one in time to bring a few copies to Hampton Comicon and see if they sell alongside my novels.


Enough procrastinating.

Back to working on that novel outline.

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