Graphic Novel Development: Page 1

Hi everyone! At the moment I have been thinking about my first page of my graphic novel; I’ve been deciding how Eartha and Okko meet and what I want that to look like. I think that having Okko find Eartha and taking her home to look after her would make a good beginning, something common enough to be relatable. I have six panels and will save two for text and have the rest showing Okko walking down the road, noticing Eartha, picking her up and Eartha looking up at him as the last picture panel.

I’ve been making a lot of hand and facial expression observations for creating this page, I am going to fill in my expression reference charts as I need the expressions (as I go). As the chart is ongoing I’ll post updates every three expressions. One of the things I am struggling with is texture and depth in clothes. Everything is looking very smooth so to try to correct this I have crosshatched Okko’s jeans. I think making a record of different types of marks and techniques would be helpful, I feel like a lot of experimentation is coming my way in regards to texture. Overall, I feel my first draft is going well but it is not as polished as I want it to be but with time and practice I’m sure I will achieve the standard and quality I am aiming for.

I am looking at my ides for what happens next in Okko and Eartha’s world, trying to imagine ways to illustrate autism. I was looking for inspiration online and found The Art of Autism that has a comic strip explanation about understanding the Autism Spectrum which I found interesting. The illustrator who created it is called Rebecca Burgess (who is also autistic) and she represents challenges by shoving her character, Archie, into huge words:

(Burgess, 2019)

I like this because it is a clear way of showing exactly what Archie struggles with and what expectations are being forced on him. As I have mentioned before, being a such a diverse and hidden disability it is extremely challenging to illustrate in an educational way, I am trying to make my work as inclusive and helpful as possible so I’m taking my time to do it right. I am going to set myself the goal of 1 page per month to start off with so by the time I finish my masters degree I should have at least one book completed. By doing one per month I am hoping to have an accurate record of my progression and development as an artist. The first page will be pre-study and I will post that soon so you can have an idea what skills I am working with entering my course.

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