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This is a weblog of one person's multi-year quest to write, draw, and publish a graphic novel. This is my story: my trials, tribulations, successes and failures. -- Robert Stradley, Weekend Artist
I am currently on hiatus from Amberleigh Chronicles. What started out as a single panel comic done in December 2012 has taken on a life of its own. Before I knew it, the characters, storyline, and multiple panels jumped into my head and clamored to get out. I frantically started writing and drawing to get them to stop screaming at me. This webcomic is the result.
Development of Magniloquence the Superheroine was started by writing the background, a few panels, and a synopsis. Names and personalities for major characters were chosen: Magniloquence/Priscilla Hawthorne, Kinematic Man/Janusz [John] Czerniawski, Ampére/Aimée Marie Poulet, Six Shooter/Billy Bob Weston. Personalities of the heroines and heroes are based on the cardinal virtues. The villaines and villains are based on the mortal sins.
The City of Wonder Falls will be a typical small Texas Town. Many of the discussions between Magniloquence and Ampére will take place at Buck’s Café in the downtown block around City Hall. I started taking photos of Texas towns, town squares, and shops in the vicinity.
Character development. First I drew a simplified form similar to the Power Puff girls. Unfortunately, I am categorically unable to draw in this fashion. Second I tried Peanuts style. Again, no good. No matter how hard I tried, I ended up adding detail to the drawings.
To keep the " cartoony look" I initially drew the characters 4 heads tall [basically a double size head]. This has the advantage of allowing expression even in distance shots and tends to make the characters a bit more "cute."
Look and feel: Strong line art with heavier 0.8 mm outside deadline similar to Art Nouveau but without all the frills and flourishes. By forcing a heavier outside line, the tendency to over-detail was reduced. Inside lines are 0.5 mm and details are 0.3 mm. The insides are also reduced in detail -- no line shading and minimal black shadowing. Colors are flats and shading is minimal, primarily in hair highlights and for clothing folds. Backgrounds are either shading with no detail or finely detailed.
Storyline is now up to 50 panels and many vignettes.
I finished initial design of Magniloquence and Priscilla. Priscilla is prissy and frumpy and looks a bit like a Gibson Girl of the early 1900’s. She originally wore long Victorian dresses and button up half boots that were rarely seen. She was later updated to 1950's dress style with pearls and pumps. Magniloquence is buff and curvy with a strong chunky body and blue-black hair reminiscent of the 1960's superheroes.
Storyline is now up to 75 panels with the addition of the engagement and marriage of Priscilla and Jan.
Colors and color theory investigation started. It is a lot more complex and interactive than I imagined as one balances intensity, value, and saturation to affect mood and establish a style. Much of the on-line stuff is cursory dealing with color wheels. The psychology of color appears to be contradictory. For instance, site 1 says: grey and black recede, but site 2 says: black comes forward. Site 3 says: Green is lively, fresh, and Christmassy while Site 4 says: green is boring, depressing, and sickly. Or as the director states in the movie Sweet Liberty, “Green is a funny color, Michael.” Say what?
Strangely enough, the best source I’ve found so far is A Fiber Artist’s Guide to Color and Design by Heather Thomas. In it, she quotes Johannes Itten: “ He who wants to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its many endless combinations with all other colors.”
Finished Ampére and Aimée. Aimée is French and fashionable. You will see her often at the Café talking to Magniloquence. Did a series of 22 café sketches with Magniloquence and Ampére.
I have decided that there is ‘way too much information for me to absorb to become a color master. I’ll use the experts’ opinions. For the color scheme, I went with the 2013 Spring Fashion Colors. See color set.
Storyline is now up to 100 panels. Have added honeymoon.
Looking over the pictures of the last 5 months, I see that when I do closeups, the body size changes from 4 heads tall to 5 heads tall. This is not good.
Finalized Six Shooter and Billy Bob Weston. He’s your typical modern Texan who works during the day, parties at nite, and rodeo’s on weekends.
Finalized Kinematic Man and Janusz [John] Czerniawski. Janusz is a burned out professional who just wants to retire from the rat-race and have a life. He is willing to be a house-husband to Priscilla.
I give up. After 10 years of training myself to recognize and draw reasonable anatomy [see Amberleigh Chronicles for details] I gave up with the initial design and shifted to 5 heads tall bodies. This means I need to redraw all my characters to date. [Sigh - another lost month.]
Started Villaines and villains. Completed drawings of Monaie, Molecularity, Dr. Logarithm, and Gluttony. As a model, Monaie is 6 to 6.5 heads tall which gives her a tall willowy look that could not be achieved at 5 heads tall.
Added Monaie to the storyline. Now up to 119 panels.
Completed drawings of Cacophony, Cupidity, Locomotivity, Synesthesia.
Added Cupidity to the storyline. Now up to 125 panels.
Completed miscellaneous characters: Madame Mayor, Buck, & Sleazy.
Started background drawings of small towns in Texas from my collection of photos taken over the last several months.
Illustrated, inked, and colored panels 001 and 002 and the cover illustration.
Coded initial pages for Magniloquence.net.
Added Cacophony and Locomotivity to the storyline. The storyline is now at 144 panels.
Developed the format for Priscilla’s Principles of Common Courtesy [PPCC]. Made templates with different color backgrounds. Illustrated, inked, and colored panels 008 and 009 -- the first two PPCC. PPCC is my "home free" in the future when I need to make up time or take vacation.
Wrote 26 more panels with PPCC in them, to be scattered in the storyline. The storyline is now at 170 panels.
Penciled panels 003 - 006 including Gluttony, the first café scene, and introduction to the superheroic world of embarrassment.Redrew and inked 22 café scenes with 5 head high characters that had been developed in April with smaller bodies.
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